U.S. deaths top 66,000 as pandemic takes its toll on ordinary Americans

As the U.S. death toll topped 66,000, the strain the coronavirus pandemic is placing on ordinary Americans has started to emerge. Aging grandparents are being robbed of spending precious time with their families while millions of people are forced to adjust to life without a stable income for the foreseeable future.

The spread of misinformation has also crossed divides on social media is also unexpectedly gaining traction with both white conservatives and black liberals.

As the number of confirmed U.S. cases topped 1.1 million, stores, restaurants, and movie theaters began to reopen in Texas, despite a rise in cases, while in New York police dispatched 1,000 officers this weekend to enforce social distancing and a ban on congregating in public spaces. Beaches were also closed in California.

Elsewhere, the mayor of an Oklahoma city amended an emergency declaration requiring customers to wear face masks while inside businesses after store employees were threatened with violence.

Meanwhile, scientists are working to find a vaccine for the virus. There are 14 potential coronavirus vaccines under development in the Trump administration’s program to fast-track one for use as early as January, according to senior administration officials.

Here’s what to know about the coronavirus, plus a timeline of the most critical moments:

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Russia reports record daily rise of more than 10,000 cases

Russia recorded 10,633 new cases on Sunday — its highest ever daily rise in confirmed virus infections —bringing the total to 134,686, according to government authorities. This topped Saturday’s record daily rise of 9,623.

More than half of the new cases were reported in the country’s capital, Moscow. The mortality rate has slowed in recent days, however, and the country has so far recorded far fewer deaths than many of the most hard-hit countries. The nationwide death toll rose by 58 to 1,280 on Sunday. 

It comes after Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said he tested positive for virus last week.

Eurostar train passengers could be refused services if they do not wear face masks

Passengers traveling on the Eurostar train could be refused service unless they wear face masks, the company said in a statement Saturday.  

The high-speed train international rail service is operating at significantly reduced times between London, Paris and Brussels, with only four trains per day because of the pandemic. 

In line with rules from the French and Belgian governments, the company said passengers would be required to wear “a face mask or face covering” that “effectively covers your nose and mouth. If passengers don’t wear masks, they may be refused service or fined in their destination countries.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway reports nearly $50 billion loss

OMAHA, Neb. — Warren Buffett’s company reported a nearly $50 billion loss on Saturday because of a huge drop in the paper value of its investments, though it is still sitting on a big pile of cash.

The biggest factor in the loss was a $54.5 billion loss on the value of Berkshire’s investment portfolio as the stock market declined sharply after the coronavirus outbreak began. The year before, Berkshire’s investments added $15.5 billion to the company’s profits.

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Woman holds sign with Nazi slogan at reopen rally in Chicago

An unidentified woman at a reopen Chicago rally held a sign emblazoned with an infamous Nazi slogan linked to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

Dennis Kosuth, a 43-year-old registered nurse in Chicago, snapped a photo of the disturbing sign Friday and said the woman and her companions confronted him.

“They were not respecting our space,” he said. “They would come up to us and get in our faces.” 

The sign read “Arbeit macht frei,” which translates to “work sets you free.” It appeared over the gates of Auschwitz and other concentration camps where millions of people were killed by the Third Reich. 

“‘Arbeit macht frei’ was a false, cynical illusion the SS gave to prisoners of #Auschwitz. Those words became one of the icons of human hatred. It’s painful to see this symbol instrumentalized & used again to spread hate. It’s a symptom of moral & intellectual degeneration,” the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum tweeted.

Here’s how Americans rationed meat in 1942

As fears of meat shortages rise amid processing plant shutdowns and work slowdowns caused by the coronavirus outbreak, the differences between then and now are striking. In 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt ordered Americans to make do with less. In 2020, President Donald Trump has promised to keep the country’s meat supply humming.

Trump signed an executive order this week compelling processing plants to remain open and giving them liability protections even as unions say the shutdowns are intended to save workers’ lives.

Still, with a precipitous dive in meat production over the last month, as well as a drop in frozen pork storage, Americans may soon face a sliver of what an earlier generation grappled with not for months but for years.

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