Reuters US Domestic News Summary

·5 min read

Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.

Exclusive: U.S. slashed CDC staff inside China prior to coronavirus outbreak

The Trump administration cut staff by more than two-thirds at a key U.S. public health agency operating inside China, as part of a larger rollback of U.S.-funded health and science experts on the ground there leading up to the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters has learned. Most of the reductions were made at the Beijing office of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and occurred over the past two years, according to public CDC documents viewed by Reuters and interviews with four people familiar with the drawdown.

Under lockdown, U.S. teens turn to TikTok for life hacks, laughs

Millions of U.S. teenagers shut up in their homes and receiving their education online are turning for morale support and comic relief to each other - via immensely popular video sharing apps like TikTok. The social media platform is owned by China's ByteDance and has prompted national security concerns in Washington over fears about how it collects and shares data on U.S. users.

Exclusive: Pentagon orders halt to all overseas movement for U.S. forces for up to 60 days over coronavirus

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper has issued a stop movement order halting all travel and movement abroad for up to 60 days in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus through the ranks of the military, Esper told Reuters on Wednesday. Esper said in an interview that the order applied to all U.S. forces, civilian personnel and families, but noted that there would be some exceptions. One exception would be the drawdown under way in Afghanistan, which Esper said would continue.

Famous chefs, New York restaurants to push landlords for rent breaks during coronavirus crisis

Renowned restaurants, including Cipriani, Smith & Wollensky, The Smith, and Boqueria, as well as owners Stephen Starr and chef Bobby Flay, have formed a new group seeking help from New York City landlords to survive the coronavirus crisis. The group, which is called The Restaurant Network and has not yet been announced publicly, is finalizing a set of terms it hopes small businesses can propose to landlords for rent relief and capital assistance.

U.S. Senate approves big rescue for struggling aviation sector

The U.S. Senate voted late Wednesday 96-0 to give the U.S. aviation industry $58 billion in a coronavirus-rescue package, half in the form of grants to cover some 750,000 employees' paychecks, in a badly needed lifeline for an industry facing the worst travel downturn in history. The $2 trillion economic rescue package awards passenger airlines $25 billion in grants and $25 billion in loans, cargo carriers another $8 billion divided between loans and grants, and airport contractors like caterers up to $3 billion in grants. The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote to approve the measure Friday and President Donald Trump has promised to sign it into law.

Exclusive: As coronavirus spreads, U.S. military to withhold some infection data

The U.S. military has decided it will stop providing some of the more granular data about coronavirus infections within its ranks out of concern that the information might be used by adversaries as the virus spreads. U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper outlined the plan in an interview with Reuters, saying that he wanted the military to keep providing broader data about infections in the armed forces, which rose by 30 percent to 227 cases on Wednesday.

Newly jobless Americans worry about making ends meet

Optician Ali Nelson sent the final few orders of eyeglasses to clients last week before her Washington D.C.-based store closed to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Without a paycheck indefinitely, Nelson is one of potentially tens of millions other Americans whose livelihoods are now in doubt because of the coronavirus pandemic.

New York sees glimmer of progress against coronavirus, New Orleans worsens

New York state, leading the nation in coronavirus infections and deaths, is showing tentative signs of curbing the spread of the disease, the governor said on Wednesday, even as fatalities in New York City jumped while the health crisis deepened in hard-hit New Orleans and elsewhere. The rate of hospitalizations in New York has slowed in recent days, Governor Andrew Cuomo said, with numbers he called "almost too good to be true." He also hailed the enlistment of 40,000 retired nurses, physicians and other medical professionals signing up for a "surge health care force," but warned much remains to be done.

Fires of U.S. culture wars flare amid coronavirus crisis

As the coronavirus pandemic spread across the United States this week, Republicans in Texas and Mississippi sought to further limit abortion access and New Jersey's Democratic governor refused to declare gun shops an essential service that would stay open. Welcome to America's culture wars in the age of the coronavirus.

U.S. health agency lists hydroxychloroquine under hoarding prevention after Trump's order

The Health and Human Services on Thursday listed malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a medical resource that was subject to hoarding prevention measures under President Donald Trump's executive order. Trump signed the order https://reut.rs/2QLZOFE on Monday to prevent hoarding and price gouging of crucial medical supplies needed to fight the deadly coronavirus. (https://bit.ly/3drXIVk)