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Coronavirus updates: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick calls Hidalgo's facial covering order 'ultimate government overreach'

Here is a look at the latest COVID-19 headlines from around Houston, Texas for Wednesday, April 22.

HOUSTON — We are continuing to track the latest headlines and updates regarding the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

>> THIS BLOG HAS BEEN ARCHIVED; VIEW LATEST UPDATES HERE

Get the latest updates and top headlines below.

Today's top headlines

Stimulus payment tracker & FAQ | How you can get tested for COVID-19 | Local COVID-19 cases | Coronavirus symptoms | COVID-19 FAQ

Latest updates

Here are the latest updates from around the Houston area and the world (all times are Central/Houston time):

>> THIS BLOG HAS BEEN ARCHIVED; VIEW LATEST UPDATES HERE

APRIL 22 9:06 p.m. — A world-renowned infectious disease expert at Baylor College of Medicine says he thinks we will see another spike in coronavirus cases later this year.

Dr. Peter Hotez, professor and Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and the Co-director at Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development, took to Twitter to make the prediction.

He said it in a reply to a video in which the mayor of Las Vegas was talking about reopening casinos. In the video, Mayor Carolyn Goodman seemingly shirks the responsibility of safely reopening the public places. She says the responsibility lies with the individual companies.

Hotez said it's a situation he's seeing a lot of lately: "No one (is) taking ownership." Read more here.

APRIL 22 6:45 p.m. — Galveston County Health District is reporting 1 death, a woman age 81 to 90 years old with preexisting medical conditions. Officials said she died on April 14.

Officials are also reporting 12 new cases, bringing the county's total number to 491. There are also 11 new recoveries, 227 total for the county.

APRIL 22 5:05 p.m. — The Houston Police Officers Union has reached out to the Texas attorney general to ask if Judge Lina Hidalgo's face covering order is legal. HPOU President Joe Gamaldi called the order "draconian" and advised HPD officers to use "DISCRETION, DISCRETION, DISCRETION." 

Gimaldi said the department is already stretched thin because of the pandemic and because of an increase in some crimes.

APRIL 22 3:33 p.m. —  Lt. Governor Dan Patrick issued the following statement after Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced Houston and Harris County residents must wear facial coverings starting Monday.

“On the same day Harris County Commissioner’s Court plans to close the $60 million-dollar pop-up hospital at NRG Park, because it wasn’t needed, Judge Lina Hidalgo orders anyone over the age of 10 to wear a mask in public. Her abuse of the use of executive orders is the ultimate government overreach. These kind of confused government policies fuel public anger – and rightfully so.”

RELATED: Houston, Harris County residents who don't wear facial coverings in public could face $1,000 fine

APRIL 22 3:20 p.m. —  Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said Houston and Harris County have surpassed 5,000 positive coronavirus cases.

Houston had no COVID-related deaths for the third straight day on Wednesday.

Still, Hidalgo warned, it's important not to get complacent.

"If we get cocky, we get sloppy, then we're right back to where we started and all of the sacrifices people have made will have been in vein," Hidalgo said. "We've made too much progress to backtrack now."

APRIL 22 3 p.m. — On Wednesday, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced an order requiring Harris county residents 10 years and older to cover their nose and mouth when outside the home. Anyone caught without their face covered could face a $1,000 fine. The order begins Monday, April 27, and lasts for 30 days. 

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner will announce a plan Thursday to distribute 70,000 free facial coverings to residents in vulnerable communities. Read more here. 

APRIL 22 2:10 p.m. —  Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough announced Wednesday that he will not make masks mandatory while out in public.

Keogh said his office was flooded with calls wanted to know if Montgomery County would follow in Harris County's footsteps and require face coverings.

Keogh said he doesn't think he has the legal right to require masks.

"If you choose to wear a mask or face covering I support your decision to do so. If you are a high risk individual and you want to wear a mask while in public places then please do," Keogh said in a statement. "If you choose not to wear a mask I support that decision as well.”

There have been 440 confirmed COVID cases in Montgomery County with 7 deaths and 127 recoveries.

APRIL 22 1:50 p.m. —  Chambers County Judge Jimmy Silva has lifted the curfew in place since March 23.

APRIL 22 1:30 p.m. — Two pet cats in New York state have tested positive for the coronavirus, marking the first confirmed cases in companion animals in the United States, federal officials said Wednesday. Read more.

APRIL 22 1:25 p.m. — The financial conditions of the government's two biggest benefits programs remain shaky, with Medicare projected to become insolvent in six years and Social Security on track to no longer be able to pay full benefits starting in 2035.

And that's without accounting for the impact of the coronavirus, which is sure to impose further pressure on the two programs. For Social Security, the projected 2035 date for exhausting the trust fund reserves means that it would be able to pay only 79% of benefits at that time. Read more here.

APRIL 22 12:55 p.m. — Advanced Placement (AP) exams are set to start in May with a couple of adjustments now that schools are closed. The AP classes are college-level courses taught in high school and the AP test is basically the final for the course. If a student passes, they get college credit. More on the changes.

APRIL 22 12:30 p.m. — The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture announced Wednesday morning that emergency benefit increases have reached $2 billion per month for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households across the country. 

The emergency benefits brought on by the coronavirus pandemic represent a 40% increase in overall monthly food stamp benefits, Secretary Sonny Perdue said. Read more here.

APRIL 22 11:55 a.m. — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas has gifted a $1,000,000 grant to the Texas Restaurant Association’s Texas Restaurant Relief Fund. This grant will be used to keep restaurant operations open and employees working, while also providing meals to Texas first-responders.  

APRIL 22 11:50 a.m. — Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner reports zero new COVID-19 deaths in Houston for the third straight day. He also reports 27 new cases, which he believes is the second-lowest number of daily cases since the city started seeing the numbers jump. Map of cases.

APRIL 22 11:30 a.m. — Deaths in Italy related to the coronavirus pandemic topped 25,000 on Wednesday. The number of dead and new positives continue to plateau for Italy, the first western country to be hit by the crisis. The civil protection agency reported 437 people had died with the virus in the last 25 hours, a 1.7% increase in the death toll to 25,085. The number of positive cases rose 1.5% to 183,857. Pressure on health services continued to ease, with fewer people both hospitalized and in intensive care. Italy’s interior minister, meanwhile, confirmed that none of some 150 migrants rescued by an aid group and quarantined at sea have tested positive for the virus. (AP)

APRIL 22 11:28 a.m. — The financial conditions of the government’s two biggest benefit programs remain shaky with Medicare expected to become insolvent in just 6 years while Social Security will be unable to pay full benefits starting in 2035. Those dates, which remained unchanged from last year’s estimates, were revealed Wednesday with release of the annual trustees reports of both programs. For Social Security, the 2035 date for exhausting the trust fund reserves means that Social Security will only be able to pay 79% of benefits at that time. (AP)

APRIL 22 9:40 a.m. —   The British government says 759 more people with the coronavirus have died in U.K. hospitals, taking the total to 18,100. The daily increase reported was lower than the 823 in the previous 24-hour period. The U.K.’s death toll is the fourth highest in Europe, behind Italy, Spain and France, all of whom have reported more than 20,000 deaths. However, there has been increasing scrutiny of the U.K. figures in recent days for understating the actual number of people having died of COVID-19. The numbers don’t include those who have died in care homes or elsewhere in the community. Get more national/world updates here.

APRIL 22 9 a.m. — Update from Fort Bend County: "Today, we are reporting 62 new cases of #COVID19 and 7 recoveries."

RELATED: Map: Keeping track of Houston-area coronavirus cases

APRIL 22 9 a.m. — Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg is urging world leaders to act together to cope with crises and to listen to science experts. The 17-year-old Swede says the climate crisis “may not be as immediate as the corona crisis but we need to tackle this now otherwise it will be irreversible.” She calls the virus outbreak “a tragedy.” She says world leaders must put differences aside and make decisions that “in the long run may be necessary.” She spoke during a conversation with Johan Rockstrom, co-director of Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, in a live online event to mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Many large cities are smog-free after shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Major cities have seen reductions of deadly particulate matter from the previous year. Get more national/world updates here.

APRIL 22 8:12 a.m. — Idaho woman arrested during protest after refusing to leave a closed playground | Forty-year-old Sara Brady asked to make sure her arrest was being recorded and said: "someone call Idaho Freedom Foundation right now and get them on the phone." Read the full story here.

APRIL 22 6:03 a.m. — 2 people died with virus weeks before 1st US death | Health officials say two people died with the coronavirus in California weeks before the first reported death in the United States from the disease. Santa Clara County officials said Tuesday the people died at home Feb. 6 and Feb. 17. The first reported death in the nation from the virus was on Feb. 29 in Kirkland, Washington. The Medical Examiner-Coroner received confirmation Tuesday that tissue samples sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tested positive for the virus, officials said.

The announcement came after California Gov. Gavin Newsom promised a “deep dive” update Wednesday of the state’s ability to test for the coronavirus and to track and isolate people who have it. That is one of the six indicators he says is key to lifting a “stay-at-home” order that has slowed the spread of the disease while forcing millions of people to file for unemployment benefits. Get more national/world updates here.

RELATED: Reports suggest many may have had coronavirus with no symptoms

APRIL 22 6 a.m. — A look inside the plan to reopen Galveston's beaches, restaurants | The city of Galveston was once a bustling beach town, but it has gone quiet during the coronavirus pandemic. There are empty beaches, local attractions are closed and restaurants have closed their doors to abide by the new normal. That could change in the coming weeks, however. Read more here and watch the full story below.

APRIL 22 5:30 a.m. — Global stock markets were mixed Wednesday as oil prices edged lower amid anxiety about the coronavirus pandemic's mounting economic damage. WTI Crude is currently at about $11, down about $2 from the day before. Dow futures are up more than 200 points. Earlier this week oil was trading below zero. London and Frankfurt markets opened higher. Shanghai gained and Tokyo retreated after Wall Street suffered its biggest decline in weeks. Oil prices slipped further. The fall has rattled investors, who economists warned earlier were too optimistic, because it adds to evidence of the depth of a global downturn with factories idled and consumers ordered to stay home.

RELATED: Trump tells Chevron to 'wind down' oil fields in Venezuela

RELATED: Oil prices: What does it mean when it goes negative?

RELATED: Hard times ahead for Houston as oil falls to its lowest price in history

APRIL 22 5:15 a.m. — Nations ease some virus restrictions yet public still wary | Small shops have reopened in Berlin as a few nations eased coronavirus restrictions to restart their economies. The trepidations expressed by workers and customers, however, are indicating that a return to normality is still a long way off. Restrictions were also being eased in Denmark and Austria. In France, long lines built up outside the few McDonald's drive-thrus that reopened. In the U.S., some states were relaxing restrictions after vocal protests by those demanding to return to work. But health officials across the world have warned against lockdown measures being lifted too quickly for fear of creating a second wave of infections. (AP)

APRIL 22 5:11 a.m. — Today is Earth Day: Coyotes, pumas and goats are wandering around cities, while air across the world is becoming less polluted. Scientists are noticing changes to Earth's environment as millions of people stay home because of the new coronavirus. The planet is becoming wilder and cleaner. Air pollution is down 30% in the northeastern U.S. and 49% in Rome. Sea turtles are nesting better without human interference. Scientists think of this as a grand but unintended experiment that shows how much of a footprint humanity has on the planet.  (AP)

APRIL 22 5:06 a.m. — China is slamming a lawsuit brought against it by the U.S. state of Missouri over the coronavirus pandemic as “very absurd.” Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang says the legal action has “no factual and legal basis at all,” and is defending China’s response to the outbreak, which has largely subsided in the country where it was first detected. China's government has strenuously denied accusations that officials delayed reporting on the extent of the outbreak in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year, despite reports that worries over political stability were placed above public health concerns. (AP)

APRIL 22 4:40 a.m. — Trump bars new immigration green cards, not temporary visas | President Donald Trump has announced what he describes as a “temporary suspension of immigration into the United States.” But the executive order would bar only those seeking permanent residency, not temporary workers. Trump said Tuesday he would be placing a 60-day pause on the issuance of green cards in an effort to limit competition for jobs in a U.S. economy wrecked by the coronavirus. But he said there would be “certain exemptions," which staff members were still crafting Tuesday. It's a return to a divisive issue at a time of national crisis.  (AP)

RELATED: Trump immigration ban halts green cards, not temporary visas

APRIL 22 3 a.m. — Latest case numbers: There were more than 825,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States by 3 a.m. CT Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 45,000 deaths in the U.S., with more than 75,000 total recoveries. More than 4 million tests have been conducted nationwide. Worldwide, there have been 2.5 million cases and nearly 177,000 deaths. Get more national/world updates here.

APRIL 22 3 a.m. — Today is Earth Day: Pope Francis is urging world leaders draw lessons from the coronavirus pandemic and work together to protect the planet and the most vulnerable from environmental destruction and exploitation.

Francis issued the appeal Wednesday as he marked the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

RELATED: As people stay home, Earth turns wilder and cleaner

RELATED: Ways you can celebrate Earth Day 2020 amid coronavirus social distancing

Francis has made environmentalism one of the hallmarks of his papacy, dedicating an entire encyclical to the need to protect God’s Creation. He denounced how a “structurally perverse” economic system allowed the rich to exploit the poor and turn the Earth into an “immense pile of filth.”

On Wednesday, he said: “As the tragic coronavirus pandemic has taught us, we can overcome global challenges only by showing solidarity with one another and embracing the most vulnerable in our midst.” Francis has marked the lockdown period by praying each day for different sectors affected by the pandemic, from doctors and nurses to inmates and the elderly.

APRIL 21 10:55 p.m. — Donations pour in to help Pearland woman and her son with autism | "From the bottom of my heart, I thank you," said Stephanie Philippi. "Your little act of kindness has been life-saving. I'll never be able to repay you." Read/watch this touching story here

APRIL 21 8:00 p.m. — Katy ISD said it has put nearly 12,000 technology devices into the hands of its students to assist with online learning. Devices include laptops, tablets and hot spots.

APRIL 21 8:00 p.m. — Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and other county health officials will provide an update on the fight against COVID-19 on Wednesday at 3 p.m.

APRIL 21 6:32 p.m. — Starting Monday, April 27, H-E-B will expand its temporary hours of operation at stores across Texas. The new store hours will be from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. until further notice. Get the full details and read more here.

RELATED: Here are HEB's new store hours starting April 27

APRIL 21 6:06 p.m.  The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) reported the death of an employee that may be related to COVID-19.

Jonathon Keith Goodmna, 52, died this afternoon at Baptist St. Anthony’s Hospital in Amarillo after being removed from life support. Goodman was a 11-year veteran Correctional Officer who worked at the Bill Clements Unit in Amarillo. 

On April 17 he was found in his home after suffering from an apparent stroke. He was taken to the hospital in critical condition. Saturday, a COVID-19 test returned positive. It is believed the virus contributed to his death.

“All of the thoughts and prayers of the entire Texas Department of Criminal Justice go out to the Goodman family,“ Said TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier. “The unexpected loss of one who is loved so deeply is a tragic time and the TDCJ family sends its strength and extends its profound sympathy to the Goodman family to get through this difficult time.”  

Goodman was last at work on April 5. His wife Kimberly Pride-Goodman is also employed by TDCJ. 

There are eight additional positive employee COVID-19 cases associated with the Clements Unit at this time. There are also 4 offender positive cases. 

Credit: TDCJ

APRIL 21 5:46 p.m. METRO reported a quality assurance inspector has tested positive for COVID-19.  The inspector worked at one of the Authority's bus operating facilities and did not have any contact with the public. The employee was last at work on March 20.  

This brings the total number of cases to 12 METRO employees and two contractors.  The agency said it is conducting temperature checks of all employees before they begin their workday.

APRIL 21 5:19 p.m. Galveston County reported 11 new positive COVID-19 cases today, bringing the county's total to 479.

The county's health district also reported an additional death, bringing the county's death toll due to coronavirus to 20.

There are 171 Galveston County cases tied to long-term care facilities within the county. This count includes residents and employees, according to the Galveston County Health District. 

APRIL 21 5:10 p.m.  Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced 146 additional cases today, bringing the county's total number of coronavirus cases to 2,195. Judge Lina Hidalgo also reported one new death, bringing the toll due to coronavirus in Harris County to 45.

During her daily briefing, Judge Hidalgo encouraged residents to get tested if they feel they may have the virus or been in contact with someone who has the virus. 

She says her focus is getting more access to testing and flattening the curve. She also reiterated that the county has not reached its peak yet, but the county is "winning this fight." 

APRIL 21 5:05 p.m. — The Senate has approved a $483 billion coronavirus aid package after Congress and the White House reached a deal. The measure, passed by the Senate, would replenish a small-business rescue program, provide hospitals with $75 billion more and implement a nationwide virus testing program to facilitate reopening the economy. 

President Donald Trump announced his support, saying he’ll sign the bill if it passes both chambers. The package now goes to the House. Most of the funding, more than $300 billion, would go to boost a small-business payroll loan program that ran out of money last week.  

Harvard faced criticism after it took about $9 million dollars from the coronavirus aid package. President Trump said he would demand the money be paid back, referencing Harvard's large $40 billion endowment. President Trump said, "Harvard's going to pay back the money."

APRIL 21 3:30 p.m. — The number of HCSO employees with positive tests reached 151 today and most of them work at the Harris County Jail.

Another 368 Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputies, detention officers and support staff are on quarantine for possible COVID-19 exposure.

Ninety-nine inmates in the jail have tested positive for COVID-19 and 45 more are in quarantine. Read more here

APRIL 21 3:09 p.m. — The Houston Health Department reported 20 additional coronavirus cases, bringing the city's total to 2,948.

Montgomery County also reported additional cases, bringing the county's total to 417. Click here for a breakdown of the number of coronavirus cases reported in each Houston area county.

APRIL 21 2:46 p.m. — According to a report from Gov. Greg Abbott, more than 1.5 million Texans have filed for unemployment, but he wants people to know there are more than 480,000 jobs across Texas that are available. 

Gov. Abbott says job seekers can connect with local workforce boards – like Workforce Solutions -- to find a job in their city. Their services are available to both employers and those looking for a job at no cost.

Texans can also look for employment at www.workintexas.com. You can search for a job by city or zip code via the website.

For jobs available in the southeast region, click here

APRIL 21 2:43 p.m.  During a press conference Tuesday, Gov. Abbott said nearly 20,000 Texans have tested positive for coronavirus, but just about 6,500 of those individuals have recovered. There have been 511 fatalities reported.

APRIL 21 1:15 p.m. — The University of Houston has decided to waive the ACT/SAT test score requirement for the upcoming summer and fall semesters.

APRIL 21 11:45 a.m. — President Donald Trump has tweeted that he plans on providing funds to help the oil and gas industry, which has suffered in recent days due to historically low oil prices. Oil futures went into the red yesterday due to oversupply as well as a lack of demand as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. 

"We will never let the great U.S. Oil & Gas Industry down. I have instructed the Secretary of Energy and Secretary of the Treasury to formulate a plan which will make funds available so that these very important companies and jobs will be secured long into the future!"  Trump tweeted earlier this morning. Read more here

APRIL 21 10:55 a.m. — It’s likely Texas and most states haven’t yet reached their peak in deaths due to coronavirus, according to new data from the University of Texas in Austin. Researchers at UT released a new COVID-19 model. The model predicts the number of deaths we may see in the coming weeks due to coronavirus. Read the full story here and view the US models.

Credit: University of Texas in Austin
COVID-19 Mortality Projections for Texas (Model: The University of Texas in Austin)

APRIL 21 10:30 a.m. — Nice gesture from McDonald's: McDonald's giving out free 'Thank You Meals' to healthcare workers, first responders | McDonald's wants to thank those on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic with free food starting Wednesday. Get the details here.

APRIL 21 10:18 a.m. — LabCorp gets authorization for at-home COVID-19 test | While the swab could be taken at your home, you'd still have to send it away to get the results. Read more here.

APRIL 21 10:05 a.m. — From the Texas Tribune: Dan Patrick says 'there are more important things than living and that's saving this country' | After facing intense criticism for suggesting on Fox News last month that he’d rather perish from the new coronavirus than see instability in the state’s economic system, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said last night that he’s thankful Texas is beginning the process of reopening its economy because the restrictions are currently “crushing small businesses” and the economic market. Read more here.

APRIL 21 9:48 a.m. — World news: South Korean officials reported this morning no unusual activity in North Korea following unconfirmed media reports that leader Kim Jong Un was in fragile health after surgery. But the possibly of high-level instability raised troubling questions about the future of a nuclear-armed state that has been steadily building an arsenal meant to threaten the U.S. mainland. (AP) Read more national/world updates here.

RELATED: Seoul says Kim Jong Un handling North Korea affairs as usual

APRIL 21 9:30 a.m. — World news: Muslims try to keep Ramadan spirit amid virus restrictions | Ramadan begins with the new moon later this week and Muslims around the world are trying to maintain the many cherished rituals of Islam’s holiest month without further spreading the outbreak. Families will have to maneuver around curfews for gatherings for the daily sunset meal breaking the fast. Travel restrictions mean many won't see their loved ones during the holy month. Charities have to turn to other means to help the poor after free communal meals have been barred. The faithful can't pray together through the night at the mosque. Still, as one Pakistani worshiper says, “Praying is praying. God isn’t only in the mosque.” (AP) Read more national/world updates here.

APRIL 21 8:56 a.m. — No National Spelling Bee for first time since 1945 | Organizers said they're canceling the 2020 Scripps National Spelling Bee because of uncertainty around when public gatherings will be possible or advisable. Read more here.

APRIL 21 8:48 a.m. — Update out of Fort Bend County this morning: "Today, we are reporting 9 new cases of #COVID19 and 12 recoveries."

APRIL 21 8:30 a.m. — Two Colorado respiratory therapists canceled their wedding and now work long hours to keep people with COVID-19 breathing | They are in charge of intubating the sickest patients, and hooking them up to ventilators. View their touching story here.

APRIL 21 8:05 a.m. — Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday agreement has been reached on “every major issue” of a nearly $500 billion coronavirus aid package for small businesses, as well as additional help for hospitals and COVID-19 virus testing. This includes adding more funds to the Paycheck Protection Program that ran out earlier this month. He expects the deal to be passed through Congress today. Read more here.

APRIL 21 7:30 a.m. — US pork farmers panic as virus ruins hopes for great year | Restaurant closures due to the coronavirus have contributed to an estimated $5 billion in losses this year for the U.S. pork industry, and almost overnight millions of hogs stacking up on farms now have little value. Some farmers have resorted to killing piglets because plunging sales mean there is no room to hold additional animals in increasingly cramped conditions. After extended trade disputes and worker shortages, this was supposed to finally be the year hog farmers hit it big with prices expected to climb amid soaring domestic and foreign demand. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is promising to send cash and buy stored pork but industry leaders say it might not be enough to stem devastating losses. (AP)

RELATED: 2 Tyson workers die from coronavirus in Iowa, plant shut down

RELATED: South Dakota meat processing plant closed after 293 employees diagnosed with coronavirus

APRIL 21 6:50 a.m. — Oil still below zero this morning: The market for U.S. crude was in turmoil Tuesday, with one contract trading below zero, as investors worried about full storage facilities and a collapse in demand as the pandemic leaves factories, automobiles and airplanes idled. The extreme volatility in energy markets highlighted investors' broad concerns about the duration of the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on the economy, weighing on financial markets more broadly, including stocks. The U.S. benchmark settled at negative $37.63 per barrel on Monday - an unprecedented event in energy markets that reflects the fact that storage facilities are struggling to cope with the huge and sudden plunge in global demand, which is this month forecast to hit its lowest since the mid-90s. On Tuesday, the cost to have a barrel of U.S. crude delivered in May was at negative $7.40 per barrel. Trading of contracts for U.S. oil to be delivered in May ends on Tuesday, meaning that the extreme drop does not accurately reflect the long-term view of the value of crude but rather investors' ability to take delivery of it now. The next futures contract, for delivery in June, is considered to now be closer to the “true” price of crude. (AP)

RELATED: Hard times ahead for Houston as future of oil and gas industry remains uncertain, expert says

RELATED: Oil price goes negative as demand collapses; Wall Street dips

APRIL 21 6:48 a.m. — The U.N. General Assembly has called for global action to quickly scale up the development and access to medicine, vaccines and equipment to battle the pandemic.The World Health Organization is warning that a rush to ease coronavirus restrictions could lead to a resurgence of the illness. The UN resolution asks Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to work with the WHO and recommend options ensuring equitable and timely access to testing, medical supplies, drugs and future vaccines, especially in developing countries. (AP)  Read more national/world updates here.

APRIL 21 6:39 a.m. — In case you missed it: The Texas unemployment trust fund is set to run out of money in about six weeks, but you will still get paid. The Tax Foundation, a national tax policy group, put out a list of states running low on unemployment insurance money. It shows Texas has six weeks left. In March, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order to address the money needed for the unemployment insurance trust fund.  Read more here.

APRIL 21 6 a.m. — Breaking news from overnight: President Trump says he will sign order to close borders to immigrants | In response to the global coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump said he will sign an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States. Trump said the order will be put in place in order to protect the jobs of American citizens. Read the full story here.

APRIL 21 5:45 a.m. — Texas City ISD schedules in-person graduation at Moody Gardens for June 27 | The district noted that they are also finalizing dates and locations for prom. Read more here.

APRIL 21 5:07 a.m. — Conspiracy theorists burn 5G towers claiming link to virus | Conspiracy theories linking new 5G mobile networks and the coronavirus pandemic are fueling arson attacks on cell towers in Europe. Some 50 fires targeting cell towers and other equipment have been reported in Britain this month, and about 16 in the Netherlands. Attacks were also reported in Ireland, Cyprus and Belgium. Popular beliefs and conspiracy theories that wireless communications pose a threat have long been around. But the global spread of the virus at the same time that countries were rolling out fifth generation wireless technology has seen some of those false narratives amplified. (AP)  Read more national/world updates here.

APRIL 21 5:07 a.m. — Insulin maker offering free 90-day supply to patients financially impacted by pandemic | A pharmaceutical company is offering a free 90-day supply of insulin to anyone who lost their medical benefits from the coronavirus outbreak. Read the full story here.

APRIL 21 4 a.m. — Some US producers, states reopening amid political pressure | Boeing and at least one other heavy-equipment manufacturer in the U.S. are resuming production amid pressure from President Donald Trump to reopen the economy. And Georgia's Republican governor announced aggressive reopening plans starting at the end of this week. The moves come as other governors say there is not enough testing to keep the coronavirus in check. Boeing resumed production on Monday, as oil futures plunged below zero and stocks and Treasury yields dropped on Wall Street. Read more national/world updates here.

APRIL 21 4 a.m. — Coronavirus cancels Oktoberfest in Germany:  This year’s Oktoberfest in Munich has been called off because of the coronavirus pandemic. The cancellation of the world-famous annual celebration of beer, which was supposed to run from Sept. 19 to Oct. 4, underlines expectations that the way back to normal life will be very long. The Oktoberfest typically draws about 6 million visitors every year to the packed festival grounds in Bavaria’s capital. Read more national/world updates here.

APRIL 21 3:30 a.m. — Fans sue MLB, teams over ticket money, ask for class action | The lawsuit claims baseball fans are stuck with expensive and unusable tickets during an economic crisis. Read more here.

APRIL 20 10:50 p.m. — United pilots volunteer to bring thousands of stranded Americans back home | Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the airline has flown 100 repatriation flights to bring back nearly 16,000 Americans. Read more here.

APRIL 20 10:30 p.m. — Oil has fallen to its lowest price in history, and Houston will have a lot of hard days, weeks and months ahead. Here's the full story with insight from industry experts.

APRIL 20 9:30 p.m. — In response to the global coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump said he will sign an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States.

Trump said the order will be put in place in order to protect the jobs of American citizens.

It's not clear when the order will be signed or how long it will remain in effect.

View older updates here

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Coronavirus symptoms

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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