New Jersey’s governor, Phil Murphy, says the state has received a Major Disaster Declaration, meaning it can receive more federal support during the Covid-19 outbreak. As of Wednesday, New Jersey had the second-most confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the US. Murphy, a Democrat, thanked Donald Trump and Mike Pence for their help.
Today was supposed to be Opening Day in Major League Baseball, and a traditional sign that the winter is over and spring and summer are around the corner. Instead, due to the coronavirus outbreak, players are at home twiddling their thumbs or posting videos to TikTok. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said on Wednesday he hopes preparation for the start of the postponed season can start in May, although that may be a little too upbeat, given that a single positive test from a player during the season could shut a whole team down.
“It’s just such a strange time,” wrote Chicago Cubs star Anthony Rizzo on ESPN. “The more all of us can stay connected to others, the better we all are. Whether you are a professional athlete or a fan, just trying to stay positive right now, it is so important to keep moving any way you can.”
Meanwhile, the New York Mets’ Pete Alonso, who broke the rookie record for home runs last year, posted a message to Twitter thanking nurses and doctors for their work during the outbreak.
A New York City health worker who was treating Covid-19 patients has died two weeks after being diagnosed with the virus. The news of Kious Kelly’s death was confirmed by his hospital, Mount Sinai West in Manhattan.
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of a beloved member of our nursing staff. The safety of our staff and patients has never been of greater importance and we are taking every precaution possible to protect everyone,” the hospital said in a statement.
Nurses at Mount Sinai West have complained they have been forced to use garbage bags to protect themselves due to a lack of equipment.
New York City is being hit particularly hard by the virus and the acting navy secretary, Thomas Modly, said hospital ship USNS Comfort will “hopefully” reach the city in the next week to assist with the relief effort. “We had been originally looking at April 3, but in all likelihood, she’s going to be getting underway this weekend,” said Modly on Thursday. “I’m actually going to be going down there to the ship either tomorrow or Saturday. So sometime after that she’ll be leaving.”
Ford wants to reopen five plants shut down by the Covid-19 outbreak, although the company may well receive pushback from union members. Ford suspended production at the plants a week ago under pressure from the United Auto Workers, who feared its members could fall ill.
The company wants to restart production over the next three weeks at sites in Hermosillo, Mexico; Dearborn, Michigan; Louisville Kentucky; Cleveland, Ohio; and Kansas City. Ford says it will introduce new safeguards to protect workers. Donald Trump has already said that he wants America to reopen for business by Easter, despite warnings from medical experts that such a decision could have dire consequences for public health.
“We are reviewing with great concern and caution today’s announcement [from Ford],” the United Auto Workers said in a statement. “Our priority is the health and safety of our members, their families and the American public.”
Mnuchin: unemployment numbers are ‘not relevant’
Pompeo: 10,000 Americans have been repatriated
An emergency physician has said that the public is being shielded from the true suffering caused by Covid-19. Ethical and privacy issues mean that footage of ICUs and wards are not shown on television. But in a text to CNN, emergency physician Esther Choo said the severity of the outbreak risks being lost.
“This whole thing has been hampered by its abstractness. I mean, half the interviews on TV that I’ve seen are totally well people pissed they didn’t get tested. The truth is, the sickest patients are terrifying,” Choo said. “They are air hungry, dropping their oxygen, confused, distressed. We can never show that. But it is terrifying … What would the zombie apocalypse be like if we only had verbal descriptions of zombies, but could never show them?”
My colleague Sam Levine sends this report on efforts to get Americans to respond to the US census.
Rapper Cardi B reminded New Yorkers that the 2020 census will not feature a question asking about citizenship in a public service announcement released Wednesday urging people to fill out the decennial survey.
“Remember, the citizenship question is off the census,” she says in the video, which will run on local TV networks and was made in collaboration with New York City’s census efforts. “No matter what anybody tells you, immigrants with or without papers count too.”
The US Supreme Court blocked the Trump administration from adding the question last year, but there is still lingering confusion in immigrant communities and a lingering fear that the information collected in the decennial survey will be used in a harmful way. Individual census responses must be kept confidential according to federal law.
The census, which is mandated by the constitution, is used to determine how $1.5 trillion in federal funds are allocated and how political districts get drawn for the next decade. Americans can fill out the survey online at my2020census.gov or by calling 844-330-2020 (phone numbers to respond in other languages available here).
“This census is about power, money, and respect for our communities,” Cardi B says in the video. “If our city is undercounted, we risk being underrepresented, especially our communities of color.”
The city of Miami’s 460,000 residents will be put under curfew from Friday night onwards. Police will have the power to detain anyone on the streets between 10pm and 5am. Exceptions will be made for medical emergencies, people on their way to and from work, and dog walkers within 250 yards of their homes. The city is already under a more general shelter-in-place order. Some questioned whether arresting and then detaining people in confined spaces would help spread, rather than curb, the spread of the virus but one Miami police chief denied that accusation.
“The idea here is not to throw somebody in jail,” Commissioner Joe Carollo told the Miami Herald. “None of us want to do that.”
Fed chair: US ‘may well be’ in a recession
Sports fans have been deprived of entertainment over the last few weeks, with leagues across America – and the world – shutting down during the Covid-19 outbreak (you can still watch top-class Belarus soccer action though!). But fear not! Two-time NBA MVP and professional nice guy Steph Curry will be online from 10am PT/1pm ET to discuss Covid-19 with infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci. And, like all good sports radio hosts, they’ll be taking questions from callers/people who follow Curry on Instagram.
Curry, who has won three NBA titles with the Golden State Warriors, is known for his charity work alongside his wife Ayesha. He recently donated an undisclosed amount to the Alameda County Community Food Bank, and a Facebook fundraiser by the Currys for Feeding America has raised more than $7m so far.
Fauci has become known for gently correcting Donald Trump on the medical side of the outbreak in recent weeks. Curry has been rather more forceful in his statements on Trump. The Warriors did not go on the traditional White House visit when they won titles during Trump’s presidency. “By acting and not going, hopefully that will inspire some change when it comes to what we tolerate in this country and what is accepted and what we turn a blind eye to,” said Curry after the Warriors’ title win in 2017.