Meanwhile, the family members of a cruise ship passenger who died from the virus sued Princess Cruises and its parent company in federal court in California. Also, the gym chain 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide could be on the brink of filing bankruptcy, according to published reports.
According to Johns Hopkins University data, the virus had killed more than 104,000 in the U.S. and more than 372,000 worldwide as of early Monday. There are more than 6.1 million confirmed cases across the globe, with 1.7 million in the U.S.
George Floyd protests could spark new coronavirus infections, experts say
Civil unrest across the nation fueled by racial injustice is raising fears of new coronavirus infections.
Melanie Campbell, president of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, said anger in the black community has been building for years. George Floyd’s death spurred them to take to the streets even as the coronavirus has taken a disproportionate toll on African Americans.
“Black people are risking their lives protesting in the middle of a pandemic that’s killing black folks. That’s real,” she said. “There is no convenient time to fight back.”
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms warned that “if you were out protesting last night, you probably need to go get a COVID test this week.” Bottoms warned that “there is still a pandemic in America that’s killing black and brown people at higher numbers” than white people.
Health experts fear carriers of the virus who have no symptoms could unwittingly infect others at protests where social distancing is simply not taking place. The merits of the protesters’ cause “doesn’t prevent them from getting the virus,” said Bradley Pollock, chairman of the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of California, Davis.
– Deborah Barfield Berry, USA TODAY
24 Hour Fitness reportedly preparing for bankruptcy filing
Gym chain 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide is reportedly preparing to file for bankruptcy, as retailers and other companies navigate the coronavirus pandemic. According to The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, the company is seeking a loan to allow them to keep operating through a restructuring.
The company has more than $1.3 billion in debt after a buyout by AEA Investors and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, reports Bloomberg. Based in California, 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide operates more than 430 clubs across the country. The Journal reports the company plans to close some gyms permanently.
In a statement obtained by USA TODAY, 24 Hour Fitness says they look forward to continue reopening clubs nationwide as coronavirus restrictions are lifted. “We are considering a broad range of options to ensure the long term sustainability and success of 24 Hour Fitness and we are not going to comment publicly on our strategic plans,” said the company.
– Brett Molina, USA TODAY
Family of Grand Princess passenger who died of coronavirus files suit against Carnival
The family of a California cruise ship passenger who died of coronavirus has sued Princess Cruises and its parent company in federal court. Ronald Wong, 64, and his wife, Eva, were passengers on the Grand Princess when the ship set sail from San Francisco on Feb. 21. He died in a California hospital a month later after testing positive for coronavirus. Eva Wong tested positive and recovered.
According to the complaint, filed last week in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Princess and its parent, Carnival Corp., should have known that a passenger on the ship’s prior voyage had coronavirus. Sixty-two passengers and 1,000 crew members who sailed on the Grand Princess to Mexico stayed on board for the next sailing to Hawaii, according to the complaint.
– Curtis Tate, USA TODAY
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs bill to support families of frontline workers
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Saturday signed a bill into law that creates a death benefit for the families of state and local government workers who have been on the front lines of the state’s coronavirus response, according to a statement. Those workers “gave their lives for us,” Cuomo said.
New York has been the state hardest hit by the coronavirus. On Saturday, Cuomo also confirmed 1,376 new cases of the virus. According to the governor’s office, that brings the statewide total to 369,660 confirmed cases.
Contributing: The Associated Press