We are continuing to track the latest headlines and updates regarding the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Today, May 1, is partial reopening day in Texas as phase 1 of the governor's reopening plan gets underway. As a reminder, many businesses will be allowed to reopen today, but some are choosing not to. Make sure you check in advance before you head out the door. Get the latest updates and top headlines below.
What's open and closed today
- OPEN: These are the restaurants in the Houston area opening for dine-in today
- OPEN: Retailers/misc. opening in the Houston area and how they're protecting employees and customers
- OPEN: Galveston beaches now open all day, 7 days a week
- OPEN: Houston parks remain open, yet playgrounds and other amenities are off limits through May
- OPENING SOON: Houston-area malls announce reopening dates
- CLOSED: These popular Houston restaurants will not open on Friday
- CLOSED: Bars, gyms, nail salons, other businesses must remain closed
- OPENING SOON: Houston's most popular museums are not opening Friday, but some will reopen soon
Friday's top headlines
- Houston adult club owner says he's not giving up after police shut him down early Friday
- Texas still ranks near bottom for COVID-19 testing as state reopens
- New data shows Texas is not ready to reopen, expert says
- Texas isn't alone: May brings reopenings from coronavirus around the world
- 1 million recovered worldwide from COVID-19
Latest COVID-19 updates
Here are the latest updates from around the Houston area and the world (all times are Central/Houston time):
MAY 1 8:12 p.m. — Former Houston Astro Michael Bourn is standing for Houston during the coronavirus pandemic by helping out residents in three Houston-area apartment complexes.
The Nimitz High School alumnus owns the complexes and announced this week he is waiving tenants’ rent for April and May. Read more here.
MAY 1 7:45 p.m. — The Buckingham, a senior living facility in west Houston, is reporting the death of another resident due to COVID-19. James Kneen, owner of the facility, described the man as an Army veteran who served "our country proudly and with distinction." Kneen said he was "a man of strong faith, he worked hard, raised a family with his wife and deeply cared about others."
MAY 1 6:26 p.m. — Times are tough for many Houston families and keeping food on the table can be a challenge. So can feeding their pets.
That's why The Houston Humane Society is planning another free drive-thru Pet Pantry on Tuesday, May 5.
MAY 1 5:05 p.m. — Getting access to free testing for the coronavirus has been a challenge for many underserved communities in the Houston area.
In response to reports of a possible cluster of COVID-19 cases in the area surrounding Hillcroft and Richmond Avenues, Council Member Edward Pollard’s office is partnering with the United Memorial Medical Center to offer free tests this weekend.
You don't need to have symptoms to get the test but aan appointment is required in advance for every adult and child. Adults must bring a pictured identification but proof of citizenship is not required. Click here to sign up for an appointment.
The tests will be given at Pilgrim Academy Elementary School parking lot at 6302 Skyline Dr. on Saturday and Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
MAY 1 4:35 p.m. — The City of Houston and Harris County reported a total of eight new deaths Friday, bringing the total to 122. In the Greater Houston Area, 227 people have died.
Out of 10,099 cases in the Greater Houston Area, including all surrounding counties, 3,387 have recovered.
MAY 1 3:50 p.m. — YMCA of Greater Houston will distribute 5,000 free masks in north Houston Saturday. The masks will be handed out at White Oak Music Hall from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. or while supplies last.
They will give out one mask per each person in the vehicle.
White Oak Music Hall is located at 2915 N. Main near The Heights.
YMCA is joining forces with Senator Carol Alvarado, Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia, State Representative Anna Eastman, Council Member Karla Cisneros, Greater Northside Management District, White Oak Music Hall, McDonalds and Gulf Coast Distillers for the mask giveaway.
MAY 1 2:20 p.m. — The Houston Public Library will remain closed through May 31 but will continue to provide robust online resources so that the public can enjoy the library at home.
By visiting www.houstonlibrary.org, adults, teens, and children will discover diverse online virtual programs, services, including educational and entertaining resources. They're free but a MY Link library card is required to access these resources. If customers don’t have a library card, the Library is offering temporary free online cards that will be good until August 1, 2020. Visit www.houstonlibrary.org/my-link-library-card-registration.
MAY 1 1:25 p.m. — The number of Harris County Sheriff’s Office employees hospitalized with coronavirus continues to climb.
Thirteen Sheriff’s Office employees are currently being treated for COVID-19 in local hospitals.
A total of 238 employees have been diagnosed, including 211 who work in the jail.
More than 400 HCSO deputies, detention officers and support staff are currently on quarantine for possible COVID-19 exposure.
They have worked with Harris County Public Health to expand testing, which has helped medical staff identify 411 infected inmates. One-hundred-forty-five of those inmates have no symptoms.
MAY 1 12:09 p.m. — Houston has flattened the curve, but it's important residents remain cautious as the state reopens, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and local health experts warn.
“Fifty Texans -- brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents, sons and daughters -- had their lives cut short yesterday from a single, invisible killer that still lurks amongst us,” Hidalgo said. “It’s a grim reminder that the virus doesn’t respect dates on the calendar.” Read more here.
MAY 1 10:20 a.m. — The latest confirmed numbers from Texas and around the world: There are 3,271,961 million confirmed cases worldwide with 233,998 deaths and more than one million recoveries, according to Johns Hopkins at this time. The U.S. leads the world with 1,070,032 confirmed cases. Texas Health and Human Services reports that as of early Thursday afternoon (the latest update at this time), we have 28,087 COVID-19 cases in the state (up about 1,000 from the day before) with 782 deaths (approx. 50 more from the day prior) and an estimated 13,353 recoveries.
MAY 1 10 a.m. — In case you missed this KHOU 11 report from last night: Texas still ranks near bottom for COVID-19 testing as state reopens | Some warn that without enough testing, the state could see a second wave of coronavirus cases. At the beginning of April, Texas ranked 49th in per-capita testing for coronavirus. At the end of the month, the state inched up to 47th in the nation, according to a KHOU analysis and U.S. Census data of 50 states and the District of Columbia. Read more here and watch story:
MAY 1 9:28 a.m. — Stocks are opening lower on Wall Street but they’re still on track for a weekly gain. The S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq were all down 2% early Friday. Several companies fell after reporting results that showed how severely the coronavirus disruptions are affecting their industries. Amazon’s revenue rose but its costs related to dealing with the virus also spiked, causing its profits to drop. Read more here.
MAY 1 9:18 a.m. — President Trump calls Michigan protesters “good people,” says Whitmer should “give a little” | Trump backed protesters in Michigan in a Friday morning tweet, saying Gov. Gretchen Whitmer should "give a little, and put out the fire." Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Capitol in Lansing on Thursday, requesting to end Michigan's state of emergency. However, as the afternoon went on, some protesters moved into the building during the legislative session. Read more here.
MAY 1 9 a.m. — New overnight: H-E-B implements purchasing limits on meat in Central Texas and San Antonio regions. Some stores in N. Texas also impacted. At this time, the limits do not apply to stores in the Houston area, however. Get the details here.
MAY 1 6:27 a.m. — New York City man stole $12,000 worth of coronavirus stimulus checks from mailboxes | A New York City man was arrested after stealing nine stimulus payment checks worth $12,000 from mailboxes in Brooklyn. Police arrested 31-year-old Feng Chen on Tuesday after officers saw him looking into a medical collection bin and mailboxes in Brooklyn's Sunset Park neighborhood, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of New York. Read more here.
MAY 1 6:01 a.m. — Colorado paramedic who volunteered to go to New York City dies of COVID-19 | A Colorado paramedic who volunteered to help battle the COVID-19 pandemic in its New York City epicenter has died from the virus, his family announced Thursday. Paul Cary was 66 years old. He is survived by two sons and four grandchildren. Read more here.
MAY 1 5 a.m. — Bars, gyms, nail salons, other businesses must remain closed as Texas reopens today | The Texas Attorney General cleared up any confusion late last night, just hours before the state's partial reopening plan was set to get underway. Read more here.
MAY 1 4:43 a.m. — Pelosi says states, cities seek $1T to avoid layoffs from coronavirus | House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that state and local governments are seeking up to $1 trillion for coronavirus costs, a stunning benchmark for the next aid package that's certain to run into opposition from Senate Republicans. Read more here.
MAY 1 3:55 a.m. — President Trump speculates that China released coronavirus in lab 'mistake' | Intelligence agencies say they're still examining a theory by the president and aides that the pandemic may have resulted from an accident at a Chinese lab. Read more here.
APRIL 30 10 p.m. — How the Texas Army National Guard is helping you stay safe during COVID-19 pandemic | Texans are seeing Texas Army National Guard soldiers across the state, including at dozens of COVID-19 testing sites. Where to get tested and how it works remain top questions for many of you. Read more and watch the full story here:
APRIL 30 7:45 p.m. — Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee announced the area's seventh COVID-19 testing site will launch in the Greenspoint area.
Jackson Lee will make the announcement on Friday.
APRIL 30 5:05 p.m. — Health officials are taking a new approaching at tracking the spread of the novel coronavirus: monitoring the city’s wastewater.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention said the virus is discarded through people's waste. So, the Houston Health Department has partnered with Rice University to test for the presence of COVID-19.
From there, health officials can estimate what percentage of people in surrounding neighborhoods may be infected. More details.
APRIL 30 3:40 p.m. — As Houston businesses begin reopening Friday, city leaders admit it won't be possible to police all of them to make sure they're following the rules.
They're counting on businesses to voluntarily comply with the 25% occupancy rules and urge customers to avoid places that don't.
"It's going to be difficult to enforce," Houston Fire Chief Sam Pena said. "Personal responsibility is going to be huge."
Pena said they will issue citations to businesses that don't comply. He said only nine have been handed out since the closures began in March.
APRIL 30 3:30 p.m. — The City of Houston will resume normal operations on June 1, Mayor Turner announced Thursday. Municipal courts and libraries will remain closed till then and all city-sponsored and permitted events are canceled through May.
APRIL 30 3:10 p.m. — Mayor Sylvester Turner says four more Houstonians have passed away from COVID-19, bringing the city's total to 56.
Here's what we know about the patients:
- White male, 60s, other health issues
- Black male, 60s, other health issues
- Hispanic female, 80s, other health issues
- Hispanic female, 80s, no other health issues
Mayor Turner said even though we've flattened the curve, there are still cases out there so don't get complacent.
"Like a fire, you can extinguish flames, but it continues to smolder," Turner said. "If you don’t social distance, it’s like adding fuel to the fire. It can come back and come back with a vengeance."
APRIL 30 2:55 p.m. — NASCAR announced Thursday it will resume its season without fans starting May 17 at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina.
NASCAR joins the UFC as the first major sports organizations to announce specific return to play plans since the coronavirus pandemic shut down U.S. sports in mid-March. More details and race schedule
APRIL 30 2:40 p.m. — You've probably seen the photos of doctors and nurses with painful-looking red marks on their faces from wearing masks for long periods of time. They're battle scars in the war on COVID-19.
APRIL 30 2:18 p.m. — Texas colleges and universities began announcing their plans to reopen in the fall. The list includes Texas A&M University, Texas Tech, Baylor and Rice. We've got a running list of plans for state colleges here.
APRIL 30 2:03 p.m. — Amenities at Houston parks will remain closed as Texas begins to slowly reopen Friday. Playgrounds, splash pads and basketball hoops are closed through the end of May. But that doesn’t mean city parks will be closed. More here from Houston's Parks and Rec director.
APRIL 30 1:03 p.m. — Harris County will hire more than 40 contact tracers, or disease detectives, to help control the spread of coronavirus as businesses begin to reopen. The fight against the novel coronavirus has completely changed the way epidemiologists do their jobs. Read more here.
APRIL 30 1 p.m. — BACK FOR THIRDS: Houston ISD and Houston Food Bank will be collaborating for a third mass food distribution event Saturday at NRG Stadium. The site is expected to distribute 10,000 food packages — each weighing 80 to 100 pounds — in about five hours. To accommodate the increase, the site will open from 2 to 7 p.m.
APRIL 30 12:53 p.m. — Memorial City Mall confirms it will not be reopening tomorrow, but some restaurants will be and contact-free curbside service will be available for shoppers. Find out which malls will be reopening tomorrow and under which restrictions here.
APRIL 30 12:18 p.m. — Macy's is planning to reopen dozens of stores on Monday in states that have loosened coronavirus restrictions.
The company's Chief Executive Jeff Gennette told The Wall Street Journal that he expects all of the company's roughly 775 stores to reopen in the next six weeks, assuming COVID-19 infection rates taper off and local governments allow businesses to reopen. Read more here.
APRIL 30 11:40 a.m. — Fauci warns states against 'tempting' a coronavirus rebound | The nation’s top infectious disease expert says new cases of the coronavirus are a certainty as states begin to roll back restrictions. Dr. Anthony Fauci also says states need to proceed carefully as they take steps to reopen businesses and allow greater freedom of movement. Fauci tells NBC's “Today” show that “we will get blips ... there's no doubt.” He says it's critical to make sure states “have in place the capability of identifying, isolating and contact tracing individuals.” And Fauci is urging states that don’t have that capability to go very slowly. He worries about getting into ”a situation where you’re really tempting a rebound." (AP) Read more national/world updates here.
APRIL 30 10:49 a.m. — City of Houston municipal courts extends suspension of all jury duty, trials, hearings through May. Courts will not resume until June 1. Get the details from the city right here.
APRIL 30 10:10 a.m. — Students, and football, are expected to return to College Station and Lubbock this fall. Texas A&M intends to reopen its 11 university campuses for the fall semester and be ready for football, Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp told the system's presidents in a phone call Thursday morning. Texas Tech University has also announced that it plans to resume on-campus classes in the fall. Both schools said they are drawing up precautions to keep students safe while bringing them back to campus. Read more here.
APRIL 30 9:40 a.m. — Update from HISD on food distribution: HISD hosts mass food distribution at NRG on Saturday | 25 new campus sites also announced for week of May 4
April 30, 2020 – Food distribution efforts led by the Houston Independent School District in partnership with the Houston Food Bank will continue this Saturday at NRG Stadium and next week at 25 campus sites throughout the district.
The Saturday event at NRG is the third mass community food distribution. The site is expected to distribute 10,000 food packages — each weighing 80 to 100 pounds — in about five hours. To accommodate the increase, the site will open from 2 to 7 p.m.
Distribution again will be held in the NRG yellow lot, and attendees must enter via the yellow lot main entrance off South Main Street.
APRIL 30 9:03 a.m. — US intel: Coronavirus not manmade, still studying lab theory | U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that the new coronavirus was “not manmade or genetically modified" but say they are still examining whether the origins of the pandemic trace to contact with infected animals or an accident at a Chinese lab. Read the full story here. (AP)
APRIL 30 8:59 a.m. — Stocks slam on brakes as dismal economic data piles higher | Stocks are falling in early trading on Wall Street Thursday as more grim news piles up about the damage that lockdowns related to the coronavirus are causing the global economy. The S&P 500 was down 1.1%. European markets were also lower. The U.S. government reported more than 3.8 million laid-off workers applied for unemployment benefits last week and that consumer spending plunged 7.5% in March. The U.S. economic crisis is shaping up to be the worst since the 1930s. Meanwhile new data came out showing that the European economy contracted by a record 3.8% in the first three months of the year. (AP) Read more national/world updates here.
APRIL 30 7:33 a.m. — New jobs numbers out this morning: 30 million have sought US jobless aid since virus hit | More than 3.8 million laid-off workers applied for unemployment benefits last week as the U.S. economy slid further into a crisis that is becoming the most devastating since the 1930s. Roughly 30.3 million people have now filed for jobless aid in the six weeks since the coronavirus outbreak began forcing millions of employers to close their doors and slash their workforces. That is more people than live in the New York and Chicago metropolitan areas combined, and it’s by far the worst string of layoffs on record. It adds up to more than one in six American workers. (AP) Read more national/world updates here.
APRIL 30 6:15 a.m. — The latest confirmed numbers from Texas and around the world: There are 3,207,248 million confirmed cases worldwide with 227,971 deaths and 984,161 recoveries, according to Johns Hopkins at this time. The U.S. leads the world with 1,040,488 confirmed cases. Texas Health and Human Services reports that as of early Wednesday afternoon (the latest update at this time), we have 27,054 COVID-19 cases in the state with 732 deaths and an estimated 12,507 recoveries. Read more national/world updates here.
APRIL 30 6 a.m. — Surf's down in California: Governor will close beaches | A memo sent to California's police chiefs says Gov. Gavin Newsom intends to close all beaches and state parks starting Friday in the wake of a weekend that saw a crush of people at open seashores. The head of the California Police Chiefs Association sent the bulletin to members on Wednesday, saying the governor plans to announce the order on Thursday. A message to the governor's office seeking comment wasn't immediately returned. The order comes as some communities reopen their beaches and pressure is building to cautiously begin easing stay-at-home restrictions that have throttled the state's economy and kept millions at home. (AP) Read more here.
APRIL 30 1 a.m. — Greta Thunberg's foundation donates $100K to fight coronavirus | Climate activist Greta Thunberg is launching a campaign with a Danish foundation to help finance the U.N. childrens’ agency’s emergency program to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Thunberg said in a statement that “like the climate crisis, the coronavirus pandemic is a child-rights crisis” that will affect youngsters now and in the long-term, especially the most vulnerable. She urged people everywhere “to step up and join me in support of UNICEF’s vital work to save children’s lives, to protect health and continue education.” The campaign is being launched with $100,000 from the Greta Thunberg Foundation and $100,000 from Denmark’s Human Act Foundation. Read more national/world updates here.
APRIL 30 12:28 a.m. — Dogs are being trained to smell COVID-19 on people | Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) are trying to discover if dogs can smell whether someone has COVID-19. It could potentially cut down on community spread of the virus by identifying patients who may be asymptomatic -- those who have the disease but are not showing symptoms. Read more here.
APRIL 29 11 p.m. — South Korea reports four new coronavirus cases, lowest in about two months | South Korea has reported four more cases of the coronavirus over the past 24 hours, the first time that its daily jump has marked below five in about two months. The Koreas Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement Thursday that the additional figures took the country’s total to 10,765 with 247 deaths. It says 9,059 of them have recovered and been released from quarantine. It says the four new cases are all imported ones and that there were no newly reported cases of local infections. Local media said it’s the first time for South Korea to have no daily increase of local infections since Feb. 15. Read more national/world updates here.
APRIL 29 10:30 p.m. — Texas Army National Guard helping state's fight against COVID-19 | Texans are seeing Texas Army National Guard soldiers across the state, including at dozens of COVID-19 testing sites. Where to get tested and how it works remain top questions for many of you. A KHOU 11 team was allowed to get a closer look at a drive-through facility set up in the parking lot of the Delmar-Tusa Sports Complex in Houston where the National Guard is helping with traffic control and COVID-19 testing. Read/watch the full story here.
APRIL 29 10:30 p.m. — Conroe HOA apologizes to family after calling 4-year-old girl's artwork 'unsightly articles' | It didn't take long for people to fall in love with 4-year-old Giuliana and her colorful artwork on the windows of her home in Conroe. "We really didn't expect that much attention over it," Andrea, Giuliana's mother, said. First Service Residential Homeowners Association said her daughter's artwork was classified as "unsightly articles" and said it needed to be taken down. Read the full follow-up story here.
APRIL 29 10 p.m. — Many Japanese defy appeals to stay home to curb virus | Under Japan’s coronavirus state of emergency, people have been asked to stay home. Many are not. Some still have to commute to their jobs despite risks of infection, while others are dining out, picnicking in parks and crowding into grocery stores with scant regard for social distancing. Nobody is breaking the law, and business almost as usual is the message they are getting from the government. Wary of wrecking the economy, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has rejected the idea of European-style hard lockdowns. Experts say a sense of urgency is missing, thanks to mixed messaging from the government and a lack of incentives to stay home. Read more national/world updates here.
APRIL 29 10 p.m. — NYPD called after overwhelmed funeral home stores bodies on ice in rented trucks | Police were called to a Brooklyn neighborhood Wednesday after a funeral home overwhelmed by the coronavirus resorted to storing dozens of bodies on ice in rented trucks, and a passerby complained about the smell, officials said. Investigators who responded to a 911 call found that the home had rented four trucks to hold about 50 corpses, according to a law enforcement official. No criminal charges were brought and the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation, spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The Andrew T. Cleckley Funeral Home was cited for failing to control the odors. The home was able to obtain a larger, refrigerated truck later in the day, the official said. Read more here.
APRIL 29 9:53 p.m. — Drug proves effective against virus as economic damage rises | Scientists have announced the first effective treatment against the coronavirus — an experimental drug that can speed the recovery of COVID-19 patients — in a major medical advance that comes as the economic gloom caused by the scourge deepens in the U.S. and Europe. The U.S. government says it is working to make the medication available to patients as quickly as possible. Read more here.
APRIL 29 8:53 p.m. — President Donald Trump said Wednesday the federal government’s coronavirus social distancing guidelines will be “fading out” when they expire Thursday, counting on states taking charge as they pivot to reopening.
The administration says the cautionary guidance issued 45 days ago has been incorporated into recommendations given to the states on how they can begin gradually easing restrictions and reopening their economies. Read more here.
APRIL 29 8:13 p.m. — The Texas Department of Criminal Justice, which oversees the state's prison system, reports its latest COVID-19 positives:
- 381 employees, staff or contractors
- 1,050 prisoners
Five employees and 12 prisoners have died as a result of the virus.
Forty-six employees and 156 prisoners have recovered.
APRIL 29 6:26 p.m. — Galveston beaches will reopen Friday while still encouraging social distancing among beachgoers who aren't from the same household. All beaches will be open seven days a week under normal hours. Beaches were closed back on March 17 due to COVID-19.
APRIL 29 5:25 p.m. — University of St. Thomas Houston will reopen its campus in the fall for onsite classes.
UST President Richard Ludwick said safety will be the top priority and they are preparing for every contingency.
“Our faculty, staff and students have risen to the challenge of online delivery through the summer, but now we’re looking forward to getting our community back together on campus,” Ludwick said. “This pandemic has been especially hard on our students.”
Ludwick said students who don’t feel ready to return to the classroom will be accommodated.
UST will also begin offering free tuition for three new associate degree programs for the fall semester, designed to help those in hard hit sectors in Houston develop skills in thriving career fields, Ludwick said.
The symptoms of coronavirus can be similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Some patients also have nausea, body aches, headaches and stomach issues. Losing your sense of taste and/or smell can also be an early warning sign.
Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80 percent of the cases there were mild.
But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk for becoming seriously ill. However, U.S. experts are seeing a significant number of younger people being hospitalized, including some in ICU.
The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.
Human coronaviruses are usually spread through...
- The air by coughing or sneezing
- Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.
Help stop the spread of coronavirus
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Eat and sleep separately from your family members
- Use different utensils and dishes
- Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm, not your hand.
- If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
- Follow social distancing
Lower your risk
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.
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