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Hours after Monday's coronavirus news briefing was canceled, the White House put a more general news conference on the schedule to update Americans on "safely opening up America again," as well as to offer more testing guidances. The on-again-off-again White House live event comes as more states announced they're allowing more businesses to open after month-long shutdowns that have plunged the United States into Great Depression-level unemployment.
Trump is facing mounting criticism for his handling of the briefings, including last week when he wondered out loud if injecting and ingesting disinfectants or exposing patients to large amounts of ultraviolet light could be effective in treating the virus.
The president later claimed he was being sarcastic "just to see what would happen," but Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan told ABC on Sunday that his state's emergency hotline received "hundreds of calls ... asking if it was — if it was right to ingest Clorox or, you know, alcohol cleaning products, whether that was going to help them fight the virus.
"So, we had to put out that warning to make sure that people were not doing something like that which would kill people,” Hogan said.
Trump has complained about reporters' "hostile questions" at the briefings, tweeting Saturday they are "not worth the time & effort."
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany appeared on Fox News and said the administration is looking at other ways to "showcase" Trump's "great entrepreneurship." The briefings, she said, give the president a chance to "speak directly to the American people."
The White House canceled the briefing shortly after McEnany's remarks, but said a meeting between Trump and "industry executives" would be open to the White House press pool. Later, the White House announced Trump would hold a news conference at 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, the hour when the briefings have typically been held.
Three new states — Colorado, Minnesota and Mississippi — on Monday joined a collection of other states that are starting to reopen their economies after shutdowns due to the new coronavirus crisis.
A handful of states relaxed social distancing guidelines over the weekend, with Alaska, Georgia, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee all reopening some businesses.
On Sunday, Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado explained the phasing in of store openings and elective surgery in his state starting Monday.
“What matters a lot more than the date that the stay-at-home-ends is what we do going forward, and how we have an ongoing, sustainable way, psychologically, economically and from the health perspective, to have the social distancing we need,” Polis told CNN.
With some states beginning to reopen, the Trump administration is looking over new proposed guidelines for how restaurants, schools, churches and various businesses can safely reopen. The draft guidance was sent to the White House from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but it can still be revised before it is released to the public.
The federal guidelines recommend practices such as closing break rooms at offices, using disposable menus in restaurants and having students eat lunch in classrooms.
Americans got an update Sunday from Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator.
The number of new coronavirus cases and deaths will be "dramatically decreased" in May, Birx said. However, the United States will need a "breakthrough" to properly scale the amount of testing needed to reopen the country, Birx said.
However, the United States will need a "breakthrough" to properly scale the amount of testing needed to reopen the country, Birx said.
During an interview Sunday with NBC, Birx said progress is needed on screening tests that detect antigens of the virus.
Birx's comments on testing came less than 24 hours after she spoke about the likelihood of coronavirus cases and deaths decreasing in 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 Fox on Saturday.
Something dramatic financially is also being anticipated, as elected officials are discussing a new federal emergency relief bill to state and local governments facing budget problems. Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Republican from Louisiana, is proposing a $500 billion bill that would supply emergency relief aid to state and local governments.
Under the bill, one-third of the money would be awarded based on the state's population size, one-third based on the number of coronavirus cases in the state and one-third based on a state's revenue loss, Cassidy told CNN on Sunday morning.
"This is about supporting those small businesses by supporting cops, the firemen, the sanitation workers who allow those small businesses to stay in business," Cassidy said. "We have an ecosystem — we need to support it."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also said Sunday there will be another relief bill aimed at helping state and local governments facing budget deficits.
"State and local governments have done their job magnificently," Pelosi told CNN. "They should be impatient. Their impatience will help us get an even bigger number."
Almost 973,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus had been recorded in the United States as of Monday midday along with more than 55,000 deaths.
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From Across America
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Jay-Natalie La Santa, who died days before her 5-month-birthday, was baptized in isolation with her hospital nurses' help, an aunt said.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is facing criticism from its nurses and medical staff who say they aren't being protected from coronavirus. 1,900 have already been infected.
Pricilla Palmer says she spent weeks trying to connect with her father's nursing home, only to receive a voicemail: "Your dad has passed."
After spending two weeks in Texas with his fellow Illinois Army National Guard battalion, Staff Sgt. Erik Gutzmer returned home in style with a surprise parade.
David Watkins, an inmate at the Noble Correctional Institution, is on immune system-suppressing drugs and could die if he contracts the new coronavirus.
Rose Leigh-Manuel was born in 1919. She survived the Great Depression, World War II, and now she can add the new coronavirus to that list.
The Connecticut town is teaming with a company called Draganfly to use drones to scan areas of town to measure body heat and other health data.
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