Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: May 10, 2020

Tim O'Donnell
Coronavirus testing.
Al Bello/Getty Images

1.

Global coronavirus infections top 4 million

The global number of confirmed coronavirus infections has surpassed four million, Johns Hopkins University calculates, with more than 1.3 million of those cases in the United States. There have been nearly 280,000 confirmed deaths worldwide, including more than 78,000 in the U.S. Many experts believe both the number of infections and deaths are undercounted since testing has fallen short in many countries, though there are efforts under way to change that. In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced that 22 new testing sites are open, while encouraging residents to obtain tests even if they're not exhibiting symptoms, which would help get a true sense of the pandemic's scale. [Johns Hopkins University, The Wall Street Journal]

2.

Fauci to self-quarantine after 'low risk' encounter

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is one of three members on the White House coronavirus task force who will self-quarantine after coming into contact with a White House staffer who tested positive for the virus. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn will also self-quarantine. Fauci's contact was "low risk" because he was not in close proximity to the person, who has not been identified. His "modified quarantine" plan is to work from home while occasionally going to his empty office, wear a mask continually, and get tested every day (he said he has already tested negative). If he is called into testify before the Senate next week as expected, however, he plans to attend. [CNN, NBC News]

3.

South Korean president warns of second wave

After the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday reported 34 new coronavirus infections — the country's highest daily rise since April 9 — President Moon Jae-in warned about the risk of a second wave of COVID-19 later this year. Moon said the new cluster, which emerged after a man who eventually tested positive visited multiple recently re-opened night clubs in Seoul, shows how quickly the disease can spread. South Korea has drawn praise for how it has largely curbed the outbreak, but the latest development shows how difficult re-opening can be, and Seoul's bars and clubs were quickly ordered shut once again. "It's not over until it's over," Moon said. [The Wall Street Journal, Reuters]

4.

Obama reportedly calls Trump's coronavirus response a 'chaotic disaster'

Former President Barack Obama reportedly called the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic "an absolute chaotic disaster," though he also conceded the virus' toll would have been bad "even with the best of governments." The comments occurred during a leaked web call with former members of his administration. Obama has mostly refrained from criticizing Trump since the White House transition in 2017. During the call, Obama also reportedly urged his former staffers to rally behind his former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, who looks set to take on Trump in what's expected to be a tightly-contested general election in November. [Agence France Presse, Axios]

5.

FDA approves first coronavirus antigen test for emergency use

The Food and Drug Administration issued the first emergency use authorization Friday for a coronavirus antigen test. The test, produced by San Diego-based manufacturer Quidel, can diagnose COVID-19 by detecting fragments of protein found on or within the virus present in samples collected from the naval cavity using swabs. The test produces results within minutes — much more quickly than many other tests on the market — but the technology is also more liable to result in false negatives, so a PCR test may be necessary to confirm. But once production ramps up, so will the country's ability to test millions of Americans per day. [CNBC, The Wall Street Journal]

6.

Belarus goes ahead with VE-Day parade

The coronavirus pandemic resulted in a mostly continent-wide cancellation of public Victory in Europe Day commemorations marking the 75th anniversary of Nazi Germany's unconditional surrender of its armed forces at the end of World War II in Europe. In Russia, which had prepared for a day of great fanfare, President Vladimir Putin instead presided over a muted ceremony as COVID-19 infections skyrocketed in the country. But in neighboring Belarus, a large parade was held in Minsk, as President Alexander Lukashenko seems to remain unfazed by the threat of the virus. Lukashenko said it was necessary to "honor our heroes on this sacred day." Belarus has reported 21,101 coronavirus cases and 121 deaths, but journalists have not been allowed to interview medical professionals or see what's happening at hospitals. [BBC, NBC News]

7.

Tesla sues California authorities, Musk threatens to move company to Texas, Nevada

Tesla filed a lawsuit against local authorities in California on Saturday, after the electric car-maker was told by Alameda County's health department not to re-open its Fremont, California, factory in the state while coronavirus lockdown measures remain in place. CEO Elon Musk, who has grown frustrated with the economic shutdown in the U.S., threatened to move the company's headquarters and "future programs" to Texas and Nevada immediately. If Tesla maintains any manufacturing activity in Fremont, Musk said, it will be dependent upon how the company is treated. Tesla said it developed a thorough plan that would allow employees to return to work safely, but that local officials did not respond to any communication efforts. The health department said it's been "working closely with the Tesla team." [Elon Musk, Reuters]

8.

SNL concludes 45th season with another made-from-home episode

NBC's Saturday Night Live returned with another made-from-home episode that serves as the finale for the show's 45th season. Alec Baldwin reprised his role as President Trump during the cold open, where he served as an unwanted commencement speaker at a remote high school graduation ceremony. Former SNL cast members Kristin Wiig (who hosted), Tina Fey, and Martin Show, all made appearances. Fey appeared during the episode's "Weekend Update," which she hosted for several years alongside Jimmy Fallon and Amy Poehler. Actors Josh Gad and Danny Trejo also made cameos during the episode. [Saturday Night Live, USA Today]

9.

UFC returns to action

The Ultimate Fighting Championship returned to action Saturday night in Jacksonville, Florida, during the coronavirus pandemic, which has sidelined sports across the world, save for a few leagues like the Korea Baseball Organization. Multiple fights took place over the course of the evening, including the event's main bout between Justin Gaethje and Tony Ferguson, which ended with the former prevailing with a TKO in the fifth round. The win means Gaethje is the interim UFC lightweight title-holder, although he removed the belt and said he'll "wait for the real one." The fights were held without fans. [ESPN]

10.

Little Richard dies at 87

Rock 'n' roll pioneer Little Richard died Saturday after battling bone cancer. The musician's son, Danny Jones Penniman, confirmed the news. He was 87. Little Richard considered himself the "architect" of the music genre known as rock 'n' roll, and he — along with the likes of Chuck Berry and Fats Domino — helped shatter the color line on music charts, bringing what was once called "race music" into the mainstream, AP reports. Richard was known for his skills on the piano and his vocals, as well as his fashion choices and eccentric on-stage personality. He sold more than 30 million records worldwide, produced hit songs like "Tutti Frutti," "Good Golly Miss Molly," and "Long Tall Sally," and influenced countless musicians, including the Beatles. [The Associated Press, The Week]