Coronavirus: Puerto Rico to reopen businesses, beaches with new rules

Coronavirus outbreak: What you need to know

More than 5 million people worldwide – including more than 1.5 million in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. While efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak continue, states have begun to shift their focus toward reopening their economies.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here.

>> Coronavirus: Know the facts directly from the CDC

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Live updates for Thursday, May 21, continue below:

Puerto Rico to reopen businesses, beaches with new rules

Update 11:20 p.m. EDT May 21: Puerto Rico will cautiously reopen beaches, restaurants, churches, hair salons and retail stores next week under strict new rules as the U.S. territory emerges from a two-month lockdown that stifled business activity on an island already beset with economic woes.

Gov. Wanda Vázquez announced Thursday that most businesses will reopen on Tuesday, but a 7 p.m-to-5 a.m. curfew will remain in place until June 15. All people will be required to wear a mask when outside or inside a business, regardless of what they are doing.

“Puerto Rico is facing a new way of life,” she said. “It’s the right time ... We have flattened the curve.”

Many Puerto Ricans, including business owners, cheered the highly anticipated announcement.

Health experts, however, warned that the government has not tested enough people or conducted enough contact tracing and is not prepared for a possible spike in new infections. In addition, most of the re-openings contradict recommendations made by a government-appointed medical task force.

Puerto Rico’s Health Department has reported more than 2,900 confirmed COVID-19 cases and at least 126 deaths, and dozens of additional infections still emerge every day. Officials do not regularly update statistics, including how many people have been tested or how many have recovered. Until recently, the island had a lower per-capita testing rate than any U.S. state.

UN seeks millions of people to counter virus misinformation

Update 10:20 p.m. EDT May 21: The United Nations launched a new initiative Thursday to sign up millions of “digital first responders” around the world to counter misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic and spread fact-based information and advice to their networks of family, friends and followers.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, who announced the initiative, said: “We cannot cede our virtual spaces to those who traffic in lies, fear and hate.”

“Misinformation spreads online, in messaging apps and person to person,” the U.N. chief said. “Its creators use savvy production and distribution methods.”

Guterres said scientists and institutions like the United Nations need to reach people with accurate information that they can trust to counter the misinformation and that is why the U.N. is launching the initiative called “Verified.”

It is asking interested people around the world to sign up to become “information volunteers” — also called “digital first responders” — at and to share a daily U.N. feed of verified information that counters misinformation or fills an information void.`

U.N. Undersecretary-General for Global Communications Melissa Fleming, said: “In many countries the misinformation surging across digital channels is impeding the public health response and stirring unrest.”

US farmers leaning more heavily on government loan programs

Update 9:30 p.m. EDT May 21: Farmers across the nation leaned more heavily upon the federal government last year to finance their agricultural operations amid low commodity prices and trade disputes, and more of the money they borrowed is now delinquent.

Although the U.S. Agriculture Department said it has not seen a significant change in loan delinquency rates because of the coronavirus pandemic, it expects an impact if the economic fallout continues.

Farm foreclosures have not increased, and the department has taken a number of measures to forestall them — including more flexibility for borrowers to extend repayments for annual operating loans.

The department said in an email that it also temporarily suspended loan accelerations and non-judicial foreclosures as well as stopped referring new foreclosures to the Justice Department. U.S. attorney’s offices will determine whether to stop foreclosures and evictions on delinquent accounts they were already handling.

Nathan Kauffman, vice president and Omaha branch executive of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, said he does not expect COVID-19 to have an immediate impact on farm loans in part because of the timing of the pandemic.

Hawaii’s unemployment rate jumps to 22.3% amid pandemic

Update 8:55 p.m. EDT May 21: Hawaii’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate jumped to 22.3% in April, up from just 2.4% the previous month, as hotels, restaurants and retailers closed amid efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Nationwide, the jobless rate stood at 14.7%

The state Department of Labor said Thursday 487,550 people were employed in Hawaii during the month out of a labor force of 627,450.

First families pay tribute to longtime White House butler

Update 7:30 p.m. EDT May 21: Tributes from former first families rolled in Thursday in response to the news that a man who was a fixture in the White House who served 11 presidents had died at the age of 91 after contracting COVID-19.

Wilson Jerman started working as a cleaner under President Dwight Eisenhower and retired as an elevator operator during the presidency of Barack Obama.

“With his kindness and care, Wilson Jerman helped make the White House a home for decades of First Families, including ours,” said former first lady Michelle Obama. “His service to others –– his willingness to go above and beyond for the country he loved and all those whose lives he touched –– is a legacy worthy of his generous spirit.”

Jerman became a White House butler under President John Kennedy, a role that Mrs. Kennedy was instrumental in landing for him, his oldest granddaughter, Jamila Garrett, told the local Fox News station in Washington.

“Jerman served as a White House butler across 11 presidencies and made generations of first families feel at home, including ours,” tweeted Hillary Clinton. “Our warmest condolences to his loved ones.”

Former President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush said that Jerman was a “lovely man.”

“He was the first person we saw in the morning when we left the residence and the last person we saw each night when we returned,” the Bushes said in a statement to NBC News.

Desiree Barnes, who worked in the Obama administration, said Jerman treated the staff kindly. She recalled that when she worked as an intern he would get her a meal if she had not eaten and that he even called her during a particularly rough snowstorm to make sure she was okay.

“It did not matter political party, he was there to serve,” Barnes said. “He had been there on some of the hardest days for a lot of presidents. ... Imagine being there when President Kennedy was assassinated and having to receive the first lady at the time. So, he was a really empathetic man. He just was a great listener.”

Nursing home testing a massive challenge for Pennsylvania

Update 6:15 p.m. EDT May 21: Pennsylvania would have to boost its testing numbers several times over to meet Gov. Tom Wolf’s goal of administering a weekly coronavirus test to well over 100,000 people in long-term care facilities across the state, a gigantic undertaking that health officials are scrambling to make a reality in less than two weeks.

It’s unclear who would administer the tests, who would supply them — and, despite Wolf’s assurances that taxpayers will foot the bill — who would pay.

Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have struggled for months to contain the virus, with many lacking the trained staff, testing supplies and personal protective equipment in the early going that could have helped them slow the spread, according to public health experts. Residents of long-term care homes account for roughly two-thirds of the statewide death toll of more than 4,800, a higher proportion that in most other states.

The White House has strongly urged testing of all residents and staff at the nation’s hard-hit nursing homes. On Wednesday, Wolf said his administration has a plan in place starting June 1 “that we will be testing every employee and every patient once a week.” He repeated the vow in a call with reporters Thursday.

But the Wolf administration has made no such plan public, and the numbers make clear that such widespread, weekly testing would present a daunting challenge.

“Without a plan, and without adequate supplies to do it, we’re concerned about how well it’s going to be implemented,” said Adam Marles, president and CEO of LeadingAge PA, which represents hundreds of nonprofit nursing homes statewide.

More than 120,000 people live in about 1,900 nursing homes, assisted living centers and personal care homes regulated by the state, according to information from state agencies. The facilities have tens of thousands of workers.

Tennessee reaches highest ever monthly jobless rate

Update 5:30 p.m. EDT May 21: Tennessee reached its highest monthly unemployment rate ever in April as the state managed public safety concerns raised by the new coronavirus outbreak by closing nonessential businesses, a move that has led to more than a half-million jobless claims.

The Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development reported Thursday that the preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for April was 14.7%. That represents an “unprecedented spike” of 11.4 percentage points when compared to March’s revised rate of 3.3%, the department said in a news release.

Orders from Gov. Bill Lee and city and county officials led to closings of businesses throughout Tennessee as part of the mass response to the new coronavirus outbreak. Since March 15, the number of people who have lost their jobs and have been seeking or receiving payouts from the federal and state government in Tennessee has totaled more than 532,000, the department said.

The state’s highest seasonally adjusted rate had been 12.9%, which occurred in December 1982 and January 1983, the department said.

Maskless Trump visits Michigan Ford plant

Update 4:50 p.m. EDT May 21: Pandemic politics shadowed President Donald Trump’s trip to Michigan on Thursday to highlight lifesaving medical devices, with the president and officials from the electoral battleground state clashing over federal aid, mail-in ballots and face masks.

Trump visited Ypsilanti, outside Detroit, to tour a Ford Motor Co. factory that had been repurposed to manufacture ventilators, the medical breathing machines governors begged for during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But his arrival came amid a long-running feud with the state’s Democratic governor and a day after the president threatened to withhold federal funds over the state’s expanded vote-by-mail effort. And, again, the president did not wear a face covering despite a warning from the state’s top law enforcement officer that a refusal to do so might lead to a ban on Trump″s return.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said that mask wearing isn’t just Ford’s policy but it’s also the law in a state that’s among those hardest hit by the virus. Nessel said that if Trump refused to wear a mask Thursday “he’s going to be asked not to return to any enclosed facilities inside our state.”

“If we know that he’s coming to our state and we know he’s not going to follow the law, I think we’re going to have to take action against any company or any facility that allows him inside those facilities and puts our workers at risk,” Nessel told CNN. “We just simply can’t afford it here in our state.”

Trump has refused to wear a face mask in public, telling aides he believes it makes him look weak, though it is a practice that federal health authorities say all Americans should adopt to help slow the spread of the virus.

Trump presses for relaxed virus restrictions on churches

Update 3:20 p.m. EDT May 21: Pushing on states to loosen coronavirus limits on business, schools and restaurants, President Donald Trump on Thursday escalated warnings from his administration about re-opening churches, accusing Democratic governors of standing in the way of religious liberty.

“One of the other things I want to do is get the churches open,” the president told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House before going to Michigan. “The churches are not being treated with respect by a lot of Democrat governors. ... I want to get our churches open.”

The president’s remarks amplified growing calls among Republicans for virus restrictions to be dropped on churches, part of a broader GOP argument against Democrats over how the coronavirus has been dealt with.

Universal Orlando aims for June 5 reopening

Update 2:55 p.m. EDT May 21: Officials with the Universal Orlando theme park on Thursday submitted a proposal to officials to have the park reopening for visitors on June 5, WFTV reported.

Theme park officials said several measures would be implemented to ensure social distancing measures can continue once the park reopens, according to WFTV. Officials said they will also allow for parking in every other spot in the theme park’s lots so “social distancing starts when (visitors) first get there,” WFTV reported.

More than 65,000 cases of COVID-19 reported in Pennsylvania

Update 2:35 p.m. EDT May 21: Officials in Pennsylvania said 980 more novel coronavirus infections have been reported, bringing the statewide number of cases to 65,392, according to WPXI.

Officials also reported 102 more deaths, raising Pennsylvania’s death toll to 4,869, WPXI reported.

1st case of rare inflammatory syndrome impacting children reported in NC

Update 2:15 p.m. EDT May 21: Health officials in North Carolina on Thursday reported the state’s first case of a rare inflammatory syndrome that might be linked to novel coronavirus infections, WSOC-TV reported.

Several state have reported cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), a rare condition that typically presents with days of fevers and other symptoms, including rashes, conjunctivitis, a “bumpy tongue that looks like a strawberry” and swollen hands and feet, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works to shutter stores due to coronavirus

Update 1:50 p.m. EDT May 21: Officials with L Brands announced plans Wednesday to close 250 Victoria’s Secret and 50 Bath & Body Works stores due to crashing sales as the coronavirus pandemic keeps shops shuttered nationwide, according to USA Today.

Company officials said L Brands lost 37% of its net sales in the first quarter.

1,304 new cases of COVID-19 reported in New Jersey

Update 1:40 p.m. EDT May 21: Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey said Thursday that 1,304 new coronavirus infections have been reported, raising the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state to 151,472.

On social media, Murphy said the numbers were “down significantly from our peak of new cases just a few weeks ago.”

“Each day brings with it surer signs that we’re moving closer to being able to enter Phase 2 of our economic restart,” the governor said.

Officials said Thursday that 98 more people have died of COVID-19 in New Jersey. Statewide, 10,843 people have died of coronavirus.

Number of coronavirus cases jumps in Louisiana

Update 1:15 p.m. EDT May 21: Officials in Louisiana reported a sharp increase Thursday in the number of coronavirus infections reported in the state after officials said some laboratories submitted testing data for the first time.

Officials said 1,188 new cases of COVID-19 were reported, far more than the 278 new cases reported one day earlier.

Statewide, 36,504 people have tested positive for coronavirus infections, according to the Louisiana Department of Health. At least 2,506 people have died of COVID-19 and 26,249 people have recovered from the viral infection.

Ex-Trump attorney Cohen thanks supporters after being released to home confinement

Update 12:45 p.m. EDT May 21: President Donald Trump’s former fixer and long-time attorney Michael Cohen thanked supporters on social media Thursday after he was transferred from prison to home confinement due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I am so glad to be home and back with my family,” Cohen wrote. “There is so much I want to say and intend to say. But now is not the right time. Soon. Thank you to all my friends and supporters.”

Cohen had been jailed since May 2019 to serve a three-year sentence handed down after he pleaded guilty to tax charges, campaign finance fraud and lying to Congress. He had been scheduled to remain in prison until November 2021.

Attorney General William Barr ordered the Bureau of Prisons to increase the use of home confinement and expedite the release of eligible high-risk inmates, beginning at three prisons identified as coronavirus hot spots. The Federal Correctional Institution, Otisville, a federal prison 70 miles northwest of New York City where Cohen was serving out his sentence, was not one of those facilities. However, the Bureau of Prisons can move prisoners to home confinement without a judicial order.

Last week, officials said that more than 2,400 inmates had been moved to home confinement since Barr first issued his memo on home confinement in late March, and 1,200 others had been approved and were expected to be released in the coming weeks.

Alicia Keys to reschedule planned 2020 tour

Update 12:35 p.m. EDT May 21: Superstar singer Alicia Keys announced plans Thursday to reschedule a world tour slated to begin this year due to the continued coronavirus threat.

“You can’t believe how bummed out I am that we have to postpone the Alicia World Tour,” Keys said in a video posted on social media. “I know we all feel the same and we’ve all been waiting patiently to see where the world is going, but right now you know, our safety and the health of my beautiful fam is the most important.”

The tour had been set to launch June 5 in Dublin.

New dates for the tour were not immediately scheduled.

Another COVID-19 stimulus bill will likely be needed, Mnuchin says

Update 12:25 p.m. EDT May 21: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday that there’s a “strong likelihood" that another stimulus bill will be needed to shore up the U.S. economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

During a virtual event Thursday hosted by The Hill, Mnuchin said officials will “carefully review the next few weeks.”

“I think there is a strong likelihood we will need another bill, but we just have $3 trillion we’re pumping into the economy,” he said, according to The Hill. “We’re going to step back for a few weeks and think very clearly how we need to spend more money and if we need to do that.”

Organizers cancel 2020 Ohio State Fair

Update 12:15 p.m. EDT May 21: The 2020 Ohio State Fair in Columbus has been cancelled with organizers citing concerns for public health and financial feasibility with social distancing protocols in place, WHIO-TV reported, citing the Ohio Expositions Commission.

“Knowing how easily the virus spreads in large groups, we believe it is the safest path forward for the health and safety of all Ohioans,” Andy Doehrel, chair of the Ohio Expositions Commission, said Thursday in a news release, according to WHIO-TV.

The fair was scheduled to run July 29 through August 9 at the Ohio Expo Center and State Fairgrounds in Columbus. Last year the fair brought 934,925 to the state’s capital over 12 days, WHIO-TV reported.

‘We got over the mountain,’ New York governor says

Update 11:45 a.m. EDT May 21: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said Thursday that 105 more people have died of COVID-19 statewide. The number was slightly lower than the 112 new fatal cases reported one day earlier.

Cuomo called the numbers “terrible news” but he said that as of Thursday, case numbers had fallen below those seen when state officials first began to respond to the novel coronavirus threat.

“We’re back to a point earlier than we were when this COVID crisis hit us. So that’s really good news,” Cuomo said.

“You see the overall trajectory of this situation, March 20 to May 20, in a period of time that will go down in history ... but we got through it. We got through it. We got over the mountain.”

More than 354,000 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus infections in New York state, according to health officials.

Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen released from prison due to COVID-19 threat

Update 11:40 a.m. EDT May 21: President Donald Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen was released from federal prison Thursday morning to serve the rest of his three-year sentence at home due to the threat of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Cohen, 53, admitted in 2018 to lying to Congress in connection to a Trump Tower deal in Moscow during an investigation into Russian election meddling headed by then-special counsel Robert Mueller. He later also pleaded guilty to eight charges, including multiple counts of tax evasion and arranging illicit payments to silence women who posed a risk to Trump’s presidential campaign.

Cohen reported in May 2019 to the Federal Correctional Institution, Otisville, a federal prison in the countryside 70 miles northwest of New York City, to begin serving his sentence.

2,615 new coronavirus infections reported in the UK

Update 11 a.m. EDT May 21: Officials in the United Kingdom reported 2,615 new coronavirus infections Thursday morning, raising the country’s total number of infections to 250,908.

Officials said that as of 9 a.m. local time, 36,042 people had died nationwide of COVID-19.

570 employees test positive at Tyson plant in North Carolina

Update 10:45 a.m. EDT May 21: Officials with poultry giant Tyson Foods have said that testing of employees at the company’s plant in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, found that about 25% of the facility’s employees had COVID-19, WSOC-TV reported.

Facility-wide testing found that 570 of the plant’s 2,244 employees were positive for novel coronavirus infections, according to WSOC-TV. A majority of those infected “did not show any symptoms and otherwise would not have been infected,” Tyson officials said Wednesday in a statement.

In recent weeks, several meat manufacturers have been forced to close plants after workers tested positive for coronavirus infections. In a full-page ad published last month in three newspapers, including The New York Times, Tyson Foods board chairman John Tyson warned that the closures prompted by coronavirus show “the food supply chain is breaking.”

“As pork, beef and chicken plants are being forced to close, even for short periods of time, millions of pounds of meat will disappear from the supply chain,” he said.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order last month requiring meat processing plants to stay open under the Defense Production Act.

237 new cases of COVID-19 reported in DC

Update 10:30 a.m. EDT May 21: Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington D.C. said Thursday that 237 new coronavirus infections have been reported in the area, raising the total number of cases in the area to 7,788.

Bowser also said five more people between the ages of 67 and 89 died of COVID-19. As of Thursday, 412 Washington D.C. residents have died of coronavirus, officials said.

Michigan AG: Anyone possibly exposed to COVID-19 is obligated to wear mask, including Trump

Update 10:20 a.m. EDT May 21: In an open letter published Wednesday, Michigan’s attorney general urged President Donald Trump to wear a facial covering during his planned tour of a Ford Motor Co. facility in the state.

“While my Department will not act to prevent you from touring Ford’s plant, I ask that while you are on tour you respect the great efforts of the men and women at Ford -- and across the State -- by wearing a facial covering," Attorney General Dana Nessel wrote.

“Anyone who has potentially been recently exposed, including the President of the United States, has not only a legal responsibility, but also a social and moral responsibility, to take reasonable precautions to prevent further spread of the virus."

Trump has refused to wear a face mask in public, a practice that federal health authorities say all Americans should adopt to help slow the spread of the virus. He’s scheduled Thursday afternoon to visit a Ford factory in Ypsilanti that has been repurposed to manufacture ventilators.

A spokesman for the company told CNN on Tuesday that the White House had been informed of safety protocols put in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, including a requirement that all people wear personal protective equipment.

Pelosi, Schumer request flags be flown at half staff when COVID-19 deaths reach 100,000

Update 10 a.m. EDT May 21: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Thursday asked President Donald Trump to fly flags at half staff once the U.S. death toll from the novel coronavirus reaches 100,000.

In a letter addressed to the president, the Democratic leaders said such a move “would serve as a national expression of grief so needed by everyone in our country.”

As of Thursday morning, more than 93,000 people have died nationwide of COVID-19, according to a tally from John Hopkins University. The U.S. is by far the country hardest-hit by the novel coronavirus with more than 1.5 million cases reported since February.

Stocks struggle higher amid more grim news on the economy

Update 9:50 a.m. EDT May 21: Stocks struggled to hold on to tiny gains in early trading Thursday on Wall Street after shaking off an early loss.

Investors found little to like in the latest buildup of tensions between the U.S. and China and more dismal news about fallout related to the coronavirus pandemic. The White House issued a report attacking Beijing’s economic and military policies and human rights violations.

Meanwhile the number of Americans thrown out of work since the virus struck climbed to nearly 39 million. Macy’s fell after saying it could lose more than a $1 billion during its first fiscal quarter.

Nearly 39 million have sought US jobless aid since virus hit

Update 8:55 a.m. EDT May 21: More than 2.4 million people applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week in the latest wave of layoffs from the viral outbreak that triggered widespread business shutdowns two months ago and sent the economy into a deep recession.

Roughly 38.6 million people have now filed for jobless aid since the coronavirus forced millions of businesses to close their doors and shrink their workforces, the Labor Department said Thursday.

An additional 2.2 million people sought aid under a new federal program for self-employed, contractor and gig workers, who are now eligible for jobless aid for the first time. These figures aren’t adjusted for seasonal variations, so the government doesn’t include them in the overall number of applications

The continuing stream of heavy job cuts reflects an economy that is sinking into the worst recession since the Great Depression. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated this week that the economy is shrinking at a 38% annual rate in the April-June quarter. That would be by far the worst quarterly contraction on record.

Global deaths top 328K, total cases soar past 5M

Update 7:56 a.m. EDT May 21: The global death toll attributed to the novel coronavirus reached 328,471 early Thursday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

In the four months since the virus was first identified in Wuhan, China, it has infected at least 5,016,171 people worldwide. Meanwhile, 12 nations now have total infection counts higher than China’s 84,063.

The 10 nations with the highest number of infections recorded to date are as follows:

• The United States has reported 1,551,853 cases, resulting in 93,439 deaths.

Russia has confirmed 317,554 cases, resulting in 3,099 deaths.

Brazil has recorded 291,579 cases, resulting in 18,859 deaths.

• The United Kingdom has reported 249,619 cases, resulting in 35,786 deaths.

Spain has confirmed 232,555 cases, resulting in 27,888 deaths.

Italy has reported 227,364 cases, resulting in 32,330 deaths.

France has confirmed 181,700 cases, resulting in 28,135 deaths.

Germany has reported 178,545 cases, resulting in 8,172 deaths.

Turkey has recorded 152,587 cases, resulting in 4,222 deaths

Iran has recorded 129,341 cases, resulting in 7,249 deaths.

Global deaths top 328K, total cases soar past 5M

Update 2:37 a.m. EDT May 21: The global death toll attributed to the novel coronavirus reached 328,471 early Thursday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

In the four months since the virus was first identified in Wuhan, China, it has infected at least 5,016,171 people worldwide. Meanwhile, 12 nations now have total infection counts higher than China’s 84,063.

The 10 nations with the highest number of infections recorded to date are as follows:

• The United States has reported 1,551,853 cases, resulting in 93,439 deaths.

Russia has confirmed 317,554 cases, resulting in 3,099 deaths.

Brazil has recorded 291,579 cases, resulting in 18,859 deaths.

• The United Kingdom has reported 249,619 cases, resulting in 35,786 deaths.

Spain has confirmed 232,555 cases, resulting in 27,888 deaths.

Italy has reported 227,364 cases, resulting in 32,330 deaths.

France has confirmed 181,700 cases, resulting in 28,135 deaths.

Germany has reported 178,545 cases, resulting in 8,172 deaths.

Turkey has recorded 152,587 cases, resulting in 4,222 deaths

Iran has recorded 126,949 cases, resulting in 7,183 deaths.

Police fine protesting barbers $1,000 each for cutting hair on Michigan Capitol lawn

Update 2:37 a.m. EDT May 21: Barbers defying the governor’s stay-at-home orders to offer free haircuts on the lawn of the Capitol building in Lansing, Michigan, have been fined $1,000 each for their protest.

According to The Washington Post, the protest was inspired by the plight of 77-year-old barber Karl Manke, who defiantly reopened his shop May 12 with the help of an armed militia.

Meanwhile, MLive reported that police clashed verbally with two militia members who began shouting at law enforcement personnel issuing a citation.

The Michigan State Police confirmed via Twitter that no arrests were made and the hairstylists and barbers were cited for disorderly conduct.

Ford idles Chicago and Michigan assembly lines amid positive COVID-19 tests

Update 2:01 a.m. EDT May 21: For the second consecutive day, Ford temporarily halted production at two heartland assembly lines Wednesday after an employee and a crucial supplier’s employee tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Wednesday’s shutdown in Chicago stemmed from the idling of the nearby Hammond, Indiana, Lear factory which makes seats for the automaker. The Wall Street Journal confirmed texts sent to employees at the Lear plant said that an employee had tested positive for COVID-19, but the facility has since been disinfected and the night shift is expected to report as scheduled.

Meanwhile, Ford also temporarily halted production at its Dearborn, Michigan, pickup truck plant after a worker there tested positive for COVID-19, the Journal reported.

The latest shutdowns came only two days after the automaker joined General Motors and Fiat Chrysler in restarting their U.S. factories after virus concerns idled operations for roughly two months.

Global coronavirus cases top 5M

Update 1:46 a.m. EDT May 21: The global count of novel coronavirus infections surpassed 5 million early Thursday morning.

According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, a total of 5,000,038 cases have now been reported worldwide, resulting in at least 328,169 deaths.

US coronavirus cases surge toward 1.6M, deaths near 94K

Update 12:23 a.m. EDT May 21: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States continued to climb past 1.5 million early Thursday across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, there are at least 1,551,853 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 93,439 deaths.

The hardest-hit states remain New York with 354,370 cases and 28,636 deaths and New Jersey with 150,776 cases and 10,749 deaths. Massachusetts, with 88,970 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 6,066, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 100,418. Only 16 states and territories have confirmed fewer than 5,000 cases each.

Six other states have now confirmed at least 42,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including:

California: 85,997 cases, resulting in 3,497 deaths

Pennsylvania: 68,126 cases, resulting in 4,770 deaths

Michigan: 53,009 cases, resulting in 5,060 deaths

Texas: 51,673 cases, resulting in 1,426 deaths

Florida: 47,471 cases, resulting in 2,096 deaths

Maryland: 42,323 cases, resulting in 2,123 deaths

Meanwhile, Georgia, Connecticut, Louisiana and Virginia each has confirmed at least 32,000 cases; Ohio, Indiana, Colorado and North Carolina each has confirmed at least 20,000 cases; Washington state and Tennessee each has confirmed at least 18,000 cases, followed by Minnesota with 17,670; Iowa and Arizona each has confirmed at least 14,000 cases; Rhode Island, Wisconsin and Alabama each has confirmed at least 13,000 cases; Mississippi, Missouri and Nebraska each has confirmed at least 11,000 cases, followed by South Carolina with 9,175; Kansas, Kentucky and Delaware each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases; Utah, the District of Columbia and Nevada each has confirmed at least 7,000 cases, followed by New Mexico with 6,317; Oklahoma and Arkansas each has confirmed at least 5,000 cases.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.