ABC - Top Stories

Karwai Tang/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) -- Hot on the heels of their reboot of Perry Mason getting renewed at HBO, Robert Downey Jr. and his wife Susan Downey's Team Downey production company has inked a drama deal with Apple TV. 

Variety reports the pair will produce the as-yet-untitled show about a frustrated detective's attempts to crack a cold case that spirals out of control. Based on "The Sting," an article from Toronto Life written by co-producer Michael Lista, the project will center on what Lista called "the inside story of a brutally botched undercover operation." 

Variety says there could be a supporting part for now-Marvel movie icon Downey in the Apple TV project as well.  If so, it would be his first TV role since he was fired from Ally McBeal following a drug arrest in 2001 before his massive career comeback as the star of Iron Man in 2008.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesBy AVERI HARPER, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton's 2016 running mate, reflected on the vice presidential vetting process in an interview with ABC News' "Powerhouse Politics" podcast, and discussed how the women on former Vice President Joe Biden's shortlist may be feeling ahead of his pick.

The senator from Virginia has an unusual amount of first-hand experience with the vetting process. Before being selected as Clinton's running mate in 2016, Kaine was among the finalists identified by then-Sen. Barack Obama for his ticket in 2008. Obama ultimately chose Biden and reportedly told Kaine, "You are the pick of my heart, but Joe is the pick of my head."

Amid reports that claim some Biden donors have said Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., was "too ambitious" to be vice president, Kaine likening it to the scrutiny Clinton endured in 2016.

"The ambition theme that's popped up in recent weeks is just a sad part of what I saw with Hillary running for president in 2016," said Kaine. "We have a double standard for women."

"The hardest part of being on the ticket with Hillary in 2016 was just the endless display of outright misogyny or subtle double standards that demonstrated to me -- absolutely clearly -- why we haven't had a woman president and why the United States has still such a poor track record of electing women to national legislative office," he continued.

At this point in the vetting process, Kaine said the contenders may feel vulnerable to negative stories and leaked opposition research.

"You're out on a diving board -- kind of by yourself -- and if anybody has an arrow they're going to fire at you, the campaign kind of wants to see it fire," said Kaine. "They want to know what's out there and they want to know how you respond. They want to know, 'Do voters think this is a serious issue or is that so minor, who cares about that?'"

Kaine explained that in order to do no harm to the presumptive nominee, it's actually important for these kinds of negative stories to come out ahead of the pick being announced. He described the process as "necessary" and "nerve-wracking."

"You want any of those arrows fired before you name somebody rather than after," said Kaine. "Let's make sure we understand all the downsides that everybody has because everybody has them. Let's make sure we understand them all before we make a pick."

Over the weekend, vice presidential hopeful California Rep. Karen Bass received blowback after reports unearthed a video of her address at a 2010 Scientology church opening. She has also been criticized for referring to Fidel Castro as "comandante en jefe," which many believe is a term of endearment for the dictator and for work she did in the 1970s in Cuba with a group that sends leftist students to the island nation annually. In interviews on Sunday political talk shows, Bass said, "lesson learned" and said she'd evolved on the subject after conferring with colleagues in Florida.

Kaine said these kinds of attacks have a myriad of sources.

"Negatives come out from every different direction. They come out from enterprising reporters. They come out from -- sometimes the candidates themselves want them out there so it's not a surprise later. They definitely come out from rivals," said Kaine. "And sometimes the campaign itself."

Kaine offered insight on the very public nature of this vetting process given the realities of campaigning amid the coronavirus pandemic. Many of the women said to be under consideration for the number two spot have participated in virtual campaign events and fundraisers, in addition to a host of news interviews and television appearances. Kaine hinted that the "public tryout" may outlast COVID-19 and continue into future election cycles.

"It may kind of be a new norm to put people through a very public tryout for some extended period of time to see how they stand up to that," he said.

Meanwhile, negotiations continue on a new coronavirus relief package on Capitol Hill.

Kaine said he believes that lawmakers from both sides of the aisle will have a deal by the end of the week.

"It is a time of dramatic hardship and we just have to make sure that the dollars that are being invested, are going in a targeted way to the folks who really are suffering those hardships in the greatest way," said Kaine.

LISTEN to the full episode here.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 702,000 people worldwide.

Over 18.6 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some national governments are hiding or downplaying the scope of their outbreaks.

Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 4.7 million diagnosed cases and at least 157,186 deaths.

Here's how the news is developing today. All times Eastern.

4:30 p.m.: Fauci on US coronavirus response: 'We didn't all row together'

At a public forum hosted by the Harvard School of Public Health, Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta that the U.S. "had a disparate response" to the pandemic.

"We didn't all row together," Fauci said Wednesday.

"We live in a very big country, and we often leave the decisions about the implementation of things at the local level. And what we've seen is a great disparity in how individual states, cities responded," he said.

Fauci argued that while he did not expect another lockdown to combat the outbreak, the lack of unity in the moment is a concern.

"When we had 9/11, everyone was frightened, particularly because we had anthrax," Fauci said.

"So there was this kind of synergy among different demographic groups about holding together as a nation. Now, there's such a divergence of how people view this and such a divisiveness," he said.

On the subject of testing, Gupta asked why some COVID-19 results take a long time and are occasionally inaccurate.

"I could bend myself into a pretzel to get out of that question," Fauci said. "It's unacceptable. Period. And I don't know why, because that's not what I do everyday, but I can tell you they are trying."

Fauci said he still projects the U.S. won't develop a vaccine until the end of the year.

"My projection, which is only projection, is that somewhere towards the end of the year, the beginning of 2021, we will know whether we have a safe and effective vaccine," he told Gupta.

3:20 p.m.: Virginia becomes first state to launch COVID-19 tracing smartphone app

Virginia has become the first state to launch a smartphone app that aims to trace the spread of coronavirus.

The free app, COVIDWISE, tells users if they’ve been in contact with someone who has tested positive.

Those who test positive will get a unique code to enter into the app, the governor's office said.

Other COVIDWISE users who have been near someone who tested positive will get a notice saying, "You have likely been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19."

Gov. Ralph Northam stressed that COVIDWISE does not track or store personal information, nor does it rely on GPS.

“Instead it uses the Apple Google Bluetooth Low Energy Technology, which assigns random keys to positive cases," Northam said at a news conference. "It uses those keys to determine if you’ve been in close contact with someone who tests positive ... and sends you an alert."

"COVIDWISE works by using random Bluetooth keys that change every 10 to 20 minutes. iOS and Android devices that have the app installed will anonymously share these random keys if they are within close proximity for at least 15 minutes," the governor's office said in a statement. "Each day, the device downloads a list of all random keys associated with positive COVID-19 results submitted by other app users and checks them against the list of random keys it has encountered in the last 14 days. If there is a match, COVIDWISE may notify the individual, taking into account the date and duration of exposure, and the Bluetooth signal strength which is used to estimate proximity."

2:15 p.m.: 4 University of Louisville sports teams on hold after outbreak linked to party

Four sports teams at the University of Louisville are temporarily suspended after a COVID-19 outbreak linked to a party, university officials said, according to ABC Louisville affiliate WHAS.

MORE: Should schools reopen for students' mental health? Experts weigh in
Twenty-nine students tested positive, WHAS reported.

Men's soccer, women's soccer, field hockey and volleyball are now all on hold, WHAS said.

Many other teammates and student athletes are quarantining since they were possibly exposed, school officials said, according to WHAS.

1:30 p.m.: US cruises suspended until at least Oct. 31

Cruise operators have agreed to voluntarily suspend U.S. cruises until at least Oct. 31, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) said Wednesday.

"This is a difficult decision as we recognize the crushing impact that this pandemic has had on our community and every other industry," CLIA said in a statement.

"CLIA cruise line members will continue to monitor the situation with the understanding that we will revisit a possible further extension," the statement said. "At the same time, should conditions in the U.S. change and it becomes possible to consider short, modified sailings, we would consider an earlier restart."

12:35 p.m.: Florida has 50 hospitals with no open ICU beds

Florida has 50 hospitals with no available ICU beds, the state's Agency for Healthcare Administration reported.

Two counties -- Jackson and Nassau -- have no open ICU beds, the agency said.

In Hillsborough County, which includes Tampa, only 13 ICU beds remain, the agency said.

These numbers are expected to fluctuate throughout the day as hospitals and medical centers provide updates.

11:58 a.m.: Biden won't travel to Milwaukee for Democratic National Convention

Former Vice President Joe Biden and all convention speakers will not be traveling to Milwaukee for the Democratic National Convention, according to a statement from the DNC Committee.

 “After ongoing consultation with public health officials and experts -- who underscored the worsening coronavirus pandemic -- the Democratic National Convention Committee announced today speakers for the 2020 Democratic National Convention will no longer travel to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in order to prevent risking the health of our host community as well as the convention’s production teams, security officials, community partners, media and others necessary to orchestrate the event," the statement said.

Biden will now give a speech accepting the nomination from Delaware.

11:40 a.m.: NYC to begin checkpoints enforcing state quarantine orders

New York City is beginning traveler registration checkpoints at some entry points to the city to make sure visitors and returning residents are complying with quarantine rules, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday.

The "Sheriff’s Office in coordination with other law enforcement agencies will undertake traveler registration checkpoints at major bridge and tunnel crossings into New York City,” said New York City Sheriff Joseph Fucito.

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have a travel advisory in place for states with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a week average, or any state with 10% of higher positivity rate over a week average. Travelers arriving in the Tri-state area from those states must quarantine for two weeks.

Those coming to New York must also complete a traveler form.

Nonessential workers who do not follow quarantine orders could be fined $10,000. People who do not fill out New York's travel form could be fined $2,000.

States on the list as of Wednesday are: Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

11:02 a.m.: US clinches deal with Johnson & Johnson for potential vaccine

Johnson & Johnson has agreed to supply 100 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate to the United States for more than $1 billion.

Both the American pharmaceutical company and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the deal in separate statements Wednesday.

The agreement will support the company's efforts to scale up doses of the experimental vaccine through large-scale domestic manufacturing; the U.S. government will own the first 100 million doses. The federal government also has an option to purchase an additional 200 million doses under a subsequent agreement, according to a press release from Johnson & Johnson.

and second phases of clinical trials. The company, which has committed to making the drug available on a "not-for-profit" basis, said it will launch a phase three study by September.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement that the Trump administration is assembling a "portfolio of vaccines" which will increase "the likelihood that the United States will have at least one safe, effective vaccine by 2021."

10:32 a.m.: Chicago Public Schools will start with all-remote learning, officials say

All of Chicago's public school students and teachers will begin the new school year at home next month due to the coronavirus pandemic, officials announced Wednesday.

Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson said at a press conference that remote learning will be conducted for at least the first quarter of the school year, which runs through Nov. 6.

"By that point," Jackson said, "we will evaluate the situation and make a determination about how we will move forward."

Jackson noted that the students will be engaged for the entirety of a normal school day -- from their time with teachers, independent studying and small group learning.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the decision to start remotely "makes sense for a district of CPS's size and diversity."

The move comes on the heels of protests across the country held by teachers and activists demanding adequate classroom safety measures as schools debate reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic.

9:44 a.m.: Moderna on track to enroll 30,000 people in phase 3 trial

American biotechnology company Moderna announced Wednesday that it's on track to recruit enough volunteers for the third phase of clinical trials for its potential COVID-19 vaccine.

The phase three study of Moderna's vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, began on July 23 and is being conducted in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health as well as the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.

The trial will ultimately include 30,000 volunteers and Moderna said it expects to complete enrollment by September. It's the final stage before the vaccine candidate could potentially be authorized for use by the Food and Drug Administration.

Each volunteer will be given either a dose of the vaccine candidate or a placebo. Researchers will monitor whether the drug protects the group from getting infected.

8:30 a.m.: Fourth-graders to be quarantined after student tests positive in North Carolina

A fourth-grade student at a private school in North Carolina has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a report by Durham ABC station WTVD-TV.

Thales Academy said it was notified Monday that one of its student at its Wake Forest campus had tested positive after being exposed by a family member. The school then sent a letter home to parents explaining what happened and how it planned to move forward, WTVD reported.

The last time the infected student was on campus was Friday. The student was asymptomatic throughout their time at school, passing the temperature check and symptom-screening checklist for entry, according to WTVD.

Students potentially exposed have been contacted and will be quarantined for 14 days along with the teaching staff, WTVD reported.

Thales Academy welcomed students back to its campuses for the new school year in July.

7:50 a.m.: Bolivia cancels the rest of its school year

Schools across Bolivia will remain closed for the rest of the year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Interim Bolivian President Jeanine Anez announced the decision earlier this week.

"Today we make the decision to close the school year," Anez wrote in Spanish on Twitter. "It is very hard, but we do it to take care of the health of Bolivians, especially our children. Health is the most important thing, especially at this time."

Last week, the South American nation's highest electoral authority postponed the presidential election from Sept. 8 to Oct. 18 due to the pandemic, marking the third time the vote has been delayed.

More than 83,000 people in Bolivia have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and at least 3,320 of them have died, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

7:09 a.m.: Democratic and Republican governors band together to fill testing void

A bipartisan group of at least seven governors has teamed up with the Rockefeller Foundation to try to expand the use of rapid antigen tests to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, clinched the deal with the New York City-based private foundation in "the first interstate testing compact of its kind among governors during the COVID-19 pandemic," according to a press release. The governors of Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia have all signed on to the agreement.

The governors are now in talks with the U.S. manufactures of the Food and Drug Administation-authorized fast-acting tests, which deliver results in 15-20 minutes, to purchase 500,000 per state, for a total of three million tests.

"With severe shortages and delays in testing and the federal administration attempting to cut funding for testing, the states are banding together to acquire millions of faster tests to help save lives and slow the spread of COVID-19," Hogan said in a statement Tuesday night. "I want to thank my fellow governors for signing on to this groundbreaking bipartisan agreement, which we have just finalized after weeks of discussions with the Rockefeller Foundation. We will be working to bring additional states, cities, and local governments on board as this initiative moves forward."

5:14 a.m.: Global death toll tops 700,000

More than 700,000 people around the world have now died from the novel coronavirus -- another grim milestone in the pandemic.

As of early Wednesday morning, the global death toll from COVID-19 was at 700,741, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

3:37 a.m.: US daily case count shoots back up over 50,000

More than 57,000 new cases of COVID-19 were identified in the United States on Tuesday, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

The latest daily caseload is about 10,000 more than the previous day's increase but still lower than the country's record set on July 16, when more than 77,000 new cases were identified in a 24-hour reporting period.

A total of 4,771,519 people in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 156,830 of them have died, according to Johns Hopkins. The cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.

By May 20, all U.S. states had begun lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The day-to-day increase in the country's cases then hovered around 20,000 for a couple of weeks before shooting back up and crossing 70,000 for the first time in mid-July.

Many states have seen a rise in infections in recent weeks, with some -- including Arizona, California and Florida -- reporting daily records.

However, an internal memo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency obtained by ABC News on Monday night shows an 8.8% decrease in new cases across the United States over the past week compared with the previous week. That same seven-day span saw a 24% increase in deaths, according to the memo.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Daniel Carde/Getty ImagesBy GUY DAVIES, ABC News

(LONDON) -- The death toll in Tuesday's massive explosion in a Beirut warehouse has climbed past 100 as search and rescue efforts continue in the Lebanese capital.

At least 135 people are dead and more than 5,000 were injured in the blast, according to the latest figures released by Lebanon Health Minister Hamad Hassan.

Many others are still missing, Hassan said.

At least one U.S. citizen was killed in the explosion, and several others have been injured, a U.S. State Department spokesperson told ABC News.

The enormous explosion, which flattened a portion of the city, has left up to 300,000 people homeless, Beirut's governor said.

The city's hospitals reached capacity soon after the explosion, forcing many of the wounded to travel as far as Tripoli, 50 miles north, to receive treatment. At least three hospitals were damaged by the blast.

Three days of mourning have been declared.

The exact cause of the blast remains unknown, although authorities said that more than 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate, an industrial compound, was being stored in the warehouse that was the scene of the blast. During a virtual appearance at the Aspen Security Forum on Wednesday, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that there is still information coming in about the explosion, but that "most believe it was an accident, as reported."

After an emergency cabinet meeting, Lebanon's President Michel Aoun announced that an unspecified number of people who managed the ammonium nitrate storage at the warehouse linked to the explosion are to be put under house arrest. He also announced that four government field hospitals will be set up, and an official report into the explosion will be delivered to the cabinet within the next five days.

Ammonium nitrate is the same fertilizer that was used to make explosives for the Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people 25 years ago.

The ammonium nitrate appears to have been confiscated from a commercial cargo ship abandoned in Beirut in 2013 and then confiscated by the Lebanese authorities a year later.

According to lawyers who said they represented its crew, the ship, the Rhosus, was forced to dock due to technical issues in autumn 2013 and then forbidden to sail by the Lebanese authorities after they found violations during an inspection.

In a notice describing the legal dispute published on Ship Arrested, the lawyers wrote the ammonium was offloaded by Beirut's port authorities and placed in warehouses to await auctioning or proper disposal.

Six years later, the confiscated ammonium nitrate had not been moved from the port's warehouses.

The Lebanese Red Cross has made a series of urgent appeals for blood donations after they sent 75 ambulances and 375 paramedics to the scene. Search and rescue teams continued to look for missing people around the site on Wednesday.

A firefighter at the port told ABC News that a team of 10 emergency responders who first responded to a fire at the scene are missing after potentially being caught in the explosion.

Yukie Mokuo, UNICEF's representative in Lebanon, said she was "concerned that children are among the casualties and we are aware that those who survived are traumatized and under shock."

Drone footage from the port shows much of the area flattened by the blast, the effects of which were felt across the entire city. The United States Geological Survey reported that the explosion registered a 3.3 magnitude, with reports suggesting it was heard as far away as Cyprus, 150 miles away into the Mediterranean.

Journalists at the Lebanese newspaper the Daily Star and the BBC offices in Beirut documented the moments after the explosion hit, showing significant damage to their offices.

Roy Badaro, a Lebanese economist, told ABC News he expected an exodus of up to 1 million people in the aftermath of the explosion.

"It's beyond imagination, the repair of the country is beyond the means of Lebanese people," he said. "All the people that contribute to the economy will leave ... People nowadays they don't have the money to repair, they don't have the hope, they lost hope in their country. It's a collective failure. It's the failure of the whole country, not only in economic terms."

Estimating the direct damage to "one of the biggest ports in the eastern Mediterranean to be around $3 billion, he said the consequences will play out on the poorest in Lebanon.

"We'll be using small ports, it will increase the prices, it will hurt the poor," he said.

The president of France, Emmanuel Macron, announced he would be visiting the stricken country on Thursday.

"I will go to Beirut tomorrow to meet the Lebanese people to bring them the message of fraternity and solidarity from the French," he posted on Twitter. "We will take stock of the situation with the political authorities."

The U.K. announced on Wednesday a package of emergency aid for Lebanon, which includes immediately deploying search and rescue support and offering up to 5 million pounds to assist people made homeless by the disaster.

President Donald Trump said, "Our prayers go out to all the victims and their families. The United States stands ready to assist Lebanon."

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke with Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab to express his condolences and offer assistance.

Esper said Wednesday that the U.S. is "positioning ourselves to provide them whatever assistance we can: humanitarian aid, medical supplies, you name it, to assist the people of Lebanon.”

The Lebanese government has not yet made a specific request to the U.S. government for help, so the U.S. has not deployed any funds or personnel just yet, according to a National Security Council official.

Lebanon is currently in a position of severe financial difficulty, with the strain on the country's healthcare system already exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

ABC News' Leena Saidi, Nasser Atta, Conor Finnegan, Luis Martinez, Patrick Reevell and Matt Seyler contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Dr. Jacqueline Delmont is the chief medical officer of SOMOS, which has expanded from New York City to other cities affected by the coronavirus to provide testing. - (ABC News) By KRISTOFER RIOS, CLAIRE PEDERSEN, DEBORAH KIM and ANTHONY RIVAS, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- One doctor in Miami started her own COVID-19 testing site while another in New York City partnered with a group of testing sites in order to better treat these underserved populations.

In a predominantly Latino neighborhood in the Bronx, New York, doctors working through the non-profit group SOMOS Community Care have spent months on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, those same doctors are traveling to other cities around the country that have been seeing surges in new COVID-19 cases in an effort to get free testing to communities of color, which have already been hit disproportionately hard by the virus and face scarcities in access to testing as well.

One of these doctors is Dr. Jacqueline Delmont, chief medical officer of SOMOS, who has been working for free operating a pop-up free testing site in Miami Lakes, Florida for the past two weeks.. The doctor, who is originally from Venezuela and has devoted her career to helping fellow immigrants, said “the moment” they arrived, people were lining up as early as 4 a.m. to get tested.

The pandemic has pushed Delmont to use all the skills she’s learned during her career.

“It’s an unprecedented time. … I’ve been able to use my administrative skills, but my clinical skills, the empathy coming from a family with limited resources, understanding that there are definitely differences in the communities in terms of access to information, to medication, to mobile devices, to appropriate internet,” she said.

Dr. Yomaris Peña, a volunteer with SOMOS, said working at one of the organization’s testing sites is “another mission where I’m helping my Hispanic, my Latinos, my African American family … everyone that is underserved.”

Medical experts have said testing is a key tool in stopping the viral transmission of COVID-19. Yet, an ABC News and FiveThirtyEight review review of U.S. Census data and testing site info throughout the 50 states and the District of Columbia found that in many cities, testing sites in and near predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods were likely to serve more patients than those in predominantly white neighborhoods. The review also found disparities between richer and poorer neighborhoods, with testing sites scarcer in poorer ones.

It noted “particularly” large disparities in testing access in and around many cities, so called urbanized areas, like San Antonio, Baltimore, Los Angeles and Miami.

“It’s devastating that the communities that need it the most, the communities that have been most affected, the communities that we could have made a greater impact in controlling the pandemic, have not had the access to testing,” Delmont said.

She said it’s “very disheartening” being unable to test many within these communities early because it doesn’t allow them to be proactive in isolating those who become ill. With many people in these communities living with their families -- including elders -- this puts them at risk.

Natalie Choy, 16, recently received a second COVID-19 test two weeks after her first one came back positive. She says her whole family has been sick with the virus, and hopes the second test will give her the all clear.

“My mom, my dad, my little brother and then my two little baby siblings and my grandpa all live with me, and pretty much everyone experienced symptoms, including the babies,” Choy said.

She said it was easier to social distance inside the house when it was just her father who was sick -- he was the first to test positive. Once other people in the family contracted the virus, it became more difficult. “I share a room with my brother, so it wasn’t realistic at all. We really couldn’t do anything at all except wear a mask. We still do.”

With such a large family, the SOMOS testing site has also helped people, who otherwise may not be able to afford testing, have access to the service.

“People who can have the money and the things just to be able to pay for every single test, they have much easier access. … That’s fine, but when it’s five, six or seven people, some people simply can’t afford it.”

Delmont pointed out that some families have other obstacles to receiving these services.

“Many patients have lost their insurance. They fear that they’re going to get a bill. Many of them are undocumented,” she said. “We understand that the federal government is not necessarily covering these tests for undocumented [immigrants].”

Carmen Guerra, an associate professor of medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, specializes in health disparities. She says that for people who don’t have insurance, “the only other options are to rely on publicly funded means of testing, whether that’s through public health sites in your city or town, or through philanthropic funds.”

SOMOS is one of the organizations around the country that has been there to fill in these gaps. In Houston, Sonia Gomez’s husband had been reluctant to get a test despite their family showing symptoms of the virus.

When they arrived at SOMOS’ Houston site, she said her husband was “very happy that they weren’t asking for any information about … status or papers.”

Gomez said she drove 30 minutes to get to the testing site and that they were taken in quickly by SOMOS doctors -- she said she had tried other places and the wait was about three to four weeks “because the testing sites are very full right now.”

A few days after receiving a test, Gomez tested positive for the virus.

“It was very shocking and scary to know that all of us are tested positive and it’s so dangerous. People are dying. It’s just crazy,” she told ABC News.

SOMOS was co-founded in 2015 by Dr. Ramon Tallaj after he immigrated to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic in the 1990s, and now has over 2,500 doctors who can speak five languages with their patients.

“Our patients are immigrants like us,” he said. “We speak the same language. We know exactly what’s their problem about housing, money, jobs. Then we had to work with them in any way possible.”

When the pandemic first swept through New York City, the Bronx was the epicenter of the epicenter, and SOMOS was there to help -- the organization partnered with New York State to expand to 28 additional sites. As the organization has expanded its efforts to other cities, Tallaj says SOMOS doctors have conducted close to a quarter million tests.

“From the beginning, we’ve been crying to get testing in our community,” Tallaj said. “But we did it ourselves. We put on the line a lot of money … and we want to continue for our own people.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


monkeybusinessimages/iStockBy the GMA TEAM, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Know a young girl with an interest in science, technology, engineering and math?

Then she'll want to tune into "Awesome Girls: Engineer Your World," a “Show and Tell” collaborative discussion with Mary Barra, chairwoman and CEO of General Motors, and Sylvia Acevedo, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA, moderated by Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts.

During the livestream, Barra and Acevedo will show photos and videos and share other resources that tell their stories of becoming successful engineers and leaders in traditionally male-dominated fields.

They’ll also tell girls how they can follow in their footsteps by earning the new Automotive Engineering three-badge series for Daisies (grades K-1), Brownies (grades 2-3) and Juniors (grades 4-5), made possible through support from GM.

The event will wrap up with a live Q&A where girls can ask questions about how to be succeed in STEM fields and beyond.

Tune in Wednesday, Aug. 5, from 2-2:30 p.m. ET. You can register for the event here or you can watch the livestream of the conversation on

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Ashley Landis - Pool/Getty ImagesBy ABC News

(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- It's been a "challenge" for LeBron James, who is adjusting to his new life inside the NBA bubble.

The NBA season, which is officially underway, has rolled out new plans to keep players safe from COVID-19 by sequestering them inside Walt Disney World Resort hotels until the end of the season. USA Today reports that teams that made it to the second half of the season began quarantining roughly a month ago.

That means that the players have not been able to physically interact with friends or family members, which James says has been a hard pill to swallow.

"I miss the hell out of my family. My wife, my kids, my mother. And so on and so on," the NBA MVP admitted to reporters after the Lakers triumphed over the Utah Jazz on Monday. "It's a huge challenge."

The Laker has been married to wife Savannah since 2013 and they share three children together -- LeBron Jr., 15, Bryce, 13, and 5-year-old Zhuri.

Despite missing his family, James wants to make them proud by carrying the Lakers through another championship. The team stands to secure their 17th win, which would also be his fourth championship title.

The 35-year-old also understands that he is in a position to use his platform to make a positive difference and speak out against social justice issues like systemic racism.

"It’s given us the opportunity to every single day speak about, feel passionate about, whatever is going on in your personal life, whatever is going on in society and us trying to make a change," he explained. "It’s being dynamic and being heard."

The Lakers face off against Oklahoma City Thunder Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. ET.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Listener Poll
When do you think things will return to Normal?
Add a Comment
(Fields are Optional)

Your email address is never published.

Find Us On Facebook