As the coronavirus spreads, people become more cautious and creative with their social interactions.


As Americans begin an unusual Memorial Day weekend, flags around the country will be half staff for the victims of the virus. The death toll in the US is likely to hit 100,000 at the beginning of next week.

President Donald Trump said he ordered the flags to be lowered Friday through Sunday “in memory of the Americans we have lost to CoronaVirus.” Trump will be on half staff Monday “to honor the men and women in our military who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation,” Trump tweeted.

In New York, statesman Andrew Cuomo has reduced the restrictions on non-essential gatherings, allowing for birthday parties, barbecues and all other meetings as long as people practice social distance.

But Justice Department officials have warned Los Angeles and Illinois that their lockdown orders could be illegal if they are too restrictive.

Americans are itching to get out of the house this weekend “may be outside” if they take appropriate social distance measures, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx Friday. “You can play golf. You can play tennis with highlighted balls. You can go to the beaches” while staying at least six feet apart, she said.

Trump golfed Saturday at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia. Golf courses have been open in the state under the governor’s stay-at-home arrangement.

About 96,300 people have died from the virus in the United States, more than a quarter of 340,000 deaths worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s dashboard. There are more than 5.2 million confirmed cases worldwide, with 1.6 million in the United States alone.

Our live blog is updated throughout the day. Update for the latest news and get updates in your inbox with The Daily Briefing. Scroll down for more information.

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To stay away, together: USA TODAY brings with you a newsletter on how to handle these trial times directly to your inbox. 📥

DOJ to LA, Illinois: Deposit orders can be illegal if they are too restrictive

The Department of Justice warns state and local officials that orders for homes aimed at containing the spread of coronavirus may be illegal if they become too strict.

Deputy Attorney General Eric Dreiband said in a letter Friday to Los Angeles officials that their latest comments suggesting that home orders can be extended “can be both arbitrary and illegal.” The Justice Department also said that Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s “sweeping restrictions” on his state’s residents raise constitutional concerns.

Attorney General William Barr said last month that he directed federal prosecutors “to be on the hunt” for state and local directives that could violate constitutional rights.

“Simply put,” Dreiband said in his letter, “there is no pandemic exception to the US Constitution and its declaration of rights.”

The letter was addressed to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer. It cited the two comments about the possibility of long-term locking.

A county official later said Ferrer’s comments “were taken out of context,” according to CBS Los Angeles. Garcetti also clarified his comments, saying he does not expect an extended lockdown.

New York allows for leisure collections of up to ten people

In time for Memorial Day weekend, New York will allow all gatherings of up to 10 people with proper social distancing and masking.

Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order that facilitated the ban on non-essential gatherings of all sizes, which came into force on March 23 when the corona virus spread rapidly through New York. His move followed a sentiment from the New York Civil Liberties Union that challenged an earlier regime that only allowed gatherings for religious services.

The decision will allow New York members to spend time together in parks, backyards, and beaches during the vacation week as long as they stay away and follow the state Department of Health’s cleaning and disinfection protocol. However, the beaches of New York are closed for bathing.

– Jon Campbell and the Associated Press

“We need more prayer”: Trump calls for new openings of the Church’s Memorial Day but sends mixed signals of enforcement

Hertz, billions in debt, bankruptcy filing

Hertz filed for bankruptcy protection on Friday and could not resist the coronavirus pandemic that has crushed global travel and with it, the heavily indebted, 102-year-old car rental company.

Estero, the Florida-based company’s lenders were unwilling to grant another extension of its auto-leasing fees after a Friday deadline, triggering the filing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware.

At the end of March, Hertz Global Holdings Inc. had a debt of $ 18.7 billion with only $ 1 billion available cash.

As of mid-March, the company – whose car rental brands include Dollar and Thrifty – lost all revenue when travel was closed due to the new corona virus, and it began missing its payments in April. Hertz has also been tormented by the management’s upheaval and appointed its fourth CEO in six years on May 18.

“No business is being built for zero revenue,” former CEO Kathryn Marinello said of the company’s first-quarter revenue May 12. “It’s only so long that corporate reserves will carry them.”

– Impartial Press

NBA legend and Georgetown coach Pat Ewing in a hospital with viruses

Georgetown basketball coach and Hall of Fame player Patrick Ewing has tested positive for COVID-19, the school announced Friday night.

Georgetown said in a news release that Ewing, 57, is isolated and receiving care at a Washington hospital. He chose to announce his diagnosis “to emphasize that this virus can affect anyone,” the school says. He is the only member of the team to test positive.

An 11-time All-Star as a player with the New York Knicks, Ewing transitioned to coaching in 2002 and served as an assistant with several NBA teams before accepting the head coaching job at Georgetown before the 2017-18 season.

– Tom Schad

Nevada’s 28% unemployment rate is the worst in the United States and in state history

More than a quarter of Nevada’s workers do not have jobs because the state’s unemployment rate was 28.2% in April – the highest in the United States and the worst in Nevada’s history. The previous record for Nevada unemployment was estimated at 25% during the Great Depression.

Nevada was particularly hard hit by coronavirus closures because so many of its jobs are linked to the travel, tourism and hospitality sectors, according to David Schmidt, chief economist for the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.

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Wearing a mask in public? The majority of Democrats, Republicans say they have

Despite high-profile incidents of Americans refusing to wear face masks, an overwhelming majority of Americans say they’ve worn a face covering because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new study.

More than four in five Americans – 84% – said they wore a mask publicly in an attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus, according to a Democracy Fund + UCLA Nationscape Project study.

And while the reopening of economies and wearing masks has become party-language points, the vast majority of Democrats and Republicans have worn masks.

There is a slight difference between age groups, with younger people being slightly less likely to wear a mask in public. About three in four (78%) Americans ages 18 to 29 say they have a mask, while 90% of Americans 65 and owner say they have.

– Rebecca Morin

Donald Trump orders US flags lowered to honor the victims of coronavirus

President Donald Trump said Thursday that he will order American flags to be lowered over federal buildings to honor those who have died from the coronavirus.

The order, which Trump said would continue into Memorial Day weekend, comes as the nation approaches 100,000 deaths from the virus. The flags traditionally fly by half staff on Memorial Day to honor the country’s fallen members of the military.

Trump’s decision came hours after congressional Democrats sent a letter asking for flags to be lowered when the deaths of coronaviruses hit 100,000.

– John Fritze and Nicholas Wu

CDC estimate: 35% of cases are asymptomatic

About a third of cases of coronavirus are asymptomatic, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in guidance for mathematical modelers and public health agents.

The “current best estimate” is 35%, but the CDC says it can change as more data becomes available.

The CDC says that the new corona virus can be transmitted by people who have not yet experienced symptoms or never experienced symptoms.

More news and information about US coronavirus today:

Contributors: Kristine Phillips, Nicholas Wu, Associated Press

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