National Cathedral finds hidden “stash” of 5,000 medical masks in a crypt
The Washington National Cathedral says a stone mason found 5,000 medical masks in a crypt Wednesday that had been forgotten about for more than a decade. The church is now donating them to medical institutions that are in desperate need of them as they battle the coronavirus pandemic.
The National Cathedral, where many American leaders have been eulogized or held prayer services, tweeted about its discovery after an employee found it. The cathedral sent a portion of the masks to MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and then the rest to Children’s National Hospital.
“Seek and ye shall find, apparently,” the Cathedral’s Twitter account said. Today @WNCathedral sent 3000 N95 masks to @MedStarGUH and 2000 to @ChildrensNatl after a stonemason found a forgotten stash in the Cathedral crypt. Certified by manufacturer as still good.”
House expected to vote Friday on coronavirus relief bill
The House of Representatives ison a massive relief package responding to the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. The Senate unanimously late Wednesday night.
The bill, which carries a price tag north of $2 trillion, will likely be approved by a voice vote in the House, which doesn’t require the presence of all members, many of whom are currently in their home states.
The relief measure passed with a vote of 96 to 0 in the Senate The bill expands unemployment insurance, provides direct payments to most Americans and includes hundreds of billions of dollars in loans and grants to corporations, hospitals, state and local governments and more.
“Tonight, the Senate voted on legislation which, thanks to the leadership of Congressional Democrats, has been turned upside down from a Republican corporate focus to a Democratic workers-first focus,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement following the Senate vote. “On Friday, the House will take up the legislation with strong bipartisan support.”
Germany ramps up COVID-19 testing capacity to 500k per week
Germany has increased its ability to test for the new coronavirus to 500,000 a week. Lothar Wieler, the head of Germany’s Robert Koch disease control center, says the number of tests being conducted in the country was likely the highest worldwide, both in absolute numbers and per capita.
Christian Drosten, a leading virologist at Berlin’s Charite hospital, says about 6-7% of tests come back positive. So far, there have been 39,500 cases in Germany and 222 deaths.
The relatively low death rate in Germany — less than 1% — has been attributed by some epidemiologists to the extensive testing in the country, which enables the German health care system to quickly detect cases, isolate and treat them, and conduct the vital contract tracing.
Fewer than 500,000 people have been tested for the new coronvirus in the U.S. since the epidemic began in the country.
Amazon employees fear COVID-19 exposure: “I was panicking”
At least 10 Amazon warehouse employees across the country have contracted the coronavirus, according to employee and media reports. However, they are part of a select group of professions whose workers continue to serve their communities, often risking their own health to assist people self-isolating.
“We have to make sure, you know, where we’re working at is safe,” Amazon associate Sahro Sharif told CBS News’ Adriana Diaz. Sharif, who works at the Shakopee fulfillment center in Minnesota, is part of a coalition pushing for better working conditions. Right now that means assuring employee safety as the coronavirus pandemic has many sequestered to their homes for fear of infection.
“I was scared, I was panicking,” she said about the news of infections among warehouse workers. “When it comes to Amazon, there’s so much more they could do for their employees.”
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