Barcelona resident happy his serenade helped people forget coronavirus

BARCELONA (Reuters) – Barcelona resident Alberto Gestoso, whose video of himself playing piano for neighbours from his balcony has been viewed nearly a million times on Instagram, is just happy he could help people forget the coronavirus, if only for a few minutes.

The clip, taken while the 37-year-old computer programer was confined at home under Spain’s state of emergency, has been featured on national media in a country hard hit by the pandemic.

“One neighbor asked me if he could join on the saxophone. I’d never even seen him before,” he said of the video, which features Barcelona’s iconic Sagrada Familia basilica in the background. “In the end I played (the) ‘Titanic’ (theme tune) and he joined me mid-song.

“If such a lovely, viral video can make people forget – if only for a little while, for five minutes – about the coronavirus and always talking about the same thing, then that’s great.”

Dozens of musicians and singers across Spain have regaled neighbours with music, since the government imposed strict lockdown measures on March 14 in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus.

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Coronavirus relief: Significant changes coming to unemployment insurance benefits

Mnuchin wants coronavirus bill signed, small business loans to start by end of next week

FOX Business’ Edward Lawrence breaks down the coronavirus aid package.

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As confirmed coronavirus cases continue to climb across the U.S., a vast amount of businesses remain shut down – leaving many American workers without a job, or with reduced hours.

Initial jobless claims last week hit the highest level in recorded history – at nearly 3.3 million.

And the situation is likely to become more challenging.

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS: WHO GETS MONEY AND WHEN? 

James Bullard, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, said during an interview with Bloomberg over the weekend that the U.S. unemployment rate could hit 30 percent during the second quarter. The Economic Policy Institute has predicted that as many as 14 million Americans could find themselves without a job by summer.

The federal government and lawmakers are aware of the effects measures that have been taken – including requiring businesses to shutter their doors and Americans to stay home – have had on workers. In legislation that is expected to be approved by Congress this week, lawmakers intend to make historic changes to strengthen unemployment insurance for people who cannot work due to the coronavirus.

Under the $2 trillion legislation, additional emergency benefits will be provided to each recipient.

CORONAVIRUS RELIEF BILL TO INCLUDE $350B FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

In dollar terms, on top of state benefits, eligible Americans can receive an additional $600 per week for as many as four months.

California Gov. Newsom said during a press briefing this week that in his state, workers could be eligible to receive as much as $1,000 per week under the bolstered assistance plan.

Baseline benefits vary by state, but the average benefit is $364, according to the American Action Forum.

The bill provides for an additional 13 weeks offered by the federal government after state benefits are no longer available through the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. That means for a state with 26 weeks of coverage, the total would be extended to 39 weeks.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office said on Thursday that benefits will be expanded to the self-employed, independent contractors, gig workers and others – through a new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. This would provide as many as 39 weeks’ worth of benefits to workers who wouldn’t traditionally qualify, but have found themselves out of work, unable to work or with reduced hours as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

The federal government will help states work through their needs to fund the expanded aid.

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Chilean musician serenades elderly parents to beat coronavirus blues

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chilean musician Gonzalo Acuna knew a hug was out of the question as coronavirus fears forced his elderly parents into self-isolation. So he turned instead to his accordion.

Every evening, Acuna, who hails from the central Chilean city of Hualpen, serenades his parents, who watch from behind the safety of their front window, dancing and laughing to the music.

Acuna, clad in a blue sweatshirt, wears a black face mask that does little to hide his smile beneath.

“I play them a little bit of music, I chat with them and we try to have a nice time together. It fills my heart and it makes them happy,” he says.

Chile has reported more than 1,600 cases of coronavirus, among the highest tallies in Latin America. The music is a potent antidote to the isolation that many elderly Chileans have voluntarily undertaken to stay healthy amid the outbreak.

“He works all day then he comes here. To me, that’s a gift from God,” said his mother.

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Google Nixes April Fools Pranks 'Out of Respect' for Coronavirus Patients

“Let’s save the jokes for next April, which will undoubtedly be a whole lot brighter than this one,” a Google internal memo reads

The world continues to be upended by the coronavirus pandemic, with more people contracting COVID-19 as the days pass. While many have recovered, some have died from complications of the illness. These are the names of some notable figures from Hollywood and the media  that we have lost.

  • Terrence McNally, a four-time Tony Award-winning playwright, died on March 24 at the age of 81 of complications from the coronavirus. His works included “Master Class,” “Love! Valour! Compassion!” and “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune,” which later became a film with Michelle Pfeiffer and Al Pacino.

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  • Italian actress Lucia Bosè, who starred in such films as Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Story of a Love Affair” (1950) and Juan Antonio Bardem’s “Death of a Cyclist” (1955), died on March 23 of pneumonia after contracting COVID-19, according to the Guardian. She was 89.

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  • Chef Floyd Cardoz, winner of “Top Chef Masters” Season 3, died at the age of 59 of coronavirus complications on March 25.

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  • Mark Blum, who starred in “Desperately Seeking Susan,” “Crocodile Dundee” and the Lifetime/Netflix series “You,” died on March 26 of coronavirus complications. The veteran character actor and regular on New York City stages was 69.

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  • While many celebrities who contracted COVID-19 have recovered, some have died from complications of the illness

    The world continues to be upended by the coronavirus pandemic, with more people contracting COVID-19 as the days pass. While many have recovered, some have died from complications of the illness. These are the names of some notable figures from Hollywood and the media  that we have lost.

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    Coronavirus forces US aircraft carrier to stop for emergency testing

    An outbreak of coronavirus on the USS Theodore Roosevelt has now left at least two dozen crewmen infected, sidelining the 1,000-foot aircraft carrier.

    The boat was forced to make an emergency stopover in Guam so all 5,000 aboard could be tested. The Roosevelt had previously been on patrol in the South China Sea.

    Though coronavirus has affected every branch of the U.S. military, the Navy has been the hardest hit by far, with a third of total cases among the armed forces.

    “The Navy is headed into choppy waters in terms of readiness in the months ahead,” said retired Adm. James Stavridis, a former top commander of NATO.

    Large aircraft carriers like the Roosevelt are uniquely vulnerable to infectious diseases, with thousands of people often crammed together in close quarters.

    “We are operating in the area where the disease started. All the risk and the spread of this disease initiated in this theater. So, if we were surprised, we’d be naive,” said U.S. Pacific Fleet commander, Adm. John Aquilino, adding there was no timetable for when the Roosevelt might leave Guam.

    With Post wires

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    Coronavirus Scotland: Scottish Secretary Alister Jack develops Covid-19 symptoms and is self-isolating – The Sun

    SCOTTISH Secretary Alister Jack has developed mild symptoms associated with coronavirus.

    The Tory MP for Dumfries and Galloway has announced that he is now self-isolating.

    ⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates on Covid-19

    Mr Jack said: “In the past 24 hours, I have developed mild symptoms associated with coronavirus.

    "In line with medical guidance, I am self-isolating and working from home.”

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    'Disappointed' Grey's Anatomy Boss Assures Early Finale Will Be 'Satisfying'

    Despite the halting of production and Friday’s early finale announcement, Grey’s Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff has assured fans that the stand-in Season 16 closer will be a “satisfying” one.

    “We are disappointed that we don’t get to complete our storytelling this season. The good news? 1621 plays like a satisfying finale!” she tweeted. “It’s not where we planned to end, but it’s beautiful & the questions that linger we will answer next year. #GreysAnatomy #StayHome” She also reminded viewers that Grey’s will resume its storytelling in Season 17.

    Season 16 will now conclude Thursday, April 9 (at 9/8c on ABC), while its remaining episodes have been scrapped. The move came as a result of the network’s decision to not resume production, which shut down earlier this month in response to the coronavirus crisis. This change brings the episode count from its original 25 down to 21.

    The series’ two remaining episodes will be April 2’s “Sing It Again,” in which Owen and Link treat an older woman who wakes up from surgery and can’t stop singing, and April 9’s “Put on a Happy Face,” which will now serve as the season ender. According to ABC’s official logline: “Link tries to convince Amelia to take it easy during the final stage of her pregnancy; Hayes asks Meredith a surprising question; Owen makes a shocking discovery.”

    Grey’s Anatomy isn’t the only series affected by changes stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak. New Amsterdam, The Walking Dead, Supernatural, FBI and more have announced shake-ups to finale air-dates, and in some cases, finales have even been moved to the fall. Click here for a complete list of other early finales and additional changes.

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    Google Removes Infowars Android App From Online Store Over Coronavirus Misinformation

    Google on Friday removed the Android version of the Infowars app from the Google Play online store, after comments made by Infowars founder Alex Jones about the COVID-19 pandemic were deemed false and harmful.

    Google Play was that last major internet platform that provided an outlet for Infowars, which trades in right-wing conspiracy theories and fear mongering. In September 2018, Apple banned the Infowars app from the App Store, citing its violation of the policy prohibiting “offensive, insensitive, upsetting, intended to disgust or in exceptionally poor taste.” Jones and Infowars also have been banned by Google’s YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Apple Podcasts and Spotify for violating policies on hate speech and harassment.

    The news of Google’s ban on the Infowars Android app was first reported by Wired, which said the removal came in response to a video in which Jones “disputed the need for social distancing, shelter in place, and quarantine efforts meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.”

    “Now more than ever, combating misinformation on the Play Store is a top priority for the team,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement. “When we find apps that violate Play policy by distributing misleading or harmful information, we remove them from the store.”

    Jones, in a video response on Infowars’ website about Google’s removal of the app, said, “It doesn’t make me mad that they’re doing this to me. It’s that they’re doing it to all of us… Modern book burning is now the default position.” Jones also said, “Even if I’m wrong about something, I have a right, you have a right to judge it, and tune in or tune out.”

    As noted in Wired’s report, New York Attorney General Letitia James on March 12 sent Jones a cease-and-desist notice, ordering Infowars to stop and marketing products as a treatment or cure for the coronavirus. “As the coronavirus continues to pose serious risks to public health, Alex Jones has spewed outright lies and has profited off of New Yorkers’ anxieties,” James said in a statement. Per the New York AG, Jones fraudulently claimed that Superblue Toothpaste “kills the whole SARS-corona family at point-blank range.” The CDC says there currently are no FDA-approved drugs specifically for the treatment of patients with COVID-19.

    According to a post Friday on the Infowars site, Jones said the ban came after he “discussed the use of hydroxychloroquine, zinc, and strong antibiotics to treat coronavirus.” Jones pointed out that the treatments he promoted have been “popularized by President Donald Trump, and also discussed by [Fox News hosts] Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham,” according to the post.

    The U.S. now has the most confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the world, with 104,837 as of Saturday morning, and 1,711 total deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering’s coronavirus tracker.

    Jones’ final “deplatforming” from all major internet services comes after years of controversial and false statements. His most notorious claim has been that the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut — in which 20 children and six adults were killed — was a “giant hoax” perpetrated by “crisis actors.” Jones has been sued for defamation by several family members of the Sandy Hook victims, and to date a judge has ordered Jones and Infowars to pay $150,000 to families in legal fees. In a court deposition last year, Jones said it was a “form of psychosis” that caused him to believe events like the Sandy Hook massacre were staged.

    The Infowars host, among other comments, also has has alleged the U.S. government was behind the 9/11 attacks and said that NFL players protesting during the national anthem were “kneeling to white genocide.”

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    A photographer captured people holding signs with powerful messages through their windows while self-isolating during the coronavirus pandemic

    • A photographer has created a portrait series which beautifully documents people self-isolating at home, taken through their windows.
    • Each photo taken by Stephen Lovekin shows a person or family sharing a message to the world during the coronavirus pandemic.
    • Messages include "hope," "alone together," and "the machine can stop."
    • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

    The photos were taken in Lovekin's local Brooklyn neighborhood of Ditmas Park.

    He was searching for a way to help people feel more connected to the outside world, despite being physically separated from one another.

    So Lovekin decided to ask neighbors to share a message with the world, whether personal, political, or spiritual.

    The first person Lovekin photographed was a 91-year-old artist, who happens to be his neighbor. "She lives alone in a studio on the top floor, where she continues to create artwork. I was inspired by her dedication to her work," he said.

    "Through word of mouth and sharing on social, other people were asking me to get involved in the project, and it eventually started a snowball effect. I feel like I'm busier than when things were normal!" Lovekin added.

    The "Hope" image of a photographer with his family is Lovekin's favorite. "I remember seeing the daughter with her hand on her knees, and her mother came out behind her with the word 'Hope,' and I knew that it would be a great group shot," he said.

    "I enjoy photohraphing children — to see the innocence and naivety in the kids is bittersweet and beautiful," Lovekin said.

    But he admitted it's "hard to pick" one favorite image.

    Some people chose to write inspirational quotes …

    … others sent a powerful message …

    … some signs offered reminders to slow down …

    … and some simply documented this unprecedented situation we all find ourselves in.


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    Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson Make a Joyful Return to Los Angeles After Coronavirus Diagnoses

    Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson are back in Los Angeles!

    The couple were photographed driving in L.A. with Hanks behind the wheel and Wilson, both 63, in the passenger seat two weeks after they were both diagnosed with coronavirus.

    The Oscar-winning actor wore a gray T-shirt and baseball cap as both he and Wilson wore sunglasses.

    Their return to the U.S. from Australia, where Hanks was busy filming Baz Luhrmann’s untitled Elvis Presley biopic, comes just days after Hanks shared a statement on how the couple was feeling on Twitter.

    “Hey, folks. Two weeks after our first symptoms and we feel better,” Hanks wrote in a joint statement with his wife. The couple then urged their fans and followers to stay home and self isolate, reminding people that it was the most effective way to avoid the virus, as well as help stop the spread.

    “Sheltering in place works like this: You don’t give it to anyone — You don’t get it from anyone. Common sense, no?” he wrote. “Going to take awhile, but if we take care of each other, help where we can, and give up some comforts… this, too, shall pass. We can figure this out.”

    Hanks announced on March 11 that he and Wilson had contracted COVID-19. Filming for the movie has been halted following Hanks’ diagnosis. The actor is the only person on set believed to have tested positive for the virus, according to a representative from the film in Australia.

    Wilson and Hanks were released from a Queensland hospital on March 16, with a rep for the actor telling PEOPLE at the time they were “doing very well” under quarantine at their home in Australia.

    “Tom and Rita are doing very well and continue to recover,” Hanks’ rep, Leslee Dart, said. “Their recovery is very much on course for healthy adults with this virus. They are feeling better each day.”

    As of Friday afternoon, there are at least 575,800 coronavirus cases in the world, according to The New York Times, with at least 26,638 people having died from the disease.

    As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.

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