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Coronavirus live updates: Rental giant Hertz files for bankruptcy; US nears 100,000 deaths; Pat Ewing has the virus

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Coronavirus live updates: Rental giant Hertz files for bankruptcy; US nears 100,000 deaths; Pat Ewing has the virus

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As coronavirus spreads, people are getting more cautious and creative with their social interactions.

USA TODAY

Car rental giant Hertz is the latest corporate casualty of the coronavirus, declaring not only bankruptcy but also that “no business is built for zero revenue” amid crippled global travel and mounting death tolls in the U.S. that are likely to hit 100,000 by early next week.

As the United States heads into Memorial Day weekend, flags around the country will be at half-staff for the victims of the virus.

President Donald Trump said he ordered the flags to be lowered Friday through Sunday “in memory of the Americans we have lost to the CoronaVirus.” Flags will be at half-staff Monday “in honor of the men and women in our Military who have made the Ultimate Sacrifice for our Nation,” Trump tweeted.

Meanwhile, Americans itching to get out of the house this weekend “can be outside” if they take proper social distancing precautions, Dr. Deborah Birx advised Friday. “You can play golf. You can play tennis with marked balls. You can go to the beaches” while keeping at least six feet apart, she said.

Roughly 96,000 people have died from the virus in the United States, more than a quarter of the 338,000 deaths worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University data dashboard. There are more than 5.2 million confirmed cases around the globe, with 1.6 million in the United States alone.

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Hertz, billions in debt, files for bankruptcy

Hertz filed for bankruptcy protection Friday, unable to withstand the coronavirus pandemic that has crippled global travel and with it, the heavily indebted 102-year-old car rental company’s business.

The Estero, Florida-based company’s lenders were unwilling to grant it another extension on its auto lease debt payments past a Friday deadline, triggering the filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware.

By the end of March, Hertz Global Holdings Inc. had racked up $18.7 billion in debt with only $1 billion of available cash.

Starting in mid-March, the company – whose car-rental bands also include Dollar and Thrifty – lost all revenue when travel shut down due to the novel coronavirus, and it started missing payments in April. Hertz has also been plagued by management upheaval, naming its fourth CEO in six years on May 18.

“No business is built for zero revenue,” former CEO Kathryn Marinello said on the company’s first-quarter earnings conference call May 12. “There’s only so long that companies’ reserves will carry them.”

– Associated Press

NBA legend and Georgetown coach Pat Ewing hospitalized with virus

Georgetown men’s basketball coach and Hall of Fame player Patrick Ewing has tested positive for COVID-19, the school announced Friday evening.

Georgetown said in a news release that Ewing, 57, is isolated and receiving care at a Washington hospital. He chose to announce his diagnosis “to emphasize that this virus can affect anyone,” the school said. He is the only member of the team to test positive.

An 11-time All-Star as a player with the New York Knicks, Ewing transitioned to coaching in 2002, serving as an assistant with several NBA teams before accepting the head coaching job at Georgetown before the 2017-18 season. 

– Tom Schad

Nevada’s 28% joblessness is worst in US and in state history

More than one-fourth of Nevada’s workers don’t have jobs after the state’s unemployment rate hit 28.2% in April – the highest rate in the U.S. and the worst joblessness showing in Nevada history. The previous record for Nevada unemployment was estimated at 25% during the Great Depression.

Nevada was hit especially hard by the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic because so many of its jobs are tied to the travel, tourism and hospitality sectors, according to David Schmidt, chief economist for the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation. 

Wear a mask in public? Majority of Democrats, Republicans say they have

Despite high-profile incidents of Americans refusing to wear face masks, an overwhelming majority of Americans say they have worn a face covering due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new survey.

More than four out of five Americans — 84% — said they have worn a mask in public in an effort to limit the spread of coronavirus, according to a survey from the Democracy Fund + UCLA Nationscape Project. 

And while reopening economies and wearing a mask have at times become partisan talking points, the vast majority of Democrats and Republicans said they have worn a mask in public.

There is a small disparity among age groups, with younger people having been slightly less likely to have worn a mask in public. Roughly three out of four (78%) Americans ages 18 to 29 say they’ve worn a face mask in public, while 90% of Americans 65 and above say they have.

– Rebecca Morin

Donald Trump to order US flags lowered to honor coronavirus victims

President Donald Trump said Thursday he will order U.S. flags to be lowered over federal buildings to honor those who have died from the coronavirus.

The order, which Trump said would continue into the Memorial Day weekend, comes as the nation approaches 100,000 deaths from the virus. Flags traditionally fly at half staff on Memorial Day to honor the nation’s fallen members of the military. 

Trump’s decision came hours after congressional Democrats sent a letter requesting that the flags be lowered when the coronavirus death toll hits 100,000.

– John Fritze and Nicholas Wu

CDC estimate: 35% of cases are asymptomatic

About a third of coronavirus cases are asymptomatic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in guidance for mathematical modelers and public health officials.

The “current best estimate” for the percent of positive cases that are asymptomatic is 35%, but the CDC says that number could change as more data becomes available.

The CDC says the new coronavirus can be transmitted by people who have not yet experienced symptoms or who never experience symtoms.

More coronavirus news and information from USA TODAY:

Contributing: The Associated Press

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