Tuesday morning news – April 28, 2020


White House announces new efforts to expand COVID-19 testing » The White House released new guidelines Monday on coronavirus testing and reopening businesses. Speaking in the Rose Garden, President Trump told reporters…

TRUMP: We’re deploying the full power and strength of the federal government to help states, cities, to help local government to get his horrible plague over with and over with fast. 

As part of the guidelines effort, the CDC released new priorities for virus testing, including people who show no symptoms but are in high-risk settings.

The White House unveiled an overview of its efforts to make enough tests for COVID-19 available, so states can sample at least 2.6 percent of their populations each month. And the administration says areas that have been harder hit by the virus could double that percentage. 

White House officials outlined the plan on a call with governors Monday afternoon. And Trump announced that businesses such as CVS would expand access to tests across the country.

CDC adds common symptoms to COVID-19 list » Meantime, the CDC has added several new symptoms to watch for in diagnosing COVID-19. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin reports. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has for months told Americans to watch for fever, cough, and shortness of breath as possible symptoms of the illness. 

And the agency is now adding six more symptoms to that list: chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell.

A study of COVID-19 patients in Europe found that nearly 9 out of 10 patients—quote—“reported olfactory and gustatory dysfunctions, respectively.”

If you’ve experienced any of those symptoms, it’s important to take note of them. Most testing centers don’t have sufficient supply to allow just anyone to test for COVID-19, so they’ll ask about your symptoms before authorizing a test. 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

After COVID-19 recovery, British prime minister urges patience » British Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged his lockdown-weary nation to be patient Monday. It was Johnson’s first day back on the job in several weeks after recovering from COVID-19. 

Speaking outside his 10 Downing St. office, Johnson said the country was reaching—quote— “the end of the first phase of this conflict.” But he also cautioned that easing restrictions too soon would create a second deadly spike in the disease.

JOHNSON: This is the moment of opportunity. This is the moment when we can press home our advantage. It is also the moment of maximum risk. 

Johnson added, “I refuse to throw away all the effort and the sacrifice of the British people and to risk a second major outbreak and huge loss of life.”

Well over 20,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the UK. 

Despite the death toll, Johnson’s government is under mounting pressure to set out a blueprint for easing the lockdown that has upended Britain’s economy for more than a month. 

High court rules government must pay insurers for Obamacare losses » The Supreme Court ruled Monday that insurance companies can collect billions of dollars from Uncle Sam to cover their losses from Obamacare. WORLD’s Anna Johansen has that story. 

ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: In an 8-to-1 ruling, justices said the federal government must pay $12 billion to insurers. They’re entitled to the money under a provision in the healthcare law that promised a financial cushion for losses they might incur by selling coverage in Obamacare marketplaces. 

The program only lasted three years, but Congress inserted a provision in the Health and Human Services Department’s spending bills from 2015 to 2017 to limit payments under the “risk corridors” program. Both the Obama and Trump administrations argued the provision means the government has no obligation to pay.

But Justice Sonia Sotomayor said in her opinion for the court that the congressional action was not enough to repeal the government’s commitment to pay. She wrote, quote—“The Government should honor its obligations.”

In dissent, Justice Samuel Alito wrote that the court’s decision “has the effect of providing a massive bailout for insurance companies that took a calculated risk and lost.” 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen. 

Trial examines stipulations on voting rights for felons in Florida » Meantime, another high-stakes federal trial opened on Monday that could allow hundreds of thousands of felons to regain the right to vote in Florida. 

The state is home to about 1 million felons, possibly many more.

Florida voters approved a ballot measure in 2018 that gave felons the right to vote.

But Florida’s legislature later passed a bill signed by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis. It stipulates that felons must pay all fines, restitution, and other legal financial obligations before their sentences will be considered fully served.

According to a study submitted as evidence in the U.S. District Court in Tallahassee, roughly 800,000 felons are ineligible to vote because of financial debts.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs say the law creates a financial burden that disproportionately blocks African Americans and the poor from voting.


(AP Photo/Frank Augstein) British Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a statement on his first day back at work in Downing Street, London, after recovering from a bout with the coronavirus that put him in intensive care, Monday, April 27, 2020. 

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