Coronavirus live updates: New York tourist arrested in Hawaii after posting beach photos


Posted on: May 16th, 2020 by ABC News No Comments

GabrielPevide/iStockBY: WILLIAM MANSELL, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — The novel coronavirus pandemic has now killed more than 307,000 people worldwide.

More than 4.5 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 governments are hiding the scope of their nations’ outbreaks.

The United States is the worst-affected country, with more than 1.4 million diagnosed cases and at least 87,568 deaths.

Today’s biggest developments:

 

  • US death toll surpasses 87,000
  • NYC tourist arrested in Hawaii for violating quarantine

 

Here’s how the news developed Friday. All times Eastern. Please refresh this page for updates.

6:55 a.m.: Charges dropped against Tampa pastor who held services during stay-at-home order

The charges against a Tampa pastor who was arrested after holding services despite the local stay-at-home orders have been dropped.

State officials said they dropped the charges against pastor Rodney Howard-Browne because he has complied with social distancing rules on his church campus since his arrest.

“In deciding whether to criminally prosecute violations of stay-at-home orders, compliance is our North Star,” Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren said in a statement Friday. “Each case is unique, and each one will be assessed based on the facts and the law. But, in general, if the person who was arrested poses no ongoing threat to public health, then our tendency will be not to prosecute the case beyond the arrest.”

Howard-Browne was initially arrested and charged with unlawful assembly and violation of a public health emergency order after holding large services at his church in defiance of the county’s “safer-at-home” initiative.

“The State Attorney’s Office has recognized that compliance and not criminal punishment is the focus of our emergency health laws,” Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a statement Friday night. “Law enforcement’s intervention through arrest has been rare during this health crisis, and while it remains a necessary tool to protect the health and safety of our community, we agree that further criminal sanctions are not necessary in this instance.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Friday that Florida would move into a Phase 1 reopening on Monday, which means gyms can reopen and restaurants can now be at 50% capacity. The state’s partial reopening began on May 4.

There are more than 44,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19, with at least 1,917 deaths in Florida.

4:09 a.m.: New York tourist arrested in Hawaii for violating mandatory quarantine

A 23-year-old tourist from New York City was arrested Friday in Hawaii for violating the state’s mandatory 14-day quarantine rule and for “unsworn falsification to authority.”

Tarique Peters, according to the Hawaii Department of the Attorney General, arrived in O’ahu on Monday and quickly posted numerous pictures of himself on the beach on Instagram.

He allegedly left his hotel room the day he arrived and traveled to various places using public transportation, officials said.

Citizens alerted local authorities to Peters’ social media postings, which showed him on the beach with a surfboard, sunbathing and walking around Waikiki.

“We appreciate the assistance of local people who spot flagrant violations of our emergency rules on various social media sites and report them to the appropriate authorities,” Hawaii Attorney General Clare Connors said in a statement Friday night.

Officials said the hotel told them Peters was seen leaving his room and the hotel on numerous occasions this week.

Peters, who is from the Bronx, was arrested Friday and his bail is set at $4,000.

Hawaii has only 638 diagnosed cases of COVID-19, with at least 17 deaths.

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