‘We have received zero support’: Americans in Honduras struggle to get home
Amid tightened travel restrictions, Americans stranded in Honduras are calling on the United States government to help bring them home.
“People did do their due diligence to come home, but we have received zero support from our own home country and the U.S. embassies abroad,” Rita Shah, a doctor from New York City, told NBC News via WhatsApp. “We would love to help and be in the hospitals and help. Unfortunately that’s out of our hands,” she added.
Shah was on vacation with two other friends in Roatan but flew to San Pedro Sula earlier this week, hoping that being on the mainland would make it easier for her to get back to the U.S. But due to Honduras’ tight travel restrictions, she has not been able to leave. Shah is now working with other Americans via WhatsApp chats to attempt to charter a flight from Honduras back to the U.S.
Crystal Alexander, a diving instructor from Idaho who was working in Honduras, was supposed to return to the U.S. in April after being there since October. The resort she worked at closed earlier this week, leaving her to grapple with finding a quick and safe way home. “It feels like I don’t even have a government,” Alexander said.
Coronavirus isolation difficult for domestic violence survivors
As people across the U.S. are told to stay home because of the coronavirus pandemic, domestic violence experts warn the isolation could be “devastating” for survivors forced to shelter somewhere unsafe.
“We know social isolation can really have devastating impacts on the safety, health and wellbeing of victims,” said Dr. Amanda Stylianou, a domestic violence expert at Rutgers University.
“Being able to wake up in the morning to leave their home to go to safe schools, workplaces, to visit family and neighbors is really critical and is a really important protective factor for them in a time where that protective factor is gone,” she said.
Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, said it was an “incredibly distressing” time for survivors, and her group had already heard ways the outbreak was impacting victims.
Staffer for Vice President Mike Pence tests positive for the coronavirus
A member of Vice President Mike Pence’s staff has tested positive for the coronavirus, Pence’s office said Friday night.
The staffer’s name and exact position was not released, but Pence’s press secretary, Katie Miller, said, “Neither President Trump nor Vice President Pence had close contact with the individual.
“Further contact tracing is being conducted in accordance with CDC guidelines,” Miller said.
Pence, who was placed in charge of the White House coronavirus task force in late February, said earlier this week he had not been tested for the virus himself.
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Florida closes gyms, restaurants
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, issued an executive order Friday that all fitness centers and gyms will be closed immediately and restaurants can only remain open for delivery or take out.
Bars and nightclubs were closed earlier in the week. Beach gatherings are restricted to 10 people.
The announcement came as Florida confirmed more than 500 COVID-19 cases throughout the state and 10 deaths.
Acting Homeland Security secretary on disinformation texts
Andy Cohen tests positive
Andy Cohen announced on Friday that he tested positive for coronavirus.
The “Watch What Happens Live” host posted on Instagram he had been self-quarantined for a few days and not feeling great.
“After a few days of self-quarantine, and not feeling great, I have tested positive for Coronavirus,” he wrote to his 3.7 million followers.
“As much as I felt like I could push through whatever I was feeling to do (‘Watch What Happens Live’) from home, we’re putting a pin in that for now so I can focus on getting better,” he added. “I want to thank all the medical professionals who are working tirelessly for all of us, and urge everybody to stay home and take care of themselves.”
People worldwide adjust to new life amid COVID-19
In a project by NBC News’ Social Newsgathering and Video Feature teams, people from the U.S. to Europe to the Middle East share how they’ve adjusted to life in this pandemic.
An Italian resident whose family is taking extra precautions by adding social distancing lines inside their supermarket for customers speaks about the experience.
A Diamond Princess passenger talks about deciding not to travel for the time being. And a chef in the West Bank describes how he has decided to close his restaurant in response to the coronavirus.
Army Corps of Engineers scouting NYC buildings for hospital use
The head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Friday it’s scouting hotels, dorms and other buildings in New York City that could be converted into field hospitals with 10,000 beds.
Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite said the Federal Emergency Management Agency gave the Corps $1 million Tuesday to start the process and that FEMA said more money will be provided as needed.
Semonite said the corps has already looked at the huge Jacob Javits Convention Center on the western edge of Manhattan and some State University of New York buildings.
Corps engineers were also visiting other buildings to assess them Friday, he said.