Texas requires New York, New Orleans travelers to quarantine
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas is joining other states in imposing quarantines on travelers form the New York area, which is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. Gov. Greg Abbott said Thursday that people arriving by plane from New Orleans also must self-isolate for two weeks. New Orleans is becoming a major center of COVID-19 worries as the number of cases surpassed 2,300 and deaths climbed to 86. Governors in Florida and Maryland announced similar restrictions this week pertaining to New York. Texas surpassed 1,400 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and 18 related deaths.
Price-gouging allegation leaves 750,000 face masks in limbo
HOUSTON (AP) — The state of Texas has filed suit against a Houston auctioneer, accusing him of price-gouging in his auctioning of 750,000 medical-grade and N95 face masks. The lawsuit filed Thursday by the Texas Attorney General's Office alleges that a Tuesday auction by Auctions Unlimited had bidding on N95 respirator masks reaching as high as $180 for a package of 16 masks. Amazon sold a set of 100 for $4.21 in late January. Before the lawsuit was filed, Auctions Unlimited owner Tim Worstell said the state's action left him with 750,000 masks in his warehouse in a legal limbo.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-UNACCOMPANIED CHILDREN
3 migrant children in US custody test positive for virus
WASHINGTON (AP) — Three immigrant children currently in U.S. government custody at a New York facility have tested positive for the coronavirus. The Office of Refugee Resettlement said Thursday that it has suspended releases from centers in New York that house immigrant children apprehended by U.S. border authorities without their parents or a guardian. The office says five staff members at three separate facilities in New York have also tested positive for the virus as well as a staff member at a Texas center and a foster parent in Washington state. The announcement comes a day after immigrant advocates asked a federal judge to release about 1,200 children who have been in custody more than 30 days over virus concerns.
5 earthquakes rattle West Texas; largest is magnitude 5.0
EL PASO, Texas (AP) — Five earthquakes centered near a remote area of West Texas have rattled the region. The U.S. Geological Survey says the first tremor registered at a magnitude 3.0 Thursday near Mentone, in Loving County on the New Mexico border. The largest was a magnitude 5.0 about six hours later. No damages or injuries have been reported. Loving County is sparsely populated but full of truck traffic serving the oil drilling industry in the surrounding Permian Basin. Geologists say thousands of earthquakes in recent years have been linked to the underground injection of wastewater from oil and gas production.
Texas is bigger: Lone Star State's metros lead decade growth
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Everything really is bigger in Texas. New figures released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that three metro areas in the Lone Star State had some of the biggest population gains over the past decade. Dallas increased by 1.2 million people, the most of any U.S. metro area. It was followed by Houston, which added another 1.1 million residents over the decade. Austin grew by more than a half million residents from 2010 to 2019, the eighth biggest numeric growth among U.S. metros. Phoenix's population of 4.9 million residents last year knocked Boston off the list of top 10 most populous metro areas.
Abortion providers sue Texas over virus outbreak order
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Planned Parenthood is joining other abortion providers in suing Texas over moving to ban abortions during the coronavirus outbreak. The federal lawsuit filed Tuesday in Austin, Texas, is among the most high-profile challenges to a government response to the coronavirus pandemic. The chief executive of Whole Woman's Health, an abortion provider with three clinics in Texas, said they canceled 150 appointments this week. Amy Hagstrom-Miller said that came after Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday issued an order that put a halt on inessential surgeries in order to free up doctors to fight COVID-19.
MICHIGAN PROFESSOR-SEX ASSAULT
Michigan regents fire opera singer accused of sexual assault
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The University of Michigan's Board of Regents has fired a music professor facing sexual assault charges. The regents acted on the recommendation from University President Mark Schlissel to dismiss David Daniels on Thursday. Schlissel wrote in a letter to regents that Daniels’ “conduct is inconsistent with the character of tenure at the University of Michigan.” Daniels also is an opera singer. He is on leave from the university amid accusations that he sexually assaulted a performer nearly a decade ago. He has denied that allegation. A student at the Ann Arbor school filed a 2018 federal lawsuit alleging Daniels groped him. Daniels also has denied that claim.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-ENFORCING SOCIAL DISTANCE
A new beat for police across US: Enforcing social distance
NEW YORK (AP) — Police departments across the U.S. are taking a lead role in enforcing social distancing rules that health officials say are critical to containing COVID-19. Officers accustomed to chasing suspects and solving crimes are spending these troubled days cajoling people to stay at least 6 feet apart. In New York City, they've started dismantling basketball hoops to prevent people from gathering. In Lakewood, New Jersey, police broke up a wedding being held in violation of a ban on large gatherings. And in Austin, Texas, officers are encouraging people to call a hotline to snitch on violators of the city's stay-home order.
CAMPUS SHOOTING VICTIM-HONORED
Slain North Carolina college student awarded Medal of Honor
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A college student who died tackling a gunman at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte has been posthumously awarded one of the nation's highest civilian honors. Riley Howell was honored with a Congressional Medal of Honor Society Citizen Award at wreath-laying ceremony live-streamed from the Arlington National Cemetery on Wednesday. The 21-year-old was shot eight times while taking down the gunman last year. His parents said it's unfair that he had to risk his life. Natalie Howell told The Charlotte Observer that she feels “conflicted” but decided to accept the honor on behalf of all ”the people who have also needlessly lost their lives to gun violence.”
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