The Gazette Daily News Podcast, April 1

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I suggest we cancel April Fool’s Day for this year. Just a thought.

There could be some rain early on Wednesday before it turns into another sunny day. According to the National Weather Service, there is a chance of  scattered showers in the Cedar Rapids area, mainly before 11:00 a.m. It will be cloudy in the morning, but then it will become mostly sunny, with a high near 54 degrees. 

In your daily coronavirus update, the death toll rose to 7 people in Iowa, with an additional 73 positive tests bringing Iowa’s total of those confirmed to have the virus to 497.

A big theme of Tuesday on the state and national level were some grim projections that emphasized the importance of social distancing as a way to prevent the COVID-19 virus from overwhelming the United States healthcare system.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned Americans to brace for a “hell of a bad two weeks” ahead as the White House projected there could be 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the U.S. from the coronavirus pandemic by next August even if current social distancing guidelines are maintained. However, they stressed that the numbers could be lower if Americans committed to social distancing recommendations over the next 30 days and the country’s health infrastructure has a chance to catch up.

The United States passed 4,000 deaths nationally linked to the virus on Tuesday.

A new projection, from a study being cited by national health officials, predicted nearly 800 Iowans will die of COVID-19 through Aug. 4, with the first peak of the outbreak hitting the state April 17.

In big local business news, United Technologies and Raytheon are set to merge Friday morning, after the $135 billion deal received all necessary regulatory approvals across the globe. The new Raytheon Technologies Corporation will be formed before the opening of trading Friday on the New York Stock Exchange, and it will begin trading that day under the ticker symbol RTX, the companies announced Monday.

UTC is the parent company of Collins Aerospace, which employs more than 10,000 people in Cedar Rapids, Coralville, Decorah, Bellevue and Manchester. Collins Aerospace was once known as Rockwell Collins before it was acquired by UTC and merged with UTC Aerospace Systems. The Raytheon Technologies Corporation will be one of the world's largest suppliers of aerospace and defense products.

Today’s daily briefing is sponsored in part by Corridor Careers, now offering a virtual job fair on April 9th from 3 to 6 pm. For more job information, and to get yourself registered for the event, visit CorridorCareers.com/events.