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Symptom-free sailors test positive for COVID-19 in alarming numbers

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In this April 3, 2020, photo, the USS Theodore Roosevelt, a Nimitz-class nuclear powered aircraft carrier, is docked along Kilo Wharf of Naval Base Guam. People in Guam are used to a constant U.S. military presence on the strategic Pacific island, but some are nervous as hundreds of sailors from the coronavirus-stricken Navy aircraft carrier flood into hotels for quarantine. Officials insist they have enforced strict safety measures.
Rick Cruz, The Pacific Daily via Associated Press

The Deseret News is tracking news related to the pandemic across the United States and around the world. Refresh this feed for live updates throughout the day.

Symptom-free sailors are testing positive for COVID-19

2:40 p.m.

The U.S. Navy has tested nearly every sailor aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and a majority of those which tested positive for COVID-19 are without symptoms, Reuters reported.

With 94% of the 4,800-member crew tested, more than 600 sailors have been confirmed to have the coronavirus. About 60% of those infected sailors show no symptoms of the virus.

The Navy’s testing shows the coronavirus can be carried and transmitted by seemingly healthy human hosts.

“With regard to COVID-19, we’re learning that stealth in the form of asymptomatic transmission is this adversary’s secret power,” said surgeon general of the Navy Rear Admiral Bruce Gillingham, according to Reuters.

The virus has killed one of the ship’s sailors and six others have been hospitalized at the U.S. Naval Hospital Guam, where the aircraft carrier remains docked, according to Stars and Stripes on Thursday.

In early April, former USS Theodore Roosevelt commander Capt. Brett Crozier was fired after a letter he sent to the Pentagon warning of the virus aboard his ship was leaked to the press and caused an uproar. Less than a week later, then Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly resigned over his removal of Crozier.

“We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset – our sailors,” Crozier wrote.

Coronavirus stimulus checks may hang-up for millions of taxpayers

Noon

Matt Rourke, Associated Press

Highly anticipated — and in many cases, much-needed — coronavirus stimulus payments began to roll out to American taxpayers this week, but not without issue. The distribution of digital checks did not make it to some Americans whose 2019 taxes had not cleared, to some parents with dependent children, and to millions of people who used tax filing services, The Washington Post reported.

Officials for the Department of Treasury and the IRS said they are aware of the problems and working to fix them.

Tax filers that used tax services — like H&R Block or TurboTax — may not have received their digital coronavirus check because direct deposit information was not on file with the IRS. Taxpayers that used a filing service may need to input their direct deposit information at the “Get My Payment” website. The website was created to allow taxpayers to inquire about their check’s status, the type of payment and if additional information is needed to process the stimulus.

American taxpayers not required to file federal tax returns in 2019 or 2018 need to use a “Non-Filers” tool IRS website to input their direct deposit and dependent children data. That site can be found here: “Non-Filters: Enter Payment Info Here”

Some taxpayers looking for their economic relief payment have logged in to the IRS’s new “Get My Payment” website, only to find a “Payment Status Not Available” message. According to the The Washington Post, the IRS said there are several reason the status may not be “not available”:

  • Individual is not eligible for a payment.
  • Individual is on Social Security, disability or Railroad Retirement Beneficiary. The IRS will use your SSA or RRB Form 1099 payment information.
  • Federal taxes from 2018 or 2019 have not been filed.
  • Federal taxes filed for 2019 have not been fully processed.
  • The individual used the non-filers tool and the information is still being processed.
  • A problem verifying your identity with the security questions.

There is no need to check the “Get My Payment” website more than once a day. According to the IRS, the “Get My Payment” website is updated once a day, and that’s overnight.

Deseret News has previously reported on when taxpayers could expect to receive their coronavirus impact payments and and how much money to expect.

Facebook likes social distancing, deletes COVID-19 misinformation

10 a.m.

Amr Alfiky, Associated Press file photo

Facebook officials said it has deleted millions of false coronavirus posts and will begin to notify any users who have reacted or commented on such posts about the coronavirus that are untrue, The New York Times reported. Facebook made the announcement Thursday morning.

The social networking platform is also directing people to reliable sources of information, like the World Health Organization.

“As this pandemic evolves, we’ll continue focusing on the most effective ways to keep misinformation and dangerous hoaxes about COVID-19 off our apps and ensure people have credible information from health experts to stay safe and informed,” said Facebook’s vice president of integrity, Guy Rosen.

Facebook, with the help of independent fact-checkers, removed 40 million fallacious posts last month and put misinformation warnings on thousands of others. Some of those deleted posts included information that could have led to physical harm, like that drinking bleach could cure the coronavirus. Posts which said social distancing wouldn’t prevent the spread of the virus were also removed.

Already on Facebook is a new tab, titled “Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Center”, which provides information to local and state health departments and links to reputable news organizations for coronavirus news. Facebooks users are able to “Follow” the page.

Fearing pandemic, Federal forest service stops controlled burns in California

8:30 a.m.

Noah Berger, Associated Press

Ahead of what is projected to be another above-average wildfire year in California, the U.S. Forest Service has stopped conducting controlled burns in fear of the coronavirus, Reuters reported.

According to Forest Service spokeswoman Kaari Carpenter, the suspension will stop smoke from exasperating the respiratory illnesses in communities near the burns and prevent the spread of the virus between employees.

California is home to 33 million acres of forest, 60% of which is controlled by the Forest Service.

“We’re very much in support of continuing our fuel-management projects. We see those as critical to protecting lives and property,” said director of California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention Thom Porter. The California official said he didn’t understand the federal government’s decision to suspend controlled burns ahead of what has been a dry year.

In hopes of staving off disaster, California plans to burn 25,000 acres of state and private land this year — similar to last year’s total.

After an especially deadly and destructive 2018 wildfires season in California — the year of the Camp Fire that burned Paradise — President Donald Trump alleged the state had mismanaged its forests. Last year the Forest Service treated nearly a quarter-million acres of forest.