Google promises $800M in coronavirus aid to small businesses, other groups

Trump thanks Google for coronavirus collaboration

President Trump discusses working with Google to set up a website to facilitate coronavirus testing across the country.

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Google is pledging more than $800 million to help with the worldwide response to the coronavirus pandemic, including free advertising credits for small businesses, CEO Sundar Pichai announced Friday.

“As the coronavirus outbreak continues to worsen around the world, it’s taking a devastating toll on lives and communities,” Pichai wrote in a blog post announcing the financial commitment.

Google committed to providing $250 million in ad grants to help the World Health Organization and more than 100 world government agencies to provide information about preventing the virus’s spread on top of $25 million the company announced last month and $20 million in ad grants for nongovernment organizations and community financial institutions to run public service announcements.


The company also promised a $200 million investment fund to support those NGOs and financial institutions providing small businesses with capital.

“As one example, we’re working with the Opportunity Finance Network in the U.S. to help fill gaps in financing for people and communities underserved by mainstream financial institutions,” Pichai wrote.

For small- and medium-sized businesses with active Google Ads accounts over the past year, the company pledged to provide a total of $340 million in credits usable at any point this year.

“We hope it will help to alleviate some of the cost of staying in touch with their customers,” Pichai wrote.


In this file photo, Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during a news conference. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal, File)

Google also said it was providing a $20 million pool in Google Cloud credits for academic institutions and researchers studying potential vaccines and track critical data in order to combat the virus.


The company also offered financial support to Magid Glove & Safety to ramp up production of face masks to provide to the CDC Foundation.

“Together, we’ll continue to help our communities — including our businesses, educators, researchers and nonprofits — to navigate the challenges ahead,” Pichai wrote.


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Universal credit for self employed: Can I apply for Universal Credit if I’m self employed?

Cleaners, plumbers, electricians, journalists, musicians, actors along with many other self-employed people will now also be able to apply for the Government’s Job Retention Scheme. The Government has promised to pay out up to £2,500 in compensation for missed wages.

Chancellor Rishi Sunk said: “Self-employed people are a crucial part of the UK’s workforce who’ve understandably been looking for reassurance and support during this national emergency.

“The package for the self-employed I’ve outlined today is one of the most generous in the world that has been announced so far.

“It targets support to those who need help most, offering the self-employed the same level of support as those in work.

“Together with support packages for businesses and for workers, I am confident we now have the measures in place to ensure we can get through this emergency together.”


  • Rishi Sunak unveils HUGE plan to help self-employed

Can I apply for Universal Credit if I’m self-employed?

Universal Credit is the new welfare system, which replaces six benefits – including working tax credit and housing benefits – with one monthly lump sum.

There’s no set amount you can earn under Universal Credit, or hours you have to work as these all depend from claimant to claimant.

The Universal Credit standard monthly allowance currently ranges between £251.77 and £498.89 depending on age and whether or not you are single.

More can be added on top if you have children, a disability, or you care for someone that does.


  • Car finance: Can you freeze car finance payments?

Chancellor Sunak revealed on Friday, March 20 that he would be increasing these limits by up to £1,040 for new claimants from April 6 onwards.

This is on top of an already planned increase due to inflation. The pay rise is automatic so claimants don’t need to do anything to get it.

In addition to this, the Chancellor suspended the self-employed Universal Credit minimum income floor for everyone that has been adversely affected by COVID-19.

Mr Sunak says the move will allow more self-employed people to access Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to the £94.25 Statutory Sick Pay paid to workers.

The minimum income floor applies only to those who have been self-employed for over a year.

It uses your average monthly pay to work out how much Universal Credit you are entitled to on top of your existing income.

Critics have been quick to blast the scheme though and say the biggest problem is that self-employed people’s income varies on a monthly basis and so they can end up with fewer benefits than others on contracted employment.

The idea is the minimum income floor is equivalent to someone of your age working full time on minimum wage, and if you earn below this in any given month, you are assumed to have earned the minimum income floor.

If you are earning more than the minimum income floor, your actual income is taken into account instead.

All of this is set to come into effect on April 6 for new and existing claimants.

People off from work because of the coronavirus could also be able to get help with their income loss by signing up to contributory Employment and Support Allowance, which can be done at the same time as a Universal Credit application.

To qualify for this scheme, you must have worked as an employee or been self-employed and paid enough National Insurance contributions in the past two to three years.

The Government has also given people longer to pay their income tax and has extended payments due in July 2020 under self-assessment to January 2021.

VAT payments have also been delayed from now until June 30 2020, although most self-employed people earn below the £85,000 threshold to have to pay VAT in the first place.

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House Approves $2 Trillion Virus Relief Bill, Sends to Trump

The House approved the largest stimulus package in U.S. history Friday as part of the response to the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, sending the measure to President Donald Trump for his signature.

Hundreds of House members traveled back to Washington to overcome the demand from one Republican to hold a recorded vote. The House passed the $2 trillion package by voice vote Friday, after the Senate’s 96-0 vote Wednesday to approve the measure.

Trump will sign the bill at 4 p.m. Friday in Washington, the White House said.

“Our nation faces an economic and health emergency of historic proportions,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said before the vote. “We do know that we must do more.”

Trump will sign the measure “as soon as possible,” said White House congressional liaison Eric Ueland.

Congressional action comes as the U.S. is reeling from the effects of the global health crisis. Infections in the U.S. have topped 92,000, passing the number of cases in China where the disease first emerged. Unemployment claims spiked to 3.3 million last week, dwarfing previous highs in Labor Department reports published since 1967.

“To the American public, if you do your part, I promise we will do ours,” Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said Friday. “We are going to help Americans through this. We are going to do this together.”

The size of the stimulus package is unprecedented, surpassing the approximately $800 billion Obama stimulus that passed five months after the 2008 financial crash. Together with Federal Reserve actions, the legislation will amount to a injection of $6 trillion into the economy, according to White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, or about 30% of annual gross domestic product.

The House vote took place under unusual circumstances, with three members known to be infected with the coronavirus, including Democrat Joe Cunningham of South Carolina, who said he learned Friday that he had tested positive. Others have placed themselves in quarantine because of possible contact.

Representative Thomas Massie, a Republican from Kentucky, angered many of his colleagues — and Trump — by insisting on a vote procedure that requires the presence of at least half of the House members. Lawmakers gathered on the House floor and in the visitor’s gallery to provide a quorum while maintaining the social distance recommended to avoid spreading the virus.

Enactment of the bill will send direct payments to low- and middle- income Americans, and the unemployed will receive expanded benefits through at least July. Companies of all sizes will have access to emergency financing and tax breaks if they retain employees.

Stocks rose sharply this week as the Senate completed work on the bill. The S&P 500 had its best three day increase since 1933 before declining as much as 4% Friday.

Pots of Money

The package provides about $500 billion in loans and assistance for big companies, provided they do not conduct stock buybacks and retain most employees. Airlines are eligible for grants in exchange for giving the government equity stakes.

There is a separate pot of about $350 billion for small businesses loans, which won’t have to be paid back if used to to make payroll or pay mortgage interest and rents.

For individuals, the relief measure includes direct payments of $1,200 for each adult and $500 for each child, with the payment phasing out for individuals making more than $75,000 per year and couples making more than $150,000. Those without income, or with income solely from government benefits, like seniors on Social Security, are eligible. Individuals making above $99,000 and couples making more than $198,000 receive no payment.

The stimulus bill provides funding to allow states to boost weekly unemployment benefits by $600 through July 31. Maximum state benefit range from $235 in Mississippi to $823 in Massachusetts depending on income. The added boost would be four months for those laid off now, but less time for those losing their jobs closer to July.

Other Benefits

Those affected by the virus would be allowed to take up to $100,000 out of their employer-sponsored retirement funds without penalty. It also would let older retirees avoid having to sell retirement investments in a down market by waiving minimum distribution requirements for Individual Retirement Accounts. Students get relief from student loans, and some mortgage holders with government backed loans will be able to delay payments.

The package also contains $340 billion in emergency supplemental funding for government and local efforts stem the outbreak. That portion includes $117 billion for hospitals and veterans’ health care.

Congress has now enacted three major bills in response to the coronavirus pandemic, including an $8 billion bill funding agencies tasked with fighting the disease and a $100 billion measure focused on providing paid sick leave to workers to encourage them to stay home if infected.

Lawmakers have already begun discussing a fourth stimulus measure. Democrats want to see stronger workplace protections, more money for hard-hit states like New York, expanded food stamp benefits and expanded family leave for those caring for covid-19 patients.

Pelosi on Thursday predicted another round of direct payments and expressed hope for infrastructure spending.

“The interest rates are low,” Pelosi said. “The chairman of the Fed, Mr. Powell, said to me, ‘the interest rates are as low as they’ll ever be. Think big because whatever you borrow to do with this is going to be at the lowest interest.’“

— With assistance by Josh Wingrove

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NYC mayor thanks Musk for coronavirus ventilator production

Angel investor using technology for coronavirus ventilator, mask production

Angel investor and Virgin Hyperloop One co-founder Shervin Pishevar on helping to create 3D-printed ventilators and masks.

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio thanked Tesla founder Elon Musk for his Wednesday pledge to dedicate Tesla's Buffalo, N.Y., Gigafactory to ventilator production.

The pledge came as U.S. hospitals face a ventilator shortage because of the coronavirus pandemic, which causes respiratory problems, including pneumonia.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
TSLA TESLA INC. 523.73 -4.43 -0.84%

"I spoke with [Musk] late last night," de Blasio tweeted Friday. "He’s donating hundreds of ventilators to New York City and state, including our public hospitals. We’re deeply grateful. We need every ventilator we can get our hands on these next few weeks to save lives."

Tesla factory Sparks Nevada / iStock

Musk replied to de Blasio, saying he is "most welcome" and he gave credit to his "Tesla team," adding that the company will do its best to "help in any way."


"Biggest value Tesla is providing is precise delivery of ventilators exactly to the ICU where [and]  when they’re needed," Musk continued in another tweet. "There are many ventilators in warehouses, but stuck in logistics/routing/paperwork issues."

The SpaceX founder also responded to criticism of his March 6 tweet saying the panic surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak "is dumb."

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – FEBRUARY 26: Maye Musk (L) and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk attend the 2017 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 26, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by M

"Just as with groceries, the panic is also causing hoarding of ventilators, preventing them from reaching the hospitals where they are needed," Musk said in a Friday reply tweet.


The popular electric carmaker suspended production at the auto plant on March 20 in response to the rapid spread of the virus in New York.

Musk's decision to reopen the factory came in response to state Assemblyman Sean Ryan's letter on Tuesday urging the billionaire engineer to reopen the facility "ramp up ventilator production … immediately," WKBW reported.


Musk is reportedly planning to slash on-site staff at a Tesla battery plant in Nevada by around 75 percent after its Japanese battery partner, Panasonic Corp, said it was scaling down operations, Reuters reported Thursday.

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Trump Pushes to Knock Hundreds of Thousands off Food Stamps While COVID-19 Death Toll Rises

While U.S. unemployment claims are shattering the all-time record due to the coronavirus pandemic, President Trump’s administration is continuing its attempts to throw hundreds of thousands off the government food stamp program known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Earlier this month, U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell ruled that a change sought by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue was unlawful and blocked the agency from enforcing it. According to a report by the AP on Wednesday, Perdue said that the “USDA disagrees with the court’s reasoning and will appeal its decision.”

But Howell’s “reasoning” was spot on, and Perdue’s insistence with going ahead with an appeal is heartless in the face of a pandemic.

The rule change that USDA is looking to put in place would halt the states’ ability to waive certain federal work and time limit requirements for SNAP recipients. As a result, the change would remove approximately 700,000 people from SNAP rolls starting on April 1.

The federal SNAP requirements, mandate that “able-bodied adults without dependents must show they’ve worked at least 80 hours per month for more than three months in a 36-month period to stay in the SNAP” program.



The rules are of dubious utility — to put it mildly — in regular times, but with nationwide social-distancing recommendations and businesses unable to hire, the goal of the USDA’s appeal seems to be to remove people from food stamps regardless of the change in the employment environment brought on by the coronavirus.

In her ruling on a lawsuit brought by 19 states plus the District of Columbia and New York City, Howell wrote: “Especially now, as a global pandemic poses widespread health risks, guaranteeing that government officials at both the federal and state levels have flexibility to address the nutritional needs of residents and ensure their well-being through programs like SNAP, is essential.”

Remember this in the coming weeks when Trump touts his kindness in signing the $2 trillion disaster relief bill recently passed by Congress that will bail out corporations, send a one-time cash infusion to taxpayers and expand unemployment benefits. Because behind the scenes, the president and his team are looking to take control of what has historically been a state’s right in order to keep hundreds of thousands from accessing a resource as essential as food. And they’re doing it at a time where it’s virtually impossible to meet the employment standards set by the USDA.

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What You Need to Know About the Coronavirus Stimulus Checks: You May Get $1,200 — or More

Many people across America should soon expect checks or direct deposits from the federal government to help with the financial pain caused by efforts to stop the still-spreading coronavirus pandemic, which has shuttered or upended numerous businesses.

The House of Representatives on Friday passed an approximately $2 trillion stimulus package which, after President Donald Trump signs it into law, will provide a check of $1,200 for adults with an adjusted gross income of up to  $75,000 a year, according to an analysis by the office of Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of Senate Committee on Finance.

But the more someone earns, the less money they will get from Uncle Sam.

The payment amount decreases by $5 for every $100 made above $75,000, capped for individuals with a gross income of $99,000 and above.  

Married couples earning up to $150,000 will receive $2,400 and payments are progressively decreased until they are phased out at $198,000 for couples, according to Grassley’s office. 

In addition, the payments would include an additional $500 per child who is 16 years and under for parents beneath the income threshold.

What do you need to do to get the money?

“For the vast majority of Americans, no action on their part will be required in order to receive a rebate check as IRS will use a taxpayer’s 2019 tax return if filed, or in the alternative their 2018 return,” according to the analysis by Grassley’s office. 

People who rely on Social Security benefits will also receive a check, Grassley’s office noted. 

When will you get your check?

You should start getting the money “within three weeks,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC on Thursday. 

How will you get the money?

“Most of these will be direct deposit,” Mnuchin told CNBC. “It will be within three weeks. We’re determined to get money in people’s pockets immediately.”

If someone doesn’t have direct deposit with the IRS, they will get a check in the mail, economist Diane Lim of the Penn Wharton Budget Model of The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania tells PEOPLE. 

Who qualifies?

A Social Security Number is required to receive a payment, according to Grassley’s office. 

If you don’t file taxes because your income is too low, you are still eligible to receive a check, but you need to file a tax return for 2019 to qualify for the payment, according to the AARP. 

What is your ‘adjusted gross income’?

A person’s adjusted gross income is not the same as taxable income and is found on their tax return — IRS Form 1040.

For 2019 tax returns, the adjusted gross income is on line eight-b of the 1040 form. On 2018 tax returns, it is on line seven.

Where does the $2 trillion for the stimulus package come from?

“We are going to borrow it. We’re going to deficit finance it,” says Lim, the economist. “We issue more bonds. The Fed is going to increase the money supply.”

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.

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My Secret Terrius episode 10 'coronavirus' scene explained – and when was it filmed?

NETFLIX drama My Secret Terrius is causing a stir as shocked fans claim it predicted the coronavirus pandemic two years ago.

Here's everything you need to know about the drama and its eerie episode 10.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

What is My Secret Terrius?

My Secret Terrius is a 2018 South Korean television series.

It aired from September to November 2018 on channel MBC and can now be viewed on Netflix.

It follows the story of a woman named Go Ae-rin who loses her husband and then discovers he was part of a huge conspiracy.

The show was filmed in South Korea and Poland.

The first script read for the show is said to have taken place in June 2018 so filming for the 32 episodes would have occurred after this.

Why is My Secret Terrius being linked to coronavirus?

Fans are linking the programme to the current coronavirus pandemic because of episode 10 of the show.

A scene describes how a coronavirus has been mutated by terrorists to be used as a weapon, leaving doctors desperate to find a cure.

There are several different types of coronavirus, including one that led to the MERS outbreak in 2015 and the most recent one, which causes the disease Covid-19.

An eagle-eyed Twitter user spotted similarities between the ongoing pandemic and the fictional virus described in the final episode of the first series of My Secret Terrius, which stars So Ji-sub, Jung In-sun, Son Ho-jun and Im Se-mi.

User @eoeoes posted a clip from the show lat week, admitting that the episode had given her "goosebumps".

In the video, a character compares the fictional virus to MERS, saying: "Someone tweaked it to increase the mortality rate to 90%.

"What’s more serious," she adds, "is that the coronavirus has an incubation period of two to 14 days.

"The virus was manipulated to attack the lungs directly within just five minutes of being exposed."

She goes on to describe how there's no cure for the disease.

Later on in the episode, schoolchildren are taught how to wash their hands properly to avoid the spread of the virus.

The tweeted clip got hundreds of Twitter users in a tiff over the show's supposed "prediction" of the Covid-19 outbreak.

My Secret Terrius originally aired on South Korean channel MBC and appeared on Netflix later down the line.

One person remarked: "This s**t had me speechless. But still a dope show".

Another added: "Just gonna leave this here but i am massively spooked. This series My Secret Terrius is on netflix but came out 2 years ago and talks about the coronavirus we’re going through rn…"

"F**king scary stuff," a third user wrote.

However, not everyone was convinced, with some assuring users that the parallels were merely a coincidence.

Scientists have known about different types of coronavirus since the mid-20th century, so it's no surprise they would have cropped up in various TV shows down the years.

One user said: "Everyone freaking out about #mysecretterrius knowing about the Corona virus … but you guys realise we didn’t discovered just now… that some Corona Viruses types cause SARS, MERS, and even some common cold strains. Chill…"

Covid-19 has killed around 25,000 people so far and infected around 500,000 across the globe.

Unlike the fictional coronavirus in My Secret Terrius, Covid-19 is thought to have a death rate of around 1%.

Use Netflix on a computer or laptop? Try these useful shortcuts

Here are some handy keyboard shortcuts…

  • Spacebar – toggle play / pause
  • Enter – toggle play / pause
  • F – full screen
  • Esc – exit full screen
  • Left Arrow – rewind 10 seconds
  • Right Arrow – fast-forward 10 seconds
  • Up arrow – volume up
  • Down arrow – volume down
  • M – mute toggle
  • Shift-Alt-Left Click – adjust the streaming bitrate (to improve or reduce the quality of the video)

In other news, Netflix will make its video quality in Europe worse for a month to stop binge-watchers from overloading the internet.

Your internet may be getting slower as the coronavirus outbreak causes a huge surge in web traffic.

And, Apple recently revealed how to clean your iPhone without breaking it.

Do you have any Netflix-related theories? Let us know in the comments…

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GM Forges On Without U.S. Ventilator Contract After Trump Attack

General Motors Co. and ventilator maker Ventec Life Systems Inc. had much of what they needed in place to ramp up production of breathing machines that would help coronavirus patients survive and recover. They were just waiting on the Trump administration to place orders and cut checks.

And then, just as frustration was mounting within the largest U.S. carmaker and its partner over the federal government finalizing the details, President Donald Trump went on the attack Friday. He accused the company of moving too slowly and charging too much, specifically criticizing Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra.

The Twitter missives were a remarkable turnabout from the night before, when Trump told Fox News he wasn’t invoking the Cold War-era Defense Production Act to compel manufacturers to make ventilators because companies including GM had already stepped up.

He called on GM to open an assembly plant in Ohio that it no longer owns and make the devices there immediately.

The tension and confusion between GM and the White House adds fuel to the debate over whether Trump should use the Defense Production Act to take control of factories and centralize production and distribution of ventilators to get them more quickly where they’re needed. Trump has said he’s confident that private industry can handle the response, though his tweets Friday indicate he’s reserving the right to change his mind if he doesn’t get the terms he wants.

A little more than an hour after Trump’s first tweet, GM and Ventec announced they’ll build ventilators at the automaker’s parts plant in Kokomo, Indiana, which they’ve been working around-the-clock for a week to convert into a medical-device facility.

GM said in a statement that it will be “donating its resources at cost.” It’s also beginning to make surgical masks at a manufacturing facility in Warren, Michigan, north of its Detroit headquarters. Output will start next week, ramp up to 50,000 a day within two weeks and may eventually get to 100,000.

“This pandemic is unprecedented and so is the response, with incredible support from GM and their suppliers,” Chris Kiple, Ventec’s CEO, said in the statement.

White House’s Hold-Up

GM was growing exasperated with the Trump administration because it had done the work to secure suppliers for the 700 components needed to make ventilators. The automaker had even started hiring because the 300 workers on staff in Kokomo won’t be enough to handle the proposed volume, a person familiar with the situation said.

But the companies were waiting on the federal government to decide how many machines it will need, how many producers it will hire and, by extension, how much it will pay Ventec.

Originally, the two manufacturers were talking about $250 million that would go to the Seattle-based company and its components suppliers to get production moving, said people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations were private.

GM and Ventec have opted to go ahead with building ventilators without a federal contract and sell to any buyer.

GM and Ventec said they’re poised to deliver the first ventilators in April and ramp up manufacturing capacity to more than 10,000 a month. GM will deploy about 1,000 workers for the effort, and the two companies said they have the infrastructure and capability to boost production more, depending on the needs of the federal government.

“We are proud to stand with other American companies and our skilled employees to meet the needs of this global pandemic,” Barra said in the statement. “This partnership has rallied the GM enterprise and our global supply base to support Ventec, and the teams are working together with incredible passion and commitment.”

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800,000 Physicians Tell Trump Social Distancing Must Continue

More than 800,000 physicians across the country signed a letter urging President Donald Trump to keep social distancing practices in place after he said he wants to reopen businesses by Easter.

“Significant COVID-19 transmission continues across the United States, and we need your leadership in supporting science-based recommendations on social distancing that can slow the virus,” the letter, released by the Council of Medical Specialty Societies, said. “Our societies have closely adhered to these measures by moving our staff to fulltime telework and canceling in-person meetings (including annual meetings). These actions have helped to keep physicians and other health professionals in health care facilities, including hospitals, and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.”

The virus continues to spread across the U.S. and has killed at least 1,000 people in the country. In order to slow the spread of the virus, many states have closed schools, restaurants and other places where people gather in large numbers, and nonessential workers have been told to stay home.

The president, along with his sycophants at Fox News, have continuously downplayed the threat, at one point falsely claiming the virus was a Democratic or media “hoax” made up to hurt the president’s chances of reelection. A lack of testing kits and an administration downplaying the threat has only exacerbated the dangerous situation.

Earlier this week, Trump said he wanted to end social distancing and have the economy back up and running by Easter, a date he chose for no other reason than it would be “a beautiful time.”

“Easter’s a very special day for me,” Trump told Fox News on Tuesday. “Wouldn’t it be great to have all of the churches full? You’ll have packed churches all over our country. I think it would be a beautiful time.”

Medical professionals disagree. 

“Federal, state, and local governments should only set a date for lifting nationwide social distancing restrictions consistent with assessments by public health and medical experts,” the letter from CMSS said. “Lifting restrictions sooner will gravely jeopardize the health of all Americans and extend the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Read the full letter from the Council of Medical Specialty Societies here.

  • Stay up to date with our live blog as we cover the COVID-19 pandemic
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  • How to get the most out of the weekend despite coronavirus
  • The HuffPost guide to working from home
  • What coronavirus questions are on your mind right now? We want to help you find answers.

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Genius Star Wars geeks create mind-blowing 3D timelapse of the Death Star being built

AN incredible video shows what it might have been like to watch one of Star Wars' most menacing weapons being built in space.

The computer-generated clip mimics a timelapse construction of the Hollywood franchise's infamous Death Star – a giant laser canon capable of blowing up planets.

It was put together by Star Wars fan and musician Benjamin Botkin alongside his FX-guru brother, Isaac.

"Isaac planned and crafted all the visuals in  [computer graphics programme] Lightwave 3D, and I composed the original score," Benjamin wrote in the video's description on YouTube.

The two-minute clip begins with a view of the blackness of space and the edge of a blue planet below.

Suddenly, hundreds of shards of metal begin to stick together as if with minds of their own to form an ominous floating ring.

This is the central section of the Death Star, around which the rest of it is built.

Gradually, the fictional battlestation begins to take its moon-like shape as pieces continue to fly to the growing structure.

The Death Star's gigantic laser, capable of destroying whole worlds in a single blast, is the final part to slot into place.

Benjamin his brother decided to make the video just for fun as a "personal project".


They used Lightwave 3D, CG software used to make films, television programmes and video games.

They say they got the idea after watching watching the station’s assembly in 2016's Star Wars: Rogue One.

The Death Star first appeared in the 1977 flick Star Wars: A New Hope and was home to Darth Vader and his army of stormtroopers.

It was destroyed at the end of the film but reappeared in 1983 in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

In other news, a Star Wars-style moon was spotted by Nasa last year – and it looks just like the Death Star.

A VFX artist recently created a video to show that the death star would have been wider than Wales.

And, lightsabers could one day be a reality after physicists created a new type of "interactive" light.

What do you think of the Death Star video? Let us know in the comments!

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