Coronavirus updates: Outbreak at migrant shelter in Mexico linked to U.S. deportee
The Los Angeles Times will provide around-the-clock updates on COVID-19 from across Southern California and around the world.
- Tracking the coronavirus in California: latest numbers | Support our journalism with a subscription
- Have a question about coronavirus? Send us your questions here. | You also can sign up for our newsletter
- See latest photo gallery
Trump says he’ll ‘suspend immigration’ amid pandemic but offers no details
President Trump said Monday that he will sign an executive order “to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States” because of the coronavirus.
“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!” Trump tweeted.
He offered no details as to what immigration programs might be affected by the order. The White House did not immediately elaborate on Trump’s tweeted announcement.
WHO warns that the rush to ease virus rules could cause a resurgence
The World Health Organization said Tuesday that rushing to ease coronavirus restrictions will likely lead to a resurgence of the illness, a warning that comes as governments start rolling out plans to get their economies up and running again.
“This is not the time to be lax. Instead, we need to ready ourselves for a new way of living for the foreseeable future,” said Dr. Takeshi Kasai, the WHO regional director for the Western Pacific.
He said governments must remain vigilant to stop the spread of the virus and the lifting of lockdowns and other social distancing measures must be done gradually and strike the right balance between keeping people healthy and allowing economies to function.
Despite concerns from health officials, some U.S. states on Monday announced aggressive reopening plans, while Boeing and at least one other U.S. heavy-equipment manufacturer resumed production. Elsewhere around the world, step-by-step reopenings were underway in Europe, where the crisis has begun to ebb in places such as Italy, Spain and Germany.
Australia said Tuesday that it will allow the resumption of non-urgent surgeries from next week as health authorities grow more confident that hospitals there won’t be overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients.
Tom Brady ejected from Florida park closed because of pandemic
Six Super Bowl rings may get you special treatment in a lot of places, but former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady learned Monday that it won’t get you anything when you’re caught working out in a park that is closed to the public because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Tampa, Fla., Mayor Jane Castor said during a news briefing Monday that the new Buccaneers quarterback was spotted working out by himself at a park downtown. A city employee went over to tell him he had to leave and she recognized the man to be 42-year-old Brady.
“He’s been sighted,” Castor said.
The city of Tampa tweeted from its page Monday: “Sorry @TomBrady! Our @tampaparksrec team can’t wait to welcome you and our entire community back with even bigger smiles — until then, stay safe and stay home as much as you can to help flatten the curve.”
Brady recently moved his family into a furnished mansion he’s renting from former New York Yankees star Derek Jeter in Tampa.
Golf courses allowed to reopen in Riverside County. But cover your face. And no caddies
Riverside County has allowed public and private golf courses to reopen, in an easing of restrictions that had been in place due to the coronavirus.
“Play is being cautiously reopened for observation,” Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County’s public health officer, said in a statement, stressing that social distancing guidelines remain in effect.
Health officials released the following guidelines:
California unemployment call center still struggling to process claims
SACRAMENTO — California has expanded phone assistance to those filing unemployment insurance claims during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the state Employment Development Department continues to receive criticism from people who have not been able to get through on jammed lines despite making dozens of calls to the agency.
California Labor Secretary Julie Su acknowledged Monday that jobless Californians were still having a difficult time reaching live representatives for help with their unemployment claims and said her office is working to resolve the issue.
“I know that people have continued to have trouble today reaching someone on the phone center. I know that people are still not getting through,” Su said during a Facebook Live chat in which residents peppered her with 1,500 questions and messages, many of them showing frustration.
People protest California’s stay-at-home rules in Sacramento and Newport Beach
Protesters wanting California to ease or lift coronavirus stay-at-home rules held rallies Monday in Sacramento and Newport Beach.
They were the latest in a series of protests around the country pushing for an ease to social distancing. Health experts have said early social distancing in California helped the state avoid the high death counts of New York and that lifting them too early could cause coronavirus to spread.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that he understood the frustrations and anxieties being expressed by the protesters. But he cautioned that parts of the world that have relaxed coronavirus restrictions prematurely, including Singapore, have been quickly hit with a second wave of the virus.
“If we’re ultimately going to come back economically, the worst mistake we can make is making a precipitous decision based on politics and frustration that puts people’s lives at risk and ultimately sets back the cause of economic growth and economic recovery,” Newsom said.
Op-Ed: Yes, the government can restrict your liberty to protect public health
Can the government restrict individual liberties to stop the spread of COVID-19? It’s a question being raised by protesters and in lawsuits filed to contest government-imposed restrictions.
There have been very few Supreme Court cases involving the government’s power to deal with the spread of communicable diseases. The most relevant decision for today was issued in Jacobson vs. Massachusetts in 1905. In that case, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a state law requiring compulsory vaccinations against smallpox. The court declared, “Upon the principle of self-defense, of paramount necessity, a community has the right to protect itself against an epidemic of disease which threatens the safety of its members.”
The court explicitly rejected the claim that “liberty” under the Constitution includes the right of individuals to make decisions about their own health in instances where those decisions could endanger others. But the court also made clear that restrictions imposed by the government to control communicable diseases must have a “real or substantial relation” to protecting public health.
AB 5 forced arts groups to evolve. For some, COVID-19 made the change ‘catastrophic’
Even before the coronavirus entered the picture, the Los Angeles-based Pacific Opera Project faced a daunting challenge in January: turn an operation with just three official employees into a company with about 200 singers and other part-time employees on payroll.
The move was triggered by a new state law, AB 5, that aimed to expand benefits such as workers’ compensation and a minimum wage to people formerly classified as freelancers and independent contractors.
“We had the money and we said, ‘This is the law, we’re going to follow it,’” said the company’s founding Artistic Director and Chief Executive Josh Shaw. The opera company’s projected 2020 budget had been about $500,000, but with AB 5, Shaw saw his expenses balloon by $44,000.
Then COVID-19 came to California, and Gov. Gavin Newsom recommended canceling public gatherings of 250 or more people — just one day into Pacific Opera Project’s rehearsal for Mozart’s “Cosi fan Tutte.” The company, which had expected to make $57,000 from ticket sales, had to cancel the production instead, losing $22,000 on the venue rental, sets and costumes, artist fees and promotional materials.
The resumption of NBA season might rely on protocols not yet available
When T.O. Souryal heard the PGA Tour planned to resume its season in June, the former Dallas Mavericks team physician didn’t think it sounded far-fetched.
Following social-distancing guidelines on a sprawling golf course, without spectators, seemed feasible. A positive test for the novel coronavirus might derail a player’s season, but not the tour’s schedule.
But restarting the NBA’s 2020 season? Souryal’s experience, during 27 years as the Mavericks’ doctor and two terms as president of the league’s association of team physicians, taught him that would be a complex undertaking. The path to a resumed season remains fraught with uncertainty, including what he calls “the $64-billion question.”
“What do we do if we come back and a player tests positive?” said Souryal, the medical director at a Texas sports medicine clinic. “Until they have an answer for that, I don’t see the NBA or hockey or any other close-quarter team sport coming back anytime soon.”
Orange County can use Laguna Hills hotel as homeless shelter amid pandemic, judge rules
Officials in Orange County can move forward with a plan to convert a 76-room hotel in Laguna Hills into temporary housing for homeless people in an effort to prevent a surge of deadly coronavirus cases from spreading in the community, a judge ruled Monday.
The county brokered an agreement this month with Elite Hospitality Inc. to lease the Laguna Hills Inn for at least 90 days to shelter homeless individuals who are over 65, have underlying health conditions, are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or who have tested positive for the coronavirus.
The county had hoped to begin moving people into the hotel last week. However, their plans were delayed when Laguna Hills — a city of roughly 31,000 people in the southern section of the county — filed a lawsuit against the hotel’s owner, the county and a nonprofit specializing in homeless outreach in an attempt to block the effort.
City officials, and the owners of four buildings adjacent to the hotel, alleged the project would put the surrounding community at risk and would violate restrictions outlined in the property’s covenants, conditions and restrictions, or CC&Rs.
Some California communities are pushing to ease stay-at-home orders. Is it too soon?
California’s social distancing rules are credited in part with the state seeing far fewer deaths from the coronavirus outbreak than other hot spots like New York and New Jersey.
But as the state begins to bend the curve, there is growing pressure to loosen the rules. A few corners of California have eased some of the most restrictive rules, and some local politicians are beginning to push for a clearer timetable. Some conservative activists held protests this weekend calling for easing the rules.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said Saturday he would not be swayed by public protests in deciding when to reopen the state, noting that his decision would be based on science and the public health. Many top leaders agree.
What’s open and closed this week: Beaches, parks and trails in Southern California
Southern Californians can still walk, hike and bike outdoors without violating Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order. But public officials urge residents to stay home as much as possible and wear masks when they go out.
Local, state and federal agencies continue to enforce closures or severely limited access at hundreds of beaches, parks, trails and forests, all phased in since early March. Yet as the measures move into their second month of enforcement, differences in government policies and enforcement have become more apparent.
Ventura County on Saturday allowed the reopening of golf courses and bike shops among various modifications to its Stay Well at Home order. That order, which continues to close campgrounds, gyms, swimming pools and many other facilities, is effective through May 15.
Painful closures lie ahead for L.A. galleries. How 35 are bracing for the worst
Scattered in storefronts and light industrial buildings around Los Angeles are gallery exhibitions trapped in suspended animation. The fully installed shows had opened — or were about to open — when California’s governor issued a stay-at-home order on March 19 and now sit in the dark, under lock and key until the COVID-19 pandemic abates.
At L.A. Louver in Venice, two exhibitions in limbo feature painstakingly detailed works by L.A. painter Tom Wudl, inspired by a key Buddhist text, and more than a dozen never-before-exhibited paintings by the late Don Suggs, works that turn broad swathes of color into impish beings.
Across town, at Charlie James Gallery in Chinatown, realist paintings by Long Beach-based artist Narsiso Martinez portray farm laborers on grocery store produce boxes — works that come at a moment in which the pandemic has thrown the risks of farm work into stark relief.
Column: With attack on NIH, Trump steps up his assault on science
Buried as it was within the usual blather, bluster and bunkum of President Trump’s daily coronoavirus briefings, Trump’s attack over the weekend on the National Institutes of Health went largely unnoticed.
But it’s dangerous to ignore it.
Trump’s comment about the NIH, which is the government’s largest purveyor of basic scientific research, came about 44 minutes into his hour-and-10-minute appearance Saturday. It was nestled next to his attack on the World Health Organization, the federal funding for which he says he is blocking.
CNN’s Brooke Baldwin calls battle a ‘full two-week beating’
Chris Cuomo isn’t the only CNN anchor with a nasty case of COVID-19.
On Sunday, “CNN Newsroom” host Brooke Baldwin published a “coronavirus diary” detailing her own “relentless, scary and lonely” battle with the respiratory illness, which “took a full two-week beating” on her body.
“I thought ‘Do I show everyone these photos of me taken at my WORST?’ Yes. Yes I do,” Baldwin wrote on Instagram, announcing the release of her CNN piece. “I want you to see the unvarnished version... but also that it’s oh-so-possible to beat this. Not to mention, in my darkest moments: I found truth in clarity and connection. ‘When I was sick and my body came to a screeching halt, I stopped doing and started really feeling.’”
‘It’s going to backfire’: Fauci warns against reopening too quickly
As the rate of new infections and deaths from the coronavirus slowed in parts of the country on Monday, some local governments began to ease stay-at-home restrictions while others pleaded with residents to stay put amid scattered protests in support of reopenings.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned Americans against trying too quickly to return to normal.
“It’s going to backfire,” Fauci said in an interview on “Good Morning America.” “That’s the problem.”
Newsom’s secretive $1-billion mask deal with Chinese automaker sparks bipartisan concerns
SACRAMENTO —Gov. Gavin Newsom‘s decision to spend almost $1 billion in taxpayer funds to buy protective masks drew national attention as an aggressive move by California to solve one of the most nagging problems of the coronavirus crisis.
But almost two weeks after he announced the deal during a cable TV interview, very few details have been disclosed. The governor’s advisors have so far declined requests for information about the agreement with BYD, the Chinese electric car manufacturer hired to produce the masks, though the state has already wired the company the first installment of $495 million.
Newsom, who has been praised for his efforts to slow the spread of the disease, bristled on Saturday at suggestions that his administration had been too slow to explain a deal that would cost California taxpayers 30% more than his January budget would spend on infectious disease prevention for an entire fiscal year.
John Oliver roasts ‘not-a-medical-Dr. Phil’ for his false claims
John Oliver is here to remind you that Dr. Phil’s bizarre comparison of the number of deaths from drowning in swimming pools to those from coronavirus doesn’t hold water.
During Sunday’s quarantined edition of “Last Week Tonight,” Oliver roasted several of his fellow TV hosts, including “not-a-medical-Dr. Phil,” for spreading misinformation amid the public health crisis.
His attack on Phil McGraw — who isn’t a medical doctor but has a PhD in clinical psychology — was in reaction to widely criticized comments the CBS star made last week downplaying the severity of the outbreak.
Can you get a refund for sports, concerts and other events? It depends
Friday’s cancellation of Taylor Swift’s 2020 concert tour brought back to the forefront a familiar question facing concertgoers, sports fans and entertainment enthusiasts amid the coronavirus pandemic. Can I get a refund if I have tickets?
Under normal circumstances, the answer would almost always be yes.
But now, with the coronavirus outbreak causing thousands of cancellations and postponements across the country, many ticket holders have been left in limbo, wondering whether they qualify for refunds.
‘Worst is yet ahead of us,’ WHO chief says
GENEVA — The head of the World Health Organization has warned that “the worst is yet ahead of us” in the coronavirus outbreak, raising new alarm bells about the pandemic just as many countries are beginning to ease restrictive measures.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus didn’t specify why he believed that the outbreak that had infected nearly 2.5 million people and killed over 166,000, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University, could be even worse.
Tedros also alluded to the so-called Spanish flu in 1918 as a reference for the coronavirus outbreak.
“It has a very dangerous combination and this is happening in a hundred years for the first time again, like the 1918 flu that killed up to 100 million people,” he told reporters in Geneva. “But now we have technology, we can prevent that disaster, we can prevent that kind of crisis.”
“Trust us. The worst is yet ahead of us,” he said. “Let’s prevent this tragedy. It’s a virus that many people still don’t understand.”
These U.S. citizens won’t get stimulus checks — because their spouses are immigrants
She works as a film producer and her small business has ground to a halt, forcing her and her husband to eat red beans and rice most nights, scramble to find small business loans and apply for medical assistance for their two children.
So the 44-year-old woman from the Midwest, who asked that her name not be used to protect her privacy, has had to bite her tongue as friends have celebrated the arrival of economic stimulus checks.
As a U.S. citizen whose children are also U.S. citizens, she is excluded from the government’s $2-trillion coronavirus financial relief package because she files her taxes jointly with her husband, a Mexican citizen from Guadalajara.
With the live music industry ravaged, Travis Scott turns to ‘Fortnite’
“Fortnite” will continue its evolution from a game to a full entertainment platform when it debuts a new musical experience featuring hip-hop star Travis Scott at 4 p.m. Thursday. Encore events will roll out through Saturday, with staggered performance times geared for multiple global time zones.
The Scott event, in which the artist will premiere a new single, furthers Epic Games’ continued attempts to evolve “Fortnite” from a competitive multiplayer game to a communal hangout full of limited-time events. Last year, “Fortnite” put director J.J. Abrams live into the game to introduce a less-than-60-second clip of his then-upcoming film “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”; before that, it had already promoted other large cultural events involving “Avengers: Endgame” and the NFL, among others.
Machine that could decontaminate 20,000 masks daily has arrived in Burbank, company says
A machine that could decontaminate tens of thousands of N95 masks each day has arrived in California — potentially alleviating some of the shortages of protective equipment for medical workers.
Battelle, an Ohio-based scientific research and development company, confirmed Monday morning that its cleaning unit had arrived at the Burbank airport, where it will remain located.
It could decontaminate up to 20,000 N95 masks a day, said Battelle spokeswoman Katy Delaney in an email.
“The team is setting it up now and expects it to become operational in about a week,” said Delaney.
Italy has its first-ever decline in the number of currently infected patients
ROME — Italy has marked the two-month anniversary of its coronavirus outbreak by registering its first-ever drop in the number of currently infected patients.
Civil protection chief Angelo Borrelli said Monday the 108,237 currently infected were 20 fewer than a day earlier, “another positive point” toward easing pressure on the country’s healthcare system.
Overall, Italy has had 181,228 confirmed cases, up just 1.2% from a day earlier in one of the lowest day-on-day increases. Another 484 people died, bringing its toll to 24,144, the highest in Europe and second only to the U.S.
Italy’s outbreak began two months ago when a 38-year-old Unilever employee tested positive in the Lombardy city of Codogno. After the test was confirmed Feb. 21, the man spent weeks in intensive care as his pregnant wife tested positive and his father died. He was released from the hospital in time to be home to welcome baby Giulia.
New York death rate is lowest in weeks, Cuomo says
New York state reported the smallest increase in deaths from the new coronavirus since the start of April, and other data also point to a descent in the outbreak, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
There were 478 deaths on April 19, down from 507 the day before, and new hospitalizations are essentially flat. Cuomo says his top concern is making sure the numbers don’t inch back up. He said the state would remain closed until it was safe to reopen.
“What we’re doing here, as a general rule, determines our future,” he said. “This is cause and effect on steroids.”
Cuomo said the federal government had pledged funding but hadn’t come through yet. If it doesn’t step up, New York anticipates 20% cuts in state aid to schools, local governments and hospitals, the governor said.
A state policy about elective surgeries will be released Tuesday, Cuomo said. His administration will be taking into consideration the virus rate in each region, as well as the vacancy rate, he said.
Antibody testing was set to start immediately in New York, with a goal to determine how many people contracted COVID-19, Cuomo said. There also will be a “Reimagine New York” task force focusing on how to reopen the downstate region and make businesses and transportation better than they were before the outbreak.
U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada closed to nonessential travel for at least another month
WASHINGTON — The U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada will be closed to nonessential travel for at least another month.
Acting Secretary Chad Wolf of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that the three nations had agreed to extend restrictions initially imposed in March aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.
Wolf said the restrictions would be extended for 30 more days. Canada announced the agreement between Ottawa and Washington on Friday.
Commercial traffic continues over both borders.
In addition, citizens of all three nations are not being turned away if they are trying to return home. But it does mean a further ban on trips for tourism, shopping and recreation, as well as any other activities deemed nonessential.
Oh, the places you’ll (virtually) go!
It’s spring 2008. British singer Estelle has just released her hit single “American Boy.” In it, she sings, “Take me on a trip, I’d like to go someday.”
It’s spring 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has the world at a standstill. People are stuck at home. They very notion of taking a trip someday seems elusive.
If your wanderlust is strong, here are some custom Zoom backgrounds to tide you over.
Just click the “Download image” link beneath the background you like to open a full-size version in a new tab. Right click on the image to save it to your device, and it’s yours to upload to Zoom. By default, Zoom mirrors your image so our backgrounds will appear flipped to you but display properly to others. (Note: Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, the owner of The Times, is an investor in Zoom.)
U.S. to continue expelling migrants it encounters along border for at least another month
WASHINGTON — The U.S. says it will continue to quickly expel migrants it encounters along the border for at least another month in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
An order issued by the Department of Health and Human Services on Monday said the policy should be kept in place for another 30 days to help reduce the spread of the virus. The new order extends the policy until May 20.
U.S. officials last month launched the policy, saying it would be dangerous for Customs and Border Protection to detain people because of the potential spread of the virus in detention facilities.
As a result, CBP has been turning away thousands of migrants, including asylum seekers.
Adults from Mexico and Central America make up most of the border crossers and are being sent immediately back to Mexico.
Unaccompanied minors from Central America are being quickly flown back to their home countries.
CBP has said it allows people to seek asylum on a case-by-case basis but has not said whether any have been allowed into the country.
Critics including the American Civil Liberties Union say the policy amounts to an abandonment of longstanding international commitments to protect refugees.
Protesters demand California stay-at-home rules end. There is a path forward
Over the last three days, protesters have converged in Huntington Beach, San Diego, San Clemente and Encinitas, calling for the end to California’s stay-at-home orders, which have helped slow the spread of the coronavirus.
They cite the devastating toll the shutdown has had on the economy. Some claim that coronavirus fears have been overblown and that social distancing is not needed, which goes against what public health officials and experts have said.
“I think at [this] point, people have had enough, and they want to get back to work again,” said retired Point Loma resident Darla Clark at a San Diego protest, noting that many of her friends have lost their jobs. “This is definitely where the cure is going to be worse than the disease.”
Debate rages in Mexico: Is beer essential?
MEXICO CITY — Perhaps one of the most heated debates in Mexico during the COVID-19 pandemic — after disagreements about personal protective equipment and testing — is the burning issue of whether beer should be considered an “essential” item during the lockdown.
“Beer supplies should be guaranteed, because beer helps people get through quarantine on better terms,” Mexico’s National Alliance of Small Business declared in a statement last week.
After Mexico ordered the closure of most “nonessential” industries in late March, including the country’s major breweries, the prospect of a looming shortage of cerveza turned into a heated disagreement within the government.
Brazil’s Bolsonaro mixes with crowds again in push to reopen economy
President Jair Bolsonaro escalated his campaign for the reopening of the Brazilian economy after he attended a protest against restrictive measures imposed by state governors to slow the coronavirus’ spread.
The Brasilia demonstration on Sunday, similar to others that took place in several Brazilian cities the same day, was organized by his more radical supporters -- some of whom demanded a military intervention in Congress and the Supreme Court, institutions that have mostly sided with the governors.
“We don’t want to negotiate anything,” Bolsonaro said in an improvised speech delivered from a flatbed truck, according to videos posted on social media. “We want action for Brazil.”
He had previously shared on Twitter a newspaper report about the growing number of Brazilians unable to pay their bills, saying it’s not difficult to guess what comes next if lockdown measures remain in place.
Demonstrators in Russia protest lockdowns
MOSCOW — Several hundred demonstrators in southern Russia have protested a strict lockdown amid the new coronavirus pandemic.
The protesters rallied Monday outside the regional government’s headquarters in Vladikavkaz, the regional capital of the province of North Ossetia in the North Caucasus mountains.
They booed a local official who spoke to the crowd and argued that the quarantine measures were necessary to stem the spread of infections.
Police detained several organizers of the rally.
Russia so far has 47,121 COVID-19 cases, including 405 deaths.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a partial economic shutdown through April 30, and authorities in most of Russia’s 85 regions have introduced strict lockdown measures.
Video: An empty Los Angeles
When being stuck on a cruise ship during the pandemic was ‘a stroke of luck’
BARCELONA, Spain — For Spanish traveler Carlos Payá, being on an around-the-globe luxury cruise while the rest of the world scurried into their homes for fear of the coronavirus was beyond surreal. It was “a stroke of good luck.”
Now, his trip inside the virus-free bubble that the Costa Deliziosa cruise ship became on its 15-week odyssey has come to an end. The boat steamed Monday into Barcelona, its first port-of-call after 35 days of continuous sailing with no human contact with the outside world.
The Costa Deliziosa is one of the last three cruise ships believed to have still been out at sea until Monday, when all were expected to dock. Another of the three, the Pacific Princess, is reportedly due to dock in Los Angeles.
Second peak would prolong U.K. economic and health risks, prime minister says
The U.K. is intent on avoiding another wave of coronavirus infections, a spokesman for the prime minister told reporters on Monday.
“The big concern is a second peak; that is ultimately what will do most damage to health and to the economy,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman James Slack said.
“If you move too quickly, the virus could begin to spread exponentially again — the public will expect us to do everything we can to stop the spread of the virus and protect life.”
Widespread U.S testing may be unlikely until September
Widespread testing and the ability to trace the contacts of those who are infected likely won’t be in place until September, and they definitely won’t be in place in May, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Monday on NBC.
Gottlieb, who is among experts advising the White House on reopening the economy, said it was likely that some places with low rates of infection would be able to open at the beginning of May.
Prince Philip makes a rare public statement
LONDON — Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, issued a rare public statement praising those tackling the new coronavirus pandemic and keeping essential services running.
The prince, who turns 99 in June, said he wanted to recognize the “vital and urgent” work of medical and science professionals.
He also gave thanks to key workers, including people working in food production, garbage collection, and postal and delivery services.
The royal, who retired from public duties in 2017, signed off simply with “Philip.”
Philip has been staying with the queen at Windsor Castle with reduced staff for their safety.
Economic recovery will not happen if reopening is too fast, Fauci says
WASHINGTON — The top infectious disease expert in the United States has a message for protesters who are ignoring their governors’ stay-at-home orders and calling for him to be fired over his guidelines.
Dr. Anthony Fauci says the message is “this is something that is hurting from the standpoint of economics, from the standpoint of things that have nothing to do with the virus.”
He added on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that “unless we get the virus under control, the real recovery economically is not gonna happen. So what you do if you jump the gun and go into a situation where you have a big spike, you’re gonna set yourself back.”
Charity is off the charts. Is that a sign of America’s strength or weakness?
The coronavirus outbreak has shut down entire school districts and turned bustling commercial corridors into ghost towns, but there’s one sector of society that’s busier than ever: philanthropy.
The charitable acts have come in all shapes and sizes. Small checks to food pantries, foundations issuing emergency grants to desperate nonprofits and, most conspicuously, billionaires doling out big-dollar gifts with all the attendant publicity.
Large charitable gifts from corporations, foundations and individuals, including faith-based and other sources, hit $7.8 billion worldwide last week, with about two-thirds originating in the United States — an amount that dwarfs records set after other disasters such as Hurricane Sandy.
London Breed, a mayor who scolds and empathizes, is San Francisco’s face of the crisis
SAN FRANCISCO — Mayor London Breed ran into a friend a few weeks ago at the grocery store. As she recounted on an online forum, he rushed to hug her.
“Noooo!” she shrieked, moving back. He told her he had never been sick in his life.
She countered that he could be an asymptomatic carrier of the coronavirus.
“The thing that is making me lose it is people who are not staying away from each other outside,” she said, laughing. “I feel like this is payback for all the problems I gave my grandmother.”
From quiet acceptance to ‘crippling fear,’ medical workers confront their own mortality
As the coronavirus tore through California in March, Dr. Amit Gohil bought his family a new board game: Pandemic.
A pulmonary critical care doctor at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, Gohil has asthma and diabetes, risk factors for COVID-19, and has been treating infected patients for weeks. At age 43, he is acutely aware his life could be cut short.
He hoped the game, with its heroes of scientists and researchers, could be a way to help his children feel a sense of control over the virus, a story they all know could end badly.
“The kids say, ‘Dad, are you going to die?’ And I say, ‘Don’t worry about it,’” Gohil said.
Oversight of $2-trillion relief act hasn’t gotten off the ground
WASHINGTON — Oversight systems are still largely dormant for the $2 trillion in coronavirus economic relief passed by Congress last month, leaving gaping holes in accountability just as the Treasury Department prepares to give hundreds of billions of dollars in aid to corporations.
The coronavirus response package was the largest in U.S. history, and lawmakers wanted to ensure adequate checks and supervision of the massive funding. But with no fewer than four oversight bodies now struggling to get up and running, and Congress functioning remotely because of the pandemic, lawmakers acknowledge the deficiency.
“Oversight is occurring; it’s just not occurring as effectively as it would be if we could have committee hearings with administration testimony,” said House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.). “The ideal, of course, is to get back into session, have hearings [and] call witnesses.”
Shake Shack to return $10-million paycheck protection loan
Shake Shack has laid off or furloughed hundreds of its employees and needed the assistance, its CEO Randy Garutti and its founder Danny Meyer said in a statement seen Monday.
But the company was able to get extra funding late last week through an “equity transaction” and decided to “immediately return” the $10-million paycheck protection loan it obtained through the CARES Act.
Spain passes 200,000 infections but records a drop in daily deaths
MADRID — Spain has surpassed the 200,000 mark of coronavirus infections while recording the lowest number of new deaths in four weeks.
Health ministry data showed Monday that 399 more people had succumbed to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, bringing the country’s total death toll to 20,852. Spain had counted more than 400 daily deaths since March 22.
The outbreak’s spread has continued at a slower pace than in previous weeks, with 4,266 new infections bringing the pandemic’s total tally to 200,210.
The Spanish government is starting to relax its confinement measures, trying to reactivate the economy after a two-week freeze and planning to allow children younger than 12 to venture out and mingle for brief periods beginning next week.
The government has been under pressure from regional governments, parents and some educators to ease the lockdown for children.
Some shops begin reopening in Germany as lockdown eases
BERLIN — Some shops are reopening in much of Germany as Europe’s biggest economy takes its first tentative step toward restarting public life after a four-week shutdown.
Shops with a surface area of up to 8,600 square feet are being allowed to reopen on Monday, along with auto showrooms, bike shops and bookshops of any size, under an agreement reached last week between Germany’s federal and state governments.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff, Helge Braun, told a TV news outlet that big shops “draw large numbers of people into the city center. They have high customer numbers, and that isn’t possible in the first step.”
State governments are responsible for imposing and loosening shutdown measures, and there are regional variations. Berlin and neighboring Brandenburg are expected to reopen small shops later this week. The eastern state of Thuringia is waiting until next Monday. So is Bavaria, although it is allowing DIY and garden shops to reopen Monday.
The eastern state of Saxony is the only one so far to require that people wear face masks in shops and on public transport.
A few states also are starting high school finishing exams, though schools aren’t expected to start reopening on a larger scale for another two weeks.
Denmark reopens hair salons, tattoo parlors and dentists’ offices, among others
COPENHAGEN — Denmark took another small step toward reopening society when hair salons, dentists, physiotherapists, tattoo parlors and driving schools, among others, were allowed to reopen Monday.
Social distancing, removal of magazines in the waiting area, facilities for both staff and customers to wash their hands, thorough cleaning, and shifted work times were key to the reopening, business minister Simon Kollerup said. “It goes without saying that you cannot avoid contact with a masseur or hairdresser,” he said. “But the new guidelines need to reduce our infection.”
Earlier, the Scandinavian country had allowed some classes — from preschool to the fifth grade — to return to school with similar precautions.
In neighboring Norway, preschools that had been shut down since March 12 reopened, while classes for older pupils were expected to restart before the summer break, Norwegian news agency NTB reported.
Dentists, physiotherapists and opticians were also allowed to start again Monday, NTB wrote.
At least 20 employees at Afghanistan’s presidential palace test positive
KABUL, Afghanistan — At least 20 employees at Afghanistan’s presidential palace have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a senior government official who asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to comment on the subject.
It wasn’t clear whether President Ashraf Ghani had been in contact with any of the employees or whether he had been tested himself. The presidential palace has refused to comment.
Ghani has reportedly been self-isolating, although he still meets daily with some senior officials. At 70 and a cancer survivor, Ghani is considered in the higher-risk category.
Afghanistan has reported only 993 positive cases even as the International Office of Migration, which monitors the movement of refugees, says more than 200,000 Afghans have returned from Iran in the last two months. Iran is one of the hardest-hit countries in the region, with more than 82,000 confirmed cases and more than 5,000 deaths.
Many of the returning refugees scattered throughout Afghanistan without testing, generating widespread fears of an outbreak of cases that could overwhelm the country’s war-ravaged healthcare facilities.
Iran opens up as economic woes trump virus infection fears
Iran on Monday began opening intercity highways and major shopping centers to stimulate its sanctions-choked economy, gambling that it has brought under control its coronavirus outbreak — one of the worst in the world — even as some fear it could lead to a second wave of infections.
Stores from high-end malls to the meandering alleyways of Tehran’s historic Grand Bazaar opened their doors, though the government limited working hours until 6 p.m. Restaurants, gyms and other locations remain closed, however.
Volunteer body washers have been called on to uphold a sacred Islamic custom amid the health crisis in Iran. One such person is 33-year-old Tahereh Adibi.
There are still lingering questions over Iran’s outbreak and the safety of those returning to work. Taxi drivers partitioned their seats from the customers with plastic shields and wore masks, having seen colleagues sickened and killed by the virus and the COVID-19 illness it causes.
Iran’s outbreak has killed more than 5,000 people in over 80,000 reported cases, though even Iran’s parliament suggests the death toll is nearly double that and overall cases remain vastly underreported. Deaths and new cases continue to be reported.
Iran downplayed the crisis for weeks, even as top officials found themselves sick with the virus. The country’s civilian government, led by President Hassan Rouhani, has declined to implement the 24-hour lockdowns seen in other Mideast nations.
‘Under siege’: 55 deaths at New York care home blamed on COVID-19
As residents at a nursing home in Kirkland, Wash., began dying in late February from a coronavirus outbreak that would eventually take 43 lives, there was little sign of trouble at the Cobble Hill Health Center, a 360-bed facility in an upscale section of Brooklyn.
Its Facebook page posted a cheerful story encouraging relatives to quiz their aging loved ones about their lives, and photos of smiling third-graders at a nearby school making flower arrangements for residents.
That quickly changed. By the middle of March, the CEO began sending increasingly alarmed emails about banning visitors, screening staff, confining residents, wiping down all surfaces, and having all-hands-on-deck meetings to prepare everyone for the coming coronavirus “freight train.”
Now listed with 55 deaths it can only assume were caused by COVID-19, among the most of any such facility in the country, Cobble Hill Health Center has become yet another glaring example of the nation’s struggle to control the rapid spread of the coronavirus in nursing homes that care for the most frail and vulnerable.
India reports biggest one-day virus spike as lockdown is eased
India recorded its biggest single-day spike in coronavirus cases on Monday as the government eased one of the world’s strictest lockdowns to allow some manufacturing and agricultural activity to resume.
An additional 1,553 cases were reported over 24 hours, raising the national total past 17,000. At least 543 people have died from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, and epidemiologists forecast the peak may not be reached before June.
The shelter-in-place orders imposed in India on March 24 halted all but essential services. Starting Monday, limited industry and farming were allowed to resume where employers could meet social distancing and hygiene norms, and migrant workers can travel within states to factories, farms and other work sites.
The loosening of restrictions comes as India continues to ramp up testing, build up stocks of ventilators and personal protective equipment and prepare makeshift isolation wards and dedicated COVID-19 hospitals.
California will ‘do the right thing’ when lifting stay-at-home orders, Newsom says
The number of coronavirus cases in California topped 30,000, with nearly 1,150 deaths, as officials said that science — not political pressure — would determine when they began to reopen the economy.
Although the state is seeing the rate of new infections from the coronavirus declining, Gov. Gavin Newsom said rising death counts were a major concern.
“For those who think we are out of the woods … I caution you on the basis” of the death toll, Newsom said Saturday.
As for lifting some stay-at-home orders, Newsom added: “We are going to do the right thing, not judge by politics, not judge by protests, but by science.”
Garcetti: L.A. is ‘under attack’ and will need to furlough thousands of city workers
Mayor Eric Garcetti warned Sunday that the economic downturn facing Los Angeles would be more painful than the 2008 recession, requiring cuts to government programs and the furlough of thousands of city employees.
In a remarkable State of the City address, one that comes five weeks into the shutdown of many businesses, government buildings and other facilities, Garcetti declared that the city was “under attack” from the coronavirus and the economic fallout that had come with it.
“I’ve never before hesitated to assure you that our city is strong,” he said. “But I won’t say those words tonight. Our city is under attack. Our daily life is unrecognizable.
“We are bowed and we are worn down. We are grieving our dead,” the mayor continued, choking back tears. “But we are not broken.”