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As of late Monday afternoon, there are now 875 coronavirus cases spread across all of Maine’s counties, according to Nirav Shah, the director of Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s up from 867 on Sunday.
The statewide death toll now stands at 35. The latest death involved a woman in her 70s from Waldo County, Shah said Monday via videoconference from the Maine Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Augusta.
The Maine CDC reports that 138 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point with the coronavirus, while 414 have recovered from it, meaning there are 426 active cases across the state.
Here’s the latest on the coronavirus and its impact in Maine.
—One of the most pressing—and hardest to answer—questions throughout the pandemic has been: When will this be over? A new model from the University of Texas at Austin predicts that both Maine and the nation likely have a couple more weeks before COVID-19 deaths will reach their peak and start to decline.
—On Monday, hundreds of conservatives rallied outside the Blaine House on Monday to protest coronavirus restrictions from Gov. Janet Mills that have polled well but led to anxiety in rural areas with fewer confirmed cases of the virus. Some protesters wore masks, which organizers had suggested as a way to signal willingness to comply with social distancing guidelines, but many lined the corner of Capitol and State streets in close proximity as cars drove between the governor’s mansion and the State House.
—Trump has been reluctant to invoke the Defense Production Act, which allows the federal government to compel companies to prioritize the production of materials deemed to be necessary for national security, in response to the coronavirus pandemic. But it appears that the president plans to use the law to force a Piscataquis County company to increase its production of the medical testing swabs that are necessary to confirm cases of the coronavirus.
—Want to make your own face mask, but not sure how? Staff writer Sam Schipani has rounded up some helpful tutorials for those who want to try their hand at a homemade mask.
—In late March, out of money and almost out of the firewood she needed to heat her house, Tammie Stone did what hundreds of other Mainers have done since the pandemic began: She mustered the courage to ask strangers on the internet for help. Almost immediately, people Stone never met began delivering needed items like food and bundles of firewood to the door of her Casco duplex. “I’ve got more help from complete strangers there than from the state of Maine,” said Stone, referring to the Maine Coronavirus Community Assistance Facebook page.
— A Maine veterinary lab’s subsidiary is in the early stages of producing coronavirus test kits for humans. IDEXX said that its human health business subsidiary, Georgia-based Opti Medical Systems, has validated a polymerase chain reaction test kit for humans, which will initially be available on a limited basis to its existing customers already engaged in coronavirus testing.
—A Former UMaine player is isolated at home in Maine with his wife in Norway and his Russian pro team shut down. He approaches the situation with a smile and a shrug, keeping the larger pandemic picture and suffering of others in mind. But he hasn’t seen his wife since December, and he’s living out of only two bags.
—Showing just how severe the economic fallout of the pandemic has become, oil futures plunged below zero for the first time on Monday as demand for energy has collapsed and traders sought to avoid owning crude with nowhere to store it.
—Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Saturday that Canada and the United States had agreed to keep their border closed for all nonessential travel for another 30 days. The two countries initially closed their shared border on March 18.
—President Donald Trump is fighting back against the public health and economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic in the same way he’s navigated other political perils — by stoking the nation’s partisan divide. But the scale of the crisis the U.S. is facing — more than 39,000 people dead and tens of millions out of work — is bigger than anything Trump has faced. Even some Republican strategists doubt that his standard campaign playbook will work in November.
— The coronavirus is touching all levels of society and increasing tensions as governments start to ease restrictions that health experts warn should be done gradually to avoid a resurgence of the illness that has killed more than 165,000 people. People seek to return to both work and play, but some state leaders say woefully inadequate federal action, like a lack of testing supplies, is hindering their response to the illness.
—A flood of new research suggests that far more people have had the coronavirus without any symptoms, fueling hope that it will turn out to be much less lethal than originally feared. While that’s clearly good news, it also means it’s impossible to know who around you may be contagious. That complicates decisions about returning to work, school and normal life.
— As of early Monday morning, the coronavirus has sickened 766,664 people in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as caused 41,313 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.
— Elsewhere in New England, there have been 1,706 coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts, 1,331 in Connecticut, 155 in Rhode Island, 41 in New Hampshire and 38 in Vermont.
Watch: Maine CDC coronavirus press conference, April 20