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Governors plead for supplies as Nancy Pelosi attacks Trump for early ‘denial’ she called ‘deadly.’
Several Democratic governors said on Sunday that they feared hospitals in their states would soon be overwhelmed with patients sick with Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi put the blame for the nation’s flawed response to the pandemic squarely on President Trump.
“His denial at the beginning was deadly,” Ms. Pelosi, a California Democrat, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “Now I think the best thing would be to do is to prevent more loss of life.”
“We really want to work in a unified way to get the job done here,” she added, “but we cannot continue to allow him to continue to make these underestimates of what is actually happening here.”
“Don’t fiddle while people die, Mr. President,” Ms. Pelosi said.
The White House had no immediate comment.
During their own appearances on the Sunday morning news programs, the governors largely steered clear of attacking Mr. Trump, whose help they need. Instead, several stressed that they were working with FEMA and other federal agencies, even as they pleaded for more help getting ventilators, surgical masks and other medical equipment they need.
“If we don’t flatten the curve, we’re on a trajectory currently to exceed our capacity in the New Orleans area for ventilators by about April the 4th, and all beds available in hospitals by about April the 10th,” Gov. John Bel Edwards, Democrat of Louisiana, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program.
Asked about Mr. Trump’s claim on Friday that she doesn’t appreciate his help, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, a Democrat, focused on what she said was a good working relationship with other parts of the federal government and other officials in the White House.
“You know, I don’t have energy to respond to every slight,” she said on CNN’s “State of the Union” program. “What I’m trying to do is work well with the federal government. And I will tell you this. There are people from the White House on down who are working 24/7, just like we are at the states. We’re all stressed, because we have people that are dying right now.”
Even Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington, a Democrat who has frequently fought with the president, said he did not think his strained relationship with Mr. Trump was affecting his state’s ability to fight the virus.
“We certainly have a great working relationship with the Army, we have good open lines of communication with FEMA,” Mr. Inslee said on CNN. “We’re not distracted by some of the noise out of the White House. And we’re continuing to work as a team. So, I feel good about that. But, boy, we have got a lot more work to do.”
Mr. Inslee did say he did not believe his state would be ready to lift social distancing restrictions any time soon, challenging Mr. Trump’s claim that many parts of the country could be ready to go back to work by Easter.
Ms. Pelosi has primarily worked with Steven T. Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, as Congress and the White House raced to pass three huge legislative packages to tackle the fallout from the pandemic and support elements of the economy that have been shut down to contain its spread. She has not spoken with Mr. Trump for the past month — and she was not invited to attend the signing ceremony at the White House, as is tradition.
“Legislation is my responsibility,” she said on Sunday. “Policy and passing it at all has not required any conversations with the president on the nature of the policies or the passage of this legislation.”
With cases surging, Mayor Bill de Blasio says New York City has one week’s worth of medical supplies left.
New York City has a one-week supply of medical supplies to care for any New Yorker who is sick, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Sunday, as the number of cases in the city crossed 33,700, which was more than half the total in the state.
“We have enough supplies to get to a week from today, with the exception of ventilators, we’re going to need at least several hundred more ventilators very quickly,” Mr. de Blasio said in an appearance Sunday morning on CNN. “We are going to need a reinforcement.’’
Mr. de Blasio’s comments come as New York City’s 911 system is overwhelmed, hospitals in the New York area are deluged with new coronavirus cases and medical staff warn of shortages of personal protective equipment.
The mayor said he was also concerned about a shortage of medical personnel and said he had made a direct request to Mr. Trump to send more military and civilian doctors and nurses from around the country.
“Our front-line health care workers,” Mr. de Blasio said, “are giving their all, they’re in harm’s way. And, you know, we need to get them relief. We need to get them support and protection, but also relief. They can’t keep up at this pace.”
On Sunday, Mr. Cuomo said the total number of cases in New York was 59,513, an increase of nearly 7,200 confirmed from the day before. More than half of the cases, or 33,768, are in New York City.
The number of deaths in the state was 965, up 237 from the day before — the largest one-day increase in deaths since the outbreak began.
About 8,500 people are currently hospitalized, an increase of 16 percent from Saturday to Sunday. Of those, 2,037 are in intensive care units, which are equipped with ventilators.
Mr. Cuomo said he extended his order for all nonessential workers to stay home until April 15.
“When they come up with an inexpensive home test or point of care test that can be brought to volume. I think that’s probably when you see a real return to normalcy in the work force,” he said.
The first of several planes carrying medical supplies arrives in New York from China.
A commercial aircraft carrying gloves, masks, gowns and other medical supplies from Shanghai touched down at Kennedy International Airport in New York on Sunday morning, the first in a series of roughly 20 flights that White House officials say will funnel much-needed goods to the United States by early April.
The plane carried 130,000 N-95 masks, nearly 1.8 million surgical masks and gowns, more than 10 million gloves and more than 70,000 thermometers. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will provide the majority of the supplies to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, with the rest going to nursing homes in the area and other high-risk areas across the country, a White House spokesman said.
The pandemic has sparked a race among foreign governments, American governors and mayors, good Samaritans and opportunists to acquire protective gear, ventilators and other goods from China, the source of more than one-third of medical supplies in the United States in 2019. While China’s own coronavirus epidemic has subsided since February, newly built factory lines in the country are beginning to churn out masks, gowns and gloves.
The flights are the product of a public-private partnership — led by Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and a White House senior adviser — in which the administration is looking to health care distributors like McKesson Corporation, Cardinal, Owens & Minor, Medline and Henry Schein. Representatives of those companies were expected to attend a meeting with Mr. Trump at the White House on Sunday.
The White House will arrange for air transport to help expedite the shipping of medical supplies purchased by these companies overseas into the United States, the spokesman said. Both FEMA and the State Department are helping to support the effort, according to the White House.
“At President Trump’s direction, we formed an unprecedented public-private partnership to ensure that massive amounts of masks, gear and other PPE will be brought to the United States immediately to better equip our health care workers on the front lines and to better serve the American people,” Mr. Kushner said in a statement.
C.D.C. issues a travel advisory for the New York region, after Trump backs off his quarantine threat.
The C.D.C. issued a formal advisory late Saturday night urging the residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to “refrain from nonessential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately.”
The advisory does not apply to “employees of critical infrastructure industries,” the agency said. That includes trucking, public health professionals, financial services and food supply workers.
Earlier on Saturday, Mr. Trump had suggested the states might be quarantined — a more severe restriction — but offered no details about how his administration would enforce it. Hours later, Mr. Trump said on Twitter that he had spoken to the governors of the three states and that the quarantine “will not be necessary.” He said that he had asked the C.D.C. to issue the “strong” travel advisory to be implemented by the governors.
Speaking to CNN, Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York had criticized the idea of the quarantine, calling it “a declaration of war on states.”
He also questioned the logistical challenges, as well as the message, that such an order would present. “If you start walling off areas all across the country, it would just be totally bizarre, counterproductive, anti-American, antisocial,” he said.
The specter of a federal quarantine followed a wave of governors who, fearful about the virus spreading further through their states, ordered people who had traveled from New York to isolate themselves for two weeks after their arrivals.
Texas, Florida, Maryland and South Carolina are among the states that have ordered people arriving from New York to self-quarantine. In Texas, the authorities said on Friday that Department of Public Safety agents would make surprise visits to see whether travelers were adhering to the state’s mandate, and they warned that violators could be fined $1,000 and jailed for 180 days.
Mr. Lamont, the Connecticut governor, last week urged all travelers from New York City to self-quarantine for two weeks upon entering the state, but he stopped short of issuing an order requiring it.
Late Saturday, the governor of Rhode Island, Gina Raimondo, a Democrat, said she would repeal an earlier executive order that had singled out New York residents for self-quarantine, after an outcry and threats of a lawsuit from Mr. Cuomo. A new order from Ms. Raimondo asked that all out-of-state visitors to Rhode Island self-quarantine for 14 days.
Lawmakers are floating the possibility of another emergency response bill.
Over fewer than four weeks, Congress and the White House have agreed to billions of dollars in emergency aid, a significant expansion of the social safety net and a $2 trillion stimulus, the largest economic response package in modern American history.
But lawmakers, administration officials, industry groups and lobbyists are already outlining possible elements of a fourth piece of legislation to combat the spread of the coronavirus and bolster a shuddering economy.
“We have to pass another bill that goes to meeting the need more substantially than we have,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, ticking off a list of Democratic priorities, including increased protections for workers on the front lines and a further expansion of new paid sick-leave provisions.
Some officials who were involved in the negotiations over the earlier bills, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, have cautioned that they may need to see how those laws are implemented before solidifying the components of new legislations. Still, the fourth package could include additional direct payments to taxpayers, as well as more funds for hospitals, states and local governments.
“If, for whatever reason, this takes longer than we think, we will go back to Congress and get more support for the American economy,” Mr. Mnuchin said on “Face the Nation” on CBS, adding that he hoped such a step was not needed.
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican majority leader, has instructed the senators “to stay nimble,” acknowledging that they may have to return sooner than the chamber’s next scheduled session on April 20.
A British official warns of the likelihood of months of restrictions.
As the coronavirus pandemic has sickened more than 678,900 people worldwide, England’s deputy chief medical officer said on Sunday that Britons may be under some form of lockdown for six months or longer, warning that the country faces a second wave of coronavirus if they are lifted too quickly.
Britain had over 17,000 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Sunday — including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was initially reluctant to introduce social distancing measures in the country; Matt Hancock, the health secretary; and Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne.
The medical official, Jenny Harries, said it was too soon to know if the country’s current lockdown measures had reduced the peak of the spread of the virus. The government said last Monday it would review them in three weeks.
“We must not then suddenly revert to our normal way of living,” Ms. Harries told reporters. “That would be quite dangerous. If we stop, then all of our efforts will be wasted and we could potentially see a second peak.”
“We need to keep that lid on and then gradually we will be able to, hopefully, adjust some of the social-distancing measures and gradually get us all back to normal.” Her timeline, she said, was “three weeks for review, two or three months to see whether we’ve really quashed it, but three to six months ideally, and lots of uncertainty in that.”
The remarks came as the country’s National Health Service mourned the loss of a surgeon who died after contracting the coronavirus. The surgeon, Adil El Tayar, 63, a native of Sudan, was an organ transplant specialist who had been serving as a volunteer in a British hospital to help fight the pandemic.
Britain’s ambassador to Sudan, Irfan Siddiq, paid tribute to the surgeon on Twitter, adding: “Health workers around the world have shown extraordinary courage. We cannot thank them enough.”
Thousands of retired doctors and nurses in Britain have agreed to go back to work to reinforce the ranks of the health service as the country struggles with a growing outbreak. The more than 400,000 people who have stepped forward also include volunteers who are helping older people quarantined in their homes.
Police in Britain have arrested people who deliberately spit on or coughed at others. In one case, a 14-year-old boy was charged with assault after he coughed and shouted “Coronavirus” at a woman, Greater Manchester Police said in a statement on Sunday.
At least 31,971 people have died in 171 countries around the world, and public officials continued to struggle with the pandemic.
In Russia, Moscow declared a lockdown starting Monday. People must not leave home except in an emergency or to go to the nearest grocery store or walk their dogs, going no further than 100 meters. People will still be able to enter and leave the city. Russia has reported 1,534 confirmed cases of coronavirus, far fewer than many Western countries, but the numbers have risen rapidly in recent days — particularly in Moscow, which accounts for most of the cases.
The police in South Africa had set up roadblocks and were checking vehicles on Sunday to ensure that people across the country complied with the regulations of the 21-day lockdown, the force wrote on Twitter.
Italy reported more than 97,689 cases of the coronavirus, an increase of more than 5,200 from Saturday. The number of deaths totaled 10,779, an increase of 756 from Saturday.
France reported 40,174 cases, an increase of 2,599 from the day before. The country reported 2,606 deaths, an increase of 292 from Saturday. But there has been a decline in the percentage increase in new deaths reported on each of the last three days.
Illinois reports first known U.S. coronavirus infant death; Louisiana inmate dies.
An infant who tested positive for the coronavirus has died in Chicago, the authorities said on Saturday. It was the first known death of a child younger than a year old with the virus in the United States, although the authorities in some states do not release details about people who die.
In Louisiana, an inmate at a federal prison also died from the coronavirus, according to an employee at the facility. The death is the first involving an inmate in the Federal Bureau of Prisons system.
Newborns and babies have seemed to be largely unaffected by the coronavirus, but three new studies suggest that the virus may reach the fetus in utero.
“There has never before been a death associated with Covid-19 in an infant,” said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. “A full investigation is underway to determine the cause of death.” Older adults, especially those in their 80s and 90s, have been viewed as the most vulnerable in the outbreak, but younger people have also died.
Corey Trammel, a president of the local prison union at the Federal Correctional Complex in Oakdale, La., said that more than 10 inmates from the prison had been hospitalized and more than 60 were in isolation with symptoms or were in quarantine. He said at least six staff members at the prison were thought to have the virus.
“We need to do something to get ahead of this,” he said. “And the community is being left in the dark.”
The Bureau of Prisons website currently lists five inmates and no staff members at the Oakdale prison as having tested positive for the virus. The bureau did not respond to an email about the death. In the federal system, at least 27 inmates and prison workers across the country have tested positive for the virus, according to the bureau’s website.
As of Sunday morning, deaths in the United States had surpassed 2,100, including at least 50 in Illinois. More than 3,500 cases of the virus have been identified in Illinois.
U.S. civil rights office moves to prevent discrimination over who gets lifesaving care.
The director of the U.S. health department’s civil rights office has said his office is opening a series of investigations to ensure that states do not allow medical providers to discriminate on the basis of disabilities, race, age or certain other factors when deciding who receives lifesaving medical care during the coronavirus emergency.
The civil rights office released a new bulletin days after disability rights advocates filed complaints arguing that protocols to ration lifesaving medical care adopted by Alabama and Washington State were discriminatory.
Many states and hospitals are developing plans for how to ration care if the number of critically ill coronavirus patients exceeds capacity. Patients who develop severe respiratory distress from coronavirus infection often require support from mechanical ventilators for days to weeks, and the machines are expected to be in short supply in the United States.
Many plans would prioritize patients who were most likely to survive their immediate illness, and who also had a better chance of long-term survival. Some assign patients a score based on calculations of their level of illness, with decisions between patients who have the same score made by random selection. Some plans instruct hospitals not to offer mechanical ventilators to people above a certain age or with particular health conditions.
“Our civil rights laws protect the equal dignity of every human life from ruthless utilitarianism,” Roger Severino, the office’s director, said in a statement this weekend. People with disabilities, those with limited English skills and older people “should not be put at the end of the line for health care during emergencies,” he said.
He said his office had heard from “a broad spectrum of civil rights groups, pro-life groups, disability rights groups, from prominent members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, from ordinary people who are concerned about their civil rights in this time of crisis.”
Citing virus fears, a judge orders U.S. officials to make efforts to release detained migrant children.
The order, from Judge Dolly M. Gee of the United States District Court, came after plaintiffs in a long-running case over the detention of migrant children cited reports that four children being held at a federally licensed shelter in New York had tested positive for the virus.
“The threat of irreparable injury to their health and safety is palpable,” the plaintiffs’ lawyers said in their petition, which called for migrant children across the country to be released to outside sponsors within seven days unless they represent a flight risk.
Around the United States, about 3,600 children are in shelters operated under license by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement, and about 3,300 more at three detention facilities for migrant children held in custody with their parents, operated by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
As the global tally crosses 670,000, India struggles through the world’s biggest lockdown.
Hundreds of thousands of migrant laborers in India have begun long journeys on foot to get home, having been rendered homeless and jobless by the world’s biggest lockdown.
In the capital, Delhi, thousands of migrants, including whole families, packed their pots, pans and blankets into rucksacks, some balancing small children on their shoulders as they walked along interstate highways, in one of the biggest migrations in the country’s recent history. Some planned to walk hundreds of miles. But as they reached the Delhi border, many were beaten back by the police.
“You fear the disease, living on the streets. But I fear hunger more, not corona,” said Papu, 32, who came to Delhi three weeks ago for work and was trying to get to his home in Saharanpur in the state of Uttar Pradesh, 125 miles away.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi apologized to the country for imposing the nationwide lockdown, which was announced with just four hours’ notice on Tuesday.
“I would firstly like to seek forgiveness from all my countrymen,” he said in a radio address. “Possibly many would be angry at me for being locked in their homes,” he added, saying that there was no other way “to wage a war against corona.”
So far, 980 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in India, with 24 dead, according to officials.
India already had one of the world’s largest homeless populations, and the lockdown may have tripled it overnight, workers for nongovernmental organizations say. A 2011 government census put the number of homeless at 1.7 million, almost certainly a vast underestimate in the country of 1.3 billion.
The lockdown, which includes a ban on interstate travel, left India’s enormous migrant population stranded in big cities, where jobs have lured them in vast numbers from the countryside.
As the coronavirus spread across the United States between late January and early March, large-scale testing of people who might have been infected did not happen because of technical flaws, regulatory hurdles, business-as-usual bureaucracies and lack of leadership at multiple levels.
The three federal health agencies responsible for detecting and combating pandemic threats failed to prepare quickly enough, a Times investigation found. Even as scientists looked at China and sounded alarms, none of the agencies’ directors conveyed the urgency required to spur a no-holds-barred defense, according to interviews with more than 50 current and former public health officials, administration officials, senior scientists and company executives.
Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, trusted the agency’s veteran scientists to develop a test for the coronavirus. But when the test turned out to have a flaw, it took the C.D.C. much of February to settle on a solution. In the meantime, the virus was spreading undetected.
Dr. Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, was supposed to help build national testing capacity by approving diagnostic tests developed by the private sector. Yet he enforced regulations that paradoxically made it tougher for hospitals and laboratories to deploy such tests in an emergency.
Alex M. Azar II, the health and human services secretary, oversaw the two other agencies and coordinated the government’s public health response to the pandemic. Yet he did not manage to push the C.D.C. or F.D.A. to speed up or change course.
Together, the challenges resulted in a lost month, when the United States squandered its best chance of containing the coronavirus’s spread. Instead, Americans were left largely blind to the scale of a looming public health catastrophe.
Wealthier Europeans escape to second homes, stoking fear and anger in smaller communities.
Across Europe, affluent city dwellers have been leaving hard-hit cities for their second homes, where proximity to the sea or the mountains lessens the discomfort of confinement. But they also bring fears that they will spread the coronavirus to regions with few hospitals, putting at greater risk local residents who tend to be older and have limited incomes.
The situation has ignited anger over what the pandemic is laying bare every day: the ever widening gap between the rich and the poor.
In Italy, currently the European nation with the most infections and deaths, many people fled south from the hard-hit north, the region first put in lockdown. Though hard figures are unavailable, some officials in the south have attributed new infections to the influx.
In Spain, José María Aznar, the former prime minister, packed his bags for his holiday villa in Marbella, a celebrity resort on the Mediterranean, leaving Madrid on the very day that the capital shut all schools and universities. The move prompted anger and calls to monitor Mr. Aznar and lock him inside his villa.
Spain on Sunday reported a overnight record rise in the number of fatalities — 838 dead — bringing the total to about 6,500 deaths and almost 79,000 registered coronavirus cases, the fourth highest in the world.
And in France — which has 3.4 million second homes, far more than any of its neighbors — some urbanites arrived on the island of Noirmoutier and headed straight to the beach. They were seen picnicking, kite surfing, jogging and biking. In retribution, tires of about half a dozen cars with Paris plates were slashed.
“Their behavior was unacceptable,’’ said Frédéric Boucard, 47, an oyster farmer. “It’s as if they were on vacation.”
Another local, Claude Gouraud, 55, said, “We should have blocked the bridge weeks ago.”
Answers to your questions about staying fit.
Stuck at home? You don’t need access to a gym to stay active. You can (and should) go outside for a walk or run (or do push-ups and squats).
Reporting and research were contributed by Neil MacFarquhar, Alan Blinder, Michael D. Shear, Jesse McKinley, Abby Goodnough, Sheila Kaplan, Sheri Fink, Katie Thomas, Noah Weiland, Ali Watkins, Katie Van Syckle, Ana Swanson, Anton Troianovksi, Maria Abi-Habib, Austin Ramzy, Tess Felder, Yonette Joseph, Raphael Minder, Iliana Magra, Katie Glueck, Elisabetta Povoledo, Emily Cochrane and Constant Méheut.