LONDON – The coronavirus pandemic is interrupting immunization against diseases including measles, polio and cholera that could put the lives of nearly 80 million children under the age of 1 at risk, according to a new analysis from the World Health Organization and partners.
In a new report issued Friday, health officials warned that more than half of 129 countries where immunization data were available reported moderate, severe or total suspensions of vaccination services during March and April.
UNICEF, which co-produced the report, reported a significant delay in planned vaccine deliveries because of lockdown measures and a dramatic reduction in the number of available flights. More than 40 of Africa's 54 nations have closed their borders, though some allow cargo and emergency transport.
Officials also noted that 46 campaigns to vaccinate children against polio have been suspended in 38 countries, mostly in Africa, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Measles campaigns have been suspended in 27 countries.
Michigan governor extends orders
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday extended Michigan's stay-at-home order by slightly more than two additional weeks, through June 12, while keeping theaters, gyms and other places of public accommodation closed until at least then.
A day after a judge ruled in her favor in a lawsuit filed by the Republican-led Legislature, the Democratic governor also extended her coronavirus emergency declaration through June 19. The state on Friday reported 5,158 confirmed deaths due to COVID-19 complications, which is the fourth-most of any state. The daily death toll rose by 29 and the number of new confirmed cases in the state increased by 403, to nearly 54,000 since the pandemic started.
Bars and restaurants remain closed to dine-in customers except in the Upper Peninsula and much of the northern Lower Peninsula, where they started reopening Friday at 50% capacity.
Postal Service, Denver in standoff
A U.S. Postal Service distribution facility in Denver that handles 10 million pieces of mail a day for Colorado and Wyoming remained open Friday despite being ordered to shut down by city health officials because of a coronavirus outbreak investigation. The agency said it is complying with federal safety guidelines and working with city officials to address their concerns.
The Denver Department of Public Health & Environment said it ordered the facility shut down after the Postal Service refused to provide it with necessary information and inspectors were refused entry beyond the post office service counter Wednesday. The 840,000-square-foot mail facility, the fourth largest in the United States, has about 2,000 workers who process incoming and outgoing mail for 6.3 million people in Colorado and Wyoming using about 900 trucks.
Ex-mayor to leave prison, pastor says
Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is being quarantined at a federal prison while awaiting a likely release in June, which would be years before he was scheduled to finish his corruption sentence, a pastor said Friday.
The U.S. Bureau of Prisons declined to comment about Kilpatrick, saying only that he remains in custody at the prison in Oakdale, Louisiana. U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider in Detroit said he wasn't aware of any plans to release Kilpatrick. But the Rev. Keyon Payton said Kilpatrick now is being granted relief under a federal policy that gives officials discretion to move some inmates because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Kilpatrick, 49, has served only a quarter of his 28-year prison sentence. With good time credits, he's been listed for release in 2037.
Robocalls down during pandemic
Industry experts say robocalls are way down – scam calls as well as nagging from your credit-card company to pay your bill. The coronavirus pandemic has inflicted millions of job losses, and scammers have not been immune.
YouMail, which offers a robocall-blocking service, says 2.9 billion robocalls were placed in April in the U.S., down from 4.1 billion in March and 4.8 billion in February. That's a daily average of 97 million calls in April, down from 132 million in March and 166 million in April.
The main reason: many global call centers have closed or are operating with fewer workers, said YouMail CEO Alex Quilici. After a lockdown order went into effect in India in late March, “we saw the volume of calls basically half the next day,” Quilici said.
Stimulus check turns up in trash
A car wash worker in North Carolina found treasure amid the business's trash when he discovered a $1,200 IRS stimulus check mixed in with the garbage.
Antonio Hernandez was taking out the trash at the Greenville car wash when he spotted the payment in the can, WITN-TV quoted his daughter, Michelle Alvarado, as saying. They were able to track down recipient Charles Thompson, who said he was not even expecting to get a check after recently moving to a new address.
Hernandez and Alvarado added that they were happy to help connect Thompson with the lost funds, even though they and Thompson had no idea how the check ended up at the car wash in the first place.