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Trump praises return of live golf, even without fans

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters after arriving from Camp David to the White House in Washington, U.S. May 17, 2020. REUTERS/Eric Thayer/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump praised the return of live golf on Sunday, dialing into a televised broadcast of a two-on-two charity skins match between top players on the PGA Tour, the first event of its kind since the coronavirus lockdown.

World No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who is from Northern Ireland, teamed up with Dustin Johnson of the United States to take on American duo Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff for the highly anticipated event, one of the few live pro sports competitions on a calendar otherwise upended by the deadly COVID-19 outbreak.

“It’s a wonderful thing to see,” Trump said on the NBC Sports broadcast. “I’m getting a little tired of watching 10-year-old golf tournaments where you know who won.”

Players at the Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Florida, adhered to social-distancing guidelines aimed at limiting the coronavirus spread, standing 6 feet (1.8 m) apart and carrying their own clubs, with no caddies allowed, on an empty course without the usual masses of eager fans.

An avid golfer, Trump has played rounds with current and former players including Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and four-time major winner McIlroy, who last week criticized the president’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.

“We want to get sports back, we miss sports, we need sports in terms of the psyche, the psyche of our country and that’s what we’re going,” said Trump.

Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Peter Cooney

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Coronavirus News: Live Updates – The New York Times

‘This economy will recover; it may take a while.’

Jerome H. Powell, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, said that while he expected the U.S. economy to recover from the sharp and painful downturn brought about by the coronavirus, that process would take time — potentially until the end of 2021.

“This economy will recover; it may take a while,” Mr. Powell said in a preview of the CBS program “60 Minutes,” which is scheduled to air Sunday evening. “It may take a period of time, it could stretch through the end of next year, we don’t really know.”

Asked whether the economy could recover without an effective vaccine, Mr. Powell suggested that it could make a start, but not get all the way there.

“Assuming that there’s not a second wave of the coronavirus, I think you’ll see the economy recover steadily through the second half of this year,” he said. “For the economy to fully recover, people will have to be fully confident, and that may have to await the arrival of a vaccine.”

The interview with Mr. Powell, which CBS said was recorded on May 13, follows a blunt speech he gave the same day, warning that the economy may need more financial support to prevent permanent job losses and waves of bankruptcies.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo provided a lasting image on Sunday for fellow New Yorkers who may be apprehensive about getting tested for the coronavirus — he invited a doctor to stick a swab up his nose during his live news briefing on the pandemic.

“It is so fast and so easy that even a governor can take this test,” Mr. Cuomo said.

Mr. Cuomo then stood up and turned to a doctor, who was holding a cotton swab and was wearing coveralls, a face shield and gloves. Camera shutters clicked furiously as the doctor guided the swab up the Mr. Cuomo’s nostril.

“That’s it?” he said. “That’s it? Nothing else?”

New York has the capability of conducting 40,000 tests per day at 700 sites, said Mr. Cuomo, who noted that testing would be critical to monitoring the spread of the virus as the state begins to reopen.

“There is nothing about this test that should intimidate people from not taking this test,” he said.

In a telephone appearance during a televised charity golf exhibition Sunday, President Trump said he enthusiastically supported the return of live sporting events during the pandemic.

“We want to get sports back, we miss sports,” Mr. Trump said during NBC’s broadcast of a skins game match involving Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff. “We need sports in terms of the psyche of our country. And that’s what we’re doing.”

While Sunday’s exhibition was contested without spectators, Mr. Trump said he hoped that future events would be teeming with fans.

“We want to get it back to where it was, we want big, big stadiums loaded with people,” he said. “We don’t want to have 15,000 people watching Alabama-L.S.U., as an example.”

He later added, “We want to get back to normal where you have the big crowds where they’re practically standing on top of each other, not where they’re worried.”

“I would love to be able to have all sports back,” Dr. Fauci said. “But as a health official and a physician and a scientist, I have to say, right now, when you look at the country, we’re not ready for that yet.”

The P.G.A. Tour is planning to become one of the first major American sports leagues to return to competition with the Charles Schwab Classic on June 11 in Fort Worth. An almost weekly schedule of men’s golf tournaments is set to follow, including the P.G.A. Championship in San Francisco in early August, the United States Open in mid-September outside New York City and the Masters in November in Augusta, Ga.

“When you have the Masters, we want to have big crowds,” Mr. Trump said. “And now, right now, that’s not what they’re planning, but you never know what happens. Things can happen very quickly.”

Thirteen sailors aboard the virus-stricken aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt have retested positive for Covid-19 after seeming to have recovered from the disease, Navy officials said on Sunday.

The infected sailors, who had all tested negative twice before reboarding the Roosevelt in recent days, have been removed from the warship to self-quarantine. The Roosevelt has been docked in Guam since March 27 as Navy officials wrestle with how to deal with sickened sailors, disinfect the vessel and prepare for it to resume operations in the Western Pacific.

Navy officials have said they are aggressively screening and testing as crew members return to the Roosevelt after quarantining at the U.S. military base in Guam, as well as at hotels and in other lodging there. Officials on the ship are requiring masks and repeatedly cleaning and sanitizing to prevent another outbreak of the virus, which has infected about 1,100 crew members since March. One sailor has died.

About 2,900 of the 4,800 crew members are now back on board. They are under strict orders to report to doctors the slightest cough, headache or other flulike symptom. In the past week or so, the new testing even turned up a sailor who tested positive for tuberculosis. That set off a wild contact-tracing scramble that found no other cases on board, Navy officials said.

The results of the Navy’s latest investigation into events surrounding the Roosevelt are due by the end of this month.

Recent research in South Korea suggested that dozens of patients there who had tested positive a second time after recovering from the illness appeared to be “false positives” caused by lingering — but likely not infectious — bits of the virus.

When a sprinkling of a reddish rash appeared on Jack McMorrow’s hands in mid-April, his father figured the 14-year-old was overusing hand sanitizer —- not a bad thing during a global pandemic.

When Jack’s parents noticed that his eyes looked glossy, they attributed it to late nights of video games and TV.

When he developed a stomachache and didn’t want dinner, “they thought it was because I ate too many cookies or whatever,” said Jack, a ninth-grader in Woodside, Queens, who loves Marvel Comics and has ambitions to teach himself “Stairway to Heaven” on the guitar.

But over the next 10 days, Jack felt increasingly unwell. His parents consulted his pediatricians in video appointments and took him to a weekend urgent care clinic. Then, one morning, he awoke unable to move.

He had a tennis ball-size lymph node, raging fever, racing heartbeat and dangerously low blood pressure. Pain deluged his body in “a throbbing, stinging rush,” he said.

“You could feel it going through your veins and it was almost like someone injected you with straight-up fire,” he said.

Jack, who was previously healthy, was hospitalized with heart failure that day, in a stark example of the newly discovered severe inflammatory syndrome linked to the coronavirus that has already been identified in about 200 children in the United States and Europe and killed several.

What is the difference between “deaths among Covid-19 cases” and “deaths due to Covid-19”? In Colorado, that distinction in wording changes the total by about 30 percent.

Until Friday, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment had been including anyone who had Covid-19 at the time of death in the official total, a practice consistent with the C.D.C.’s counting criteria. By that reckoning, Colorado had 1,192 deaths as of Friday.

But the state said it would now also report a lower figure — those for whom the disease is considered the sole cause of death, with no other complicating factors. Counting that way knocks the state’s total down to 892.

Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, defended the change on Sunday.

“The C.D.C. criteria include anybody who died with Covid-19,” he said on Fox News. “What the people of Colorado and the people of the country want to know is how many people died of Covid-19.”

Health experts have warned for weeks that inconsistent reporting protocols and insufficient testing have led to an undercounting of coronavirus deaths nationally. North Dakota and Alabama have both experimented with death counts similar to Colorado’s new approach, but have continued to report the C.D.C.’s way.

Mr. Polis acknowledged that the virus, which he called a “bad bug,” can be particularly dangerous for older people and people with underlying medical conditions — those who would be most likely to be excluded from the state’s sole-cause count.

A second fisheries worker in Alaska has tested positive for the coronavirus, adding to fears that the isolated fishing towns that have so far avoided infections could face challenges as thousands of seasonal workers pour in for the start of Alaska’s summer seafood rush.

State officials said the positive case was identified Friday in the city of Dillingham. The infected worker, an employee of Trident Seafoods, had recently arrived and tested positive at the end of a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Earlier this month, a worker who had arrived in the fishing community of Cordova also tested positive.

Some locals have expressed concern about the fishing season, which began in Cordova with the pursuit of the famed Copper River salmon. In Dillingham, hospital leaders at the Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation had requested that the fishing season remain closed, arguing that the arrival of thousands of outsiders put the community at risk.

To prepare for the influx of workers, state and local government officials have put in place strict quarantine procedures, social-distancing requirements and aggressive testing. Some companies are requiring their workers to stay on site, where the seasonal crews often sleep in bunkhouses.

State officials said the worker who tested positive in Dillingham was removed from the area. None of that person’s contacts in the city have so far tested positive.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the federal agency that administers the country’s lawful immigration system, says it could be insolvent by summer, and has asked Congress for $1.2 billion to stay afloat.

The agency handles applications for green cards, citizenship and other programs, and it relies on fees paid by applicants for 97 percent of its $4.8 billion annual budget. Applications have plummeted because of travel and immigration restrictions imposed in response to the pandemic.

In addition to the money it is requesting from Congress, the agency plans to impose a 10 percent surcharge on its fees, on top of previously proposed increases. The cost of petitioning for naturalization would jump more than 60 percent, to $1,170 from $725, for most applicants.

Critics said the Trump administration’s policies, including new requirements for some green card applicants and more extensive reviews for H-1B visas, hit the agency from two sides — reducing revenue by dissuading people from applying, and increasing the amount of labor involved in handling each case.

“With extreme vetting, they are making every single application take longer to review, and processing fewer,” said Melissa Rodgers, the director of programs at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center in San Francisco, who oversees a program to promote citizenship among legal immigrants. “Word gets out that it’s not worth applying,” she said.

Now that nearly all the states that imposed stay-at-home orders and other restrictions to fight the pandemic have begun to ease them, governors say it’s gotten more complicated than ever to try to balance all the conflicting imperatives.

“The question is, how do you toggle back and make meaningful modifications to the stay-at-home order?” Gov. Gavin Newsom of California said Sunday on CNN. “And that’s where we’re now in this point of friction and a lot of frustration.”

Mr. Newsom has allowed shops in California to offer curbside service, child care providers to reopen, and factories that make consumer products to restart. Restaurants and stores can resume allowing customers inside their premises in 22 of the state’s 58 counties, most of them rural. Some beaches, parks and trails reopened this weekend.

Like a number of other governors, Mr. Newsom, a Democrat, has seen his decisions draw criticism from many sides, as either painfully slow or recklessly fast. And the continued restrictions in much of the state are meeting with some resistance. But he said the risks of a resurgence of the virus remained too great to simply lift them all.

“The realities of previous pandemics around the globe, and those we experienced in the U.S., suggest not just second waves but potential third waves,” he said. “So one has to be very, very sober, as we move forward to this next round of reopenings.”

Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio, a Republican, imposed restrictive measures in the state before many of his Republican colleagues, becoming the first to close schools. The number of new daily cases in the state is down from its peak and has plateaued. Now, as Mr. DeWine looks to reopen the state, he has also chastised those seeking to get ahead of the state orders.

“This is a virus that we’re still learning a lot about,” Mr. DeWine said. “We don’t know a great deal about it, we know more today than we did two months ago, or three months ago.”

Speaking about the situation on Sunday, Mr. DeWine said the restaurant owners “seemed to get control of it last night — we didn’t have to issue any citations,” but that the state was “going to do whatever we have to do if these things occur across Ohio.”

On Friday, restaurants across the state will be allowed to resume service to patrons at outdoor tables.

“All of this is a work in progress,” Mr. DeWine said. “We thought it was a huge risk not to open. But we also know it’s a huge risk in opening.”

The passage of a $3 trillion stimulus package by the House on Friday appeared to bring Congress no closer this weekend to a deal on coronavirus aid, as pleas for more assistance collided with a conservative push to wait and see whether staggered state reopenings and previous aid packages arrest the economic free-fall.

The Republican-controlled Senate is not expected to take up the legislation that the Democratic-controlled House approved on Friday. Instead, the Senate will turn to a number of pending nominations before an expected Memorial Day recess. Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged Republicans to reconsider.

“Time is of the essence,” she said in an interview aired Sunday on the CBS program “Face the Nation.” “In the past bills, they put forth their proposal, and then we worked in a bipartisan way that we anticipate now.”

“They may think it’s OK to pause, but people are hungry across America,” she added. “Hunger doesn’t take a pause.”

Republican leaders have played down what Democrats say is an immediate need for relief, arguing that it was too early to allocate additional funds after Congress previously passed close to $3 trillion in relief.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, has laid down a “red line,” saying that strengthening liability protections for health workers and businesses moving to reopen must be part of any future package.

Ms. Pelosi said on Sunday that she had “no red lines,” but she singled out a provision in the bill passed on Friday that would strengthen federal protections for essential workers.

“The best protection for our workers and their employers is to follow very good OSHA mandatory guidelines,” she said, referring to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. “That protects the workers, protects their lives, as well as protects the employer if they follow the guidelines. Remember, when people go to work, they go home.”

The legislation the House passed on Friday, which Democratic leaders acknowledged amounted to an opening offer, faces some opposition from within their party, including in the Senate.

“I think what Pelosi did in the House — it is significant,” said Senator Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent who caucuses with the Democrats. “I have some disagreements with it, and I want to see the Senate improve on it.”

A major question on the minds of many parents is whether their children’s schools will reopen in the fall. So far the plans and guidelines that have emerged are a patchwork, and state leaders are divided about whether it is possible to have the schools ready in time and what it will take to do it safely.

Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado said on Sunday that starting the school year open would not guarantee that they stayed that way. “There might be times, if there’s an outbreak at a school, that it has to convert to online for a period of weeks until it’s reasonably safe to return to school,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Governor Polis said his state was considering measures like staggering start times, class schedules and breaks to minimize crowds in hallways.

California will proceed slowly and methodically in allowing crowds to gather again anywhere, including schools, Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Sunday, and that may mean that some schools in the state reopen while others remain closed.

“It’s all predicated on data, on science, not just observed evidence,” he said on CNN. “Each part of California is unique.”

Both governors noted that while children were not often affected as severely by the virus as adults are, they were potential spreaders.

“This is no question from an epidemiological perspective that this is a less severe, almost infinitesimal fatality rate for kids,” Mr. Polis said. “But the thing is, kids live with parents, they live with grandparents, kids are around teachers, so that’s where it gets a little bit more complicated.”

And spreading is not the only serious concern. A rare and baffling inflammatory syndrome, possibly linked to Covid-19, that has affected several hundred children across the country was also on officials’ minds.

Health issues that affect minority groups are making the pandemic worse, Azar says.

Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of health and human services, suggested in televised remarks on Sunday that the high death toll from Covid-19 in the United States, compared with other nations, was due at least in part to the prevalence of underlying health issues in minority communities.

“Unfortunately, the American population is very diverse, and it is a population with significant unhealthy comorbidities that do make many individuals in our communities, in particular African-American minority communities, particularly at risk,” Mr. Azar said on the CNN program “State of the Union,” adding, “That is an unfortunate legacy of our health care system that we certainly do need to address.”

The host, Jake Tapper, pressed Mr. Azar on whether he was trying to place the blame for the pandemic on its victims. “I want to give you an opportunity to clear it up,” Mr. Tapper said, “because it sounded like you were saying that the reason that there are so many dead Americans is because we’re unhealthier than the rest of the world, and I know that’s not what you meant.”

Mr. Azar responded: “We have a significantly disproportionate burden of comorbidities in the United States — obesity, hypertension, diabetes — these are demonstrated facts that make us at risk for any type of disease burden, of course, but that doesn’t mean it’s the fault of the American people.”

Unable to travel, some turn to backyard camping.

Think s’mores, stars, the air mattress deflating with a cartoony hiss. Picture children’s faces, fire-lit and, for just another minute, little else. It could happen in farmland, suburbia or the Bronx — and it could be lovely. In lieu of summer vacation, there are also ways to vacation at home.

Reporting was contributed by Mike Baker, Karen Barrow, Pam Belluck, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Emily Cochrane, Melina Delkic, Rebecca Halleck, Jan Hoffman, Julia Jacobs, Sheila Kaplan, Clifford Krauss, Michael Levenson, Tariro Mzezewa, Bill Pennington, Katherine Rosman, Andrea Salcedo, Eric Schmitt, Hiroko Tabuchi, Jim Tankersley and Neil Vigdor.

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ACLU sues over Lompoc, Terminal Island coronavirus outbreaks

The American Civil Liberties Union on Saturday filed a pair of class-action lawsuits on behalf of federal prisoners at Lompoc and Terminal Island, claiming officials mishandled coronavirus outbreaks at the facilities that have infected a combined total of 1,775 inmates, killing 10.

“While the rest of California took extraordinary measures to stop the spread of coronavirus, the Bureau of Prisons failed to take preventive measures as basic as isolating sick prisoners, allowing social distancing, or providing enough soap,” Peter Bibring, senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Southern California, said in a statement. “Their deliberate indifference to the risk of disease violates the Constitution, and puts both those in prison and the surrounding community at risk.”

The lawsuits, which name the prisons’ wardens, as well as Michael Carvajal, director of the federal Bureau of Prisons, claim that officials at both facilities allowed the virus to spread by failing to provide clean environments, basic sanitary supplies and personal protective equipment to prisoners and staff.

Overcrowding makes it impossible for prisoners to maintain social distancing or take other precautions, but officials have refused to consider the majority of inmates for release into home confinement despite directives that they do so, according to the lawsuits. The refusal amounts to cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by the 8th Amendment, the suits claim.

The Bureau of Prisons did not immediately return a message seeking comment Sunday.

The Terminal Island prison in San Pedro is a low-security facility that specializes in housing prisoners who need long-term medical or mental health care. As of Sunday, 692 inmates had tested positive for COVID-19 and eight had died, according to federal Bureau of Prisons figures. Fifteen staffers also had tested positive.

The prison houses 1,042 inmates despite a rated capacity of 779, according to the Terminal Island lawsuit.

In an attempt to provide more space, prison officials have moved inmates into field tents and warehouses that were hastily converted into makeshift living spaces, the lawsuit states. Still, they have failed to ensure social distancing or isolation of infected inmates within the structures, merely creating ”new hot zones for the virus to spread at an even more rapid rate,” the complaint states.

Two Terminal Island prisoners named in the lawsuit — Maurice Smith, 50, and Edgar Vasquez, 32 — say that, amid the outbreak, they were moved to one such space, an old warehouse that had no heating or hot water for showers. The warehouse is also “infested by a veritable menagerie,” including mice, raccoons, feral cats, possums, skunks, and bats that fly through holes in the ceiling, the lawsuit states.

There, inmates sleep on folding cots three feet from the floor, and up to 60 prisoners share four toilets, four sinks and four showers, according to the lawsuit.

“In the face of a COVID-19 outbreak, Terminal Island has the worst of all worlds,” the lawsuit states. “It is overcrowded enough to make effective social distancing and isolation … impossible, [and] open and communal enough for inmates to frequently interact in close quarters to spread the disease, while also hosting a uniquely vulnerable inmate population.”

Both complaints note that the CARES Act, which became law March 27, gave Bureau of Prisons officials broad discretion to reduce prison populations by releasing inmates into home confinement. That was followed by an April 3 memo issued by Atty. Gen. William Barr urging the bureau to take such actions for medically at-risk prisoners, especially at facilities with outbreaks, the lawsuits state.

At least two of the Terminal Island inmates who died from COVID-19 — Scott Cutting, 70, and James Lino, 65, both of whom had underlying health conditions — should have been on the shortlist to be released into home confinement per the directive, the lawsuit states.

Although the men’s estates are not named as plaintiffs, the lawsuit says it seeks to have other medically vulnerable inmates who live at the prison avoid their fates.

They include Lance Wilson, 35, who suffers from hypertension and asthma. Wilson tested positive for the coronavirus in early May and has been experiencing symptoms that include migraines and chills but has not been able to see a doctor, according to the lawsuit. He submitted an application to be considered for home confinement last month but received no reply, the complaint states.

At the Federal Correctional Institution Lompoc, a low-security prison in Santa Barbara County, 924 inmates and 17 staff had tested positive as of Sunday. In addition, 159 inmates and 22 staff members have become infected at the U.S. Penitentiary Lompoc, a neighboring medium-security prison on the same grounds, and two inmates there have died.

Combined, the two federal prisons in Lompoc have had 1,083 infected inmates, according to the Bureau of Prisons, making it the worst outbreak at any federal correctional facility by far.

The number of inmates with a positive test result is likely an undercount, the lawsuit claims, because only the 963 prisoners at FCI Lompoc have been mass tested, with nearly 96% testing positive. Officials have not tested all of the 1,700 inmates at the penitentiary, according to the lawsuit.

Yonnedil Torres, 24, an inmate at the penitentiary who suffers from chronic asthma, was ignored for five days after he developed symptoms that included a fever and body aches, the lawsuit states. He was only tested for the coronavirus and found to be positive after he collapsed in his cell due to acute respiratory shock, according to the complaint.

Torres was placed in a medically induced coma and put on a ventilator; the illness left him with severe lung damage, according to the lawsuit. Though his family submitted an application for compassionate release, they have not received a reply, the lawsuit states.

In addition to failing to reduce crowding and take precautions to slow the spread of the virus, officials have not provided inmates who have become infected with adequate medical care, the lawsuit claims.

Penitentiary inmate Vincent Reed, 53, who has hypertension, received no treatment when he developed symptoms and tested positive in late March, according to the lawsuit. Instead, he was placed in solitary confinement for days and then transferred to an old, unsanitary housing unit with other inmates who had tested positive, where he still received no medical care, the lawsuit states. On April 14, he was returned to the general population without being re-tested to ensure he was negative, according to the complaint.

After testing negative for the virus, inmate Felix Samuel Garcia, 36, was abruptly moved from the low-security prison in Lompoc to the penitentiary, according to the lawsuit. There, he’s being housed in a makeshift cell block set up in a warehouse, where he is not allowed to change into clean clothes or shower and must wet his body with sink water to stay clean, according to the lawsuit.

Garcia, who is set to be transferred to a halfway house in July, was told that staff were not accepting forms required to initiate the process of release into home confinement due to “the exigency of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the lawsuit claims.

“Congress gave prisons broad authority to release low-risk offenders into home confinement so that it could reduce overcrowding and save lives,” said Naeun Rim, a principal with Bird Marella, which filed the suit along with the ACLU and the Prison Law Office. “But officials failed to use that authority. We will hold them accountable in court.”

A goal of the lawsuits is to have inmates considered for release into home confinement, by order, through a highly expedited process.

In addition, they request that the prisons be immediately compelled to provide remaining inmates with adequate space for social distancing, individual supplies of hand soap and paper towels, and access to hand sanitizer, daily showers, clean laundry and other supplies.

“The Constitution requires that prison officials provide a safe environment for people in their custody,” Donald Specter, executive director of the Prison Law Office, said in a statement. “Not only are these two prisons extremely dangerous, but they confine people who are especially vulnerable to COVID-19.”

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We can’t beat the virus because Americans stubbornly love their freedom too much

Over at the Washington Post, Keith Humphreys ended the week on a pessimistic note, opining that no matter how much testing and contact tracing is required to get us fully past this pandemic, America will never do as well as several other countries that seem to be taming the virus more quickly. The reason? Because Americans love their “freedom” too much. (Please note for the record that it was Humphreys who put the word freedom in scare quotes, not me.)

He begins by quoting medical professionals who insist that the only path toward the new normal relies on our ability to “test, isolate, contact trace and quarantine.” He then lists a few examples of countries where those practices appear to be helping them tame the virus, including Germany, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. But, the author argues, we may never succeed in the same fashion because such programs would require not only a willingness to surrender considerable privacy rights and freedoms, but also a general attitude of trust towards the government which doesn’t exist in the United States today.

But even a technically sound program is useless without widespread consent. And obtaining such consent “would require a major reduction in our liberties and a prolonged period of increased surveillance,” as journalist Stephen Bush points out. Will Americans accept those reductions willingly and quickly enough to implement an effective testing regimen? It’s hard to imagine.

In countries with successful testing programs, the relationship of citizens to the government differs from that of the United States in important respects. According to a 2018 Gallup poll, Germans are almost twice as likely as Americans (59 percent vs. 31 percent) to have confidence in government. This may help explain Germans’ greater willingness to comply with testing regimens and mask-wearing guidelines — and why Germany has almost two-thirds fewer coronavirus deaths per capita than the United States.

This isn’t a case of me trying to read something into Humphreys’ words here. He’s quite direct in describing the differences between the societies found in the nations he listed. Describing the fairly recent and young democracies in countries like Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan (where testing and contact tracing seem to have produced admirable effects), he notes that there is an air of “authoritarian residue.” This genetic memory of times when the government controlled nearly every aspect of citizens’ lives helps to promote “compliance with government-imposed coronavirus measures.”

I suppose we should examine this analysis with two questions in mind. First, is Humphreys correct? And second, even if we assume that he is, should we really be envious of people living under harsher authoritarian rule and emulate their behavior if it gets us past the pandemic faster?

As to the first question, I have no argument to offer. The author is absolutely correct. Americans are probably just about the orneriest group of curmudgeons on the planet when it comes to bending to the will of the government. That’s because we are arguably the freest people on Earth. We were born of generations of people who had experienced life under the rule of a monarch without any serious assurances of God-given rights. And they wound up telling that monarch to go stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. We’re not all that different today.

With that in mind, I would say that I would not care to exchange the remaining freedoms that we haven’t already allowed to slip away or decay in the name of beating the novel coronavirus faster. I’ve already written about the concerns I have over widespread contact tracing and how the abuse of such a system could impact everyone. We have no choice but to allow a certain amount of overreach of executive authority during times of declared states of emergency (and the courts have largely backed such actions), but that must be limited in scope and end as quickly as possible.

There are also questions about precisely how effective mass-scale testing and contact tracing will be in a nation as large, diverse and mobile as ours when compared to smaller, more authoritarian states like South Korea. I’m not saying we shouldn’t test as many people who are both willing and available as possible and help keep them isolated if they have the virus. That’s just common sense. But the tests are only a single snapshot. Anyone testing negative may very well go out to walk their dog the next day and contract the virus from some other random dog-walker who sneezes.

Further, as we’ve discussed here in the past, we’re still not at the point where we can trust all of the available testing kits that much. Some of them that are still in use have shown error rates producing false negatives as much as 40% of the time.

In the end, we’re probably doing the best we can do in our fight against the novel coronavirus. Every nation has to come up with their own solution and ours will wind up being uniquely American, framed around both our scientific capabilities and our values. If that means that we can’t get our virus numbers down to nearly zero as fast as some other nations, so be it. Heck, we still don’t know with 100% certainty if this virus can ever be eliminated or if we’ll ever have a vaccine. But if not, we’ll at least go down swinging.

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Political ad spending expected to set records in 2020 cycle despite falling economy

The coronavirus pandemic has left much of the economy in peril, but political ads remain bullish and are expected to explode in the coming months.

A joint report this month from ad tracking firm Advertising Analytics and analytics company Cross Screen Media said 2020 political spending is on track to shatter records and reach a total of $6.7 billion this election cycle, which is up 12% from an initial prediction of $6 billion.

Part of the high is due to historic levels of primary spending, record-breaking fundraising, more digital video spending, and a lack of face-to-face campaign activity amid the pandemic that can free up budgets to spend more on paid media.

So far, $2.19 billion has been spent during the 2020 cycle, more than $1 billion from this point in time seen in the 2016 and 2018 election cycles.

In preparation for November, $443 million has already been reserved for the fall of 2020.

“In terms of political spend, (the coronavirus) has not impacted it negatively,” Kyle Roberts, president and CEO of Advertising Analytics, told Politico. “These dollars can’t be allocated to the ground game right now. That does open up more dollars … that are getting appropriated to the air war.”

Fourteen markets across the country are expected to exceed $100 million in ad revenue. The report projected Florida and North Carolina to each have two markets exceeding $100 million while Phoenix, Philadelphia, and Atlanta are predicted to hit more than $150 million. All three latter markets are expected to be battlegrounds for the presidential race.

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Obama Commencement Speech – Obama Slams Trump in Graduation Address

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While it feels like hardly a day passes in which Donald Trump doesn’t try to blame the Obama administration for the failures of his presidency, Barack Obama rarely publicly criticizes his successor. In response to Trump’s attempts to popularize his vague and ridiculous “Obamagate” conspiracy theory, Obama tweeted a single word: “Vote.” But during his commencement speech for graduates of the nation’s historically black colleges and universities, Obama leveled a clear criticism of the Trump administration’s pandemic response—even if he didn’t mention the sitting president by name.

“More than anything, this pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain on the idea that so many of the folks in charge know what they’re doing,” he said during the digital address. “A lot of them aren’t even pretending to be in charge.”

Obama criticized Trump’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, which has found the US becoming the center of the global pandemic, with nearly 90,000 deaths and 1.5 million confirmed infections, during a phone call with alums of his administration last week. The ex-president called the Trump administration’s response, which has been marked by testing failures and Trump’s constant downplaying of the severity of the threat, an “absolute chaotic disaster.

In his address to graduates of the nation’s HBCUs, Obama also highlighted the disproportionate toll the outbreak has taken on black communities. “A disease like this just spotlights the underlying inequalities and extra burdens that black communities have historically had to deal with in this country,” he said. “We see it in the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on our communities.”

The former president also gave a second commencement address Saturday, as part of the special digital event “Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020,” hosted by LeBron James. “America’s gone through tough times before,” he told graduates, “and each time we came out stronger, usually because of a new generation, young people like you, learned from past mistakes and figured out how to make things better.”

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CORONAVIRUS UPDATES: 1,417,889 infected, 85,906 deaths in U.S.

Friday, May 15

There have been 1,417,889 cases of the coronavirus nationwide. The number of fatalities has reached 85,906.

The National Institute of Health published “breakthrough” results this week in treating COVID-19 patients with pneumonia with Chloroquine phosphate, an anti-malarial drug.

Retail sales tanked 16.4 percent in April as the coronavirus lockdowns close many businesses across the country.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo extended the state’s stay-at-home order until June 13.

Thursday, May 14

The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 1,393,890 and the number of fatalities from the virus has reached 84,239.

President Trump expressed optimism with the increasing number of states reopening their economies after months-long lockdowns on Twitter Thursday. “American is getting It’s life back! Vaccine work is looking VERY promising, before end of year. Likewise, other solutions!” he wrote. There are dozens of states that have already adopted the first phases of the Trump administration’s reopening guidelines.

White House Coronavirus Task Force member Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned this week of reopening schools too early, which surprised Trump.

“It’s just — to me it’s not an acceptable answer, especially when it comes to schools,” Trump said.

According to a new jobs report, last week nearly 3 million Americans filed for unemployment insurance. There are currently 36 million American workers who have filed for the benefit since the start of the epidemic.

Wednesday, May 13

There have been a total of 1,371,395 people diagnosed with the coronavirus in the U.S. Additionally, 82,461 people across the nation have died from the virus.

The FBI issued a warning Wednesday over mounting concerns that the Chinese government is attempting to steal U.S. research on the coronavirus, Axios reported.

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was released from prison on Wednesday amid fears of the virus’ spread in prison populations, his attorney confirmed. Manafort will serve the remainder of his sentence at home.

On Tuesday afternoon, Los Angeles county extended its lockdown for an additional three months.

“We are being guided by science and data that will safely move us forward along the road to recovery in a measured way—one that allows us to ensure that effective distancing and infection control measures are in place,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said during a meeting with local officials Tuesday.

Tuesday, May 12

The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. reached 1,347,936 Wednesday, as fatalities surpassed 80,900.

With many states looking to reopen, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and member of the President’s Task Force on the virus, warned Tuesday that states looking to reopen need to adhere to the administration’s guidelines for reopening in order to avoid a renewed outbreak. Fauci made the statement during a hearing before a Senate committee on Tuesday.

The White House has increased measures to stop the spread of the virus by now asking officials to wear masks and practice social distancing. A senior administration official told the Washington Post that President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence “are likely to keep away from each other, which includes being in the same room” after two staffers tested positive for the virus in recent days.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced Monday that his California factory will resume production despite local orders against doing so amid the coronavirus spread. “Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules. I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me,” Musk said on Twitter.

Alameda County later responded saying, “We have notified Tesla that they can only maintain Minimum Basic Operations until we have an approved plan that can be implemented in accordance with the local public health order. We are addressing this matter using the same phased approach we use for other businesses which have violated the order in the past, and we hope that Tesla will likewise comply without further enforcement measures.”

Monday, May 11

The number of cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. totals 1,329,799 and there have been 79,528 deaths from the virus.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is readying to testify before a Senate Committee on Tuesday, announcing that he will do so remotely. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Robert Redfield is set to testify alongside Dr. Fauci.

A new study released Monday by JAMA Pediatrics showing the outcomes of the coronavirus on children admitted to Intensive Care Units concluded that severe symptoms of the virus are less likely to be seen in the younger patients when compared to adults. Researchers studied 46 patients in the U.S. and Canada, the majority of which had preexisting medical conditions.

“Overall survival and outcomes from critical illness in infants and children with COVID-19 in this series was far better than reported for adult patients. At the present time, our data indicate that children are at far greater risk of critical illness from influenza than from COVID-19. Our observations provide an important platform for further detailed studies of COVID-19 in children, with larger cohorts and longer periods of follow-up, the researchers stated of their findings.

As many countries continue to uncover evidence of the Chinese government’s coverup of the virus, a German intelligence agency is warning that China’s President Xi Jinping asked the World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to hide information about the virus from the worlds, according to a report by German magazine Der Spiegel. According to the report, Xi asked Tedros on January 21 “to hold back information about a human-to-human transmission and to delay a pandemic warning.” The WHO has denied the report.

Friday, May 8

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus across the nation has reached 1,268,520. The total fatalities are now at 76,101.

With widespread shutdowns and stay at home orders still in place in many states, the U.S. economy is suffering. According to a new report from the U.S. Labor Department, a record 20.5 million jobs were eliminated from the U.S. economy in the month of April.

The U.S. House of Representatives is planning to vote next week on the next stimulus bill to provide relief to American workers and business owners amid the pandemic. It is now the fifth coronavirus relief bill.

A member of Vice President Pence’s team, Katie Miller, his press secretary, has tested positive for the virus, the White House confirmed Friday. The news comes a day after the President’s personal valets tested positive as well.

Thursday, May 7

There are currently 1,228,609 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. Additionally, 73,431 people have died from the virus nationwide.

A new weekly jobs report released Thursday showed that 3.2 million additional Americans filed for unemployment insurance last week. Over the last seven weeks, over 33 million people have filed as the coronavirus threatens businesses across the country.

The Governor of New Jersey Phil Murphy on Wednesday extended his State’s coronavirus emergency declaration for an additional 30 days. The order will expire on June 5.

“I want to make it absolutely clear that this action does not mean that we are seeing anything in the data which would pause our path forward and it should not be interpreted by anyone to mean we are going to be tightening any of the restrictions currently in place,” Murphy said during his press conference of the announcement.

He added, “This ensures we will continue on our current war footing for the coming month. The conditions underpinning this declaration have not changed — we are still in a public health emergency.”

The meatpacking industry reached 10,000 coronavirus cases as the industry struggles to meet the demands of consumers as the pandemic pushes many factories to close. Many stores have put limits on the number of meat purchases customers can make, including military commissaries.

Wednesday, May 6

The number of cases of the coronavirus nationwide is 1,204,475 and the number of deaths has reached 71,078.

On Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump applauded the accomplishments of the Coronavirus Task Force and said he plans to keep it in place “indefinitely,” but said he may “add” or “subtract” members from the group.

On Tuesday, the President visited a Honeywell factory in Phoenix, Arizona that’s been converted to produce N95 masks. During the trip, the President also met with Native American community leaders and signed a proclamation designating the day as Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives Awareness Day

Tuesday, May 5

The number of cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. has reached 1,180,634. Nationwide, there have been 68,934 deaths.

As countries race to develop a vaccine for the virus, Israel announced Monday that researchers completed an early phase in developing an antibody vaccine. Click here to read more.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, will testify before a Senate Committee next week on the Administration’s response to the coronavirus, NPR reports.

The Trump administration has limited the Task Force’s appearances on Capitol Hill in order to preserve resources and the President, himself, has called them merely political.

Monday, May 4

There are currently 1,159,249 cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. and 67,710 reported deaths nationwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.

During a town hall on Fox News Sunday night, President Donald Trump expressed the need for American businesses to reopen and for Americans to get back to work. He also recognized the need to do so safely, urging elderly and at-risk populations to stay home.

The virus, itself, Trump said, could result in the loss of 100,000 American lives.

Over a dozen states have started to reopen their economies utilizing the Trump administration’s phased plan.

Remdesivir, an anti-Ebola drug that’s shown success in treating coronavirus patients in early trials, will likely be available this week, Gilead Sciences, the pharmaceutical company behind the drug.

“We intend to get [remdesivir] to patients in the early part of this next week, beginning to work with the government which will determine which cities are most vulnerable and where the patients are that need this medicine,” Gilead Sciences chairman and CEO Daniel O’Day told CBS’ “Face of the Nation.”

“We’ve donated the entire supply that we have within our supply chain and we did that because we acknowledge and recognize the human suffering, the human need here, and want to make sure nothing gets in the way of this getting to patients,” O’Day added.

Friday, May 1

The number of cases of the coronavirus has reached 1,070,032 and the number of deaths has increased to 63,019.

The USNS Comfort departed from New York City on Thursday after seeing a few patients since it docked in March to support the city’s hospitals in combating the coronavirus. The ship is now heading for Norfolk, Virginia where it will be prepared for its next deployment, in which the location is still being determined.

The Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that the State’s schools before the end of the school year.

President Donald Trump signaled Thursday that there’s evidence giving him a “high degree of confidence” that the coronavirus pandemic emanated from a Wuhan lab, which is being investigated currently by the U.S. intelligence agencies.

Thursday, April 30
There are currently 1,040,488 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. and there have been 60,999 deaths nationwide.

The virus has put nearly 30.3 million people out of work, according to Thursday’s weekly jobs report. Last week, 3.8 million Americans filed for unemployment insurance.

President Donald Trump took to Twitter Thursday saying, “Sweden is paying heavily for its decision not to lockdown.”

Sweden’s model for handling the coronavirus allowed for the nation’s economy to remain open, while the government emphasized a personal responsibility approach for all citizens to keep proper distance in public spaces and practice good hygiene.

“As of today, 2462 people have died there, a much higher number than the neighboring countries of Norway (207), Finland (206) or Denmark (443),” he wrote. The United Staes made the correct decision!”

Wednesday, April 29

The number of cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. surpassed 1 million on Wednesday with 59,446 deaths.

After seeing success in early trials in COVID patients, the Ebola treatment Remdesivir is expected to be approved by the U.S. FDA for emergency use.

President Donald Trump issued an executive order on Wednesday ensuring that America’s meat supply remains a critical industry amid the pandemic. The move comes after some meat plants across the country close, which Trump said “threaten the continued functioning of the national meat and poultry supply chain, undermining critical infrastructure during the national emergency.”

U.S. government analysts are saying that the Wuhan laboratory is “most likely” the source of the coronavirus outbreak based on “circumstantial evidence,” according to the Washington Times.

“All other possible places of the virus’ origin have been proven to be highly unlikely,” the document obtained by the news site adds.

Tuesday, April 28

There are currently 988,490 people infected with the coronavirus in the U.S. Moreover, 56,256 have died throughout the country.

Globally, 3,061,521 are infected with the virus and 212,083 have died.

There are a number of large corporations that have returned small business loans provided by the CARES Act. The Los Angeles Lakers will be giving back their $4.6 million small business loan, which Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin called their acceptance of aid “outrageous” on CNBC Tuesday. The SBA loans continue to be in high demand, which became even more clear when the website application crashed Monday morning.

U.S. Health Officials are investigating the Wuhan Institute of Virology and a grant the U.S. provided to it, according to a letter Breitbart exclusively obtained on Monday. The Washington Post’s Josh Rogin was first to report State Department cables that earlier warned about the safety of the lab and gave credence to the theory that the virus may have emanated from it.

Monday, April 27

Nationwide, there are 965,933 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 53,877 have died from the virus.

Dr. Deborah Birx, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force,  told Fox News host Jesse Watters over the weekend that the coronavirus death toll will likely “dramatically” decrease by the end of May.

“We believe that both the hospitalizations, the ICU need, and frankly, the number of people who have succumbed to this disease will be dramatically decreased by the end of May,” Birx told Watters.

The USNS Comfort discharged its last patient on Sunday as it readies to depart New York City. Jonathan Rath Hoffman, assistant to the secretary of defense for public affairs, told reporters last week that the vessel will go to Norfolk, Virginia to ready for its next deployment, which he did not disclose.


Friday, April 24

There are 869,172 are infected with the coronavirus in the United States and 49,963 people have died nationwide.

Worldwide, there are 2,735,117 cases and 192,019 people have died.

On Thursday, the House passed an additional stimulus package to provide $484 additional funding to American workers and businesses. The bill also allocates $75 billion to hospitals and $25 billion to boost testing for the virus.

Vice President Mike Pence shared that the virus will ‘largely’ be behind us by memorial day weekend.

“If you look at the trends today, I think by Memorial Day Weekend we will largely have this coronavirus epidemic behind us,” Pence, who is chair of the White House coronavirus task force, told Geraldo Rivera on Thursday. “State and local officials will begin to reopen activities, you’re going to see states ahead here begin to do that.”

The State of Georgia is reopening some businesses on Friday, along with Texas, which is opening ‘retail-to-go.’


Thursday, April 23

842,624 people are infected with the coronavirus in the U.S. and there have been 46,785 fatalities nationwide. The number of infected worldwide has reached 2,647,512 with 184,372 deaths.

The weekly job reports numbers released Thursday revealed that 26 million people have filed for unemployment insurance in the U.S. in the last five weeks. Over 4 million Americans applied for the economic support in the last week alone.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote Thursday on a $484 billion stimulus package that passed the Senate on Wednesday.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to halt immigration for a 60 day period, with some exceptions.

“This will ensure that unemployed Americans of all backgrounds will be first in line for jobs as our economy reopens.” Trump said, “Crucially, it will also preserve our health care resources for American patients.”


Wednesday, April 22

There are currently 825,306 cases of the coronavirus and 45,075 fatalities in the U.S.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump provided further details regarding his plan to halt immigration for 60 days saying that it will have “certain exemptions.” The President is expected to sign the executive order on Wednesday.

“It’s something we have to have in this country,” Trump said. “We have to have it.”

CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield told The Washington Post Tuesday that a second wave of the coronavirus could be more devastating than the first.

“There’s a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through,” Redfield told The Washington Post. “And when I’ve said this to others, they kind of put their head back, they don’t understand what I mean.”

He also added that the coronavirus, combined with a regular flu season will stress the health care system.


Tuesday, April 21

The coronavirus has infected 787,960 people in the United States and has taken 42,364 lives nationwide.

All available evidence suggests the coronavirus originated in bats and was not a “laboratory construct”, World Health Organization spokesperson Fadela Chaib said at a briefing in Geneva today. “At this stage, it is not possible to determine precisely the source of the virus which caused the Covid-19 pandemic,” Chaib said at a briefing. “However, all available evidence suggests that the virus has a natural animal origin and is not a manipulated or constructed virus. The virus most probably has its ecological reservoir in bats.”

During the White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing on Monday, President Donald Trump announced that he will “suspend immigration to the United States” with a soon to come executive order.

“In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!” The President wrote on Twitter.

There are no further details yet on the executive order.

Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina announced plans to reopen their economies.

South Carolina will begin on Tuesday by opening public beaches and allowing “some retailers” to open with strict social distancing measures, Governor Henry mcMaster announced Monday in an executive order.

Monday, April 20

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases has reached 759,786 in the U.S. Nationwide fatalities have also increased to 40,683.

Texas will be the first state to reopen its economy using the Trump administration’s phased approach. Beginning Monday, the state will begin with opening state parks. Visitors are advised to wear masks, maintain social distancing, and keep gatherings to less than five people.

Click here to read the details of Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order.

On Sunday, President Donald Trump shared that the national stockpile of ventilators had increased to 10,000 with some already given to states in need. As of Sunday, there have been 4 million coronavirus tests distributed, which exceeds any other country, according to the White House.

Friday, April 17

There are currently 671,425 cases of the coronavirus and 33,286 fatalities in the U.S. The number of cases worldwide is 2,173,431. Global fatalities also reached 146,291.

President Donald Trump released a plan for “opening up America again” during his press conference on Thursday. The plan gives state governors three phases for steadily reopening their economy. Each level is based on data within each state.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo extended the shutdown of non-essential businesses in his state to May 15.

The President scolded Democrats on Twitter Friday for not returning to Washington earlier than April 20, when Congress is scheduled to be back in session. On Thursday, the need for additional funding for American workers and small business owners became all too real when the SBA’s payment protection program site closed all loan applications after running out of funding.

Thursday, April 16

Worldwide cases of the coronavirus have surpassed 2 million. The number of cases in the U.S is 639,664. There have been 30,985 fatalities in the U.S.

According to data released by the U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday, 5,245,000 Americans applied for unemployment insurance last week.

President Donald Trump is expected to issue a plan for state governors to ease social distancing guidelines.

The US Food and Drug Administration approved the emergency use of coronavirus antibody tests to determine immunity. Chembio Diagnostic Systems, Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, and Abbott Laboratories.

Wednesday, April 15

The number of people infected with the coronavirus in the U.S. climbed to 609,685. The number of fatalities is 26,059.

During Tuesday’s White House press conference, President Donald Trump announced a pause in U.S. funding to the World Health Organization.

“Today, I am instructing made administration to halt funding of the World Health Organization while a review is conducted to assess the World Health Organization’s role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus,” Pres. Trump told the nation.

The WHO discouraged member countries from instituting early travel bans in curbing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and misled the world about how the virus is spread, which it earlier said is not from person-to-person. President Trump and health experts on the task force, however, banned travel to China in January, which set the U.S. apart from many countries like Italy, one of the hardest hit countries.

Trump called the WHO “China-centric” last week accusing its leaders of supporting China more than the U.S., which is its biggest contributor.

In terms of reopening the economy, the President said he’s leaving that up to state governors.

Tuesday, April 14

Coronavirus has infected over 1.9 million people worldwide and has killed over 120,000 people, according to Johns Hopkins University.

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said Tuesday morning on Fox & Friends that the administration is encouraging Americans who had the coronavirus to donate blood plasma for treating new patients. He also shared that new saliva testing is becoming available as a more comfortable alternative to testing. The saliva test will provide health care workers on the frontlines the ability too receive testing multiple times a day, Hahn said.

The U.S. has over 582,000 cases of the virus and has a death toll of over 21,000 people. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday that he is working with governors in the northeast region of the U.S. as collaborative effort to reopen the economy. Cuomo also said that “the worst is over” for his state.

Governor Abbott of Texas also signaled Tuesday that he’s developing a plan to reopen his state’s economy and is set to announce “a new small business initiative in Texas.”

One of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic, Italy, allowed some retail stores to reopen on Tuesday. Over 20,000 people have died from the virus in Italy since it landed in the country.

Monday, April 13

The number of cases worldwide topped 1.8 million on Sunday and the global death toll rose above 110,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The United States has confirmed more than 556,000 cases, with New York City alone reporting over 104,000 infections. More than 22,000 people have died countrywide. Speaking on Sunday, the country’s top medical expert on the pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told CNN that lives would have been saved if mitigation efforts had started earlier.

Dr. Fauci said on CNN that he “can’t guarantee” US voters will be able to cast their ballot for president in person in November, saying that there could be a rebound in coronavirus cases in autumn or winter.

More than 29,000 members of the National Guard supporting Covid-19 response


Friday, April 10

There are over 467,184 people infected with the coronavirus in the U.S. The number of deaths in the country has reached 17,836, according to Johns Hopkins University.

New York officials confirmed Friday that Hart Island will be used to bury unclaimed coronavirus victims, according to CNN. “It is likely that people who have passed away from (coronavirus)…. will be buried on the Island in the coming days,” New York City Mayor Press Secretary Freddi Goldstein told CNN. Hart Island is a public cemetery operated by Department of Corrections.

New York State saw a negative net change in intensive care admissions on Thursday for the first time since the coronavirus crisis began, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday.

World Health Officials said on Friday that the coronavirus appears to be slowing in some of the hardest-hit countries in Europe like Spain, Italy, Germany and France, however, lifting stay-at-home orders too soon could lead to a “deadly resurgence.”

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said that the U.S. economy could reopen in May.


Thursday, April 9

More than 14,700 people have died from the new coronavirus in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 432,000 people across the country have been sickened by COVID-19.

The coronavirus was likely spreading in New York City as early as February, weeks before the Big Apple’s first confirmed case, according to a report citing new research.

A crew member aboard the USNS Mercy Hospital ship, which is docked in Los Angeles to provide medical support during the pandemic, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. US Navy Lt. Andrew Bertucci told CNN the crew member is “currently isolated aboard the ship, and will soon transfer to an off-ship isolation facility where they will self-monitor for severe symptoms.”

Globally, nearly 1.5 million people have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and more than 88,000 have died.

Rising cases in Japan: Tokyo reported 144 new infections on Wednesday — the largest increase for the capital in a single day.

Big jump in Singapore: Another 142 infections were recorded in Singapore on Wednesday — the largest rise in new cases in the city-state.

South Korea’s flag carrier Korean Air has instructed more than 70% of its employees to take paid leave, at a reduced rate, for six months from April 16 until October 15.

The Chinese government’s mishandling of the coronavirus epidemic from its start at a wet market in Wuhan has shown its overall incompetence and has put us all in danger, Buck Sexton, the host of “The Buck Sexton Show”said on Tuesday.


Wednesday, April 8:

There are 399,929 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 12,911 fatalities in the U.S.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy told residents to avoid holding family gatherings during Passover and Easter.

World trade is expected to fall by between 13% and 32% in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic disrupts normal economic activity and life around the world, the World Trade Organization (WTO) said in its annual trade report and outlook. WTO economists believe the decline will likely exceed the trade slump brought on by the global financial crisis of 2008.

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio says officials have seen some progress in fighting the virus, he cautions against relaxing social distancing guidelines.

The city of Wuhan, where the virus originated, has opened back up after a 76-day travel ban. Wuhan residents were able to leave their homes and go to work beginning Wednesday at 7 A.M.

 

To leave the city, residents must have an app on their phones that’s used for “data-tracking and government surveillance” to prove that they are not infected with the virus,  according to the Associated Press. According to local reports, 65,000 people left the city by plane or train in the first few hours after the ban was lifted.

During Tuesday’s White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing, President Donald Trump threatened to pause U.S. funding to the World Health Organization, who he called “China centric.” The President criticized their early advice in which they discouraged him from instituting his January 31 travel ban on China.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer penned a letter Wednesday describing their priorities for Interim Relief for small businesses and working families. Both the House and the Senate are set to return to session on April 20.

“The heartbreaking acceleration of the coronavirus crisis demands bold, urgent and ongoing action from Congress to protect Americans’ lives and livelihoods.” the two lawmakers wrote, “As Democrats have said since Day One, Congress must provide additional relief for small businesses and families, building on the strong down-payment made in the bipartisan CARES Act.”

Here are some of the Democrats’ priorities for interim funding:

  • $250 billion in assistance to small businesses, with $125 billion channeled through community-based financial institutions that serve farmers, family, women, minority and veteran-owned small businesses and nonprofits in rural, tribal, suburban and urban communities across our country, and improvements to ensure all eligible small businesses can access this critical funding and are not turned away by banks; 
  • $100 billion for hospitals, community health centers and health systems, providing desperately needed resources to the frontlines of this crisis, including production and distribution of national rapid testing and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE);
  • $150 billion for state and local governments to manage this crisis and mitigate lost revenue, doubling down on the investment secured in the CARES Act;
  • Strong additional support for families with a 15 percent increase to the maximum SNAP benefit to help put food on the table.

Tuesday, April 7:

There are 368,449 people with the coronavirus and 11,000 fatalities in the U.S.

President Donald Trump authorized the use of the USNS Comfort docked in Manhattan, NY for Covid patients on Monday. The vessel was originally prepared to take patients needing hospital care for conditions other than Covid. However, after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo requested its use for Covid patients Monday, President Trump gave his approval.

This week Vice President Mike Pence will hold four conference calls to brief House Democrats, House Republicans, Senate Democrats and Senate Republicans on coronavirus, according to spokesperson Katie Miller.

US Surgeon General Jerome Adams said by the end of this week, the will have been 2 million coronavirus tests completed across the United States.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday that President Trump is looking at how to reopen parts of the U.S. economy as the coronavirus pandemic forces an unprecedented shutdown of business throughout the country.

After negotiating with 3M, The President announced Monday that the company will produce “55.5 million high-quality face masks each month” for medical personnel in the U.S. Last week, it was discovered that the 3M’s Personal Protective Equipment was going overseas when domestic consumers were awaiting their shipments. The President further invoked the use of the Defense Production Act last week to ensure the issue would be resolved.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s condition as he suffers from the coronavirus worsened over the weekend and he was admitted to a London hospital’s Intensive Care Unit. A spokesperson for the Prime Minister confirmed Tuesday that Johnson received oxygen overnight. Further, the spokesperson reported that the Prime Minister didn’t have pneumonia and had not been put on a ventilator.


Monday, April 6:

There are currently 337,933 people in the U.S. infected with the coronavirus and 10,993 people have died in the country from the disease.

Experts on the White House Coronavirus Task Force warned that this week would likely be one of the deadliest since the start of the pandemic.

“This is going to be the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans’ lives, quite frankly,” U.S. Surgeon General, Jerome Adams said during an interview on “Fox News Sunday” with host Chris Wallace. “This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment, only it’s not going to be localized. It’s going to be happening all over the country. And I want America to understand that.”

On Monday morning, President Donald Trump shared on Twitter that docked cruise ships with passengers infected with the coronavirus that “no other countries would allow” were being closely treated by medical personnel. Moreover, he ensure that passengers were “under strict supervision” and will be given permission to disembark “when appropriate.”

Last week, two ships were awaiting U.S. clearance to dock off the Florida coast.The most recent ship to dock was the Coral Princess Ship which carried seven passengers and five crew members who tested positive for the coronavirus. On Friday, Holland America’s Zaandam and the Rotterdam disembarked in Florida. Those ships reported a total of 233 passengers experiencing flu-like symptoms. There were 14 people evacuated to local hospitals from the two ships.

“We commend the decision by the cruise industry to cease operations. However, pausing a global tourist industry does not happen instantaneously or easily,” said Vice Admiral Dan Abel, Coast Guard Deputy Commandant for Operations. “The federal, state, local and industry cooperation to achieve this feat truly represents the whole-of-nation approach directed by the president and is essential to fighting the spread of this virus and working to minimize the loss of life.”

The U.S. Coast Guard confirmed Saturday that 114 cruise ships are currently in U.S. waters. The cruise ship industry and U.S. Centers for Disease Control have stopped cruises from the U.S.

The CDC has also advised the general population to wear cloth masks when going out in public for necessities. Click here to learn how to make your own.

Friday, April 3:

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide has surpassed 1,000,000. The U.S. number of case increased to 245,601 with 6,058 now dead.

White House trade advisor Peter Navarro announced Thursday the implementation of a “Buy American” executive order to ensure that after the coronavirus pandemic comes to an end, “the government buys American for essential medicines” and supplies.

Further, the order will cut regulations for the FDA and EPA to incentivize domestic innovation.

The key here is having advanced manufacturing on U.S. soil that can leapfrog other countries so we don’t have to worry about competing against cheap sweatshop labor, lax environmental regulations, different tax regimes, and the massive subsidies of foreign governments who are actually directly attacking our industrial base,” Navarro said.

The White House also cracked down on 3M for exporting Personal Protective Equipment abroad, prioritizing foreign profits over domestic need. The order, invoked by the Defense Production Act, calls on Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf to “use any and all authority available under the Act to acquire, from any appropriate subsidiary or affiliate of 3M Company, the number of N-95 respirators that the Administrator determines to be appropriate.”

In a written statement released Friday, the company asserted that the administration asked “that 3M cease exporting respirators that we currently manufacture in the United States to the Canadian and Latin American markets.” The company raised concerns over potential “humanitarian implications” where foreign countries could “retaliate and do the same, as some have already done.”

3M added, “If that were to occur, the net number of respirators being made available to the United States would actually decrease. That is the opposite of what we and the Administration, on behalf of the American people, both seek.”

The President’s doctor also tested President Trump a second time for the coronavirus, announcing that the test came back with a negative result. He had no symptoms, the physician said in a statement.

Thursday, April 2:

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus reached 216,772 in the U.S. Thursday. The U.S. fatalities increased to 5,137.

The latest state to implement stay at home orders is Florida, which the State’s Governor Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday afternoon. It is set to begin at 12:01 a.m. on Friday and is set to end on April 30.

“All persons in Florida shall limit their movements and personal interactions outside of their home to only those necessary to obtain or provide essential services or conduct essential activities,” the order stated.

The Mayor of Los Angeles advised residents Wednesday to wear masks when leaving their homes.

During Wednesday’s White House Task Force press conference, the President and Pentagon officials revealed that they have intelligence that the drug cartels are looking to exploit the coronavirus crisis in the country.

“We came upon some intelligence some time ago that the drug cartels as a result of COIVD-19 were going to try to take advantage of the situation and try to infiltrate additional drugs into our country,” Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley said, without providing further detail. “We’re at war with COVID-19, we’re at war with terrorists, and we’re at war with drug cartels as well.”

In response, the Department of Defense is enhancing counternarcotics operation in Eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

Two cruise ships operated by Holland America Line off the coast of Florida reached a deal with the U.S. to disembark passengers in the U.S. There are over 200 passengers who reported flu-like symptoms since March. At least eight people tested positive for the virus and four guests have died on one of the vessels.

Wednesday, April 1:

There are currently 189,663 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 4,081 deaths in the U.S. Globally, there are 877, 422 confirmed cases and 43,537 deaths.

In New York City, the epicenter of the country’s national crisis, there are 41,771 cases and 1,096 fatalities.

During Tuesday’s White House Task Force briefing, President Donald Trump and his team offered a sobering message that the situation will get worse before it gets better. Additionally, the Task Force issued new social distancing guidelines in a new “30 days to stop the spread” guideline.

“We’re going to go through a very tough two weeks,” Trump said. “And then, hopefully, as the experts are predicting, I think a lot of us are predicting after having studied it so hard, you’re gonna start seeing some real light at the end of the tunnel.”

The United Nations Chief Antonio Guterres told reporters Tuesday that the pandemic is the worst global crisis since World War II.

“The combination of the two facts and the risk that it contributes to enhanced instability, enhanced unrest, and enhanced conflict are things that make us believe that this is the most challenging crisis we have faced since the Second World War,” Guterres explained.

Tuesday, March 31:

The number of worldwide confirmed cases of the coronavirus surpassed 800,000. In the U.S., there are 164,610 cases. The number of deaths in the U.S. have climbed to over 3,000.

The states of Maryland and Virginia and the District of Columbia have all increased social distancing measures by implementing “stay-at-home” orders to the public. Virginia’s order is effective immediately and will last through June 10.

The three regions have also increased the penalties for residents who don’t cooperate with the social distancing guidelines. In D.C., violators will face misdemeanor charges with a fine of $5,000 and 90 days in jail. Virginians who violate the order could face Class I misdemeanors, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Maryland violators could face up to a year in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.

The USNS Comfort docked in Manhattan, NY on Monday and it will begin serving patients on Tuesday. Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio are warning that the worst is yet to come and applauded the President’s fast-tracking of the floating hospital.

During Monday’s White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing, the President revealed a new test for the virus that would diagnose patients in around five minutes. It was created by Abbott Laboratories, an Illinois Health Care technology company.

The source of the coronavirus pandemic, Wuhan, China, has recently come under scrutiny for its early reports on the death toll. The Chinese government reported 2,535 people had died from the virus in Wuhan, but, now, there’s questions as to whether that number was downplayed.

According to many reports, there are truckloads of urns being brought into the city.

Monday, March 30:

The U.S. number of confirmed coronavirus cases has surpassed 143,000, with over 2,500 deaths. The number of worldwide cases surpassed 700,000.

New York remains the epicenter for the epidemic in the U.S. with 776 deaths. The U.S. Navy’s hospital ship Comfort arrived Monday in Manhattan to serve patients in the area. the floating hospital is equipped with 1,000 beds, 12 operating rooms, and 8 ICU beds.

On Sunday, the President extended the social distancing guidelines for the country until April 30. During the news conference, Trump said that the number of deaths in the U.S. will peak in the next two weeks and will hopefully see an end come June 1.

The U.S Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of life saving treatments for patients suffering from the coronavirus, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine. The drugs are used to fight malaria, however, doctors have seen success in patients diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Thursday, March 26: 

As the U.S. coronavirus death toll sailed past 1,000, the governor of New York — the state with the worst outbreak so far — warned residents they’re “still on the way up the mountain.”

Meanwhile, Americans displaced by the coronavirus crisis filed unemployment claims in record numbers, with the Labor Department reporting Thursday a surge to 3.28 million. Businesses across the country have shut down amid a policy of social distancing aimed at keeping the virus’s growth in check. Individual states have reported websites crashing amid a rush to file.

Late Wednesday, the Senate unanimously passed a $2 trillion stimulus package called the CARES Act — the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act — that boosts unemployment insurance payouts and aims to send relief checks to many Americans. To provide additional ways for Americans to access cash, the bill also allows people to take a withdrawal of up to $100,000 from their retirement savings, including 401(k)s or individual retirement accounts, without the typical penalty.

As hospital ICUs and morgues began filling up in some U.S. cities, the Senate passed an unprecedented $2 trillion relief package to help American workers, businesses and the severely strained health care system survive the pandemic.

Hospitals in London are experiencing a “continuous tsunami” of coronavirus patients, according to a group that represents Britain’s hospitals, ambulance services and community health services.

Louisiana has seen a spike in the number of coronavirus cases, with more than 400 on Wednesday. Gee, who is currently the LSU Health Care Services Division CEO, said the federal government needs to step in, especially to provide more ventilators.

At least 4,089 people have now died from Covid-19 in Spain with a total of 56,188 cases recorded, according to Spanish Health Ministry data released Thursday.

The number of doctors in Italy who have died of coronavirus has risen to 37, the Italian Federation of Medical Professionals said Thursday. Italy, the new epicenter of the virus, has recorded more than 70,000 cases and more than 7,000 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.


Wednesday, March 25: 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday more than 30,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the state and “we’re still on the way up the mountain.” The peak of the pandemic – the point where the most people are coming into hospitals – could be in about 21 days, Cuomo said. New York medical supply shortages spread to some Long Island hospitals. Catholic Health Services, which is comprised of six acute care hospitals on Long Island, New York, tells CNN they are now in need of isolation gowns, procedural masks with and without face shields, and N95 respirators of all sizes.

Fourteen million US jobs could be lost by this summer as businesses shutter in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Economic Policy Institute predicts in a new report. That’s more than 10% of all private sector jobs lost, the group writes. Retail, leisure and hospitality are expected to take the biggest hits.

The stimulus bill includes $324 million for the State Department, and it specifically includes funds for “evacuation expenses,” according to a draft obtained by CNN. The proposed legislation doesn’t specify who would be evacuated, whether it’s US diplomats or American citizens living overseas, or potentially both.

Nearly three dozen state attorneys general have called on Amazon, Craigslist, eBay, Facebook and Walmart to fight price gouging during the coronavirus pandemic. “Even new protections by your company including heightened monitoring, bans on certain advertisements, and bans on selling certain items, have failed to remove unconscionably priced critical supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the attorneys general wrote.

Louisiana reports 407 additional coronavirus cases.

Italy has recorded 683 deaths in the past day, with a total number of 7,503 fatalities from coronavirus, according to the civil protection agency.

All travelers returning to Canada will have to enter a 14-day mandatory quarantine as of midnight Wednesday as the country deals with a significant spike in coronavirus cases and hundreds of thousands of people return home to Canada by both air and land border crossings.


President Trump said Tuesday during a Fox News virtual townhall that he wants the country’s economy re-opened by Easter amid questions over how long people should stay home and businesses should remain closed to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Trump argued he doesn’t want “to turn the country off” and see a continued economic downfall from the pandemic. He also said he worries the U.S. will see “suicides by the thousands” if coronavirus devastates the economy.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization said Tuesday the U.S. could become the new epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. “We are now seeing a very large acceleration in cases in the U.S. So it does have that potential,” WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris said, according to the Reuters news agency.

GOP Rep. Doug Collins sent a letter to Pompeo Tuesday, urging him to temporarily ban exports of medical supplies related to coronavirus over concerns that private companies will send supplies to foreign countries instead of states seeking the same equipment.

Three sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for coronavirus and have been flown to a military medical facility for treatment, the acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly said Tuesday. “Three cases of COVID19 have been identified among personnel currently deployed and underway on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, these are our first three cases of COVID19 on a ship that is deployed,“ Modly said.

Medical workers in Spain account for 13.6% of its total coronavirus cases, according to Fernando Simón, director of the Spanish Coordinating Centre for Health Alerts and Emergencies at Spain’s Ministry of Health.

About 20% of people on the planet have been told to stay home to stop the spread of COVID-19, which has infected nearly 400,000 people globally and killed more than 17,000 people. The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 is now approaching 600 and there are more than 46,000 cases across the nation, according to Johns Hopkins University.


Doctor says he’s 3-4 weeks from developing treatment to ‘neutralize‘ coronavirus

Distributed Bio co-founder and CEO Dr. Jacob Glanville revealed on “The Story with Martha MacCallum” Thursday that his company’s laboratory is three to four weeks away from engineering a therapeutic antibody to combat the coronavirus.

“What my company is doing is adapting antibodies to recognize and neutralize the novel coronavirus. So this would … [be] sort of skipping what a vaccine does,” Glanville said. “Instead of giving you a vaccine and waiting for it to produce an immune response, we just give you those antibodies right away. And so within about 20 minutes, that patient has the ability to neutralize the virus.”

Mortgages: – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today at a press conference in Albany that he will suspend mortgage payments for 90 days for borrowers who face financial hardship such as losing their job. The announcement is intended to provide financial relief for those impacted by the coronavirus. “This is a real-life benefit,” Cuomo said. “People are under tremendous economic pressure. Making a mortgage payment can be one of the number one stressors. Eliminating that stressor for 90 days, I think, will go a long way.” Cuomo said he will also temporarily postpone or suspend foreclosures, and he will waive fees for ATMs, credit cards and overdrafts.

Two active duty Army mobile hospital units have received “prepare to deploy” orders, according to Army Chief of Staff General James McConville. The units receiving the orders are the 47th Combat Support Hospital based at Joint-Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state which has seen a significant virus outbreak, and the 586th Field Hospital at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Both units typically deploy with hundreds of troops, including full surgical and trauma care capability.

The State Department is preparing to raise its travel advisory worldwide to Level 4: Do Not Travel – the highest level — in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

President Trump has signed a second, mammoth financial relief package to help Americans weather the coronavirus crisis, as new data on the pandemic brings warnings for younger generations that, while their parents are still most at risk, they’re not “invincible.”

The phase-2 relief package approved Wednesday night will provide free testing to build a clearer picture of how much COVID-19 there really is in the U.S. It will also expand funding for food security programs and for paid sick, family and medical leave for workers at companies with 500 employees or fewer.

Domino’s Pizza is looking to hire up to 10,000 workers as people shift their eating habits to takeout or delivery amid restrictions surrounding the growing coronavirus pandemic.

Prince Albert II of Monaco has tested positive for COVID-19, a palace spokesperson told CNN.

Japan Olympic Committee (JOC) board member Kaori Yamaguchi has called for the Tokyo Olympics to be postponed because athletes are unable to prepare adequately as a result of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, she told the Nikkei newspaper.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo attempted to assuage concerns this morning by saying “there is no quarantine plan for New York City” as it relates to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.


Wednesday, March 18: 

The federal government is working on a $1 trillion coronavirus stimulus package to try and rescue the U.S. economy from the abyss opened by the coronavirus pandemic. Other major governments have announced similar plans, aimed at keeping businesses afloat as virtually all of their customers are told to stay home to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Officials in New York are clearly debating a lockdown for America’s biggest city, too, but for most Americans, it remains just a stern recommendation.

“Stay at home as much as possible, limit the spread,” Surgeon General Jerome Adams said Tuesday, reiterating the Trump administration’s appeal for people nationwide to avoid unnecessary travel and all gatherings. “We do not want to look like Italy does two weeks from now.”

There are signs Italy’s national lockdown is starting to slow the spread of the disease, but the strict measures came too late to prevent a disaster. COVID-19 has killed more than 2,500 people in the country. Hospitals, doctors and nurses have been pushed beyond capacity.

JetBlue announced today that it will make a 40% cut to its schedule as it weathers damage to the aviation industry from the coronavirus.

The Justice Department announced overnight that it’s closing an additional 10 immigration courts, spread out across the country, through April 10 as the novel coronavirus has spread to all 50 states.

A statement released by White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham says the April 21 official state visit of Spain’s King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia has been postponed in its entirety.

US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams called on healthy Americans to donate blood.
Click below to see an interactive map of virus spread across all continents.

China is sending 100,000 novel coronavirus test kits and other essential medical supplies to the Philippines to assist the country “in fighting the epidemic,” according to Philippines Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.


Monday, March 16: 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Sunday that no gatherings with 50 people or more — including weddings, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events or conferences — be held in the United States for the next eight weeks in one of the federal government’s most sweeping efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

As the country increasingly prepared for the coronavirus pandemic, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday that schools in New York City, the nation’s largest public school system, will close. The city’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, said they would close Monday and would reopen April 20 at the earliest.

California called for all people 65 and older to shelter in their homes.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker ordered all bars and restaurants in the state to close. The move will affect the nation’s third-largest city, Chicago.

Federal Reserve cut interest rates to nearly zero to prop up the economy during the pandemic.


Friday, March 13: 

There are 1,701 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. as of Friday. There are now a reported 40 deaths across the country. The number of worldwide cases reported are 135,467.

The Trump Administration will begin implementing a travel ban from Europe, with the exception of the U.K. Friday at midnight. The ban will span for travelers from Europe’s Schengen Area, which includes: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. The suspension will last 30 days.

The White House said citizens returning to the U.S. from Europe “will be directed to a limited number of airports where screening can take place” where they will undergo “appropriate screenings.”


Wednesday, March 11: 

There were more than 1,030 cases in the U.S. as of Wednesday, eight times more than just a week earlier. At least 32 people have died of the virus nationwide, and there are cases in 37 states — 15 of which have declared emergencies — and Washington D.C.

In origin country China, there was mounting evidence that strict control measures pay off. Premier Xi Jinping has declared the disease “basically curbed,” and with only about 10 new domestic infections reported in China on Wednesday, other countries were adopting similar tactics.

Italy has the biggest outbreak outside China, with more than 600 dead and 10,000 infections. The whole nation is under travel restrictions, with stricter controls in hard-hit northern regions.

New York state has taken dramatic action to contain one of the largest known virus clusters in the U.S., setting up a “containment area” of about three square miles around the city of New Rochelle, less than 10 miles from the heart of Manhattan. There were at least 108 confirmed cases there alone.


Sunday, March 8: 

A cruise ship hit by the new coronavirus is headed to the port of Oakland, California, authorities said Sunday, though passengers were destined to stay aboard the ship for at least another day. California residents will be brought to facilities within the state, and non-residents will be taken to locations in other states, including a military base in Marietta, Georgia. OES said 1,000 passengers are California residents.

The number of cases worldwide continues to climb. According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins, there have been more than 109,600 confirmed cases of the virus as of Sunday morning. More than 60,000 people have recovered, and more than 3,800 people have died.

Right now there are 483 cases of confirmed infected with COVID-19 in United States, and 20 confirmed deaths.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Sunday that while he hopes it doesn’t come to it, the government could shut down certain sections of the country hit hard by the coronavirus.

Speaking during an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Fauci said that “anything is possible” when asked if measures like those currently being imposed in Italy could be enacted in the U.S. to help prevent the continued spread of the coronavirus.

“I don’t think it would be as draconian as nobody in or nobody out,” Fauci said. “But if we continue to get cases like this, particularly at the community level, there will be what we call ‘mitigation,’ where we have to essentially do social distancing, keep people out of crowded places, take a look at seriousness, do you really need to travel, and I think it’s particularly important among the most vulnerable.”


Wednesday, March 4: 

Fox News is reporting the first cases of coronavirus in Georgia. The two infections are tied to a father and his 15-year-old son, reports state. 

On Monday, health officials in Georgia confirmed the state’s first two cases of the novel coronavirus. The U.S. has seen an increasing list of cases across the country and test kits for the virus are expected to increase substantially by the end of the week. There have been at least nine deaths in the United States as of Wednesday.

Currently, the Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracking map estimates over 94,000 infections worldwide with more than 3,200 deaths associated with the virus.

Dr. Stephen Hahn, the F.D.A.’s commissioner, said Monday at a press briefing that actions taken by the agency to allow private labs and companies to begin making their own tests would allow for quicker expansion of testing for the virus across the nation.

“With this new policy, we have heard from multiple companies and multiple academic centers, and we expect to have a substantial increase in the number of tests this week, next week, and throughout the month,” said Dr. Hahn. “There will be — the estimates we’re getting from industry right now, by the end of this week, close to a million tests will be able to be performed.”

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) said the two cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Fulton County. The father and son had recently returned from Italy, which has seen a surge of cases in recent weeks.  According to Fox News the “father and his son saw a private doctor before they were tested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.”

Monday, March 2:
The virus has now spread to at least 12 states, with almost 90 cases in all and two deaths. Both U.S. fatalities were in Washington state — residents of a King County nursing home where dozens more were sick and being tested for the virus. Both of the victims had underlying health conditions.

The disease has killed more than 3,048 people globally and infected more than 89,197, with the vast majority of cases and deaths in China. While the number of new cases recorded daily in that epicenter country has declined for weeks, the virus continues spreading fast in South Korea, Iran and Italy, prompting increased travel warnings and restrictions.


Saturday, Feb 29:
The US Food and Drug Administration announced on Saturday a policy allowing certain US labs to test for the novel coronavirus using diagnostics the labs developed and validated, even before the agency has reviewed them.

The policy will enable more rapid testing capacity, the agency says.

Iraq reports five new positive cases of coronavirus, the Health Ministry says. That brings the country’s total to 13.

Japan confirms 9 new cases of novel coronavirus, bringing total to 944.

Qatar has become the latest Middle Eastern country to report its first case of coronavirus.

The patient, a 36-year-old man, returned from Iran, which has the highest number of coronavirus-related deaths outside China.

The news on Saturday comes amid growing concerns in the Gulf, with Saudi Arabia having recently halted travel to holy sites such as Mecca and Medina.

In Europe, Italy has reported 888 coronavirus cases and 18 deaths, the most in Europe.

On Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the spread of the virus is “getting bigger”. More than 85,000 people have been infected worldwide.


Friday, Feb 28:
There are now 62 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in the United States, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said during a press briefing on Friday.

These include…

  • 44 people who were aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship
  • 3 people repatriated from China
  • 15 US cases

Thursday, Feb 27:
Israeli scientists are on the cusp of developing the first vaccine against the novel coronavirus, according to Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis. If all goes as planned, the vaccine could be ready within a few weeks and available in 90 days, according to a release.

“Congratulations to MIGAL [The Galilee Research Institute] on this exciting breakthrough,” Akunis said. “I am confident there will be further rapid progress, enabling us to provide a needed response to the grave global COVID-19 threat,” Akunis said, referring to the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.


  • South Korea spike: The East Asian country reported 334 new cases and one death today, bringing the national total to 1,595 cases and 13 deaths. Many of the cases are linked to a religious group in the country’s south.
  • Military infections: Joint US-South Korea military drills have been postponed “until further notice” after a US soldier and several members of the South Korean military contracted the virus.
  • Travel disrupted: Numerous countries are implementing travel restrictions for those coming to and from South Korea, while the US is advising people to reconsider any travel plans to the country.
  • European spread: Italy now has 400 cases — the largest outbreak outside Asia. And the virus is spreading across Europe, with several countries reporting their first cases, including Norway, Romania, Georgia, and North Macedonia. Many European countries are now implementing emergency measures, with Italy effectively placing 100,000 under quarantine with travel restrictions.
  • Middle East borders closed: Iran now has 139 cases and 19 deaths. This week, the virus has spread to across Middle Eastern nations including Kuwait, Bahrain, and Lebanon, prompting similar travel restrictions and closed borders as seen in Asia and Europe.
  • US warning: United States health officials warn the country may have had its first case of community transmission — where the patient did not have “relevant travel history or exposure to another known patient.” In response to rising fears, some communities are taking precautions; San Francisco, which has no cases, declared a state of emergency.
  • More new cases outside China: For the first time in the outbreak, the number of new cases reported outside of China in a single day was larger than those reported inside the country, said the World Health Organization. China reported 412 newly confirmed cases yesterday, while 459 additional cases were reported outside of China, according to the WHO’s daily report.

Monday, Feb 24:

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli told Fox News on Monday that the origin of the coronavirus outbreak remains virtually unknown — and refused to rule out a startling theory that the virus may have originated in a high-security biochemical lab in Wuhan, China.

“Our colleagues at CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and NIH [National Institutes of Health] on the task force have made it very clear. We don’t yet know the origin of this particular virus,” Cuccinelli told Siegel on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

“We are not entirely sure how this one started yet,” he continued. “There is a biological facility in the … province that people worry about. But I will say the reading that I have done of medical professionals suggest that the structure of the virus seems unlikely to have been man-made because if it was made to be a threat, you would expect to see certain characteristics that aren’t present.”

“Does that mean it rules it out?” Cuccinelli added, “No, not absolutely.”


Sunday, Feb 23:

The White House is reportedly preparing to ask Congress for emergency funds to help the administration fight the outbreak of the coronavirus, which has infected almost 80,000 people around the world and accounted for more than 2,000 deaths.

The formal request may be around $1 billion, two individuals with knowledge of the matter told Politico.


Saturday, Feb 22:

A federal judge has temporarily blocked state and federal officials from moving as many as 50 Americans infected with the coronavirus to a city in southern California for quarantine.

U.S. District Judge Josephine Stanton, an Obama appointee, issued an order late Friday to prevent the transfer of coronavirus patients from Travis Air Force Base in Northern California to Costa Mesa in Orange County. The patients were previously quarantined on a cruise ship in Japan after a mini-outbreak on the vessel.

Meanwhile news from mainland China reported 97 new deaths Saturday. According to the health commission, 96 deaths occurred in Hubei province and one person died in Guangdong. In addition, China also reported 648 more confirmed cases.

This brings the global total number of deaths to 2,456, and the number of confirmed cases worldwide to at least 78,442.


Friday, Feb 21:
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has passed 30, health officials said Friday. Most of the 34 cases are people who were evacuated by the U.S. from a cruise ship in Japan over the weekend, Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told reporters.

Eighteen of the over 300 Americans evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship were infected with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, according to Messonnier, the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. All of the Americans evacuated from the ship are nearly halfway through a two-week quarantine since returning to the U.S. late Sunday night.


Thursday, Feb 13:

The fight against the novel coronavirus took a turn for the worse on Wednesday night, as Chinese health officials in the Hubei province reported 242 new deaths and 14,840 new cases of the flu-like virus. That brings the worldwide death toll to at least 1,357 and the number of confirmed cases to more than 60,000.

The rise in cases comes as Chinese officials broadened their definition of confirmed cases. Now, lung imaging can be used to diagnose the virus in a suspected patient, in addition to the standard nucleic acid tests, according to AFP.

The CDC also announced Wednesday that another American evacuee from Wuhan, China, had been diagnosed with the coronavirus, bringing the total number of U.S. cases to 14. Although that evacuee had been quarantined at the same base as another coronavirus patient, the CDC said there is no evidence of contact between the two.

Sunday, Feb 9:

Wuhan Coronavirus death toll in China has risen to 814. The death toll now surpasses the toll from the SARS epidemic of 2002-2003, according to data released from Johns Hopkins Coronavirus map tracker Sunday. In comparison, the SARS epidemic killed 774 people worldwide during that global outbreak.

According to China’s National Health Commission the infections are now at 37,198. According to The New York Times 89 deaths and 2,656 new cases were recorded in the preceding 24 hours. Those deaths mostly occurred in Hubei Province, the heart of the outbreak.

Further, a U.S. citizen died from the coronavirus in Wuhan, according to U.S. officials on Saturday.

However, Dr. Marc Siegel, Fox News medical analyst, said there is no need for Americans to worry about a major outbreak in the United States.

Siegel, who appeared on “Fox & Friends: Weekend,” said ‘Chinese misinformation and secrecy has made the virus harder to control, but the United States has done a great job in helping to control the spread and treat infected people.’

For more details on the death toll go to Johns Hopkins online tracker. 

Tuesday, Feb 4:
The deadly new coronavirus continued to spread apace on Tuesday, with more than 23,500 cases confirmed worldwide and at least 490 deaths in China alone. The vast majority of the infections, and all but two of the deaths, were in mainland China.

Chinese officials have agreed to let American experts into the country as part of a World Health Organization team in the coming days, and senior members of the Communist Party have admitted “shortcomings and deficiencies” in the country’s response. President Xi Jinping declared “a people’s war of prevention” against the epidemic Monday, threatening punishment for anyone deemed to be neglecting their duties as control efforts ramped up.


Monday, Feb 3:

As of Monday evening there were more than 19,700 confirmed cases in more than two dozen countries, the vast majority of them in China, according to the World Health Organization. There have been at least 425 deaths in China, and one in the Philippines.

A pandemic is described as a disease that spreads across a large region, across continents and even the entire globe. The coronavirus is reportedly spreading at a similar pace to influenza compared to the slow-moving SARS and MERS, according to the New York Times.

“It’s very, very transmissible, and it almost certainly is going to be a pandemic,” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, told the paper.


Sunday, Feb 2:
Three more cases of coronavirus were confirmed in California on Sunday, including two people in San Benito County, bringing the total number of U.S. cases to 11. The first death outside of China was reported in the Philippines on Sunday

There are at least 17,373 confirmed cases worldwide, with the majority in China, the World Health Organization said. There are 362 deaths worldwide — more than the death toll of SARS — with 360 of those deaths in China.


Saturday, Feb 1:
8th U.S. case of coronavirus confirmed in Massachusetts

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases keeps rising. As of Saturday, there were 12,036 cases globally, and an eighth case was confirmed in the United States.

U.S. officials on Friday declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency.

As a result of the declaration, foreign nationals who have traveled to China in the last two weeks and aren’t immediate family members of U.S. citizens or permanent residents will be temporarily banned from entering the U.S., according to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. Azar also announced that anyone entering the U.S. who has been in China’s Hubei province in the last two weeks will be subject to a two-week quarantine.


Friday, Jan 31:

9,776 confirmed cases of Wuhan Coronavirus globally.

213 deaths attributed to the virus.

Wuhan Mayor Zhou Xianwang and Vice mayor Xu Honglan spoke to reporters in a news conference. Xianwang said the efforts to contain the virus are “severe and complex” as the number of confirmed cases grows. There is also concern over a shortage of medical supplies and masks, Honglan explained.

Thursday, Jan 30:

8,236 confirmed cases globally

171 Deaths

World Health Organization declared a global health emergency Thursday as the Coronavirus continues to spread. The WHO announcement the decision at a meeting, after 19 nations confirmed patients with the virus. Moreover, on Thursday the United States confirmed its first person to person transmission of the virus.

The WHO declaration is also known as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, and gives notice to United Nations member states about the global health emergency. When this happens, countries can decide what is best for them to help mitigate the spread of the virus.

For example, they can close their borders, screen passengers coming into the country or cancel flights. Individual nations can also take other measures to help stop, or contain the virus.

Tuesday, Jan 28:

The White House has told airline executives it’s considering suspending flights from China to the U.S. amid an escalating outbreak of a new coronavirus that has infected thousands of people across the world, people familiar with the matter said. The restrictions could affect flights into and out of China, as well as airports across the United States, the officials said.


U.S. health officials are fast-tracking work on a coronavirus vaccine, hoping to start an early-stage trial within the next three months, the Trump administration said. That timeline is optimistic, and a phase 1 trial does not mean “you have a vaccine that’s ready for deployment,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

 


United Airlines plans to suspend some China flights next month because of a “significant decline in demand” for service to the country as it battles the growing number of coronavirus cases. The flight cancellations take effect Feb. 1 and last through Feb. 8.


Top U.S. health officials and infectious disease specialists held a news conference Tuesday morning on the coronavirus outbreak. The briefing, hosted by U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar, was held at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield will also speak, as well as representatives from the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.


The coronavirus outbreak has killed 107 people and infected 4,474 people in China, state-run newspaper the People’s Daily reported on Tuesday.

The U.S. Department of State on Monday raised its travel advisory for China from Level 2 to Level 3 asking Americans to “reconsider travel to China due to the novel coronavirus.” They added that some areas have “added risk.”


Monday, Jan 27:

The death toll in China had risen to at least 80 by Monday. Most of those deaths, 76 people, were in the central province of Hubei, the center of the outbreak. Shanghai, a city of 24 million, recorded its first death on Saturday.

Across China there have been 2,744 confirmed cases, of which 1,423 cases were in Hubei. The youngest confirmed case is a 9-month-old girl in Beijing.

Thailand and Hong Kong have each reported eight cases of infection; the United States, Taiwan, Australia and Macau have five each; Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia each have reported four; France has three; Canada and Vietnam have two, and Nepal has one.

There have been no deaths from the virus reported outside China.


Sunday, Jan 26:

The death toll from the Wuhan coronavirus now stands at 80, with almost 2,800 cases confirmed across China, as the country initiates emergency procedures to try and rein in the pathogen’s global spread.


A fifth U.S. case of coronavirus has been confirmed in Arizona’s Maricopa County. A statement released on Sunday from the Arizona Department of Health Services described the patient as “a member of the Arizona State University community who does not live in university housing.”


What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

For confirmed 2019-nCoV infections, reported illnesses have ranged from infected people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying. Symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

CDC believes at this time that symptoms of 2019-nCoV may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 after exposure. Click here for more from CDC.


NBC News reported that, two more cases of the new coronavirus have been diagnosed in the U.S., bringing the national total to four. The new cases are both in California — one each in Los Angeles County and Orange County — in addition to one case in Washington state and another in Chicago.


The State Department is reportedly ordering an evacuation of American employees at the U.S. Consulate in Wuhan amid a deadly coronavirus outbreak in the central Chinese city.

The department said in an email Sunday that it is arranging a flight from Wuhan to San Francisco on Tuesday as part of an effort to relocate diplomats and some private U.S. citizens


Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering launched tracking map website of the Wuhan ‘coronavirus’ as it appears to be rapidly spreading around the globe. The website tracks the spread of the deadly virus in real time and provides valuable information for people who want to understand what is happening and know more about the spread of this flu.

News reports of the virus and the increasing infections, along with the death toll, is frightening enough when you don’t understand what it really means and if it could potentially affect you or members of your family.

The website also offers a blog that explains almost everything you need to know about the virus. I have to admit I was more concerned about how rapid the virus is traveling and with two cases now confirmed in the United States having more resources to understand it helps alleviate that concern.

The Coronavirus Updated Blog

The Johns Hopkins University blog on the Coronavirus brings home how quickly this virus has traveled since it was first reported to the World Health Organization:

“On December 31, 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) was informed of an outbreak of “pneumonia of unknown cause” detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China – the seventh-largest city in China with 11 million residents. As of January 23, there are over 800 cases of 2019-nCoV confirmed globally, including cases in at least 20 regions in China and nine countries/territories. The first reported infected individuals, some of whom showed symptoms as early as December 8, were discovered to be among stallholders from the Wuhan South China Seafood Market. Subsequently, the wet market was closed on Jan 1. The virus causing the outbreak was quickly determined to be a novel coronavirus. On January 10, gene sequencing further determined it to be the new Wuhan coronavirus, namely 2019-nCoV, a betacoronavirus, related to the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome virus (MERS-CoV) and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome virus (SARSCoV). However, the mortality and transmissibility of 2019-nCoV are still unknown, and likely to vary from those of the prior referenced coronaviruses.”

Johns Hopkins Civil Engineering Professor Lauren Gardner worked with the center to build the map and website.

It “displays up-to-the-minute statistics from various sources: the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China (NHC), and two other sites,” the press release states.

For more on the Johns Hopkins ‘Coronavirus tracking map go here.

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Pastor urges faith leaders to reopen in defiance of governors’ coronavirus orders: ‘Step up and roar’

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Kentucky pastor, joined by at least 50 other churches, is urging religious leaders across the nation to “step up and roar” for the right to worship amid coronavirus shutdowns.

“I believe that every day a church is closed, a bit of liberty dies,” Brian Gibson said. “We need people to stand up and roar. There is a time to be quiet, a time to be the lamb, but today is the day to be the lion.”

Gibson, pastor of His Church, a megachurch with locations in Owensboro, Ky., and Amarillo, Texas, told “Fox & Friends” Sunday that he found it unreasonable that some businesses could reopen while churches were forced to stay closed.

“I believe that every day a church is closed, a bit of liberty dies.”

— Pastor Brian Gibson, ‘Fox & Friends’

“Restrictions eased up on everyone around us but we couldn’t do business as normal as the church,” he said.

“We’re looking across the road at fast-food places handing out french fries. Liquor stores are serving patrons — but the church is the bad guy.  It is time for us to stand up for our First Amendment rights,” the pastor continued. “We have religious freedom in this nation. We’ll not lay that down on our watch.”

Gibson, who has been urging religious leaders to sign an online petition, praised other megachurch pastors who have joined his initiative to reopen church doors responsibly and safely, using guidelines such as reducing occupancy, social distancing, requiring staff to wear masks and gloves, dismissing attendees aisle by aisle and increasing sanitation.

“I really believe momentum is starting right now,” Gibson told host Pete Hegseth.

Gibson said his “movement” would be “fasting and praying” for a network of pastors in California who told Fox News they plan to reopen May 31, with or without Gov. Gavin Newsom’s approval, as well as churches in Illinois defying Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s restrictions on in-person services.

CALIFORNIA PASTORS VOW TO DEFY GOV. NEWSOM AND REOPEN: ‘CHURCHES ARE PART OF THE ANSWER NOT THE PROBLEM’

“We have a right to peaceably assemble,” Gibson argued. “We want to be smart, be safe, be caring. We have all sorts of precautions put together… extra sterilization. We’re taking care of everything, but we want to know our religious freedom isn’t going to die with us.”

Fox News’ Caleb Parke contributed to this report.

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‘Pelosi Basically Lost Me’: White House Says Checks For Illegal Aliens A No-Go For Stimulus Negotiations

White House adviser Peter Navarro swatted down the possibility that the coronavirus stimulus package passed by House Democrats would be acceptable by the Trump administration.

Navarro said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “lost” him with her party’s stimulus bill during a Sunday morning appearance on ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos. The legislation includes cash assistance for eligible illegal aliens, protections for sanctuary cities and other progressive provisions.

“So, Nancy Pelosi basically lost me with that package when she has $1,200 checks for illegal immigrants — it goes downhill from there,” Navarro, the director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy within the administration, said Sunday when asked about the bill.

WATCH:

“What we have to do, George, is basically go with the fiscal and monetary stimulus that we have been going through. We’ve got a lot coursing through the system now,” Navarro said. “We may need more. I’ll let others above my pay grade negotiate that.”

“What I’m focused on, George, and this is the real key to success, is going to be the structural adjustments we’re going to have to make,” he continued, suggesting that the United States would need to replace lost service jobs by creating more opportunities in the manufacturing industry.

The interview came after House Democrats passed their $3 trillion HEROES Act on Friday night.

The bill, which includes massive assistance to states and local governments suffering from the coronavirus lockdown, would allow those who use taxpayer identification numbers to be eligible for direct cash assistance, paving the way for illegal aliens who don’t have Social Security numbers to be eligible for the $1,200 checks.

U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reads from a note during a weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol May 14, 2020 in Washington, DC. Speaker Pelosi held a weekly news conference to fill questions from members of the press. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

House Republicans introduced an amendment that would have prevented illegal aliens from receiving the stimulus checks, but Democratic lawmakers shot it down before passing the bill on Friday.

The legislation also calls on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to reduce its detainee population, and bars the administration from withholding federal grant money from localities that refuse cooperation with federal immigration authorities. (RELATED: GOP Lawmaker Breaks Ranks, Will Vote For Pelosi’s Coronavirus Package)

The bill is not expected to survive in the GOP-controlled Senate.

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12 Bay Area bookstores pick the best 50+ books for all ages

Need customer service at a department store, hardware store, big-box store? That can be tough to find these days. Need recommendations for a good book to read? Simply ask any Bay Area bookseller or librarian. These people know books, adore books … devour books. We always look to them for great reads in our genres of choice. And for gift selections (What’s new in sci-fi? What should the nieces and nephews be reading?). And for those times when we need to shed old reading habits and expand our horizons.

We checked in with a dozen book experts to find out what’s fresh, what’s inspiring, what’s brilliantly written. Melvil Dewey, famous for a certain decimal system, would be proud of this array.

Alibi Books, Vallejo

Karen Finlay had been looking forward to celebrating the first anniversary of her new Alibi Books in Vallejo next month, but with the uncertainty in the world, she has pivoted to online sales with curbside pick up, a book club — last month’s pick was the hilarious  “Lamb” by Christopher Moore — and online story time for children.

“A lot of people are reading books like ‘The Stand’ by Stephen King, ‘The Plague’ by Albert Camus or contemporary dystopian fiction like ‘Station Eleven’ by Emily St. John Mandel — all great books,” Finlay says, “but I’ve been recommending books that are more hopeful, that can uplift spirits during these difficult times. I also think it’s a great time to get around to reading the classics or the award winners you’ve been meaning to read forever.”

Owner Karen Findlay sorts books at Vallejo’s Alibi Bookshop in February. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group) 

“I Capture the Castle” by Dodie Smith (1948):  An absolutely charming book, perfect for cozying up under a blanket to escape the modern world for a bit. Set in 1934, it’s the diary of Cassandra Mortmain, who lives in a ruined old castle in England with her eccentric and poor family. Even while facing hardships, Cassandra’s diary is both funny and poignant. A nice reminder that humans have faced hard times before and persevered.

“A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith (1943): Considered one of the most beloved books of all time, the classic story of the Nolans in an early 20th century Williamsburg tenement will inspire you and give you hope, much like the scrappy tree in the title. It also has one of my favorite quotes: ‘The world was hers for the reading.’ Another great reminder of endurance and community, the things that see us through.

“The Overstory” by Richard Powers (2019): Continuing with the tree theme, this was our March Book Club pick — chosen before isolation — and it was a great choice. The intertwined stories, much like the roots of the trees at the heart of this novel, are beautifully written with a powerful message about ecology. There is solace knowing that the trees have been speaking for billions of years and will hopefully continue to do so.

“All the Light We Cannot See,” Anthony Doerr (2014): Winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, this extraordinary novel set in World War II  France is one of my favorites. Beautiful and heart wrenching, this book will stay with you. You will find yourself thinking about Marie-Laure and Werner long after you finish the last page. Cue up ‘Clair de Lune’ by Debussy while reading it and give yourself a transcendent reading experience.

Hicklebee’s, San Jose

Most books these days have subtitles. Hicklebee’s was way ahead of that trend. The business was founded 41 years ago, primarily as a children’s bookstore, in San Jose’s Willow Glen district as “Hicklebee’s: The Metamorphosis of the Bookworm.” One move and thousands of bookworms later, Hicklebee’s has expanded its adult offerings, too.

These suggestions — for all ages — come from co-owner Valerie Lewis and staffer Carol Doup Muller, a former Mercury News books editor.

“One Little Bag” by Henry Cole: A wordless picture book shows the amazing journey of a little brown paper bag — from forest, to lunch bag, to lamp shade. In a loving, multi-generation tribute to conservation, Cole’s intricate art encourages the reader to pause and delight in every turn of the page. (Grades K-2)

“The One and Only Bob” by Katherine Applegate: Bob, the dog with attitude who was introduced in the Newbery-winning bestseller “The One and Only Ivan,” gets a story of his own. With zoo friends Ivan and Ruby, Bob sets out to look for his long-lost sister. As a hurricane looms, he’ll find courage he never knew he had — and the true meaning of family. (Grades 3-6)

“City Spies” by James Ponti: Five international kids, under the tutelage of a mysterious man named Mother, come together for a spy mission in Paris. A bit of an Ocean’s 11 caper for kids — full of humor, hackers and surprisingly relevant high stakes. Grades 5-8)

“Sin Eater” by Megan Campisi: In a dystopian and warped Elizabethan era, 14-year-old May must hear deathbed confessions and then publicly eat foods that represent the departed’s sins. Scorned, isolated and forbidden to speak, she nevertheless persists — solving a murder at the Tudor-ish court and finding a community for herself. (High school)

“The Story of More” by Hope Jahren: A world-class geobiologist (and author of the exquisite memoir “Lab Girl”) explains the climate crisis in crystal-clear, entertaining prose. The best professor you’ve never had, she convinces readers that our world can do with less — and still feel full. (Adults nonfiction)

Find more Hicklebee’s recommendations here.

Mrs. Dalloway’s Literary and Garden Arts, Berkeley

Mrs. Dalloway’s was founded in 2004, when longtime friends Marion Abbott and Ann Leyhe decided to pool their passions, talents and resources. The store is named after the protagonist of Virginia Woolf’s 1925 novel, which began, “Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.”

Staffer Hut Landon says they’ve seen a huge surge in online orders, helped, no doubt, by the store’s website’s attempts to replicate that feeling of browsing in a cozy shop and finding new books to love. These are Landon’s picks for new books coming out in May and June:

“Book of Longings” by Sue Monk Kidd: Kidd, author of “Secret Life of Bees,” offers a fascinating feminist reimagining of the New Testament in which Jesus of Nazareth is married, and his wife Ana — the book’s protagonist — is a writer. This should be one of the year’s big books.

“Utopia Avenue” by David Mitchell: A novel about the life and times of a rock band that emerges from London’s psychedelic scene in 1967 and embarks on a meteoric journey from the seedy clubs of Soho, a TV debut on “Top of the Pops,” glory in Amsterdam, prison in Rome and a fateful American sojourn that includes San Francisco during the autumn of ’68. (Mitchell is the author of “Cloud Atlas.”)

“Big Summer” by Jennifer Weiner: A plus-size Instagram influencer is surprisingly asked to be maid of honor at the Cape Cod wedding of an old college frenemy. This is a great summer beach read that mixes romance and mystery with Weiner’s humor.

“The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes: A Hunger Games Novel” by Suzanne Collins: This prequel revisits the world of Panem 64 years before the events of “The Hunger Games” and features Coriolanus Snow, who is now a teenager himself and participating in the 10th Hunger Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to out charm, outwit and outmaneuver his fellow students.”

Kepler’s Books, Menlo Park

Kepler’s holds a unique place in the hearts of literature-loving Peninsula residents and a pioneering position in the bookstore industry. The shop, which was founded in 1955 by peace activist Roy Kepler and run for years by his son, Clark, was rescued by distraught customers when closure loomed in 2005.

Customers walk by the entrance to Kepler’s Books & Magazines. (Jim Gensheimer/Bay Area News Group) 

At the helm these days is CEO Praveen Madan, who saw a “mind-boggling” number of website orders starting March 17, when they had to close the doors to onsite customers. He redeployed employees to work from home, processing orders seven days a week. “Overnight, we’ve become an internet operation.”

Here are Kepler’s reading recs:

“The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse” by Charlie Mackesy:

This whimsical little book, reminiscent of treasured classics such as “Winnie-the-Pooh” and “The Little Prince,” is full of wonderful things. The conversations between four creatures about friendship, kindness and courage are depicted with humor and grace; the ink and watercolor drawings are miraculous and magical. (For all ages.)

“Dear Edward” by Ann Napolitano: Before his family trip to Los Angeles from New York, 12-year-old Eddie Adler was just an ordinary boy, with a mother, father and a brother. After the plane crashes, the only survivor, Eddie, becomes Edward, the miracle boy who lived. When the other passengers’ family members write to Edward because he was the last one to see or remember their loved ones alive, Edward’s deeply personal story of recovery comes alive with universal parallels. “Dear Edward” is like a lantern leading us out of darkness; a beautiful, poignant story of community and the power of kindness.

“Running with Sherman: The Donkey with the Heart of a Hero” by Christopher McDougall: A heartwarming story about a lonely and traumatized donkey who is nursed back to life and given purpose by McDougall and a large, varied group that includes an Amish community, female ultramarathoners and farm animals. I loved it!

“The Starless Sea” by Erin Morgenstern: From the best-selling author of the “Night Circus” comes an imaginative and fantastical tale about a boy who finds a mysterious book and is subsequently thrust into a hidden underground world full of magic and pirates, liars and lovers. This book is a pure escapist fantasy and absolutely enchanting to read.

“My Bison” by Gaya Wisniewski: Artist and storyteller Wisniewski’s tender story of friendship between a little girl and a bison invites readers to curl up somewhere cozy. Soft charcoal and ink illustrations show their friendship blooming as they enjoy each other’s company with a cup of tea or wander whimsically through the forest. This quiet picture book is a comforting tale that captures the magical and timeless bond that can grow between humans and animals. (Kindergarten through third grade)

Find more Kepler’s recommendations here.

Bookshop Santa Cruz

Reading has always been a passion for Casey Coonerty Protti, the second-generation owner of Bookshop Santa Cruz. Over the last weeks, the store has turned to web orders and curbside pickup, as well as fundraising for its Keep Kids Reading program, which gives books to kids who lack access during the school and library shutdowns. Coonerty Protti says she has been polishing the vintage wooden rocking horse, which has lived in the bookstore for its entire 53 years, and misses seeing kids reading.

Bookshop Santa Cruz. (Dan Coyro — Santa Cruz Sentinel) 

“Beautiful Ruins” by Jess Walter: If you need to escape, transport yourself to the Italian coastline for a love story centered across decades with cinematic and emotional twists and turns that will keep you reading to the very end.

“Nothing to See Here” by Kevin Wilson: No one is quite as imaginative and funny as Kevin Wilson —and “Nothing to See Here” is both, in spades. A long-lost friend is hired as a nanny to a wealthy and powerful couple who need to keep their children hidden from the limelight. What progresses is a tale about belonging and acceptance in a wholly original narrative.

“Less” by Andrew Sean Greer: My favorite thing about travel is seeing the world through different eyes, but also realizing the shared human experience. Arthur Less is a brokenhearted man who accepts every half-baked invitation to literary conferences and meetings around the globe to escape the wedding of a former boyfriend. We become armchair travelers to his journey and learn that we must run to, not away, from who we truly are.

Books Inc., Campbell, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Alameda, Berkeley, San Francisco

Talk about the original brick-and-mortar bookstore. Books Inc. has a lineage that dates back to 1851, making it the oldest independent bookseller in the West. Over the last two decades, owner Michael Tucker shepherded the chain through stormy waters — a bankruptcy, the industry changes, store closures — and helped it not just survive, but thrive. During the COVID-19 crisis, Books Inc. has been accepting online orders with free shipping.