United Mural Coming Down
President Trump on Monday criticized attempts by Democrats in Congress to expand voting access for the presidential election in the fall, saying increased voter turnout would keep Republicans from getting elected. Trump said that Democrat-proposed voting reforms to the $2.2 trillion rescue package passed last week by Congress — which were largely cut from the deal — would have led to “levels of voting, that if you ever agreed to it you'd never have a Republican elected in this country again.” Democrats have pushed to mandate that states make plans to expand early voting and mail-in balloting for the fall election, in the event that the coronavirus pandemic makes in-person voting unsafe.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at Detroit Metro Airport stopped a Chinese scientist carrying vials believed to contain the MERS and SARS viruses in November 2018 — just over a year before the first reported Wuhan coronavirus case, according to an FBI tactical intelligence report obtained by Yahoo News. “Inspection of the writing on the vials and the stated recipient led inspection personnel to believe the materials contained within the vials may be viable Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) materials,” the report reads. The report also lays out a pattern of Chinese interference, detailing two other cases from May 2018 and September 2019, in which different Chinese nationals tried to enter the U.S. with undeclared flu strains and suspected E. coli, respectively.
Hospital workers in New York — the epicenter of the US coronavirus outbreak — describe the stark reality of treating patients amid a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE). One doctor described working conditions like a "petri dish" as coronavirus patients flood hospital hallways, The New York Times reported. As of March 30, the coronavirus has infected at least 67,384 people in New York, and the death toll in the state has surpassed 2,700.
Police in India fired tear gas to disperse a stone-pelting crowd of migrant workers defying a three-week lockdown against the coronavirus that has left hundreds of thousands of poor without jobs and hungry, authorities said on Monday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered the country's 1.3 billion people to remain indoors until April 15, declaring such self-isolation was the only hope to stop the viral pandemic. But the vast shutdown has triggered a humanitarian crisis, with hundreds of thousands of poor migrant laborers employed in big cities such as Delhi and Mumbai seeking to head to their homes in the countryside on foot after losing their jobs.
Ezra Acayan/Getty The Philippines' main island Luzon, which has a population of more than 57 million, is on lockdown. Along with people's movements being restricted, soldiers are covering residents and the streets in disinfectant, and open coffins have been left on the roads as a warning to people to stay inside. On Sunday, the Philippines reported 343 new coronavirus cases in a day — its highest one day increase yet.
PHOENIX – A 31-year Phoenix police veteran was killed and two other officers were injured when a man opened fire on them during a call about a disturbance between roommates in northwest Phoenix Sunday night, authorities said. Commander Greg Carnicle has died after being shot, police said. The shooting drew a massive police response at the scene, with dozens of police vehicles and tactical trucks.
Idaho Gov. Brad Little on Monday signed into law two anti-transgender bills, making Idaho the first among states that introduced some 40 such bills this year to enact them. The Republican governor approved legislation that prohibits transgender people from changing the sex listed on their birth certificates, and another that bans transgender girls and women from competing in women's sports. The birth certificate measure ignores a 2018 federal court ruling that a past law barring transgender people from making the birth certificate changes violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
As the coronavirus pandemic spreads, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has been criticized for what many called a lackadaisical posture — urging people to hug, shaking hands and kissing well-wishers as he stumped and extolling his personal talismans: Catholic scapulars, a shamrock and $2 bill. “Continue bringing the family to eat in restaurants,” López Obrador advised compatriots, arguing that such activity bolsters “the popular economy.” Although still avoiding curfews and mandatory stay-at-home orders, Mexican authorities are now abruptly citing a final chance to avert a national catastrophe that would inundate the country's limited healthcare infrastructure and probably result in many deaths.
Coronavirus deaths in Italy and Spain rose above 17,000, keeping Europe focused on further restricting people's movements and avoiding a health-care collapse. Italy, the country with the most reported deaths, recorded 756 new fatalities on Sunday. Spain's Health Ministry said 838 people died from the virus over the last 24 hours, its highest daily number yet.
President Donald Trump is so confident in the country's production of ventilators that he's dangling the idea of helping countries abroad by sending them surplus supplies even as U.S. governors continue to ask the federal government for that crucial medical equipment. During a press briefing Monday, the president took a business friendly approach, touting an announcement from Ford and General Electric Healthcare that they would “produce 50,000 ventilators,” as well as nine additional companies also “doing ventilators.” “As we outpace what we need we're going to be sending them to Italy,” Trump said.
Citing a public health order to curb the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration is swiftly deporting unaccompanied migrant minors apprehended near the U.S.-Mexico border, upending a long-standing practice required under a federal law designed to protect children from violence and exploitation. Despite initially maintaining that the new measures would not apply to unaccompanied minors, Customs and Border Protection on Monday said its officials could deny entry to children who cross the southern border alone under an order by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC. The agency said some minors could be excluded from the CDC directive if a border official "suspects trafficking or sees signs of illness."
More than 3,000 people had died of the novel coronavirus in the US as of Monday night after a single-day death toll of more than 500. Previously, the highest death toll in 24 hours was 446 deaths, according to The Washington Post. The top US infectious-disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told CNN the country could see "millions of cases" as the outbreak pans out, with 100,000 to 200,000 deaths.
Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, Pope Francis' vicar for the diocese of Rome, on Monday became the highest-ranking Catholic official known to test positive for coronavirus. De Donatis' office said he was tested for the virus after feeling unwell and was admitted to a Rome hospital. A pope is also the bishop of Rome but appoints someone to act as his vicar to administrate the vast diocese.
A resident of the western US state of Washington was arrested following a high-speed chase that left officers dumbfounded after they found the man's pit bull behind the wheel. The incident unfolded Sunday afternoon after police received calls about a driver hitting two vehicles in an area south of Seattle and then speeding away, state trooper Heather Axtman told AFP. Axtman said that as officers gave chase, they got close to the vehicle -- a 1996 Buick -- and were shocked to see a pit bull in the driver's seat and a man steering and pushing the gas pedal from the passenger side.
REUTERS/Carlo Allegri Crowds of people gathered in New York City to watch the USNS Comfort arrive, despite a state order requiring social distancing. The ship will be used as additional hospital space for non-coronavirus patients as New York hospitals become overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's communications team asked the NYPD to help disperse the crowd after a journalist tweeted about it.
Still, Napoli, a lawyer in Rome, developed a cough and fever less than a week after Italy's premier locked down the entire nation, including the capital which had continued life as usual while the virus raged in the north. Until that day, Napoli was following his routine of work, jogging and swimming. He received a positive diagnosis for COVID-19 three days later.
For Americans eligible for stimulus cash under the new relief law, the fastest way to receive it is to make sure they've filed a tax return for 2019 or 2018 with bank information so the government can directly deposit the money. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has said he hopes to have the money flowing to Americans with three weeks of the passage of the $2 trillion stimulus plan late last week. The IRS said Americans who weren't required to file taxes in the last two years will have to file a "simple tax return" with basic information like filing status, number of dependents and bank information so the government can send the money.
China's leaders normally spend a lot of time and money on keeping the country's 1.4 billion people in line -- and that was before a global pandemic ravaging the world economy threatened to put millions out of work. A rare street clash over the weekend on the border of virus-stricken Hubei province shows the challenges President Xi Jinping faces as China looks to get its economy moving again after appearing to gets its Covid-19 outbreak under control. Hubei is only now emerging from a two-month lockdown that helped limit the virus's spread to other parts of China.
Jonathan Ernst/Reuters Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious-disease expert, said Sunday that lifting US lockdowns is "going to be a matter of weeks." Fauci, appearing on CNN's "State of the Union," said that the timeline for letting Americans out of their homes depends on the availability of 15-minute COVID-19 testing. The Food and Drug Administration just approved a new COVID-19 test that delivers positive results in five minutes and negative results in 13 minutes.
At a coronavirus press briefing, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he didn't know what President Trump was talking about with regard to his accusation that medical personnel were stealing personal protective equipment.
Indian health workers caused outrage on Monday by spraying a group of migrants with disinfectant, amid fears that a large scale movement of people from cities to the countryside risked spreading the coronavirus. Footage showed a group of migrant workers sitting on a street in Bareilly, a district in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, as health officials in protective suits used hose pipes to douse them in disinfectant, prompting anger on social media. Nitish Kumar, the top government official in the district, said health workers had been ordered to disinfect buses being used by the local authorities but in their zeal had also turned their hoses on migrant workers.
In Israel, the coronavirus is spreading in ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities up to eight times faster than anywhere else in the country. Ultra-Orthodox Jews account for 12 percent of Israel's population, but they make up 40 to 60 percent of coronavirus patients at four of the country's largest hospitals, officials told Israeli media. Health experts said the virus is moving so quickly in these communities because the ultra-Orthodox have large families, don't trust the government, and pay little to no attention to secular media.
People in one of the world's most devastated nations are choosing daily survival over measures to protect themselves from a virus that “might not even kill us,” Kampira said. Even as the country enters a “total lockdown” over the virus on Monday, social distancing is pushed aside in the struggle to obtain food, cash, cheap public transport, even clean water. The World Health Organization's recommended virus precautions seem far-fetched for many of Zimbabwe's 15 million people.