Coronavirus live updates: Harris County to extend stay-at-home order
March 30-- Mar. 30--The Houston Chronicle has lifted the paywall on this developing coverage to provide critical information to our community. To support our journalists' work, consider a digital subscription.
10:17 p.m. Statistics from a San Antonio military base vanished online late Monday after Defense Secretary Mark Esper ordered military installations around the world to stop disclosing the number of novel coronavirus cases to the media and the public, reports the San Antonio Express-News.
Esper cited national security when he issued the order, which obstructs residents around military installations from knowing who on the base tested positive for COVID-19, the Express-News reported.
9:30 p.m. College athletes in spring sports who saw their seasons abruptly cut short will be eligible for another year, reports the Chronicle's Joseph Duarte.
The NCAA Division I Council voted Monday to approve an extra year of eligibility for those athletes impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
"In a nod to the financial uncertainty faced by higher education," the Division I Council provided schools the flexibility to give athletes whose eligibility was to expire in 2019-20 the opportunity to return for 2020-21 without requiring athletics aid be provided at the same level, the NCAA said in a statement.
The decision comes less than three weeks after the NCAA canceled all winter and spring championships, including the men's and women's basketball tournaments, for the 2019-20 academic year due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
8:42 p.m. The Chronicle's Andrea Leinfelder explains in a new story how the novel coronavirus attacks the human body.
When people infected with the new coronavirus cough, sneeze or simply speak, they send respiratory droplets into the air. People nearby, within roughly six feet (hence the signs in grocery stores), can inhale those droplets and bring the virus into their bodies. This is thought to be the main way the virus spreads, though a person touching an infected surface and then touching his or her eyes, mouth or nose might also get sick. Read more.
8 p.m. Since noon, the statewide total of COVID-19 cases rose from 2,906 to 3,145. Six additional deaths were reported for a total of 47 fatalities in Texas.
7:54 p.m. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo committed to extending the dates of her stay-at-home order as coronavirus cases continue to spike through the region, reports the Chronicle's Samantha Ketterer.
She is still determining how far ahead the county will extend the order but anticipates making a determination on Tuesday. The order is set to expire Friday.
"It's something that we all have to bear, it's a necessary burden and we're doing it for the sake of our health," Hidalgo said, referencing the order.
7:37 p.m. Unemployed bar and restaurant workers in Houston need some extra love during the economic crunch caused by the coronavirus pandemic. That's why a nationwide relief program is coming to the city offering to-go meals for restaurant employees dealing with layoffs or reduced hours, reports the Chronicle's Greg Morago.
On Saturday the Montrose restaurant Riel launched the Houston arm of the Restaurant Workers Relief Program, a partnership between the Lee Initiative and Maker's Mark to feed restaurant workers in need.
Lee, based in Lexington, Kentucky, established the program in cities including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Seattle, New Orleans and Washington, DC.
7:24 p.m. Texans Pro Bowl left offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil is pitching in to help those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, committing up to $250,000 in relief funds, reports the Chronicle's Aaron Wilson.
That includes donations to the Florida Gateway Food Bank in his hometown of Lake City, Fla., and the Star of Hope mission in Houston.
7:17 p.m. About 10 of the Houston area's largest school districts have changed their curbside meal plans, resulting in headaches among parents and reduced access to food for some children, reports the Chronicle's Jacob Carpenter.
A wait bordering on an hour greeted hundreds of families seeking meals at the Pasadena ISD campus, as the district shifted from daily to twice-a-week curbside meal pickup amid school closures triggered by the novel coronavirus. The crowd proved so overwhelming that dozens of families were turned away after workers ran out of food, leaving them without school-provided meals for three days. Read more.
7:02 p.m. Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough issued a shelter-in-place order for residents of a senior living facility in The Woodlands where 12 residents tested positive for the novel coronavirus, reports the Chronicle's Catherine Dominguez.
The Conservatory at Alden Bridge, at 6203 Alden Bridge Drive, is a senior living facility that offers apartment homes and offers residents services such as chauffeured transportation for scheduled trips to shopping, dining and medical appointments. The facility can house up to 237 residents and currently has a capacity of about 200.
According to the order, residents have until 6 p.m. Tuesday to leave to stay with a family member as long as they continue to shelter in place during the duration of the order. Those who leave the facility cannot return to the property until the order expires April 13.
6:56 p.m. Unemployed people in Texas will have to work to take advantage of an additional $600 per week from the federal government, reports the Chronicle's Erin Douglas.
For several weeks, hundreds of thousands of Texans have sat home jobless, dialing and re-dialing the Texas Workforce Commission help-line, trying to get through the overburdened call centers to file unemployment assistance claims. The flood of unemployment claims -- 3.3 million nationally last week, 156,000 in Texas -- has crashed websites and overwhelmed call centers for filing first-time applications. Read more.
6:51 p.m. Two aging inmates are suing Texas prison officials, accusing staff of failing to protect them against the new coronavirus, reports the Chronicle's Jeremy Blackman.
The lawsuit says inmates in the Wallace Pack Unit, northwest of Houston, face a high risk of severe illness from exposure to the virus, which is quickly spreading across the state. The lawyers representing the men are the same who sued the Department of Criminal Justice in recent years for subjecting them to sweltering temperatures without air conditioning.
6:27 p.m. County Judge Mark Keough issued an immediate shelter-in-place order for residents of an apartment complex where 12 residents tested positive for COVID-19, according to a tweet from the county.
6:20 p.m. Public safety employees of government entities who were likely exposed to COVID-19 while employed are entitled to reimbursements for medical expenses related to the treatment of the disease, the Commissioner of Texas Workers' Compensation Cassie Brown said in a memo issued Monday.
6:15 p.m. U.S. Rep. Lizzie Fletcher, a freshman Democrat from Houston, tested negative for COVID-19 after flu-like symptoms forced her to self-quarantine, reports the Chronicle's Benjamin Wermund.
Fletcher had been in self-quarantine since Thursday with symptoms that included a 101-degree fever.
6:12 p.m. A Katy mother who struggled to get tested for the new coronavirus before being admitted to a local hospital has tested negative for COVID-19.
The woman, Maegan Blackwell, expressed frustration in an interview with the Chronicle last week that she had experienced symptoms of the new coronavirus -- fever, a dry cough, difficulty breathing -- but was turned down for a test by a local hospital. She later turned to a Sugar Land doctor who assessed her via video conference, found she had the symptoms of COVID-19 and had her admitted to Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital.
After Blackwell was discharged March 24, the hospital informed her that she tested negative for the coronavirus, a relief to her and her family, including her husband and 3-year-old son who had self-quarantined.
5:56 p.m. A second person in Fort Bend County has died from COVID-19, officials said.
The patient was a man in his 70s with an underlying illness. He died Sunday at a local hospital.
The county also reported 19 additional positive cases.
5:47 p.m. Harris County today released an online dashboard tracking the details of COVID-19 cases in its jurisdiction. During an afternoon news conference, officials said 3700 people have been tested in Harris County.
5:30 p.m. The Galveston County Health District announced 22 additional positive COVID-19 cases, the largest single-day increase so far. That brings the county's total to 92.
To date, 1,063 Galveston County residents have been tested, according to a news release. Among the new cases, 12 were linked to community spread. Seven cases were linked to other COVID-19 patients, and three were linked to travel.
5:20 p.m. After Republican anti-LGBT activist Steven Hotze and three pastors earlier today petitioned the Texas Supreme Court to overturn Harris County judge Lina Hidalgo's stay-at-home order, Methodist Hospital president and CEO Marc Boom responded:
"It's absolutely disheartening. It's reckless. It's potentially endangering lives. [At the Texas Medical Center] we're shocked and appalled," he said, according to the Chronicle's Lisa Gray. "We're still on the wrong side of this curve. The numbers are still going up. They need to be going down before we loosen up the stay-at-home restrictions. Our political and business leaders are working together to loosen things up in a responsible way."
5:10 p.m. A Houston Public Library employee tested positive for COVID-19 last Thursday, two days after the employee last attended work, according to an email from library director Rhea Lawson that was obtained by the Chronicle.
In response to the news, which was not released to the media or publicly announced, library officials instructed co-workers "known to have been in close contact" with the employee to remain home and self-isolate, reports the Chronicle's Jasper Scherer. The branch where the employee works was closed, and library officials asked for "enhanced cleaning and sanitation" of the area.
The library system suspended services March 16. The employee last reported to work on March 24, according to Lawson's email. Mary Benton, a spokeswoman for Mayor Sylvester Turner, declined to say Monday morning whether any city employees had tested positive for the coronavirus.
"For privacy reasons, to remain in HIPAA compliance, the City of Houston does not disclose to the media whether a City of Houston employee is diagnosed with any virus or illness," Benton said in an email.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, is intended to protect patients' personal information after they visit hospitals and clinics. The Houston police and fire departments have regularly released information about the number of police officers and firefighters who have tested positive. Scores of other cities have also released information such as the number of employees who have tested positive and which departments they work in.
Fire Chief Sam PeÃ±a said Monday that all six Houston firefighters who have tested positive for the coronavirus are recuperating at home and have not required hospitalization. Blanca Quezada, a spokeswoman for the Houston Public Library, said in a statement that employees who are not approved to work from home "can speak with their supervisor or director about taking vacation time or accrued sick time to remain at home. Otherwise, the city cannot pay employees to stay at home if they are not working."
Benton said the city will "assist with accommodations" for employees who need to self-quarantine and "cannot do so safely."
4:57 p.m. Former West University Place Mayor Burt Ballanfant has died, city officials confirmed Monday, believing the cause to be COVID-19, reports the Chronicle's Dug Begley.
Ballanfant, 72, was mayor for two terms and a councilman prior. After ending his second and final mayoral term three months early in 2007, Ballanfant was on the Metropolitan Transit Authority board from 2007 to 2015. He resigned as mayor to accept an appointment by the 14 cities other than Houston with two appointments on the transit board. A lawyer for Shell Oil, Ballanfant rode the bus to and from work during his career.
Ballanfant in recent years suffered from Alzheimer's Disease, which came to public notice in May 2018 when he was reported missing for a few hours and later found near his family's ranch.
4:51 p.m. The Brazoria County Health Department reported 12 new COVID-19 cases.
A previous COVID-19 case was transferred to another jurisdiction where the person lives, officials said. The twelve new cases bring the total to 79, officials said.
4:45 p.m. Houston retailer Stage Stores furloughed "virtually all" of its employees after temporarily closing all of its department stores, reports the Chronicle's Paul Takahashi.
The Houston retailer -- which employed about 13,600 full- and part-time employees as of February 2019, according to its most recent annual report -- temporarily closed all of its 738 department stores on Friday as consumers increasingly heed public health recommendations and government mandates to stay home to slow the spread of the virus.
4:30 p.m. Metro warned an estimated 200,000 riders that a bus driver tested positive over the weekend for COVID-19, urging anyone that took a downtown shuttle or Fuqua park and ride bus to take precautions, reports the Chronicle's Dug Begley.
Metropolitan Transit Authority confirmed late Sunday that a bus operator and a dispatcher for MetroLift -- with no contact with the public at work -- both tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Metro spokesman Jerome Gray said transit officials were following the lead of local health officials, and the agency was not privy to how the two caught COVID. Gray said Metro CEO Tom Lambert spoke to both employees by phone and "they are doing well."
4:22 p.m. Chambers County has extended its stay-at-home order through April 30, reports the Chronicle's Nick Powell.
Under the county's stay-at-home order, food service establishments, convenience stores, and other retail establishments selling food or drink shall not allow customers to self-serve ready to eat food or drink.
This includes buffets, beverage dispensers, and customer self-service stations.
4:03 p.m. Montgomery County logged 16 more cases of COVID-19 on Monday but health officials reported 11 people have now recovered from the novel coronavirus, reports the Chronicle's Catherine Dominguez.
The Montgomery County Public Health District confirmed the new cases, bringing the county's total to 81.
3:51 p.m. Harris County reported 14 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the county total to 254, including two deaths.
The health department confirmed that 39 patients have recovered.
3:43 p.m. A federal judge in Texas has blocked the state's emergency ban on abortions during the coronavirus outbreak, saying the ban violates a woman's right to choose, reports the Chronicle's Jeremy Blackman.
This is the first decision in a series of lawsuits filed in states that have sought to restrict access during the pandemic, Blackman reports.
3:36 p.m. Two more Harris County Sheriff's Office deputies tested positive for COVID-19. There are now 12 HCSO staff members with the disease, the sheriff's office said.
The most recent cases involve a deputy in his late 40s who works in patrol. His last day on duty was March 21 and he is quarantined at home.
The second case is a sergeant in his early 30s who works in the Harris County Jail. He last day on duty was March 22 and he is also quarantined at home, the sheriff's office said.
3:25 p.m. While the stimulus package on its way from Washington provides an additional $600 per week to unemployment benefits, the legislation makes one major assumption -- that people are able to apply, reports the Chronicle's Erin Douglas.
For several weeks, the Texas Workforce Commission's websites and phone lines have been completely overwhelmed, leaving hundreds of thousands unable to get through to submit their claim.
If the newly unemployed are not able to submit their application, though, they stand to miss out on much-needed income. Texas only pays benefits for the week from which the claim was submitted.
3:21 p.m. AARP Texas has asked Gov. Greg Abbott to temporarily expand medicaid to help uninsured older Texans, according to a news release.
AARP Texas Director Tina Tran asked Abbott to take action similar to earlier statewide emergencies, such as following Hurricane Harvey, by applying for a federal Medicaid waiver. In this case the waiver would be to expand Medicaid coverage to poor Texans not eligible for Affordable Care Act subsidies, the release said.
3:14 p.m. Instead of setting up checkpoints, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers will increase patrols near the Louisiana border after Gov. Greg Abbott mandated that Texas-bound motorists should self-quarantine for two weeks, reports the Chronicle's Nicole Hensley.
The order, signed Sunday by Gov. Greg Abbott, stated that drivers entering Texas from Louisiana would have to fill out a form disclosing where they would isolate for the next two weeks -- or until they leave Texas, whichever was shorter.
3:11 p.m. A woman in her 70s became the third COVID-19 related death in the city of Houston, officials said.
The woman had underlying health conditions. The Houston Health Department also reported 23 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the city's total to 309.
2:55 p.m. Fifteen Woodlands Fire Department firefighters are in self-quarantine due to possible exposure to patients with the novel coronavirus, officials reported Monday.
There have been no positive tests as of Monday and another 11 firefighters are back on the job after going through 14-day quarantine periods earlier in March.
2:47 p.m. COVID-19 could be responsible for a giant cultural shift in dating, reports the Chronicle's Julie Garcia.
Rachel DeAlpo, chief dating expert at Match.com, says this moment could be the end of America's "hookup culture."
2:31 p.m. As the COVID-19 pandemic grows within the United States, many Texas colleges and schools are using their ingenuity to help the community. The Chronicle's Brittany Britto made a list of how the Lone Star State's higher education institutions are helping through donations, research and even new inventions.
2:05 p.m. Domestic violence cases in Montgomery County have spiked 35 percent this month compared to the same period last year, possibly due to isolation during the coronavirus outbreak, according to the District Attorney's Office.
"This rise may be due to increased isolation, stress and more access to victims by perpetrators caused by the COVID-19 virus fallout. As social distancing guidelines continue to further isolate victims from resources available to them, those victims are at an increased risk for abuse," a statement from the DA's Office read. The Office "will continue to aggressively prosecute violent offenders, particularly those who prey upon these most vulnerable members of our community."
1:50 p.m. A hardline conservative power broker and three Harris County pastors filed a petition with the Texas Supreme Court Monday arguing that Judge Lina Hidalgo's stay-at-home order violates the Constitution by ordering the closure of churches and failing to define gun shops as an "essential" business.
The emergency petition for a writ of mandamus, filed by anti-LGBTQ Republican activist Stephen Hotze and pastors Juan Bustamante, George Garcia and David Valdez, contends that Hidalgo's order undercuts the First Amendment by limiting religious and worship services to video or teleconference calls. Pastors also may minister to congregants individually.
-Reporter Jasper Scherer
1:35 p.m. The U.S. Conference of Mayors, including Sylvester Turner of Houston and Ron Nirenberg of San Antonio, are the latest public officials to urge President Donald Trump to use the full force of the Defense Production Act to compel companies to make medical supplies needed to combat COVID-19, reports the Chronicle's Benjamin Wermund.
1:24 p.m. Sexual abuse survivors this week called on Southern Baptist leaders to commit to sustained action on abuse reforms despite the faith group not meeting this year because of COVID-19.
They hope that leaders such as SBC President J.D. Greear, who will now have a third term as president because the faith group's annual meeting was canceled, will push for more robust policies on abuse.
-Reporter Robert Downen
1:15 p.m. Some states -- including Texas -- have temporarily stopped evictions from going forward in court. But, the Chronicle's Sarah Smith reports, there is no such measure in Harris County.
Texas' order delaying evictions has no allowance for coronavirus-imposed economic conditions. It still allows landlords to file eviction cases, but they won't be heard in court the order lifts on April 19.
12:57 p.m. Students in a pair of local school districts began their distance learning with error messages and glitchy websites Monday as schools across Greater Houston marked their first day of online classes, reports Shelby Webb.
A Fort Bend ISD spokeswoman said thousands of area students may have logged onto the online platform the district is using, called Schoology, at the same time, possibly overloading the system and causing it to crash and lag. Students in Alief ISD, which uses the same Schoology platform experienced similar problems.
12:43 p.m. The statewide total of confirmed COVID-19 cases is now 2,906, reports the Chronicle's data team. The total of confirmed coronavirus deaths is now 41. There is now at least one confirmed case in more than half of all Texas counties.
The number of people tested for the virus in the state is now 25,730. The increase includes 247 public tests-- there were no new private lab tests reported.
12:28 p.m. A three-month extension on all 12-month delinquent property tax payment plans was announced by Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Voter Registrar Ann Harris Bennett Monday.
"Due to our area's current health crisis and resulting economic uncertainties, property owners who are currently on 12-month property tax payment plans will not have to make payments for three months," Bennett said in a statement. "Unfortunately, state law mandates that the appropriate late fees must still be assessed. However, I hope this extension helps ease property owners' burdens during this critical time."
Property owners with 12-month installment payment plans do not have to make payments for March, April, or May, Bennett said.
The next required payments will be due on or before June 30 and and can be paid on a monthly basis from until the end of the property owner's initial payment deadline.
Property owners who receive payment extensions must contact the county's tax office before making their last payment, said Bennett.
The property tax code mandates that the office must still assess appropriate late fees to all extended delinquent property tax payment plans. The Tax Office does not have the authority to waive the state's fees, Bennett added.
Property owners can call 713-274-8000 for more information, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
12:15 p.m. The new travel restrictions tightening the Texas border issued by Gov. Greg Abbott went into effect at noon on Monday.
The new restrictions came as President Donald Trump extended social distancing guidelines through April 30, preventing all nonessential travel in the country, reports the Chronicle's Nicole Hensley.
12:07 p.m. The Southern District of Texas will rely on phone and video conferencing for non-essential court appearances during county stay-at-home orders, according to a Monday news release.
While the federal courts are still considered essential under the orders, the Southern District is trying to limit the number of people inside its buildings.
-Reporter Samantha Ketterer
11:49 a.m. The Texas manufacturing industry has collapsed as the coronavirus upends supply chains, customer demand and oil prices for local manufacturers, a monthly survey the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas shows.
The Chronicle's Erin Douglas reports that the sudden, unprecedented plunge in business activity indicated by the survey of Texas manufacturers is another blaring red indicator that the U.S. economy is in real trouble. A recession risk tracker by J.P. Morgan jumped to 96 percent on Monday after the Dallas Fed published the results.
11:27 a.m. The 2020 Olympic Games were reset Monday to begin July 23, 2021, one year from their postponed opening date, by the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, reports David Barron.
The IOC and organizers said the decision to stage the Games in summer rather than spring will give organizers "maximum time to deal with the constantly changing landscape and the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic."
11:16 a.m. Houston religious leaders are holding a moment of prayer at noon today, reports the Chronicle's Robert Downen.
The announcement comes as gatherings at churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship in Harris County have been canceled due to COVID-19.
11:02 a.m. Brazoria County reported its first death related to the new coronavirus on Monday, as well as seven new virus cases, bringing the countywide total to 68.
The patient who died was a Pearland woman between 75 and 85.
The new coronavirus cases in Brazoria County, which includes one hospitalization, are:
-A Rosharon woman between the ages of 50-60. This case is not travel related. She is recovering in home isolation.
-A West Columbia man between the ages of 30-40. This case is not travel related. He is recovering in home isolation.
-An Angleton woman between the ages of 60-70. This case is not travel related. She is recovering in home isolation.
-A Pearland woman between the ages of 30-40. This case is not travel related. She is recovering in home isolation.
-An Angleton woman between the ages of 50-60. This case is not travel related. She is recovering in home isolation.
-A Manvel man between the ages of 40-50. This case is not travel related. He is recovering in home isolation.
-A Liverpool man between the ages of 60-70. This case is not travel related. He is hospitalized.
-Reporter Nick Powell
10:49 a.m. Legacy Community Health has started offering remote pediatric appointments through its new Virtual Pediatric Clinic to eliminate a gap in care for young patients.
This clinic is set up for virtual consultations for babies and children ages 1-17 in the Houston area, according to a news release. It will include pediatric therapy appointments to help patients deal with anxiety, depression and other behavioral health.
Appointments are available in English and Spanish for existing Legacy patients and new patients. For video therapy appointments, young patients and their parents will need access to either a smartphone or computer.
-Reporter Julie Garcia
10:44 a.m. The statewide total of confirmed COVID-19 cases is now 2,839, reports the Chronicle's data team. There have been a total of 39 deaths from the virus in Texas.
10:35 a.m. Houston coach Dana Holgorsen is optimistic that football will be played in 2020, reports the Chronicle's Joseph Duarte.
In a nearly two-minute video posted by the school on social media, Holgorsen thanked first responders and essential workers, city leaders and law enforcement, and stressed the need for social-distancing amid the new coronavirus pandemic.
10:20 a.m. Three popular network shows (and counting) have announced that they will be ending their seasons a few episodes early due to coronavirus-related shutdowns, reports Therese Odell.
10:07 a.m. Sysco, the nation's largest food distributor, has furloughed and laid off some workers in response to the economic fallout from the novel coronavirus pandemic, reports the Chronicle's Paul Takahashi.
The Houston company, which has more than 69,000 employees globally, did not disclose the number of sales, warehouse, transportation and support employees worldwide who are furloughed or laid off. Sysco said it would continue to pay benefits to its non-union employees who are furloughed.
9:47 a.m. One of every 50 restaurants in Texas has gone out of business since the start of March, when the novel coronavirus began impacting the business, according to a survey by the National Restaurant Association.
Twelve percent of restaurants anticipate permanently shutting down within the next 30 days.
"Restaurants are in a fight for survival," Emily Williams Knight, chief executive of the Texas Restaurant Association, said in release. "By all indications, the staggering loss in jobs, restaurant operations and economic impact continues to accelerate."
-Reporter Rebecca Schuetz
9:15 a.m. A smoke shop near Waco is fighting fines for remaining open, arguing that it is an essential business, reports Eric Dexheimer.
The owner of Fatty's Smoke Shop in Beverly Hills said that his business should stay open because under McLennan County's emergency order "health care operations" are allowed to remain open, and his shop sold CBD oil, which many people use to treat a variety of ailments.
9 a.m. Are you pregnant during the new coronavirus pandemic? Reporter Lindsay Peyton asked experts what expecting mothers need to know about COVID-19 and pregnancy.
8:47 a.m. Alan Merrill -- who co-wrote the song "I Love Rock and Roll" that became a hit for fellow rocker Joan Jett -- died Sunday in New York of complications from the coronavirus, the Associated Press reports. He was 69.
8:30 a.m. A record-low number of airline passengers were screened by TSA agents on Sunday across the nation, according to the agency.
A total of 180,002 passengers were screened at security checkpoints, a statement by TSA said-- the lowest number screened in the last 10 years.
On March 29, 2019, TSA screened 2,510,294 people.
8: 40 a.m. Allyson Chiu of the Washington Post gathered firsthand accounts from health professionals on the front lines of fighting COVID-19.
Emergency departments and critical care unit employees across the country provide raw, unfiltered glimpses into what their lives are like now.
8:15 a.m. Former Texas congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul falsely claimed that the common flu is more deadly than COVID-19, according to PolitiFact.
Paul made the incorrect statement in a statement on his website after Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious disease expert, said that the new coronavirus is at least 10 times more deadly than the flu, which is correct based on the World Health Organization's current data.
Paul, who is a doctor, called Fauci "the chief fearmonger of the Trump Administration."
8:03 a.m. Several companies say they have developed COVID-19 tests that people can use at home, but the Food and Drug Administration is blocking them from the market over concerns that they won't be administered accurately, reports the Chronicle's Gwendolyn Wu.
7:55 a.m. Correspondent Dr. Jill Weatherhead offers a step-by-step process to assess what to do if you suspect you have the novel coronavirus.
Take a look at the steps here.
For up-to-date tracking of the spread of the novel coronavirus in Texas, visit houstonchronicle.com/coronavirus.