One World concert unites world through music during corona-crisis

Staying in is the new going out — or so we have been telling ourselves, to present the current situation around the globe in a somewhat palatable framework. But for one night, the hottest ticket in town — in fact, in the world — was indeed for an event which conveniently took place right in our living rooms.

Organized by the crown princess of pop, Lady Gaga, and the Global Citizen movement, the One World — Together at Home concert had some of the biggest names in the music industry lined up, performing live for 8 hours nonstop. While the show was broadcast on various television networks in the US and around the globe, its biggest distribution channel was online via live-streaming, reaching millions of households globally.

The concert is believed to be the first-ever mass concert with a live in-person attendance of zero, thanks to the marvels of streaming technology.

Together At Home Elton John (Getty Images for Global Citizen)

By the time Elton John was playing from his garden, people around the world were dancing in their living rooms

Read more: How Hollywood stars are responding to the coronavirus

In an unusual approach, the event was not put together to raise funds but as a response to and a sign of gratitude for money already raised for the World Health Organisation (WHO) and its Solidarity Response Fund in their ongoing fight against the spread of the novel coronavirus and its resulting disease, COVID-19. In the lead-up to the event, sponsors and donors had already raised more than $50 million (€46 million) in the fight against the pandemic.

The performance of over 100 superstars also highlighted the importance and sacrifice that frontline health care workers are making in the fight against the pandemic, drawing attention to the perilous conditions under which they tirelessly continue to care for victims of COVID-19.

Read more: What does Trump’s funding freeze mean for the WHO?

From their living rooms to yours

British actress Jameela Jamil led through the opening of the event, calling it “a moment of respite” to “celebrate our true heroes” in the current crisis, referring to essential workers in all professions ranging from nurses and doctors to teachers and delivery drivers. 

Other presenters throughout the show also stressed the importance of unity and support through the pandemic, including concert curator Lady Gaga herself, who said that in that past few weeks, “we have witnessed unbelievable acts of bravery, courage, and kindness all around the world in response to this global pandemic.”

“It’s our love-letter to the world,” Lady Gaga said on behalf of all performers taking part in the show.

A trip around the world through music

You might expect that such a star-studded line-up would be led with biggest of names from the start. But because the event was streamed and broadcast live around the world and across all time zones, the One World concert started with a unique 6-hour pre-show before moving on to the 2-hour main event, giving viewers a tour of the world through music.

Performers from various parts of the globe served as virtual “warm-up bands” in a country-hopping multilingual show that would last several hours, taking the audience on a journey to places like India, France, China, Colombia and more.

Not only did this draw unprecedented global attention to musical talents from around the world, but it also helped to highlight how countries are united in solidarity in the fight against COVID-19. From blues to dance to musical theater to rap and reggaeton, there were musical flavors to cater to all tastes, and help people to take their minds off the massive challenges posed by the pandemic, if only for a little while.

Together At Home Celine Dion (Getty Images for Global Citizen)

Intimate moments with Celine Dion: the Canadian singer was one of the last performers to sing during the event

Powerful voices united against corona

The opening act of the 8-hour show was American singer-songwriter Andra Day, whose performance of the ballad “Rise Up” sent a positive message into the evening.

The first hour of the show already included some pre-recorded highlights such as US singer Adam Lambert’s rendition of “Mad World” (originally recorded in 1982 by British pop group Tears for Fears) and US singer and actress Jennifer Hudson’s performance of “Memory” from the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats. Hudson later also delivered a touching version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” saying it was her favorite song, during which she was joined by several others, harmonizing with her from disparate locations.

Other acts that mesmerized crowds around the world early on included US actor Ben Platt’s version of the Beatles hit “I want to Hold Your Hand,” hitting an impossible-sounding high-D in his signature pitch-perfect style, and British singer Annie Lennox, sharing her Eurythmics 1999 hit “I Saved the World Today” and the 1985 track “There Must be an Angel.” She was joined by her daughter, Lola, for the latter. 

Lennox also stressed in her message that lessons have to be learned from the current situation to prevent future pandemics from happening:

 “In this unprecedented moment in history we have a collective responsibility to make sure that global health systems are strong enough to identify and prevent future pandemics before they happen again.”

There was even a musical shout-out by country singer Billy Ray Cyrus with his song, “Sunshine Girl,” encouraging the global community to look forward to better times. But despite the overall reflective and somber tone, the One World — Together at Home concert was nevertheless still a global celebration. 

Performers like British singer Jessie J drew attention to this fact, saying “please bring out your inner diva, dance wherever you are, and let’s have some fun” as she lent her vocal cords to her hit “Bang Bang.”

Biggest names in entertainment

The last two hours of the concert event were presented by US late-night show hosts Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert, who after briefly greeting their global audience in several languages led through the show with humor and grace, speaking to experts and health care professionals in short interviews broadcast between the outstanding musical performances.

Together At Home Rolling Stones (Getty Images for Global Citizen)

Saturday night with the Rolling Stones – in the comfort of your home

Lady Gaga shared her message of hope with her rendition of the American Songbook standard “Smile” before passing the microphone on to Stevie Wonder, who belted his way through the Bill Withers hit “Lean on Me,”  honoring the African-American songwriter who had passed away just three weeks before the concert.

The rest of the line-up reads like a Who’s Who of the music industry, including performances by Shawn Mendes, Taylor Swift, the Rolling Stones, Billie Eilish, Paul McCartney, Celine Dion, Elton John and Jennifer Lopez. 

Each audience member around the world will likely have a different opinion of what moment may have been their favorite in the 8-hour streaming marathon, but one of the undisputed highlights of the events was Kacey Musgraves, who sang her moving song “Rainbow,” referencing all the drawings of rainbows by children around the world, which have become a symbol of hope amidst the coronavirus crisis.

And there were even appearances by Sesame Street characters Oscar the Grouch and Abby Cadabby, who said she felt comforted during times of social distancing and isolation by giving herself “a nice big hug.”

Using celebrity influence to turn spotlight on global pandemic

The event also lent a platform to celebrities outside the popular music world, from actors like Jack Black, Pierce Brosnan and Sarah Jessica Parker to supermodels like Heidi Klum to classical musicians like Lang Lang, some of whom shared short notes and signs with encouraging slogans while others simply offered their artistic interludes, sharing their gifts with the world as part of the global event. 

While many of those messages were of a generic nature, some drew attention to specific people and places in the frontline against the pandemic, highlighting the crucial work of places like the Elmhurst hospital in New York or health care workers in Cuenca, Ecuador.

Together At Home Lady Gaga (Getty Images/C. Jue)

Thanks to streaming technology, millions of people could follow the concert live on their mobile phones around the world

But there were also messages of hope from everyday people, showing how they are resorting to ingenuity and creativity to get through these difficult times — whether celebrating birthdays from a safe distance, celebrating weddings in small circles with the use of conferencing apps or sharing the perspectives of senior citizens who have been through war and destruction. Corporate sponsors of the events also got to share clips of how they are contributing to fight the global pandemic.

The “One World — Together at Home” event brought people together whose paths only a few weeks ago would never have crossed. In its show of appreciation for the essential frontline workers of the pandemic, it brought home a message of heroism, humility, and humanity. During the show, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres sent a heart-felt appeal to the world, saying that in order to overcome the threat of the virus, the world needed to unite.

And for one night, through the power of music, it did.

A quick rundown of HBO’s free content

With campuses emptied and University life brought to a halt, student journalism is in a tough spot right now. We’re asking our readers to please support the work of our current staff, as well as the next generation of Pitt student journalists, by donating here. Thank you for your support!

With many people social distancing at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, HBO has made almost 40 movies, shows and documentaries free for streaming via HBO GO, HBO Now and On Demand for the month of April. From classics to recent releases, rom com to drama, here’s what you can find.

Veep (Series, 2012 – 2019)  

Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is the Vice President of the United States in this comedy series full of sharp dialogue and good chemistry between the cast. It follows her attempts to manage both the world of politics and her personal life, while also delving into the lives and careers of the shows supporting characters.

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The Sopranos (Series, 1999 – 2007)

This critically-acclaimed drama follows Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini), an Italian-American mob boss from New Jersey who struggles to balance his home life and his work as head of the Soprano family. “The Sopranos” has been named by multiple sites the greatest television show of all time for its story and characters.

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Big Little Lies (Series, 2017 – 2019)

Based on the book of the same name by Liane Moriarty, this dark comedy follows Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley as three mothers who end up involved in a murder investigation. The show’s two seasons, each seven episodes long, are known for their biting comedy and delicious drama.

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The Wire (Series, 2002 – 2008)

This five-season drama begins as a story of officers and drug lords in Baltimore. As the series progresses, the plot starts to involve various different aspects of the local government. The show has been praised for its portrayal of urban life and its representation of every part of society, from the docks to the newsroom.

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Blinded by the Light (2019)

Based on the memoir by Sarfraz Manzoor, this 2019 British comedy starring Viveik Kalra is about a young Pakistani man in 1980’s England who becomes inspired by the music of Bruce Springsteen to express himself.

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Forget Paris (1995)

Written, directed by and starring Billy Crystal, this romantic comedy tells the story of an NBA referee (Crystal) and airline employee (Debra Winger) who start a romance after an encounter in Paris.

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Isn’t It Romantic (2019)

This satirical take on the rom-com genre finds an unlucky-in-love architect (Rebel Wilson) stuck in the world of a romantic comedy after she hits her head during an attempted mugging, much to her dismay since she happens to hate the genre.

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My Dog Skip (2000)

A family drama from 2000, this film is the story of a nine-year-old boy growing up in the 1950’s in Mississippi, whose mother gets him a pet dog after his only friend is drafted. It’s a boy and his dog movie, I shouldn’t have to say more.

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Pokemon Detective Pikachu (2019)

A live action view into the world of the Pokémon games, “Detective Pikachu” follows Tim (Justice Smith) as he teams up with his late father’s talking Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds), who has mysteriously gained the ability to speak to solve the case that lead to his father’s death. This fun action ride will delight any Pokémon fans with its realization of battles and designs for the in-game creatures.

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Sucker Punch (2011)

This action film from Zack Snyder stars Emily Browning as Babydoll, a young woman who is committed to an insane asylum. Her attempt to escape with some other patients is recounted via various imaginary sci-fi and high fantasy sequences. 

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The Bridges of Madison County (1995)

A pair of siblings arrive at the home of their recently deceased mother (Meryl Streep) and discover evidence of her extra-marital affair with a photographer (Clint Eastwood). Going through their mother’s things, the siblings learn how that affair changed both of their lives forever.

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Unknown (2011)

Dr. Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) is visiting Berlin with his wife, but is caught in a car crash. When he wakes up four days later, he discovers his wife, who doesn’t remember him, with another man named “Harris” who has seemingly stolen his life. He sets out to prove who he is and uncover the truth of what is happening.

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The Apollo (2019)

This documentary by Roger Ross Williams recounts how the Apollo Theater, a famous Harlem music hall, and its amateur night started the careers of many black artists over the years. Through a series of interviews, this documentary blends the history and the modern day life of the theater.

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We Are the Dream: The Kids of the Oakland MLK Oratorical Fest (2020)

The lead up to the 40th annual MLK Oratorical Fest, where students from throughout Oakland, Calif., compete by performing various poems and speeches, is chronicled in this 2019 documentary directed by Amy Schatz.

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The Case Against Adnan Syed (Series, 2019)

Following the success of the podcast “Serial,” this four-part documentary from Amy Berg examines new witness testimony and evidence related to the case of the murder of Hae-Min Lee and conviction of Adnan Syed, her ex.

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McMillion$ (Series, 2020)

This six-part documentary covers how $24 million was stolen from the McDonald’s Monopoly game between 1989 and 2001 and the man behind the con, Jerry Jacobson, through in-depth interviews with both law enforcement and the perpetrators.

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RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

$400,000 Given To Restore 1925 African American School In S. Carolina

By The Associated Press

A school built nearly 100 years ago to educate African Americans in South Carolina is getting $400,000 to pay to restore it.

Dorchester County Council approved the money for repairs on the St. George Rosenwald School as part of a larger package for parks and tourism projects, The Post and Courier of Charleston reported.

St. George Rosenwald School (Photo/Google Maps)

The school was one of about 5,000 across the nation and 500 schools across the state built in the 1920s with help from well-known educator Booker T. Washington and Julius Rosenwald, the philanthropic president of Sears & Roebuck.

The pair would secure half the money for the schools if communities put up the other half.

The school in St. George was built in 1925 and is one of 36 Rosenwald schools in the state that still stand.

“County Council understands the historical significance of Rosenwald School,” said Chairman George Bailey. “We look forward to seeing the completion of the renovations.” 

PRESS RELEASE: Largest African-American Dating App, Tagged, To Rollout Live Video Dating to Respond to COVID-19

(Black PRWire) – -The Meet Group, a leading provider of interactive livestreaming solutions, has created two new features designed to help users connect while maintaining proper dating distance on its popular mobile application, Tagged — the country’s largest dating app primarily focused on African Americans. The two features, Blind Date and 1:1 video chat, are designed to provide socially distant users with options to engage and build new relationships.

(Photo by Andrey Popov/Shutterstock)

Blind Date allows users to meet and date streamers through a timed video chat based on personality rather than looks. The streaming host can hear but not see the contestant. As the mini-date progresses, the contestant’s video becomes less blurred and more clear. The contestant is revealed when time runs out or after the host decides it’s a match and taps the “date” option. The feature is a new mode of the Company’s popular NextDate dating game.

The Company also plans to enable 1:1 video chat on Tagged as an alternative to meeting in person. “Meeting in person is no longer safe for large swaths of the world,” said Geoff Cook, CEO of The Meet Group. “We have reminded our users that in-person dating is not essential and that social distancing is important. These video dating features, we hope, will help people find support, connection, and love in these uncertain times.

“There are more than 95,000 NextDate dating games played each day on our apps, and more than one million people either watch or livestream on our video platform every day,” added Cook. “Since the start of the pandemic, time spent in video has increased by 39%. As the social distancing timeline is extended, we are accelerating the launch of video dating products across our portfolio of dating apps.”

The Company expects to roll-out Blind Date and 1:1 video chat to Tagged users over the coming weeks.

Analysis of Patterns of Employment by Race Report

By ABC (Associated Black Charities)

This analysis will present data on racial differences in employment, employment growth, earnings and job turnover. Our analysis answers the question – Is African American employment concentrated in lower-paying or higher-turnover sectors of the City and regional economy?

African American employment is concentrated in lower wage industries and occupations and African American workers tended to earn less than their white counterparts and experience higher employment turnover. We identified four industries with high numbers or concentrations of African American employment: retail trade; transportation and warehousing; health care and social assistance; and administrative and support and waste management services. These four industries have lower wages than many competing sectors. Moreover, racial wage disparities generally persisted across industries and occupations, and become starker in advanced industries that also had an underrepresentation of African American employment, such as manufacturing, wholesale trade, management of companies and enterprises, and professional, scientific, and technical services. Industries with high concentrations of African American employment are mixed in terms of turnover rates; however, turnover among African American workers is higher across all industries in both the metro area and in the City.

Click here to see full report Analysis of Patterns of Employment by Race in Baltimore City and the Baltimore Metropolitan Area

Netflix’s #blackAF Is Kenya Barris’ Uneven But Inspired Curb Your Enthusiasm

Kenya Barris had been working in TV for more than two decades by the time Black-ish made him a brand name. Debuting in 2014, alongside Fresh Off the Boat, Empire and Jane the Virgin, the ABC sitcom about an upper-middle-class black family helped ignite a boom in shows that centered on people of color. It’s since become a franchise, spinning off the ’80s-set prequel Mixed-ish and Freeform’s Grown-ish, which follows the family’s eldest daughter to college. In his free time, Barris scripted the blockbuster Girls Trip and produced movies like the Issa Rae-Regina Hall vehicle Little. His signature is the skillful use of familiar comedic forms to explore contemporary black life.

But when he signed with Netflix in 2018, it wasn’t just about the $10 million payday. Months before Barris left ABC, it shelved an ambitious, ostensibly provocative episode of Black-ish that reflected on recent events like Charlottesville. The incident was proof he’d outgrown the constraints of network comedy, creatively and politically. And the result is #blackAF, his first scripted series for Netflix. In a note to critics, Barris explained, “I wanted this to be something bold, honest, and unfiltered.”

In some ways, it is. No longer content to filter his ideas and experiences through Black-ish’s Johnson clan, Barris stars as a version of himself: a successful producer drifting around his large glass-and-concrete home, alternately oblivious to and bickering with his wife (Rashida Jones) and their six kids. Framed as a documentary directed by their teen daughter (Iman Benson), the show has a looser structure than his earlier work. It’s the Curb Your Enthusiasm to Black-ish’s Seinfeld, with monologues interspersed throughout that tackle fraught issues within the black community, like materialism and fatherhood.

These interludes can be illuminating, but they—along with the framing device and too many tired family-sitcom plots (e.g., Mom and Dad do drugs)—slow the already languid pace. More engaging are scenes that depict Barris’ professional life, as a creator whose career has taken him from Inglewood to Hollywood; in the strongest episode, he (with guest stars including Rae, Ava DuVernay and Tyler Perry) agonizes over how to judge black art. And though he’s no actor, Barris’ Larry-David-like self-awareness lends authenticity to his performance. Even if it takes another season to perfect, #blackAF feels substantial enough to justify the investment.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

‘One World’ Concert Review: Rolling Stones & Beyoncé Hit High Notes At Multi-Network Show For COVID-19 Frontline Workers – Smash Newz

Beyonce & Rolling Stones Top Superstar Show - Deadline

With greetings in a multitude of languages, Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon, appropriated and kindled, kicked off the multi-stage One World: Together at Home concert from their respective homes in different countries. But, even with a common appearance of “excessive gratitude” from former first ladies Laura Bush and Michelle Obama, Beyoncé’s words and the music of the Rolling Stones really brought the show to the World Health and Select Health. care workers

Speaking of which, if the late-night hosts played traffic cops, Beyoncé set the law.

“This virus kills black people at alarming rates here in the United States,” Queen B told the camera in a passionate plea for everyone affected by COVID-19, but especially health care workers, healthcare workers, providers and those who guard our world. going through this difficult time, many of whom are from African-American communities.

Related Story

New York Coronovirus Deaths Below, But Gov. Cuomo Alerts,

“Please protect yourself, we are one family,” the most nominated woman in Grammy history added for everyone. “Please be patient; pray for our heroes.”

Last minute addition to Sesame Street, Lupita Nyong’o, LL Cool J and Matthew McConaughey with a show, the Stones initially seemed plagued by technical difficulties as guitar struming Mick Jagger was the only one visible. However, it soon became clear when reading rock legends about their classic “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” that slow disclosure was actually part of the band’s deal tonight. Having put on their last tour like everyone else due to the coronavirus threat, Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts showed everyone how it works – as you can see in the video below:

? If you start us, we will never stop fighting for global health. Get started with The @RollingStones: https://t.co/26xVXSb0qy #TogetherAtHome pic.twitter.com/Dpze2tNyCW

– Global Citizen (@GlblCtzn) April 19, 2020

From their respective mansions in the United States and the United States, the rockers who headlined the SARSfest in Toronto back in 2003 also showed what a big band that is stripped of – as Ron Howard noted seconds after the boys wrapped it up:

amazing – #rollingstones

– Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) April 19, 2020

Beyoncé didn’t sing, but starting from curator Lady Gaga herself, the One World show went supernova out of the gate with Stevie Wonder doing Bill Withers and a very personal Paul McCarthy advocating for stronger health care systems around the world and singing his Beatles classic. Mrs. Madonna for her nurse. One knight of the kingdom was soon followed by another, while David and Victoria Beckham introduced Sir Elton John when he noticed Still Standing from his LA driveway.

I’ll be sitting down tonight with David and the boys to watch One World: #TogetherAtHome, a global demonstration of unity to support the @WHO in the fight against # COVID19 pic.twitter.com/hc0iaGQyZp

– Elton John (@eltonofficial) April 18, 2020

As the trio of late-night rivals noted that the near-unprecedented two-hour primetime special response to the coronavirus crisis was broadcast on ABC, CBS, and NBC, Kimmel added that One World is also on “all those live networks.” I promised to arrange your parents. “

“Wherever you look, this evening we thank first responders and others for limiting this global pandemic,” the two-time Oscar winner also noted in a more serious way. With superstar heavy films on the show, Jimmy Kimmel Live !, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and The Night Show starring Jimmy Fallon hosts enough to put on a monologue and turned more for the “just the facts lady.” “Dragnet’s approach.

After Colbert told viewers they dumped their wallets, Kimmel realized that One World’s efforts had already raised $ 50 million for WHO. Proclaiming that he comes from a “lovely downtown area of ​​my house,” Colbert, like the slip-up owner of Fallon and Kimmel, has been in a family environment to fans who have been watching the late-night radio for the past few weeks.

The band Fallon and Tonight Show and hip-hop weightlists, The Roots, was another clear highlight. The host and the band joined Zoom-style cash-strapped physicians for a moving version of Men Without Hats’ 1980s classic “Dance Dance.”

Those moves ? Thanks for teaching us the “Safety Dance”, @theroots! Take the pledge to stay home (and practice your footwear!) Here: https://t.co/26xVXSb0qy #TogetherAtHome pic.twitter.com/iHb7qZHGRy

– Global Citizen (@GlblCtzn) April 19, 2020

Already appearing in Elton, hosted by Fox Presents The iHeart Lifestyle Concert for America last month, Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes sat down tonight for a heartwarming performance of “What a Wonderful World.” Songs continued through Burna Boy’s mainly hip hop free show, Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, EGOTer John Legend in his prize room, Sam Smith, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell, piano playing Taylor Swift and common song by Celine Dion, Gaga, Legend, Lang Lang and Andrea Bocelli. Even with all those lights, another show stop was Lizzo, another Living Room concert, bringing out a quirky and intimate rendition of “Change Are We Coming.”

ŬAŬ. What a powerful performance by @lizzo ❤️ # TogetherAtHome @ GlblCtzn @WHO

Listen to: https://t.co/Taomkk6xvU pic.twitter.com/NnMiEZJmh8

– iHeartRadio (@iHeartRadio) April 19, 2020

In a week that saw Donald Trump’s petulant suspend the US financial contribution to the WHO, the organization’s director Tedros Adhanom made a summit entry tonight calling for a global solution to the global health crisis.

With strong words from Idris Elba, who recently tested positive for COVID-19 and married Sabrina, the premature event also saw Kimmel pay his own form of tribute to food-delivery workers. The ABC host ordered a meal from a Los Angeles restaurant, presenting the guy who presented with pizza also a payment.

“This is not a fundraiser, so get rid of your wallets,” Gaga himself told those watching the digital flow of the event tonight, which started at 2 PM ET. Including distant performances by the likes of Jennifer Hudson nailing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” “The Killers, John Legend and Annie Lennox,” to name a few, the first part of the show was available on Twitter, SiriusXM, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Amazon Prime Video, and TIDAL.

Encouraged by Chris Martin of Coldplay over a month ago, the concert series saw some of the biggest acts in music on Instagram and other online platforms play. It is doubtful that this evening will be the last time we will see any of these acts online during these difficult times.

Earlier there were more than 2.17 million confirmed cases of coronavirus around the world with 146,198 deaths, according to the WHO website.

Virtual mega-concert featuring Stones, Swift celebrates health workers

A virtual concert packed with A-listers — from The Rolling Stones to Taylor Swift to Billie Eilish — entertained fans around the world with a show celebrating health workers, as billions shelter at home due to coronavirus.

Lizzo, Jennifer Lopez, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney and LL Cool J also joined in the Lady Gaga-curated online party, which was backed by the international advocacy organization Global Citizen in partnership with the World Health Organization.

Before opening the show Lady Gaga — who began working with Global Citizen and the WHO weeks ago to fundraise for the battle against COVID-19 — said she was praying for medical workers and also “thinking of all of you that are at home, who are wondering when this is all going to be different.”

“What I’d like to do tonight, if I can, is just give you the permission to, for a moment — smile,” she said as she broke into a rendition of Nat King Cole’s “Smile.”

Stevie Wonder then wowed with a tribute to the late soul legend Bill Withers.

Sitting at his home piano Wonder, who turns 70 next month, played “Lean On Me” before launching into his own “Love’s In Need Of Love Today” in his singular crystal-clear voice.

Mick Jagger also appeared ageless despite his 76 years as he delivered the classic “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” as his fellow Stones played from their respective homes, including a grinning Charlie Watts on the air drums.

Stevie Wonder performs during "One World: Together At Home" presented by Global Citizen a...

Stevie Wonder performs during “One World: Together At Home” presented by Global Citizen, a special event celebrating health care workers battling coronavirus

GETTY IMAGES, GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP

Also at her piano Swift played the vulnerable “Soon You’ll Get Better,” which the pop phenom wrote about her mother’s struggles with cancer.

Global Citizen intended the primetime event broadcast on major television networks worldwide — and hosted by American late-night television personalities Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert — not as a fundraiser but as a moment of unity through song.

They also planned it as a “rallying cry” to support health workers, while coronavirus has at least 4.5 billion people forced or urged to stay home.

Prior to the event Global Citizen began urging philanthropists, companies and governments to support the WHO in its coronavirus response efforts, saying it has raised $35 million for local organizations and the international health body’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

– ‘True heroes’ –

Elton John was among the dozens of artists who took part in a marathon event highlight the efforts o...

Elton John was among the dozens of artists who took part in a marathon event highlight the efforts of essential workers fighting COVID-19

GETTY IMAGES, GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP

In addition to performances — McCartney played “Lady Madonna,” as Lizzo belted out a powerful version of “A Change Is Gonna Come” — the event highlighted the efforts of essential workers worldwide, including medical personnel and those delivering food and sanitary products to vulnerable populations.

None other than Queen Bey herself joined in to thank “true heroes” who are “away from their families, taking care of ours.”

Beyonce, a Houston native, also emphasized that the coronavirus pandemic in the United States is disproportionately affecting black Americans, who make up a large part of “essential parts of the workforce that do not have the luxury of working from home,” she said.

Indian actor Shah Rukh Khan and Nigerian singer Burna Boy were among the participants in the event that included former US first ladies Michelle Obama and Laura Bush as well as media personality and philanthropist Oprah.

Neighbors in Virginia gather around a fire pit to watch Beyonce speak during the "One World: To...

Neighbors in Virginia gather around a fire pit to watch Beyonce speak during the “One World: Together at Home” concert that also featured performances from The Rolling Stones and Taylor Swift

Olivier DOULIERY, AFP

British actor Idris Elba — who was diagnosed with and recovered from coronavirus — also took part.

“Tonight, through the universal language of music, we salute the bravery and sacrifice of health heroes and others,” said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in a clip played during the broadcast.

“And please join our call for a global ceasefire to focus on our common enemy — the virus.”

The show closed with a moving harmony of Celine Dion, Lady Gaga, Andrea Bocelli and John Legend performing Dion and Bocelli’s 1999 hit duet “The Prayer,” as renowned concert pianist Lang Lang accompanied.

– ‘Serve humanity’ –

David and Victoria Beckham speak during "One World: Together At Home" presented by Global ...

David and Victoria Beckham speak during “One World: Together At Home” presented by Global Citizen

GETTY IMAGES, GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP

Saturday’s online festivities kicked off with a six-hour pre-show streamed online, with stars across the globe including Christine and the Queens, Jennifer Hudson, Matthew McConaughey, Luis Fonsi and Kesha making appearances.

Soccer phenom David Beckham held a video chat with young athletes, encouraging them to keep honing their skills at home with sporting events canceled indefinitely.

Adam Lambert performed a rendition of Tears for Fears’ hit “Mad World,” while The Killers delivered a stripped-back version of “Mr. Brightside” and Hong Kong icon Eason Chan played John Lennon’s “Love.”

Celine Dion was among the artists who closed a virtual mega-concert celebrating health workers battl...

Celine Dion was among the artists who closed a virtual mega-concert celebrating health workers battling coronavirus

GETTY IMAGES, GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP

And New Yorker Sarah Jessica Parker of “Sex and the City” fame gave a shout out from her couch to medical workers toiling at the city’s particularly hard-hit hospital Elmhurst.

Hospital workers also gave testimony on their vital work battling the virus.

Dressed in scrubs, Aisha al Muntheri spoke from Paris to say she was proud to serve “on the front lines with my colleagues.”

“It’s part of our value in medicine to serve humanity,” she said.

“The humanity is our common language.”

Florissant hotel is Missouri’s first alternate care site for COVID-19; three patients there now

Missouri’s first alternate care site to assist St. Louis-area hospitals in treating COVID-19 patients has opened in north St. Louis County. A Florissant hotel has been converted into the care facility.

Missouri Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Sandy Karsten and Governor Mike Parson speak at a media briefing on April 17, 2020 in Jefferson City (photo courtesy of the governor’s Flickr)

Governor Mike Parson (R) announced on April 8 that Missouri was moving forward with the first alternate care site. Construction began last weekend. In response to a question from Missourinet at the governor’s Friday briefing in Jefferson City, state Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Sandy Karsten announced that it’s opened.

“Keep in mind why this site was constructed, and that was to assist the hospitals in the St. Louis area,” Karsten says. “And today, there are three patients at this alternate care site being cared for by the medical group from the 139th Missouri Air Wing.”

Governor Parson says since Missouri is under a federal disaster declaration, FEMA is paying 75 percent of construction costs and the costs of caring for the patients there.

The governor says that, if necessary, the Florissant site could accommodate more than 100 people and be used to house those who test positive for COVID-19 with mild or no symptoms. It could also be used to house those exposed to COVID-19 and identified and referred by health care professionals as requiring treatment but not hospitalization.

“This alternate care site, which will include medical staffing from the Missouri National Guard and SEMA’s Disaster Medical Assistance Team, can significantly increase their (Missouri hospitals) capacity by freeing up hospital beds for patients with more acute medical needs,” Parson said on April 8.

SEMA is the State Emergency Management Agency. SEMA and the Missouri National Guard are both part of DPS.

The Florissant site was chosen because it’s located in an area with the potential need for additional beds. Utilities were also available to begin immediate construction.

State Rep. Alan Green, D-Florissant, told Missourinet this week that the COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately impacting African-American communities, especially in pockets of north St. Louis County. Green says black residents are feeling a disproportionate impact of the disease.

State health officials say there are now 5,517 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Missouri, along with 175 deaths. The state Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) announced the updated numbers on Saturday afternoon.

The deaths have increased by ten, from Friday’s number of 165.

Copyright © 2020 · Missourinet

Governor DeSantis Says K-12 Schools Closed for the Year, Antibody Test Kits Will Arrive Next Week; Flagler Officials Talk Reopening Beaches; Your Coronavirus Update for 4/18

Stay up to date on coronavirus coverage: Listen to WMFE on your radio, the WMFE mobile app or your smart speaker — say “Alexa, play NPR” or “WMFE” and you’ll be connected.

Florida case data is updated at approximately 11:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. daily.

6:30 p.m. update 

Evening update: More than 25,490 Floridians have coronavirus

Florida is reporting 25,492 coronavirus cases, 748 deaths and 3,745 people hospitalized with COVID-19 according to the latest numbers from the state department of health.

In Orange County there are now 1,180 cases, with 196 hospitalizations. Twenty three people have now died from COVID-19 in the county.

Osceola County has 403 cases and five deaths, while Polk County has 320 cases and twelve deaths.

In Sumter County, home of The Villages retirement community, there are 144 cases and 31 hospitalizations. Eleven people in the county have died.

Hover over the map for data from other counties.

5:30 p.m. update

Governor Ron DeSantis gives coronavirus update at the Florida Capitol

Danielle Prieur, WMFE

K-12 schools are closed for the rest of the year 

Governor Ron DeSantis announced K-12 schools will be closed through the rest of the school year. DeSantis said the decision was made after talking with teachers and parents across the state.

“There was some differing opinions. Some parents were not interested in their kids going back. Some others, it’s been tough around the house. They would have liked to have seen them go back,” he said.

DeSantis said classes will continue online which he called, “not the ideal situation.”

“But given where we are in the school year, we felt that that was the best decision to go forward,” he said.

Economic task force will meet for the first time Monday

DeSantis said a state economic task force will meet for the first time on Monday to discuss reopening businesses. He said the elected and industry leaders who make up the group will develop short, medium and long-term recovery strategies.

“We want to see people back to work for the long-haul and we want to continue with Florida’s economic development strategy,” he said.

DeSantis said the task force will meet every day this week and will present him with their short-term recommendations by Friday.

“We had a lot of great irons in the fire when this hit and we want to get that back going forward,” he said.

Names of nursing homes with coronavirus cases to be released

DeSantis said he ordered Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees to release the names of nursing homes with coronavirus cases in residents and workers.

He said it was up to the nursing homes to release this information before.

“We know it was done most of the time. But at the same time, you have one incident and a week from now they don’t follow through with that. I don’t want to be in situation where the families don’t know,” he said.

DeSantis said Florida National Guard strike teams will continue spot testing at nursing homes along with hospitals like the Cleveland Clinic.

“We’re trying to if we identify an outbreak contain it, so it doesn’t spread like wildfire throughout the facility,” he said.

Antibody tests will arrive in the state next week 

DeSantis said antibody testing has already begun in Florida. He said the state has been working with blood donation companies to screen donors for the protein that points to exposure.

He says the Division of Emergency Management has also ordered antibody test kits.

“They’re supposed to come in this coming week, but I think as we’ve seen in this process you never really know how this is going to all work out,” he said.

DeSantis said being able to identify the spread of the virus throughout the community will inform policy-making going forward.

“It is important to know if in fact the number of people who have actually tested positive is just a really small fraction of whose actually had the virus and who currently has the antibodies,” he said.

Flagler County officials meet to discuss re-opening the beaches

Danielle Prieur, WMFE

Flagler County officials met virtually Saturday to discuss reopening the beaches. A final decision is expected to be handed down Tuesday.

The beaches would only be open on a trial basis for a limited number of hours and could only be used for physical exercise like walking or running, not for socializing.

In a statement, County Administrator Jerry Cameron said they were taking things slow “to try to avoid the missteps of other jurisdictions.

“The goal is safety. We’ve been encouraged by and continue to monitor our park trails experiment – our residents are following extreme social distancing,” Cameron said.

Residents would still have to follow state and county stay-at-home-orders which require non-essential workers to remain inside unless they are getting groceries, picking up medicine or exercising.

The county recommends people continue to wear face coverings in public, practice aggressive social distancing, and wash their hands with soap and water for twenty seconds or use hand sanitizer.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced beaches and parks could be reopened on Friday. Duval County was the first to reopen its beaches.

3:30 p.m. update 

No wait time, hundreds of tests available at Orange County Convention Center coronavirus testing site

Danielle Prieur, WMFE

On Saturday afternoon, there was no wait time at the Orange County Convention coronavirus testing site and hundreds of tests were still available. Bad weather earlier in the day had kept people from coming to the site.

Procedures were modified so that people could continue to fill out registration forms under cover from the rain.

The site will remain open until 5 p.m. or as long as supplies last. Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19, a pre-existing health condition, or who has been exposed to someone with coronavirus can be tested.

Healthcare workers and first responders don’t need to have symptoms to be eligible for testing.

All adults must have a valid ID and children must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. People must be prepared to stay in their cars throughout testing. No mopeds, scooters or motorcycles are allowed on site.

Florida National Guard have performed more than 7,500 coronavirus tests in Central Florida

Danielle Prieur, WMFE

The Florida National Guard has tested 7,513 people for coronavirus at a drive thru Orange County Convention Center testing site since it opened last month.

The site ranks third out of eight Guard-run testing sites throughout the state for the number of tests administered.

Only test sites at C.B. Smith Park in Broward County and the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami-Dade County have collected more swabs for processing.

Guardsmen continue to perform checks of passengers from coronavirus hot zones at the Orlando International Airport and Florida Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen manage the State Logistics Readiness Center in Central Florida.

More than two thousand Guardsmen have been called up for duty to help with Florida’s response to COVID-19. They have performed 54,254 tests since the pandemic began.

2:30 p.m. update 

Who’s Hit Hardest By COVID-19? Why Obesity, Stress And Race All Matter

Allison Aubrey, NPR News

As data emerges on the spectrum of symptoms caused by COVID-19, it’s clear that people with chronic health conditions are being hit harder.

While many people experience mild illness, 89% of people with COVID-19 who were sick enough to be hospitalized had at least one chronic condition. About half had high blood pressure and obesity, according to data from the CDC. And about a third had diabetes and a third had cardiovascular disease. So, what explains this?

“Obesity is a marker for a number of other problems,” explains Dr. Aaron Carroll, a public health researcher at the Indiana University School of Medicine. It’s increasingly common for those who develop obesity to develop diabetes and other conditions, as well. So, one reason COVID-19 is taking its toll on people who have obesity is that their overall health is often compromised.

But does obesity specifically affect the immune system? Perhaps.

Prior research has shown that people with obesity are less protected by the flu vaccine. They tend to get sicker from the respiratory disease even if they’ve been immunized. In fact, researchers have found that as people gain excess weight, their metabolism changes and this shift can make the immune system less effective at fighting off viruses.

2 p.m. update 

Publix workers required to wear face masks starting Monday

Workers at Publix stores will be required to wear face coverings staring Monday, and are encouraged to wear gloves if they can continue to safely perform their jobs.

In a statement posted to Publix’s website, the company says it made the decision based on updated guidance from the CDC.

“Their recommendations indicate wearing any type of face covering in public places can help slow the spread of the coronavirus,” the statement read.

The company will provide face coverings for all employees, but will only give customer service and pharmacy workers plastic gloves.

Once supplies run out, workers will be expected to provide their own protective gear.

The announcement comes after Publix workers at Orlando stores along with stores in Clearwater and South Florida tested positive for coronavirus.

Read the full statement here.

1:30 p.m. update 

Walmart, Sam’s Clubs workers required to wear masks starting Monday

Walmart and Sam’s Club employees will be required to wear a face mask or other face covering at stores, clubs, distribution and fulfillment centers, and corporate offices starting Monday.

Workers can provide their own mask if they meet certain guidelines. Otherwise, masks will be provided by management after workers pass a temperature check and health screening.

Customers and members will be encouraged but not required to wear masks.

In a letter to associates, Walmart U.S. President and CEO John Furner and Sam’s Club President and CEO Kath McLay say the decision was made based on CDC recommendations to reduce asymptomatic transmission.

“The CDC now recommends wearing face coverings in public settings, including grocery stores, to help curb the spread of the virus,” the letter read.

“Although most state and local governments do not mandate the use of face coverings in public settings, the CDC has reported that recent studies show a significant portion of individuals with the virus lack symptoms and can transmit the virus.”

The company acknowledged there may be exceptions to this policy based on state and local laws along with individual health concerns.

Workers are encouraged to continue to practice six feet of social distancing, wash their hands for twenty seconds with soap and water, and stay at home if they have a temperature of 100 degrees or higher. An emergency leave policy has been extended through May.

Read the full statement here.

12:30 p.m. update 

Orlando Magic will sell face masks to support Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida

Danielle Prieur, WMFE 

The Orlando Magic have joined other National Basketball Association and Women’s National Basketball Association teams around the country in selling face masks to support local food banks.

One hundred percent of the proceeds from the masks with the white and blue Magic logo will support Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.

The cloth face coverings are available in adult and child sizes on the Orlando Magic Shop website along with NBAStore.com and WNBAStore.com. 

Manufacturer Industry Rag will donate one face covering for every one purchased to staff and volunteers at Feeding America and Second Harvest in Canada.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida says the demand for food has more than doubled since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

To find the food bank closest to you, click on the link. 

As Coronavirus Continues, Advocates Raise Concerns About Domestic Abuse

Regan McCarthy, WUSF

As Floridians stay home to avoid the spread of the coronavirus some worry about another potential threat—the increased risk of domestic violence.

For weeks, after the spread of the coronavirus began, Gov. Ron DeSantis resisted calls to implement a state-wide stay-at-home order. DeSantis worried about the impact the order would have on domestic violence and abuse across the state. He also worried about the mental health impact the stress related to coronavirus was having on all Floridians.

“I know a lot of people have been uneasy, have been very anxious. You’re in a situation where a lot of the things you used to do are no longer available to you,” DeSantis said. “You turn on the TV. There’s no sports to watch. There’s not a lot of live events. It’s kind of watch the news. A lot of people are watching this and it’s of course 24/7 about the coronavirus.”

DeSantis isn’t alone in his concerns.

Officials say it’s known that when people are at home, their risk of abuse increases. Sara Walsh is the director of the domestic abuse program at Alpert Jewish Family Services in West Palm Beach.

“When there’s times of stress, this adds much more pressure on a family unit. So, when you already have domestic abuse occurring at home—emotional, physical—all these pressures are going to add to the stress of the home. And it’s just going to add additional danger to the person who is being abused,” Walsh says.

Walsh says the closure of schools and businesses is adding to that danger. The state’s unemployment rate has jumped to 4.3% with more than 2-million layoffs in the past few weeks.

“One of the things that I know is that many children, women, and men who are being abused use work and school to escape their situations. It’s their safe haven. It’s not happening now,” Walsh says. “So, if you can only imagine how frightened some of these victims are, in the home, with their abuser, 24/7.”

It’s hard to get a clear understanding of the impact coronavirus has had on driving abuse.

In Palm Beach, domestic violence workers say calls to hotlines aren’t increasing, but they think that could be an indication people are too scared to call. A spokesperson for the Florida Department of Children and Families says calls to the child abuse hotline are also not rising, but that’s common during emergencies since often people outside the home—like teachers—are the ones who call to report abuse. Florida law requires any person who thinks a child is being abused to report it to the Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-962-2873

Alexcia Cox works with the state attorney’s office in Palm Beach. She says the impacts may still be coming.

“I have heard that there are some days that there are sharp spikes in calls and other days there are lulls. So, I can’t give you an exact number. But, I have heard that first hand from a law enforcement officer, that some days dispatch is flooded with domestic violence calls and some days it’s back to normal. I think it ebbs and flows. But I do believe everyone is feeling that there is a ripple coming through the stay-at-home order. There has been a ripple effect in domestic violence,” Cox says.

A delayed effect following a crisis is something Randy Nicklaus says he’s seen before. He’s President of 211 Big Bend, a call center that helps connect people with services ranging from food to getting mental health treatment.

“We see that all the time after events happen, the situations for a lot of people don’t improve right away. They get worse and they need more help and they have more anxiety, depression and they may act on that in not so positive ways. Right now, we’re getting a lot of those calls about anxiety, but I think that may change into something more serious as time goes on,” Nicklaus says

Nicklaus says calls to 211 Big Bend in March increased by about 70% over the number of calls the organization received at the same time last year.

We are constantly helping people with concerns about financial situations they’re struggling with. They may have lost their jobs. They may be worried about food. So, we’re trying to help them with information about what in the community is available,” Nicklaus says.

Nicklaus says there have also been a lot of calls from people experiencing anxiety and there has been an uptick in calls related to suicide. 211 Big Bend also operates as a suicide hotline. But there haven’t been a lot of domestic violence calls yet.

“So, we have seen the trend in that area and I suspect that other areas, like domestic violence, substance abuse, will increase as a result of what’s going on. Time will tell what we see on our hotline,” Nicklaus says.

Dialing 211 will connect callers to someone in their area who can direct them to any services they might need, or just provide a listening ear.

Victims of domestic violence can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 to be connected with local domestic violence resources. If you are feeling suicidal, thinking about hurting yourself, or are concerned that someone you know may be in danger of hurting themselves, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or dial 911.

11:30 a.m. update 

Mid-day update: More than 25,260 Floridians have coronavirus

Danielle Prieur, WMFE

Florida is reporting 25,269 coronavirus cases, 740 deaths and 3,680 people hospitalized with COVID-19 according to the latest numbers from the state department of health.

In Orange County there are now 1,172 cases, with 195 hospitalizations. Twenty three people have now died from COVID-19 in the county.

Osceola County has 397 cases and five deaths, while Polk County has 320 cases and twelve deaths.

In Sumter County, home of The Villages retirement community, there are 124 cases and 31 hospitalizations. Eleven people in the county have died.

Hover over the map for data from other counties.

Furlough begins Sunday for 43,000 Disney workers

Danielle Prieur, WMFE

Some 43,000 Disney parks employees will be furloughed without pay on Sunday. The workers will continue to receive health insurance and education benefits.

Governor Ron DeSantis and Disney announced these workers will be automatically enrolled in the state’s unemployment assistance program.

DeSantis said this will allow the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity to process these claims without crashing the mobile CONNECT website.

In a statement UNITE HERE Central Florida, the union that represents the workers, called it a “much needed-improvement to a broken state run program.”

The union will hold a mock legislative session and roll call today with Sen. Randolph Bracy and Reps. Anna Eskamani and Carlos Guillermo Smith to call on Desantis to continue to reform the state assistance program.

As of Thursday, only four percent of 850,000 claims statewide had been processed. To participate in the mock committee hearing at noon, click on the link. 

10:30 a.m. update

City of Orlando will hold a virtual Sunday brunch

Danielle Prieur, WMFE

Almost fifty downtown Orlando restaurants and bars will participate in a virtual brunch on Sunday that will continue the beloved tradition while maintaining social distancing.

Residents are encouraged to order carryout or delivery or make their favorite foods at home and then to use Zoom or FaceTime to share a meal online with family and friends.

The City of Orlando will feature photos tagged with #StayHomeORL on their social media pages.

The event follows #407Day in Orange County, where residents ordered lunch or dinner out at local eateries while observing a countywide stay-at-home order.

For a list of participating businesses, click on the link. 

9:30 a.m. update 

Orange County Public Schools will reduce free breakfast, lunch schedule beginning Monday

Danielle Prieur, WMFE

Grab-and-Go meal sites in the district will only give out free breakfasts and lunches on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays starting on Monday, April 20 to limit exposure to coronavirus.

Parents will be given two meals on Mondays and Wednesdays, and three meals on Fridays to ensure children have enough food throughout the week and the weekend.

Children no longer need to be present in the car during curbside pickup.  Students who usually bike or walk to school can pick up meals on site.

All food must be taken home to eat in order to maintain six feet of social distancing.

For a list of distribution sites, click on the link. 

En español: Familias de OCPS, tenemos información actualizada sobre el horario de la distribución de comidas para llevar Grab-and-Go.

Comenzando desde el lunes, 20 de abril, la distribución de las comidas será solamente los lunes, miércoles y viernes entre las 10:00 a.m. y la 1:00 p.m.

Los niños recibirán suficiente comida los lunes para cubrir los martes, y los miércoles para cubrir el jueves. Las comidas para el fin de semana se continuarán distribuyendo los viernes. Esto es un esfuerzo para mantener más personas en sus casas y reducir exponerse con otros.

El listado de las escuelas con el programa Grab-and-Go, se encuentra en la página principal del Sitio Web del distrito: ocps.net.

9 a.m. update

More than 24,750 people in Florida have tested positive for coronavirus

Danielle Prieur, WMFE 

Florida now has more than 24,750 cases of coronavirus.

As of Saturday morning, The Florida Department of Health reported 24,753 cases, including 24,066 cases in Florida residents.

3,649 people have been hospitalized, and 726 people have died.

Miami Dade has 8,824 cases, the most of any Florida county.

Orange County has the most cases in Central Florida, with 1,158 cases in people between the ages of 0 and 101. One hundred and ninety four people have been hospitalized and 23 have died.

Sumter County, home to the sprawling retirement community of The Villages, has 120 cases, and Lake County has 197 cases.

8:30 a.m. update 

Officials at Orange County Convention Center Say Hazardous Weather Could Close Testing Site

Florida Guardsmen will continue to test people for coronavirus at the Orange County Convention Center drive thru site today. But hazardous weather like lightening or a thunderstorm could close down the site.

Some procedures including where and how registration forms are signed have been modified to prepare for bad weather.

The site opens at 9 a.m. and anyone with symptoms of COVID-19, a pre-existing health condition, or who has been exposed to someone with coronavirus can be tested.

First responders and healthcare providers do not need to have symptoms to eligible for testing.

The site can test 750 people a day.

All adults must have a valid ID and children must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. People must be prepared to stay in their cars throughout testing. No mopeds, scooters or motorcycles are allowed on site.

6 a.m. update

3 dead, dozens hospitalized after COVID-19 spreads through Seminole nursing home

Dylan Rudolph, WUSF

A Seminole nursing home is being evacuated after the Pinellas County medical examiner’s office reported three residents died there because of COVID-19.

The Tampa Bay Times reported the remaining 39 residents of Freedom Square of Seminole were being evacuated starting Friday. The facility will also be decontaminated.

Almost 40 nursing home patients were transferred to local hospitals earlier this week – some tested positive for coronavirus, while others showed symptoms.

The Florida Health Care Association reports that, as of Thursday, more than 1,400 nursing home residents and staff statewide have been confirmed to have the coronavirus.

Despite that high number – and the high risk for their residents – Kristen Knapp, the Association’s Director of Communications, said that nursing homes are not a priority in receiving supplies.

“And yes, we should be a priority. Our caregivers are on the front lines of trying to protect our most vulnerable citizens, and we need priority to supplies.”

Knapp adds that only forty 40 percent of her groups’ members have two weeks’ worth of supplies. While private vendors are trying to make up the gap, she says it still will take two to three weeks for deliveries.

Florida opening 2 walk-in test sites in underserved places

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Florida will open two walk-in coronavirus testing sites in the Fort Lauderdale area to ensure people who can’t get to drive-up locations have a way to get checked.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday the two sites are in predominantly African American communities in Broward County, which has been one of the hardest-hit places by the virus.

Many people in such areas rely on public transportation or other means to get around and have difficulty getting to a drive-up testing site. State Department of Health statistics show that more than 225,000 people have been tested for the virus in Florida.

More than 24,000 people in Florida have tested positive, leading to more than 3,500 hospitalizations and 686 deaths.

Governor gives some Florida beaches green light to reopen

The Associated Press

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida’s governor has given the green light for some beaches and parks to reopen if it can be done safely after being closed because of the coronavirus.

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ announcement on Friday came as north Florida beaches became among the first to allow beach-goers to return since the closures.

Mayor Lenny Curry says Duval County beaches were reopening Friday afternoon with restricted hours, and they can be used only for walking, biking, hiking, fishing, running, swimming and surfing.

Florida officials were criticized for leaving beaches open during spring break. Most counties closed their beaches in response or kept them open under very restrictive conditions.

FDACS reports “Florida Farm To You” page is helping farmers sell their products

Robbie Gaffney, WFSU

Earlier this week, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services launched a new webpage to connect farmers with potential buyers.

The Department is reporting about 212 different submissions of products have been made on its “Florida Farm To You” page. The agency’s Franco Ripple says some farmers that have uploaded their products are seeing a spike in sales.

“To our knowledge there’s not been you know at least in Florida a comprehensive kind of database where farmers can upload what they’ve got and people can find it and go buy it directly contacting farmers in their communities.”

The “Florida Farm To You” page lists several different farms in the Big Bend Area that are directly selling goods to consumers. Items listed include blueberries, oysters and pork.

Florida police union requests ‘pandemic pay’ for officers

The Associated Press

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — A Florida police union has requested its members be given extra “pandemic pay” for working during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Ledger reports the request was made in a letter Tuesday by the President of West Central Florida Police Benevolent Association, Nick Marolda, to Lakeland city officials.

City Manager Tony Delgado says officers were paid extra wages in prior times for putting in more work through emergency situations including tornadoes and hurricanes.

Delgado adds it’s not clear if the funds refunded by the federal government in those situations would apply to the virus. City officials have asked Marolda to come up with a proposal for the pandemic pay.

Florida man encases self in concrete at governor’s mansion

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man encased himself in concrete outside the Governor’s Mansion in the state capital apparently to protest prison conditions related to the coronavirus.

A Tallahassee police spokesman says 28-year-old Jordan Mazurek put PVC pipes horizontally into two 55-gallon plastic drums filled with concrete, with some sort of mechanism that locked his arms in place.

He was first spotted about 6 a.m. Friday outside the fence surrounding the mansion and was eventually freed about 10:30 a.m.

The Tallahassee Democrat reported that one of Mazurek’s drums was painted with the words, “Stop the massacre.” The other read, “Free prisoners now.”

Click here for more of WMFE’s coronavirus coverage.