Coronavirus live updates: TSA to require employees to wear ‘facial protection’

first_imgMyriam Borzee/iStockBy WILLIAM MANSELL, ABC News(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 269,000 people worldwide.Over 3.84 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their nations’ outbreaks.Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 1.2 million diagnosed cases and at least 75,670 deaths. Here’s how the news is developing Friday. All times Eastern:7:27 a.m.: NYC mayor responds to overwhelming arrests of black people for social distancing violationsNew York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said police are issuing summonses and making arrests to save lives.His comments were in direct response to a story from The New York Times, which reported that black people accounted for the majority of those arrested on charges of violating social distancing rules. The data was data provided to the NYT by the New York City Police Department and the Brooklyn district attorney’s office.Between March 17 through May 4, 40 people were arrested in Brooklyn for social distancing violations, according to the NYT, citing the district attorney’s office. Of those 40 arrested, 35 were black, four were Hispanic and one was white.Data of citywide arrests, released by police, showed a similar trend: black people made up 68% of at least 120 arrests from March 16 to May 5, while Hispanic people made up 24%.De Blasio said in a tweet that “the disparity in the numbers does NOT reflect our values.”“We HAVE TO do better and we WILL,” the mayor wrote.Brooklyn district attorney, Eric Gonzalez, also responded to the news in a statement to ABC News.Gonzalez said the “disturbing images of arrests for social distancing throughout our city serve to erode the progress that has been made in enhancing police accountability and strengthening trust in our criminal justice system.”He said his office is reviewing allegations of excessive force regarding arrests that took place in Brooklyn and will investigate to determine whether disciplinary recommendations or criminal charges are warranted.While Gonzalez said that all New Yorkers should follow the social distancing rules, which is to stay 6 feet apart from others, he also said that enforcing those rules should consist of “distributing masks, gloves, sanitizers and other measures to prevent the spread of the virus.” ⠀“Any arrest under these circumstances should always be the last resort. Simply stated, we cannot police ourselves out of this pandemic,” Gonzalez said. “Instead, we need to give people the knowledge and ability to keep safe.”6:17 a.m.: Drug maker says coronavirus vaccine trial could begin in weeksA drug maker has been given the green light by the Food and Drug Administration to move to phase 2 of its coronavirus vaccine trial.Moderna’s chief medical officer Dr. Tal Zaks told ABC News that the next phase would begin dosing “very shortly,” which he said means in a matter of weeks. This puts the company on track to launch Phase 3 this summer.“I only have two competitors, the virus and the clock,” Zaks said, speaking with ABC News remotely from his home in Massachusetts.Moderna is leading one of at least three U.S. vaccine trials on humans.“We need to bring forward, every potential vaccine that has the opportunity to help because time is of the essence,” Zaks said.The company has not released results from its pre-clinical or phase 1 trials. Zaks says it’s still premature to disclose that information, but said their experience to date is what gives him confidence they’re on the right path.Zaks said they envision being able to produce up to a billion doses a year. But he cautions, “it’s not going to be a black and white moment that says okay now everybody can take it.” He expects government agencies “to step up and help us make sure that it is first available to those who need it.”4:43 a.m.: TSA to require employees to wear ‘facial protection’ at screening checkpointsAfter more than two months into the coronavirus pandemic, the Transportation Security Administration announced all employees must wear “facial protection” at screening checkpoints.The agency said the practice “will be implemented over the coming days.”“TSA is making this change to protect our employees and travelers as social distancing cannot always be maintained in the screening process,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in a statement Thursday.In mid-March, the union representing TSA officers requested the agency provide surgical masks to employees and allow officers to wear N95 respirators. It took two weeks for the agency to do both. Currently, TSA is providing employees with N95s, eye protection and installing plexiglass at the travel document checker in some airports.Multiple airports have already mandated that all employees and passengers must wear face coverings.This comes as the number of air travelers continues to tick up and after all major U.S. airlines announced they would require both passengers and crew to wear face coverings.TSA has had 534 federal employees test positive for COVID-19. As of Thursday morning, 285 of those employees have recovered, and six have died after contracting the virus.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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