News for Thursday April 2nd, 2020
Compiled by Dave Graichen
The reported death toll has risen by 34 from COVID-19 in Louisiana, down from Tuesday’s high of 54, but still one of the highest days on record. We’re now over 6,400 confirmed state cases with 1,500 hospitalizations for COVID-19. The state’s total reported fatalities: 273. Here in Rapides Parish 4 people have died from the virus.
The New Orleans region is now projected to run out of ventilators for COVID-19 patients on April 6th, and the state is scrambling to try and secure more. 490 COVID-19 patients are on ventilators in Louisiana as of the Wednesday’s noon update.
The U.S. Bureau of Prisons has announced a second death at the Oakdale federal prison related to COVID-19. The first death was reported three days ago. Officials say
43 year old Nicholas Rodriquez died Wednesday after being on a ventilator since Friday.
Ellis Marsalis Jr., the jazz pianist, teacher and patriarch of one of New Orleans’ great musical families has died. The 85-year-old jazz piano legend was hospitalized with symptoms of COVID-19. He had been tested for coronavirus and results were pending.
Governor Edwards paints a grim picture of just how long, and how severe the coronavirus epidemic could get in Louisiana as the nation braces for estimated 100,000-250,000 COVID deaths. The state is tentatively set to lift the shelter in place order April 30th, but Edwards says it’s likely that life will not return to normal for quite a long time. Edwards warns even if the statewide stay at home order is lifted in the near future, other countries have shown there’s no guarantee it won’t be needed again.
The Treasury Department and IRS announce the distribution of the economic impact payments will be sent out in the next three weeks. The IRS will be using the most recent info on file to get recipients their money. Social Security recipients will automatically receive their economic impact payments, with no needed extra paperwork.
Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves is encouraging small businesses to get a jump on filling out applications for the Payroll Protection Act. Small businesses can apply to receive low-interest loans, with money that is used for payroll being forgiven. Graves says applications will be accepted starting April 3. The program is part of the $2.2 trillion emergency relief legislation, but this particular allocation is subject to a funding cap, adding to the urgency of filing quickly.
As oil prices continue to drop the outlook for Louisiana workers in the industry continues to look bleak. Oil is trading in the low twenties and President of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association Gifford Briggs says if prices do not recover by June first, storage facilities for oil will reach capacity and that’s when the industry will most definitely see a reduction in workers. Some gas stations in the southern part of the state are selling their gas at below a dollar.
Roy Moore, the former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice and two-time U.S. Senate candidate, will serve as an adviser for a Central pastor, and his church, during expected litigation over the religious leader's defiance of state orders limiting public gatherings to control the spread of the novel coronavirus. Moore and the Rev. Tony Spell said Moore would represent Spell and the church, though it isn't clear yet in what capacity. Moore is a licensed lawyer in Alabama but isn't licensed to practice law in Louisiana.
The state’s seafood industry is hurting with restaurant business taking a dive because of COVID-19. Now, they are getting help in offloading their catch direct to consumers with the help of the marketing tool LouisianaDirectSeafood.com. LSU AgCenter coastal agent Rusty Gaude (GO-TAY) says they’ve set up the website to connect the fishermen with those looking buy the catch. Again that website LouisianaDirectSeafood.com
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is warning folks not to fall for fake news about bans on fishing or other outdoor activities during the coronavirus shutdown.
LDWF spokesperson Renee LeBreton says outside of the seizure of a few state parks for COVID patients, nothing has changed when it comes to what you can do outdoors.
LeBreton says in fact LDWF is encouraging people to go exploring nature, maybe catch some fish, or go hunting. He says it’s a great way to stay away from other people.
NOLA.com reports that at least 2 Zulu members, possibly more, have died from coronavirus. The chairman of the club’s Board of Directors, City Councilman Jay Banks, estimated Wednesday that roughly 20 of the organization’s 800 or so members are either hospitalized, self-quarantining or have recovered from the highly-contagious COVID-19 virus. Banks says seven members have died during the pandemic.
Saints Coach Sean Payton called himself a big dummy today when speaking to reporters on a conference call. Payton said he misspoke when he said on ESPN that Quarterback Drew Brees would be playing in his final season in 2020. The coach says nothing has changed with Brees, and that the 41-year-old is taking it year-by-year.
LSU Athletics Director Scott Woodward says nothing has changed with basketball coach Will Wade’s employment. The H-B-O documentary the Scheme aired the FBI wiretap of Wade talking with a federally convicted middleman about the strong offer to get guard Javonte Smart to sign with LSU. Woodward says they are aware of the documentary and they’ll continue to cooperate with all reviews into the matter. A Sports Illustrated report says NCAA investigators watched the documentary and took notes.
You will not be able to watch Wimbledon this year. The big tennis event at the All England Club has been canceled for the first time since 1945.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said previously that he hoped the NBA could re-start its season in mid-May. But Cuban said today on ESPN’s Get Up he has no idea on when teams can return to the court. Cuban says the only thing he knows is that they’ll put safety first and they will not take any chances.
In college sports. the NCAA has extended the recruiting dead period through May 31st. So that means no unofficial or official visits for high school or transfer prospects. So a lot of the players in the transfer portal might have to make a decision on a school without ever physically visiting the school.
And here’s a nice gesture, Texas Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo will give each minor leaguer in the Rangers organization one-thousand dollars during this shutdown. Major League Baseball ahs said that minor-league players will get 400-dollars a week through May 31st.
Also, the London Series, between the Cubs and Cardinals in mid-June has been canceled.