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Coronavirus live updates: Emergency aid approved after New York declared 'major disaster'

No Comments National News

iStock(NEW YORK) — As the number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases continue to skyrocket, some states are acting quickly by ordering variations of stay-at-home orders for residents. Oregon joined California, Illinois, New York, among others Friday night by issuing its order.

The respiratory virus, known officially as COVID-19, has reached every continent except Antarctica, and every state in America since emerging in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December.

Globally, there are at least 275,000 diagnosed cases and 11,399 coronavirus-related deaths, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. More than 88,000 people have recovered from the virus worldwide.

In the United States, at least 19,624 diagnosed cases have been confirmed with at least 260 deaths. So far, 147 have recovered from COVID-19 in the U.S.

Today’s biggest developments:

– US Army scientists are on the front lines in fight against coronavirus

Here’s how the news is unfolding today. All times Eastern.

8:59 a.m.: Feds will have to prioritize supply and demand, former WH security adviser says

Former White House security adviser Tom Bossert told “Good Morning America” that federal authorities will soon have to make the difficult decision of determining who gets equipment and who does not.

“We are now in a kind of desperate life and death type of — almost two weeks before, maybe a week before — decision-making process, where federal authorities are going to have to start shunting equipment to places that need it and away from other places that want it,” Bossert, an ABC News contributor, told co-anchor Dan Harris.

Bossert added that hospitals and ICUs “are going to be overwhelmed.”

Bossert is a former security adviser to President Donald Trump. He noted that when watching recent White House press conference, he heard the efforts being made to stop the virus.

However, he also hoped that Trump and Vice President Mike Pence would continue to remind the public that “despite all of our efforts, with millions and millions of these pieces of equipment it’s not yet enough.”

6:17 a.m.: Amman, Jordan, all of Colombia institute lockdowns

More countries and major cities around the world are shutting down in an attempt to flatten the curve to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Amman, the capital city of Jordan, instituted a strict 24/7 stay-at-home policy Saturday that has strong repercussions if residents don’t adhere to the rules.

In a televised statement, government spokesman Amjad Adayleh said the curfew would remain in force until further notice. The drastic measure, Adayleh said, was initiated because “citizens did not respect directives,” requesting them to self-isolate in their homes.

Breaking the curfew would result in “immediate imprisonment,” for up to one year, he said.

The measures include closing schools and banning daily prayers in mosques for its 10 million residents.

Colombia also imposed a nationwide lockdown, which begins Wednesday and will last for 19 days.

“It is time to understand that our behavior saves lives,” President Iván Duque said in a statement Friday.

Jordan has 85 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and Colombia has 128.

Tune into ABC at 1 p.m. ET and ABC News Live at 4 p.m. ET every weekday for special coverage of the novel coronavirus with the full ABC News team, including the latest news, context and analysis.

3:01 a.m.: FEMA emergency aid approved after NY declared ‘major disaster’

President Donald Trump formally approved Federal Emergency Management Agency aid late Friday night after declaring the state of New York a “major disaster.”

The emergency declaration frees up funds to help recovery efforts to combat the coronavirus.

“Federal funding is also available to state, tribal, and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures,” FEMA said in a statement.

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer said the president told him he would approve the measure earlier Friday evening.

“FEMA needs to get to work NOW to open these MANY billions in direct aid for New York and individuals to help save lives and protect public health,” the Senate minority leader tweeted.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Gun sales on the rise as coronavirus concerns spread

No Comments National News

iStock(NEW YORK) — At gun stores from California to New York, the American people are stocking up in enormous numbers, almost as if the end was near.

“Trying to buy ammunition because of everything that’s going on with the virus and stuff, it’s horrible and I don’t want to take any chances,” Angel Colon told ABC News affiliate WPVI-TV in Spanish.

People are arming themselves. They are lining up outside gun stores. Or going online. In February, the internet retailer ammo.com reported a 309% increase in revenue and a 222% surge in transactions. The group is calling the sales “unprecedented.”

The increased gun sales come as police departments are being forced to pare down operations due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. Some police Departments are responding to only calls that involve emergencies – calls like fender benders and lost items are being handled over the phone or people are required to go and give a statement at the police station.

National figures on gun sales that are monitored by the FBI will not be available until early April. But the anecdotal evidence is hard to miss.

In Virginia, where the State Police track background check numbers, there was an 86% increase in requests in January compared to January of 2019. Authorities attribute some of that uptick to Virginia’s lobby day – when gun enthusiasts descended on Richmond in opposition to proposed new restrictions. But the trend continued in February, when over 64,000 buyers underwent checks, compared to 39,300 the previous February. And in March, Virginia saw 35,383 background checks conducted, which is just 10,000 background checks than the entire month of March 2019.

In Colorado, more than 14,000 background checks for firearms transfers have been received in the last week, compared to about 7,000 checks conducted in the same timeframe last year, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation said in a statement on Tuesday.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Coronavirus school closings: 8 ways to keep the peace while kids are home

No Comments National News

iStock(NEW YORK) — Schools around the country are shutting down in an effort to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, but with the closures come a challenge for parents: how to keep order and routine with children confined at home.

Most teachers will send home assignments or direct older kids to online learning so they don’t fall behind in their studies, but those options don’t solve the problem for parents on how to execute home-based learning in ways that won’t lead to conflict.

Good Morning America asked education experts how to keep order in the home during this uncertain time. Key takeaways: Avoid the snow day mentality and think more long term.

Get dressed

“We all do better with routine which sets expectations,” education expert Avivit Ben-Aharon, founder and clinical director of online speech therapy company Great Speech told GMA.

“While it may be tempting to lounge in your pajamas and allow your children to do the same, the lack of routine for everyone can be confusing, particularly when it lasts more than a few days.”

Create the space

Pam Roggeman, dean of College of Education at University of Phoenix, said it’s as important for kids to have a designated work space as it is for adults.

“Use the homework area as an area to work on lessons, arts and crafts, etc., while students are out of school,” she said.

Set a schedule

“Most students thrive on the structure they receive in school when they know what to expect with their daily schedule and routine,” said Melissa Scatena who runs an education services company called Scattered Solutions.

“Prepare your child for the transition by working together to create their schedule. Ask them to share with you what their day typically looks like in school and empower them with ownership over creating their schedule for home,” she said.

Use timers

“The timer is the equivalent of the school bell which helps children of all ages define the class ‘period,'” said Ben-Aharon. “Try to model their day at home to their day at school with specified times for different activities.”

Don’t rush it

Elizabeth Kanna, author of Homeschooling for Success, cautions against the immediate pull to “create a school at home.”

“By doing so, you will put tremendous pressure on you and your child,” she told “GMA.” “If your child is required to be logged in at set times to attend virtual classes, make sure that gets done.”

But don’t think you need to keep the kids engaged in academics 6 to 8 hours a day.

“Most of the time children spend at school consists of waiting. Design a homeschooling learning schedule and plan that works for your family and be prepared to scratch the schedule several times until you find the right one for your family.”

Shuffle the shelves

Chances are you have much more to entertain your kids than you think you do. Think beyond their current favorite toys and activities and see what’s been cast aside.

“Put away all the books and toys and then take out five each day to match your theme or your mood,” Ben-Aaron said. “This way old toys and books will feel new and you will avoid the temptation of ordering new ones.”

Stay in sync

“If you will be working from home, make sure to discuss the expectations when you are at your desk working or on a call,” said Scatena. “Make sure your schedules line up so that they are working on tasks they can complete independently without adult assistance when you need to be working.”

Expand the definition of learning

In today’s busy world, many kids are simply too over-scheduled to learn how to do basic household tasks. This is an opportunity to change that.

“There is a lot of life skill learning that can take place and this is an opportunity for kids to develop a sense of responsibility for the household,” said Dr. Chaye Lamm Warburg founder of Pediatric Occupational Therapy Services, LLC.

“There are appropriate chores for kids of every age, from preschoolers to teens, including making their beds, loading the dishwasher, sorting socks and silverware and vacuuming.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Music legend Kenny Rogers dies at age 81

No Comments Entertainment News

Kenny Rogers in 1982; Luciano Viti/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Kenny Rogers, one of a handful of singers who achieved country music and pop music success in nearly equal measure with hits like “The Gambler” and the Dolly Parton duet “Islands in the Stream,” has died at age 81.

“The Rogers family is sad to announce that Kenny Rogers passed away last night at 10:25 PM at the age of 81,” reads a statement from the country music legend’s family.  “Rogers passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family.”

The statement continues, “The family is planning a small private service at this time out of concern for the national COVID-19 emergency.  They look forward to celebrating Kenny’s life publicly with his friends and fans at a later date.”

The Texan, born Kenneth Ray Rogers August 21, 1938 in Houston, is one of the rare entertainers to emerge from the country world and go on to international stardom, enjoying #1 pop hits and becoming known as an actor, entrepreneur and photographer.

In 1966, Kenny joined The New Christy Minstrels, where he met his frequent collaborator Kim Carnes.  The next year, he and several other members left the ensemble to form the group that eventually became Kenny Rogers and The First Edition. They scored the 1968 #5 pop hit “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In),” and also found success in 1967 with “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town” on the country chart.

When the group broke up in 1976, Kenny embarked on his solo career, managing a top-twenty country hit in 1976 with his first single, a variation on the hymn “Love Lifted Me.” He grabbed his first #1 the next year with the now-classic “Lucille.”

Story songs like “The Gambler” and “Coward of the County” topped the country chart in 1978 and 1979, becoming pop hits as well, with “The Gambler” ultimately becoming Rogers’ signature song. By 1980 and 1981, respectively, Kenny had starred in made-for-TV movies based on both of them.

In 1982, Kenny found success on the big screen playing a race car driver in Six Pack, also scoring another country/pop hit with the film’s theme song, “Love Will Turn You Around.”

Kenny’s first #1 on the pop charts came with 1980’s Lionel Richie-penned “Lady.” He’d repeat that success again in 1983 with his iconic duet with Dolly Parton, “Islands in the Stream,” which was written and produced by the Bee Gees.

The mega-hit with Dolly marked the beginning of a career-long association with her, though the two actually recorded relatively little together. They made it to #1 again on the country chart in 1985 with “Real Love,” and in 2013 recorded the touching “You Can’t Make Old Friends,” along with its accompanying music video. The pair only made one full-length album together: 1984’s holiday offering, Once Upon a Christmas.

Kenny’s most frequent duet partner was the late Dottie West, with whom he made multiple records, including chart-topping hits like 1978’s “Every Time Two Fools Collide,” “All I Ever Need Is You” in 1979, and 1981’s “What Are We Doin’ in Love.”  Other notable pairings included “Don’t Fall in Love with a Dreamer” with Kim Carnes in 1980, as well as a cover of Bob Seeger’s “We’ve Got Tonight” with Sheena Easton in 1983.

Rogers’ final country number one came in 1999 with “Buy Me a Rose,” which featured vocals from Alison Krauss and Billy Dean.

In 1986 and ’87, Rogers published successful books of photography titled Kenny Rogers’ America and Your Friends and Mine. In 1991, he started the Kenny Rogers’ Roasters chicken chain, which still operates in Asia.

Kenny was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in 2013, before announcing his farewell tour in 2015.  Dubbed The Gambler’s Last Deal, it was intended to run through the end of 2018 but was cancelled in April of that year due to health concerns.

Rogers had five children and five wives, most notably Hee Haw star Marianne Gordon, and his widow, Wanda. The two had twins sons, born in 2004, whom they were raising in Georgia.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved. 

Kenny Rogers passes away at 81

No Comments Country Music News

Kenny Rogers in 1982; Luciano Viti/Getty ImagesKenny Rogers, perhaps best known for his 1978 hit “The Gambler,” has passed away.

“The Rogers family is sad to announce that Kenny Rogers passed away last night at 10:25 PM at the age of 81,” reads a statement from the country music legend’s family.  “Rogers passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family.”

The statement continues, “The family is planning a small private service at this time out of concern for the national COVID-19 emergency.  They look forward to celebrating Kenny’s life publicly with his friends and fans at a later date.”

The Texan, born Kenneth Ray Rogers on August 21, 1938, in Houston, is one of the rare entertainers to emerge from the country world and go on to international stardom, enjoying #1 pop hits and becoming known as an actor, entrepreneur and photographer.

In 1966, Kenny joined The New Christy Minstrels, where he met his frequent collaborator Kim Carnes.  The next year, he and several other members left the ensemble to form the eclectic rock group that eventually became Kenny Rogers and The First Edition. They scored the 1968 #5 pop hit “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In),” and also found success in 1967 with “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town” on both the pop and country charts.

When the group broke up in 1976, Kenny embarked on his solo career, managing a top-20 country hit in 1976 with his first single, a variation on the hymn “Love Lifted Me.” He grabbed his first #1 country hit the next year with the now-classic “Lucille,” which also reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Story songs like “The Gambler” and “Coward of the County””topped the country chart in 1978 and 1979, becoming pop hits as well, with “The Gambler” ultimately becoming Rogers’ signature song. By 1980 and 1981, respectively, Kenny had starred in made-for-TV movies based on both of them.

In 1982, Kenny found success on the big screen playing a race car driver in Six Pack, also scoring another country/pop hit with the film’s theme song, “Love Will Turn You Around.”

Kenny’s first #1 on the pop charts came with 1980’s Lionel Richie-penned “Lady.” He’d repeat that success again in 1983 with his iconic duet with Dolly Parton, “Islands in the Stream,” which was written and produced by the Bee Gees.

The mega-hit with Dolly marked the beginning of a career-long association with her, though the two actually recorded relatively little together. They made it to #1 again on the country chart in 1985 with “Real Love,” and in 2013 recorded the touching “You Can’t Make Old Friends,” along with its accompanying music video. The pair only made one full-length album together: 1984’s holiday offering, Once Upon a Christmas.

Kenny’s most frequent duet partner was the late Dottie West, with whom he made multiple records, including chart-topping hits like 1978’s “Every Time Two Fools Collide,” “All I Ever Need Is You” in 1979, and 1981’s “What Are We Doin’ in Love.”  Other notable pairings included “Don’t Fall in Love with a Dreamer” with Carnes in 1980, as well as a cover of Bob Seger‘s “We’ve Got Tonight” with Sheena Easton in 1983.

Rogers’ final country #1 came in 1999 with “Buy Me a Rose,” which featured vocals from Alison Krauss and Billy Dean.

In 1986 and ’87, Rogers published successful books of photography titled Kenny Rogers’ America and Your Friends and Mine. In 1991, he started the Kenny Rogers’ Roasters chicken restaurant chain, which still operates in Asia.

Kenny was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in 2013, before announcing his farewell tour in 2015.  Dubbed The Gambler’s Last Deal, it was intended to run through the end of 2018 but was canceled in April of that year due to health concerns.

Rogers had five children and five wives, most notably Hee Haw star Marianne Gordon, and his widow, Wanda. The couple had twins sons, born in 2004, whom they were raising in Georgia.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved. 

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