5 things to know for May 15: China, pandemic, childhood illness, Sen. Burr, stimulus

Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina is stepping aside as chairman of the influential Senate Intelligence Committee while he's under investigation for stock trades he made ahead of the market downturn sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

Posted: May 15, 2020 10:31 AM
Updated: May 15, 2020 10:31 AM

Eating in restaurants is going to look very different for a while. What can you expect? Masks, different service styles, different dining spaces and more.

Here's what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

(You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. China 

The US is upping military pressure on China over tensions raised by the pandemic. Earlier this week, the Pentagon accused China of exploiting the crisis to gain military and economic advantages by expanding where it operates. President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have also continued to blame China for the outbreak. Trump this week reiterated his claim that Beijing could have stopped the spread of the virus. But there's more at play here than just the coronavirus. Experts say these tensions also tie in to standoffs over the South China Sea, a crucial strategic region that crosses major shipping routes and is rich in natural resource deposits. Over the past few weeks, US Navy ships and Air Force B-1 bombers have undertaken missions aimed at sending a very public message that the US military intends to maintain a presence in the region and reassure allies.

2. Coronavirus 

More than 300,000 people have now died worldwide as a result of the coronavirus, and the number of global cases is closing in on 4.5 million. The bleak milestone was punctuated by an even bleaker proposition from the executive director of the WHO's health emergencies program, who said the virus may never go away. That mirrors sentiments from a Baltimore ER doctor, who said during a CNN coronavirus town hall that strategies among doctors have shifted from eliminating the virus entirely to reducing risk. Around the world, countries are seeing mixed results from initial reopening measures. Some European countries, like Spain and Italy, are seeing much lower case numbers as they cautiously come out of lockdown. But China is reintroducing restrictions after two cities reported new cases of the virus. And in the US, the easing of lockdown measures has prompted a leading coronavirus model to up the predicted nationwide death toll to 147,000 by August.

3. Childhood inflammatory disease

The CDC has issued a health advisory over the mysterious childhood disease doctors think could be linked to the coronavirus. The syndrome, which is being called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, has been seen in kids across Europe and in at least 18 US states. It causes the immune system to overreact, leading to inflammation throughout the body. It's rarely fatal, and most children recover. Now, the CDC is asking hospitals to report all possible cases to public health authorities so they can learn more about it. Researchers in Italy are the latest to publish research that makes the link between the syndrome and Covid-19. In one Italian region, they say, the pandemic brought a 30-fold rise in the number of cases of the syndrome.

4. Sen. Richard Burr 

Sen. Richard Burr is stepping aside as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. The North Carolina Republican is under investigation for stock trades he made ahead of the market downturn sparked by the pandemic. The FBI this week served Burr's lawyer with a search warrant, and as a result, Burr surrendered his Senate-issued cell phone. This is a big development because the fact that investigators were able to obtain a warrant suggests they have reason to believe Burr's actions are worth a closer look. Burr says he's fully cooperating with investigators but is resigning as intel chairman because the situation is "a distraction to the hard work of the committee." He'll still be on the panel, says he has no plans to resign from the Senate and says he doesn't believe he exercised poor judgment with his stock trades.

5. Stimulus package

The House will vote on the new $3 trillion Covid-19 package today, but some moderate Democrats are having trouble accepting it. They're worried about what will happen if they push through such a massive bill without bipartisan support. Progressives, meanwhile, think the package doesn't go far enough to provide aid to vulnerable Americans. As this plays out, the Department of Labor's latest numbers show another 3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week. The Federal Reserve Bank also issued a report yesterday that revealed nearly 40% of low-income workers lost their jobs in March, which shows just how unequally the economic downturn is affecting American workers.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

The Las Vegas airport is providing personal protective equipment vending machines for passengers

PPE slot machines would have been too on-the-nose.

The best way to cut your bangs

Go ahead, try to master the quintessential crisis haircut.

The pandemic has people interested in buying private islands

Really really rich people, at least.

Diners at one Virginia restaurant will share the space with decked-out social distancing mannequins 

I'll have what they're having! 

Georgia officials are asking the public to help track 4-foot-long, invasive lizards

You know what, Georgia officials, we think you're gonna have to go it alone on this one.

TODAY'S NUMBER

$72.9 billion

That's how much countries spent on nuclear weapons last year. The US accounted for half of that spending -- to the tune of $35.4 billion.

TODAY'S QUOTE

"Forgive me for being angry; I'm angry because I've done this for so, so long. And I've been ignored for so long."

Mike Bowen, the vice president of the Texas-based medical supply company Prestige Ameritech, who said during emotional Congressional testimony that he's been trying for years to get the CDC interested in contracts that would supply government entities with enough medical masks to weather a crisis like the one we're in now.

TODAY'S WEATHER

Severe storms are headed for the Northeast 

Thunderstorms and damaging winds could batter places from Ohio to New Hampshire this afternoon and evening. The bad weather could also bring a risk of tornadoes.

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

Ahhhhh ...... It's Friday

Enjoy a relaxing, pretty tune in a relaxing, pretty place, played on the kalimba, an instrument based on the mbira, a traditional African finger harp. (Click here to view.)

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 49063

Reported Deaths: 2732
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11760689
Lake5276246
Elkhart340255
Allen2835133
St. Joseph200169
Cass16429
Hamilton1608101
Hendricks1425100
Johnson1296118
Porter76738
Tippecanoe7359
Clark66844
Madison66764
Bartholomew59145
Vanderburgh5876
LaPorte58326
Howard58058
Kosciusko5624
Marshall5016
Noble48528
LaGrange4779
Jackson4733
Boone45443
Delaware45252
Hancock45236
Shelby43125
Floyd38444
Morgan32731
Monroe30928
Montgomery29720
Grant29626
Clinton2902
Dubois2886
Henry28216
White26610
Decatur25432
Lawrence24825
Dearborn23823
Vigo2388
Warrick22729
Harrison21622
Greene19032
Miami1862
Jennings17712
Putnam1708
DeKalb1634
Scott1628
Daviess14817
Wayne1436
Orange13623
Perry1359
Steuben1302
Franklin1268
Ripley1247
Jasper1232
Wabash1142
Carroll1102
Fayette1037
Newton9910
Gibson982
Whitley975
Starke943
Randolph804
Huntington782
Jefferson762
Wells751
Fulton721
Jay680
Washington671
Pulaski661
Knox640
Clay604
Rush583
Owen501
Adams491
Benton480
Posey450
Sullivan451
Spencer441
Brown421
Blackford392
Crawford320
Fountain322
Tipton311
Switzerland280
Parke240
Martin220
Ohio180
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 60181

Reported Deaths: 2991
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin10879439
Cuyahoga8277383
Hamilton6287206
Lucas2836303
Marion273639
Summit2241207
Pickaway220541
Montgomery220131
Mahoning1861239
Butler167447
Columbiana130960
Stark1156113
Lorain106468
Trumbull99774
Warren89525
Clark7809
Delaware61715
Fairfield60517
Tuscarawas58510
Belmont55522
Medina54332
Lake52920
Licking52012
Miami47531
Portage46159
Wood45251
Ashtabula43744
Clermont4317
Geauga41443
Wayne36552
Richland3515
Allen32841
Mercer2909
Greene2879
Darke25326
Erie25022
Holmes2453
Huron2282
Madison2029
Ottawa16024
Washington14020
Sandusky13814
Crawford1365
Putnam13215
Ross1323
Coshocton1302
Hardin12312
Morrow1181
Auglaize1074
Jefferson922
Union921
Monroe8917
Muskingum891
Hancock831
Preble801
Athens791
Hocking798
Guernsey763
Lawrence740
Williams722
Shelby704
Clinton680
Logan651
Fulton630
Ashland621
Carroll603
Wyandot605
Brown591
Scioto540
Defiance533
Knox531
Fayette480
Highland461
Champaign441
Van Wert420
Perry371
Seneca352
Henry320
Jackson260
Paulding260
Adams241
Pike240
Vinton222
Gallia201
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan110
Noble110
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 75°
Angola
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 73°
Huntington
Scattered Clouds
74° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 74°
Decatur
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 72°
Van Wert
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 72°
AM Storms, Slightly Cooler Friday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events