CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 1,152,372 and the number of deaths has risen to 67,456, according to figures released yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. California Governor Gavin Newsom said some of the state’s retail businesses could begin reopening with modifications by the end of this week if certain criteria are met. Further guidance on the state’s next phase of reopening is scheduled to be released on Thursday.
CORONAVIRUS DEATH TOLL RISES IN PROJECTIONS… Relaxed social-distancing guidelines in several states have prompted a prominent coronavirus model to nearly double its projection of how many Americans are expected to die of the coronavirus to 135,000. Researchers of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington previously estimated a death toll of 72,433. They say that the “increase in mobility” is causing an “increase in mortality.” Meanwhile, the New York Times reported yesterday that the Trump administration is privately projecting that the number of deaths related to the coronavirus will steadily increase to as much as 3,000 a day by early June.
WHITE HOUSE PREVENTS TASK FORCE TESTIMONY…. The White House is facing widespread criticism for prohibiting all coronavirus task force members from testifying before Congress this month. The Trump administration has already blocked National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci from testifying before a House subcommittee scheduled for this week. The White House argued in a statement that it would be “counterproductive” for Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, to appear at the House subcommittee hearing. However, he is set to testify at the Republican-led Senate hearing next week.
TREASURY DEPARTMENT. TO BORROW $3T… The Treasury Department announced yesterday that it plans to borrow nearly $3 trillion to support the U.S. economy this fiscal quarter. The $2,999 billion will come from privately-held net marketable debt between April and June. The Treasury added that it borrowed $477 billion in the first quarter of 2020 and plans to borrow $677 billion in the third quarter.
J. CREW FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY… J. Crew yesterday became the first national retailer to file for bankruptcy since the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic. J. Crew and parent company Chinos Holdings filed under Chapter 11 in bankruptcy court in Virginia. More than 300 J. Crew and Madewell locations will remain open under $400 million in debtor-in-possession financing from existing lenders, according to a company statement. As part of the deal, lenders will convert about $1.7 billion in J. Crew debt into equity.
CAGE TO STAR IN ‘JOE EXOTIC’ SERIES… Actor Nicolas Cage has signed on to play “Tiger King” star Joe Exotic in an eight-episode scripted series. Cage will also serve as executive producer. The series will reportedly dive into the personal life of Joe Exotic as he maintains tigers, lions, and other big cats in an Oklahoma zoo.
DISNEY CRANKS UP ‘STAR WARS’… Academy Award-winning filmmaker Taika Waititi has agreed to direct a new “Star Wars” movie. Waititi, who won a screenwriting Oscar for “Jojo Rabbit,” will also pen the script with Oscar-nominated 1917 writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns. Disney and Lucasfilm said that a new “Star Wars” series is also being developed for Disney Plus. The release dates for both projects have not yet been confirmed.
DON SHULA DIES… Don Shula, the National Football League’s all-time winningest coach, died at his home yesterday of natural causes. He was 90. Shula won 347 games in 33 years of coaching the Baltimore Colts and Miami Dolphins. His 1972 Dolphins team went 17-0 and defeated the Washington Redskins 14-7 in Super Bowl VII. Miami repeated as Super Bowl the next season, downing the Minnesota Vikings 24-7 in Super Bowl VIII. Shula retired as coach after the 1995 season.