Tuesday morning news – May 5, 2020

Senate back on Capitol Hill, House delays return » And how to guard against the coronavirus is on the minds of lawmakers this week. Senators returned to Capitol Hill on Monday, but members of the House did not. 

Several members of Congress have tested positive for COVID-19. And Democratic leaders say they’re following the advice of the House physician by not reconvening this week. But Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy laid out a GOP plan on Monday that he said would allow the House to get back to work safely.

MCCARTHY: We sit here and we look at the doctors, the delivery drivers, the dispatchers. They’re doing everything they can to work through this pandemic, except Congress is not. Republicans have a plan to get us back to work and the first phase is, let’s get our committees back. 

McCarthy added “we don’t have to have all our committees at once, but let’s work on the bills that are most important.”

Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Pelosi said the House may return to session as soon as next Monday, May 11th.

Meat processing plants reopen after presidential order » Following a presidential order, meat processing companies are working to safely reopen plants recently shut down over coronavirus outbreaks. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin reports. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: With possible meat shortages looming, President Trump last week issued an executive order under the Defense Production Act, ordering meat plants to stay open. 

And on Monday, a South Dakota pork processing plant took its first steps toward reopening. That after being shuttered for more than two weeks due to a coronavirus outbreak that infected more than 800 employees.

At the Smithfield Foods plant in Sioux Falls, employees filed through a tent where they were screened for fever and other signs of COVID-19. The company has also reportedly installed dividers on the production line and is requiring everyone to wear masks.

Other plants reopening include a Tyson Foods facility in Indiana. The company said it’s resumed “limited production” Monday at a pork plant where nearly 900 employees tested positive. 

The United Food and Commercial Workers union has called for stricter measures than the CDC recommendations. They would include mandating that workers stand 6 feet apart on production lines. And the union has appealed to governors for help enforcing worker safety rules. 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.

Report: death toll, new cases could rise as states reopen » Many other businesses are beginning to reopen as well in more than a dozen states. 

But even as state officials work to offset the risks of reopening for business, according to a new report, the federal government could be bracing for a spike in new coronavirus cases.

The New York Times reported Monday that it obtained an internal Trump administration document. It included a chart created by FEMA based on government modeling. And the Times said the chart forecasts that by June 1st, the country will see a daily death toll of 3,000 and about 200,000 new infections each day. 

The United States has roughly 25,000 new cases daily right now. 

On Sunday, President Trump said the U.S. death toll could climb as high as 100,000. But he expressed hope that safety measures will keep the number much lower and he added that the country cannot continue to stand still. 

TRUMP: At some point we have to reopen our country. And people are going to be safe. We’ve learned a lot. We’ve learned about the tremendous contagion, but we have no choice. We have to—we can’t stay closed as a country. We’re not going to have a country left. 

White House spokesman Judd Deere responded to the New York Times report. He said—quote—“This is not a White House document, nor has it been presented to the coronavirus task force or gone through interagency vetting.” He added, “This data is not reflective of any of the modeling done by the task force or data that the task force has analyzed.”

J. Crew files for bankruptcy » J.Crew is the first major retailer to file for bankruptcy since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. WORLD’s Anna Johansen has that story. 

ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: J.Crew said Monday that lenders have agreed to convert almost $1.7 billion of its debt into equity. It’s also secured commitments for financing of $400 million.

The company launched in 1947 under the name Popular Merchandise selling low-priced women’s clothing. The company changed its name to J.Crew in 1983 and rebranded itself to compete with retailers like Lands’ End and L.L. Bean.

It became a fashion staple by the 1990s and new stores popped up across the country. But like several other major retailers, J.Crew was already in trouble before the pandemic. 

More retail bankruptcies are expected in the coming weeks with thousands of stores still shuttered.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen. 

Hall of Fame NFL coach Don Shula dies » The winningest coach in NFL history has died. 

Don Shula retired in 1995 with 347 wins.

Following a six-year career as a player, he coached the Baltimore Colts for three years and then joined the Miami Dolphins in 1970. The 4-time Coach of the Year led Miami to two championships. And his 1972 Dolphins are still the only team ever to win the Super Bowl with a perfect season.  

In a 2015 interview, Shula told the Miami Herald… 

SHULA: It’s just a fascinating game. It’s a game of making quick decisions and making the decisions that you make, make them the right decisions, make them work. That’s what coaching’s all about. 

Dolphins team officials said Shula died Monday at his home near Miami. He was 90 years old.

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) In this May 3, 2020 photo, light shines from inside the U.S. Capitol dome at dusk on Capitol Hill in Washington. 

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