CORONAVIRUS:

 What You Need To Know

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Jamie Dupree's Washington Insider

    Looking for ways to stop the further spread in the United States of the Coronavirus, President Donald Trump on Wednesday said that he was considering a plan to limit flights between certain cities which have been virus hotspots, but shrugging off the broader idea of halting all travel in the U.S. by air or rail. 'I am looking at hotspots,' the President said at his daily Coronavirus briefing at the White House. 'I am looking where flights are going into hotspots.' But pressed by reporters about a broader ban on travel - whether airlines or trains - the President indicated that did not seem to be one of his likely choices.  'Closing up every single flight on every single airline, that's a very, very rough decision,' Mr. Trump added. 'We have trains going back and forth, and people don't think of trains,' the President noted. 'It's a very big decision to do that (close them down).' The issue of restrictions on airline travel comes at a time when the U.S. airline industry is seeing record low traffic, as airlines have grounded passenger jets and reduced flights. Data released by the Transportation Security Administration shows a gigantic drop in the number of air travelers going through security at America's airports since the virus outbreak began, as many flights are operating with just a few passengers on board. 'When you start closing up entire transportation systems, and then opening them up, that's a very tough thing to do,' the President said. As for when he would make a decision, the President indicated he would not wait too long. 'We will let you know fairly soon,' Mr. Trump said Wednesday evening.
  • A day after President Donald Trump said he would support a $2 trillion infrastructure package as a way to spur economic growth stalled by the outbreak of the Coronavirus, House Democratic leaders said they were ready to develop a plan with the White House. 'We are ready,' House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters on a Wednesday morning conference call. 'It's never been partisan.' Joined by several other top Democrats, the Speaker made the case that there is an obvious need for a fourth economic aid package dealing with the virus - what's known as 'Phase 4' to lawmakers. 'We must take bold action to renew America's infrastructure,' Pelosi added. While not setting out the exact details of a new plan, Pelosi and other key Democrats made clear there were several areas which deserved attention - not just new roads and bridges. Pelosi rattled off priorities like money to build new community health centers, resources for broadband in rural areas and smaller towns, clean water infrastructure, and then money for roads, bridges, and mass transit programs. The President has talked a lot about infrastructure, but never really taken the next step to negotiate a plan with Democrats, who now see a giant opportunity to move forward. 'For once, I agree with him on a step he wants to take,' said Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The broader questions looming over the nation about the Coronavirus also apply to the Congress - as while the House is due back after Easter, it's not clear what the health situation will be nationwide at that point, and whether lawmakers will return to legislate. 'I think we come back April 20, God willing, and Coronavirus willing,' the Speaker said.
  • The White House on Tuesday released new estimates of a staggering death toll associated with the spread of the Coronavirus in the United States, predicting anywhere between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths even if Americans do their best to avoid social interactions, as President Donald Trump warned the nation of a difficult road ahead. 'This is going to be a very painful, very, very painful two weeks,' the President said at the White House. 'This is going to be a rough two week period.' In the White House Briefing Room, Mr. Trump fully embraced scientific models championed by experts which show many thousands of Americans are likely to die in the month of April from the virus. 'I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead,' the President said. 'We're going to go through a very tough two weeks.' The blunt warning came on the deadliest day yet in the United States as a whole, as nearly 800 deaths had been announced on Tuesday by the time the President reached the podium at the White House. 'It's a matter of life and death, frankly,' Mr. Trump said, as he urged Americans to follow the federal request for people to hold back on their social actions. By his side again at the White House, both Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx laid out the figures from a series of studies, which predicted that between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans could die - many in the next few weeks. Birx and Fauci repeatedly emphasized that if Americans do their part to hold down the spread of the virus, that will in turn allow many people to survive. Asked about deaths of 100,000 or more, health officials did not mince words as to whether it might or might not happen. 'The answer is yes,' said Dr. Fauci. 'As sobering a number as that is, we should be prepared for it.
  • On the heels of a $2.2 trillion economic rescue package to help the United States rebound from the negative economic impact of the Coronavirus, President Donald Trump on Tuesday signaled that he would be ready to support an almost equal amount of spending to build new roads and bridges in the United States. 'It should be VERY BIG & BOLD, Two Trillion Dollars, and be focused solely on jobs and rebuilding the once great infrastructure of our Country,' the President wrote on Twitter. Mr. Trump cited low interest rates as one reason to spend extra money - a suggestion made by the Chairman of the Federal Reserve last week to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as well. Since 2015, when he was a candidate for President, Mr. Trump has talked repeatedly about the need for a major infrastructure plan, but has never offered Congress a way to pay for it - which has been the major stumbling block for the past ten years on building new roads and bridges. With less gasoline being used - not enough money is coming into the U.S. Treasury in federal gas taxes to support a major expansion of road and bridge construction - creating the need for a larger funding source. The President's tweet drew an immediate vow of support from the GOP Senator in charge of infrastructure efforts. 'We stand ready to answer @realDonaldTrump’s call,' Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) wrote on Twitter. 'In the Senate, we have a bipartisan bill that will invest billions in America’s highways and is ready to go.' But others, like fiscal hawk Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), weren't ready for a full embrace. 'I agree!' said Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) in a tweet directed back at the President. 'Help get your Republican colleagues to agree.' The President's tweet came amid some political maneuvering on what should be in the next Congressional stimulus bill - what many refer to as 'Phase 4' of the Coronavirus response.
  • A day after telling Americans that he would extend his call to drastically scale back social activity until the end of April, President Donald Trump said his administration was making big gains in making more tests available to check for the Coronavirus, even as some elected officials said it was clear not all needs were being met. 'Over one million Americans have now been tested,' the President said from the White House Rose Garden, praising companies for developing newer processes to more quickly test Americans. 'Today we reached a milestone in our war against the Coronavirus,' Mr. Trump added. As for his move to extend social distancing until April 30, the President urged Americans to join together. 'This is our shared patriotic duty - challenging times are ahead for the next 30 days,' Mr. Trump said. While the President sternly defended his administration's record on testing - at one point rebuking a reporter for asking what he said was a 'snarky' question on the subject - there continue to be concerns voiced in both parties, and evidence from around the nation of testing shortages. 'We need to do more to ramp up our testing capacity,' said Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) on Monday, even as he praised efforts by the White House to achieve that. 'We have to do much more on testing, we’re ramping up, surging up in that capacity as we work toward some sort of medicine to address the virus,' said Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR). As the President reportedly told Governors on a Monday call that he has not heard of testing shortages, there are examples readily available - like this from Huntsville, Alabama. President Trump began his Monday briefing by referencing his Sunday announcement that he would extend social distancing guidelines through the end of April, in a bid to slow the spread of the virus. Voicing his support for scientific models about the spread of the virus, the President said the move to extend restrictions on social activities would pay off in a big way. “We could save more than one million American lives,” Mr. Trump said, as he has said the most likely scenario right now involves between 100,000 and 200,000 Americans dying of the Coronavirus.
  • Three days after returning to the U.S. Capitol for House debate on a $2.2 trillion economic rescue package to deal with the Coronavirus, Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) announced she was sick with what doctors presume is a Coronavirus infection, raising questions about whether other lawmakers could have been exposed last Friday. 'I noticed that I could no longer smell my perfume or taste my food,' Velazquez said in a written statement, noting one of the prominent signs of the Coronavirus. 'My symptoms are mild at the present time,' Velazquez added, as she noted that she started to feel bad early on Sunday morning, with an 'abrupt onset of muscle aches, fevers, nasal congestion and stomach upset.' Velazquez was one of the early speakers in the Friday debate on the Coronavirus plan. 'I am proud of the work we accomplished in this package,' the veteran New York Democrat said on the floor. Velazquez was one of a number of lawmakers from the New York area who came to Capitol Hill for the debate - even though the feds had urged travelers from that region to self-isolate for 14 days, amid concerns that the virus was being spread to other areas. Four House members have officially tested positive for the Coronavirus; one, Rep. Ben McAdams (D-UT) has been hospitalized since last week. Velazquez not only spoke on the House floor, and visited her office, but also was present for the bill enrollment ceremony with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. You can see her in this photo from the video feed provided by the Speaker's office, standing just to the side of Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), on the left side of the photo. Also in the room on Friday afternoon with Velasquez, Clyburn, and Speaker Pelosi were House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and a number of other top Democrats in the House. Leaders of both parties had wanted to quickly approve the economic stimulus measure on Friday, but Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) forced about half of the House to return, in order to have a quorum present for the vote. Massie did not have enough support to force a vote on the record, and the measure was approved by voice.
  • A day after changing course and moving to extend social distancing guidelines through the end of April to fight the Coronavirus, President Donald Trump told a friendly interview on Fox News that Americans must do their part to help hold down the number of deaths from the virus outbreak. 'It's hard work to stay in place, to distance yourself,' the President said in a Monday morning phone call to 'Fox and Friends.' 'And hopefully, we will keep the deaths down to a minimum,' the President said, after telling Americans on Sunday that if his administration can keep deaths from the virus to 100,000, that would be a 'good job.' For weeks the President had sought to downplay the threat of the virus, saying at one point the number of cases would soon go to zero - but on Sunday, he accepted new scientific models which showed deaths ranging from 100,000 to 200,000 if mitigation efforts to slow the spread are effective. In his Fox News interview, Mr. Trump spoke again about conditions at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, New York, near where the President grew up, as that hospital has been swamped by Coronavirus cases. 'It's terrible what's going on, there's body bags all over, they're bringing in refrigerator trucks,' the President said. In New York, field hospitals are being built at several locations to bolster medical treatment - including one in Central Park - as the scenes inside local hospitals are getting extra attention from the city tabloids. While the President has focused on the situation in New York, top health officials have also raised red flags about growing virus problems in other areas - like Louisiana, Chicago, and Detroit. The total number of deaths in the U.S. was nearing 2,500 on Monday morning, as the President said the peak rate was expected by Easter. Currently, the total number of deaths in the U.S. is doubling every three days.  If that pace continues in the short term, the U.S. would pass the number of swine flu deaths next week (12,000), and reach over 60,000 deaths by Easter.
  • After talking for days about relaxing federal calls for Americans to drastically restrict their social activities in order to curb the spread of the Coronavirus, President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he would be extending those guidelines through the end of April, after new estimates showed the threat of a huge number of deaths from the virus outbreak. 'The peak in death rate is likely to hit in two weeks,' the President told reporters gathered in the Rose Garden. 'Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won.' 'We will be extending our guidelines to April 30, to slow the spread,' Mr. Trump said, urging Americans to help by limiting their social activities.  'The better you do, the faster this whole nightmare will end,' the President added. The President said the decision was made after new modeling made available to the White House estimated the death totals from the Coronavirus could run over 1 million unless strong mitigation efforts were taken by Americans. At the White House, top federal experts endorsed the President's course change. 'We feel that the mitigation we are doing right now is having an effect 'The decision to prolong - not prolong, but extend - this mitigation process until the end of April, I think was a wise and prudent decision,' said Dr. Anthony Fauci. White House Coronavirus expert Dr. Deborah Birx said the 'growing number of potential fatalities' shown by the models made clear the need for more action to hold down the spread of the virus. Birx told reporters it is 'not a simple situation when you ask people to stay home for another 30 days, so they have to know that we really built this on scientific evidence and the potential to save hundreds of thousands of American lives.' “To every metro area out there, we have to do better,' Dr. Birx said at the Sunday briefing.
  • With some public friction over the federal Coronavirus response, President Donald Trump on Friday again singled out the Governor of Michigan and the Governor of Washington State for criticism, telling reporters that he had discouraged Vice President Mike Pence from calling either one to discuss the virus response. 'When they're not appreciative to me, they're not appreciative to the Army Corps (of Engineers), they're not appreciative to FEMA. It's not right,' President Trump said at a Friday White House briefing. 'All I want them to do, very simple, I want them to be appreciative,' the President added. 'We've done a great job,' the President said. 'I think the media and governors should appreciate it.' The President's comments came as he continued to spar long distance with Gov. Jay Inslee (D) of Washington State, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) of Michigan. Inslee has already been a frequent target of the President - who referred to him in one briefing as a 'snake' - acknowledging that he has urged Vice President Pence not to call the Washington Democrat. 'I say Mike, don't call the Governor of Washington, you're wasting your time with him,' Mr. Trump said. 'Don't call the woman in Michigan.' In an interview Thursday night with Sean Hannity on Fox News, the President took aim at Whitmer, who has complained of troubles in getting medical supplies for hospitals to combat the virus outbreak. 'We’ve had a big problem with the young, a woman governor, you know who I’m talking about from Michigan,' the President said. While Gov. Whitmer went on TV to respond to the President, Inslee used Mr. Trump's favored mode of social media. 'I’m not going to let personal attacks from the president distract me from what matters: beating this virus and keeping Washingtonians healthy,' Inslee tweeted. While Inslee avoided barbs from the White House on Friday night, Whitmer did not. “Governor, Gretchen “Half” Whitmer is way in over her ahead, she doesn’t have a clue,” the President tweeted. Michigan has become a flash point in recent days in the fight to stop the Coronavirus; 32 deaths were announced on Friday, almost as many as the two previous days combined. 28 deaths were announced on Friday in Washington State, raising the death toll there to 175 people, second most of any state.
  • With the backing of the White House and leaders in both parties, the U.S. House on Friday approved an emergency economic rescue plan to help the economy deal with the negative impact of the Coronavirus outbreak, as lawmakers on both sides put aside their differences on the details of the over $2 trillion package.  President Trump signed it into law several hours later. 'We need to support this bill now,' said Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL). 'The coronavirus has been a nuclear bomb to our economy,' said Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH). 'We've never faced a public health crisis of this magnitude,' said Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX). The main theater in the House Chamber during debate was not about who was for or against the bill, but whether Rep. Tom Massie (R-KY) would follow through on his threat to force a recorded vote on the measure, amid questions about whether enough lawmakers were present for a quorum. Under the rules, Massie - who did not speak during the debate - needed the support of several dozen lawmakers to force a vote. But Massie did not get that backing, and the bill was approved on a voice vote, to the applause of lawmakers, who sat both on the House floor, and in the galleries above. In debate, lawmakers of both parties expressed concerns about how their local hospitals might not be able to deal with an outbreak of the virus. 'For those from rural districts like mine, our hospitals cannot handle the onslaught of patients,' said Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL). 'Hospitals in my district face a situation as dire as it has been in my 18 years in Congress.' Lawmakers who flew back to Washington for the debate said the impact on the airline industry was obvious. 'There were two members of Congress on the plane out of a total of four passengers,' said Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), who flew from St. Louis.  'You don't think that industry is on the brink of collapse - use it right now, and you will see,' Davis added. The House vote came as a third member of the House announced that he had tested positive, Rep. Joe Cunningham, a freshman Democrat from South Carolina. The package includes direct checks to Americans, billions in emergency aid for businesses big and small, money for state and local governments, and help for hospitals fighting the Coronavirus. “This is the biggest economic and health crisis the country has ever faced,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT).

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • The music world is mourning the loss of jazz master pianist Ellis Marsalis Jr. His son Branford Marsalis said his father died from complications of COVID-19, The New York Times reported. Ellis Marsalis had six sons, four of whom followed his career in music. Wynton Marsalis, who plays jazz trumpet, is the managing and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center. Branford Marsalis plays jazz saxophone, has recorded with Sting and was the band leader of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno' starting in 1992. Wynton Marsalis said his father was “the guiding force behind a late-20th-century resurgence in jazz.” The New York Times said Ellis Marsalis left a legacy in the jazz world by teaching future stars the trade, including Terence Blanchard, Donald Harrison Jr., Nicholas Payton and Harry Connick Jr. who remembered the legend on social media. Ellis Marsalis had been a staple for 30 years at Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro in New Orleans. He ended his shows in January, telling the club’s owner that it was too exhausting to play the two 75-minute sets every Friday night, USA Today reported. The club’s owner called him “a foundation pillar of the Snug Harbor musical legacy.” Ellis Marsalis was 85.
  • Nearly 952,000 people worldwide -- including more than 216,000 people in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. Officials are attempting to contain the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. as hospitals brace for unprecedented patient surges. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here.  Live updates for Thursday, April 2, continue below:  Defense Department providing 100,000 body bags to FEMA Update 10:15 a.m. EDT April 2: The Department of Defense is working to fulfill a request from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for 100,000 body bags as the coronavirus death toll rises in the U.S., according to multiple reports. In a statement obtained by CNN, Defense Department spokesman Lt. Col. Mike Andrews said the request was being filled in line with a longstanding agreement with FEMA “to procure key commodities from (the Defense Logistics Agency’s) industrial partners during crisis response operations.” “DLA is currently responding to FEMA’s prudent planning efforts for 100,000 pouches to address mortuary contingencies on behalf of state health agencies,” the statement said. Stocks open higher after early stumble Update 9:55 a.m. EDT April 2: Stocks opened modestly higher on Wall Street Thursday, a day after dropping 4.4%. Stocks had been headed for an even higher open until the Labor Department reported that more than 6.6 million people applied for unemployment benefits last week, double the record high set just one week earlier. It was the latest sign that large numbers of Americans are losing their jobs as the economic damage from the coronavirus accelerates. The U.S. and other large economies are widely believed to have sunk into severe recessions as businesses shut down the world. The price of crude oil jumped 8% to about $22 a barrel. Still unclear why some COVID-19 patients get sicker than others, Fauci says Update 9:50 a.m. EDT April 2: The nation’s top infectious disease official, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said Thursday that officials are no closer to figuring out why some seemingly healthy people infected by the new coronavirus develop only mild or no symptoms but others become very sick. During an interview Thursday on NBC’s “Today” show, Fauci said he’s been “puzzled from the beginning” about the coronavirus pandemic. “It is very strange how one individual can get infected and have either mild or no symptoms and another individual could rapidly deteriorate with viral pneumonia and respiratory failure,” Fauci said. “There’s something in mechanism, whether it’s genetic, whether it’s immune response.” Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He said on “Today” that it’s “very strange” how the virus can be “completely devastating” and lead to “viral pneumonia and respiratory failure” in one person and be “absolutely nothing” in another person. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he’s been working in infectious diseases for almost 50 years but doesn’t “fully understand exactly what the mechanism of that is.' He said finding the answer is going to require natural history studies, which follow people over time while collecting their health information. Officials report 569 new fatal coronavirus cases in the UK Update 9:30 a.m. EDT April 2: Officials in the United Kingdom recorded 569 new fatal COVID-19 cases on Thursday, raising the country’s coronavirus death toll to 2,921. Authorities with the British Department of Health and Social Care also announced 4,244 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases. In all, officials said 33,718 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus infections in the U.K. New England Patriots jet flying medical supplies from China to Boston Update 9:20 a.m. EDT April 2: A private plane owned by the New England Patriots will land Thursday in Boston with needed medical supplies to help in the response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to multiple reports. Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts said Thursday that the plane, was carrying more than one million N95 masks from China, according to ABC News. A source told CNN that Baker coordinated with the Patriots and the team’s owner, Robert Kraft, to get the supplies to the state. “Huge thanks to the Krafts and several dedicated partners for making this happen,” Baker wrote Thursday. Fauci: There’s still time to avoid 100,000 deaths from coronavirus in US Update 9:05 a.m. EDT April 2: Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, emphasized Thursday that Americans still have time to avoid the 100,000 to 200,000 deaths predicted in the U.S. from the coronavirus outbreak. “It’s within our power to modify those numbers,” Fauci said in an appearance Thursday on “CBS This Morning.” On Sunday, President Donald Trump said that if his administration can keep deaths from the virus to 100,000, that would be a “good job.” The number was based on a model which showed that “even with considerable mitigation, you still could anticipate between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths,” Fauci said Thursday. “We shouldn’t give up and accept it and say, 'OK that’s going to happen,” Fauci told 'CBS News This Morning.” “We need to push and push with the mitigation to try to get that number lower than the projected number by the model.” Record 6.6 million seek US jobless aid Update 8:40 a.m. EDT April 2: More than 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, far exceeding a record high set just last week, a sign that layoffs are accelerating in the midst of the coronavirus. The job cuts are mounting against the backdrop of economies in the United States and abroad that have almost certainly sunk into a severe recession as businesses close across the world. The figure for last week is much higher than the previous record of 3.3 million reported for the previous week. The surging layoffs have led many economists to envision as many as 20 million lost jobs by the end of April. The unemployment rate could spike to as high as 15% this month, above the previous record of 10.8% set during a deep recession in 1982. Boeing offering employees voluntary layoffs Update 8:25 a.m. EDT April 2: Boeing will offer employees voluntary layoffs in a bid to offset the financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, according to KIRO-TV and CNBC. “We’re in uncharted waters,” the company’s new CEO, David Calhoun, wrote in a memo sent to employees, according to KIRO-TV. “We’re taking actions — including offering this (voluntary layoff) plan — based on what we know today.” Boeing has more than 150,000 employees worldwide. >> Read more on KIRO7.com: Boeing announces it will be cutting workers Global coronavirus deaths near 50K, worldwide cases approach 952K Update 7:24 a.m. EDT April 2: The global death toll attributed to the novel coronavirus hit 48,284 early Thursday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally. In the four months since the virus was first identified in Wuhan, China, it has infected at least 951,901 people worldwide. • The United States has reported 216,722 cases, resulting in 5,137 deaths. • Italy has confirmed 110,574 cases, resulting in 13,155 deaths. • Spain has reported 110,238 infections, resulting in 10,003 deaths. • China has recorded 82,431 cases, resulting in 3,322 deaths. • Germany has reported 77,981 cases, resulting in 931 deaths. • France has confirmed 57,780 infections, resulting in 4,043 deaths. • Iran has recorded 50,468 cases, resulting in 3,160 deaths. • The United Kingdom has reported 29,872 cases, resulting in 2,357 deaths. • Switzerland has confirmed 18,117 cases, resulting in 505 deaths. • Turkey has recorded 15,679 cases, resulting in 277 deaths. Spain’s coronavirus death toll tops 10K after highest single-day increase Update 6:56 a.m. EDT April 2: At least 10,003 people have died after testing positive for the novel coronavirus in Spain, the country’s health ministry announced Thursday. The latest figures include 950 fatalities recorded in the past 24 hours alone, representing the European nation’s largest single-day increase since the pandemic began. According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, Spain has reported a total of 110,238 infections and trails only Italy in terms of virus-related fatalities where 13,155 people have died. New unemployment claims could hit 3.1 million Update 6:44 a.m. EDT April 2: Economists anticipate an additional 3.1 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to force business closures, layoffs and financial uncertainty. According to The Wall Street Journal, a record 3.3 million people sought jobless benefits two weeks ago, and the 3.1 million surveyed economists believe filed last week comprise more claims than those which have been processed in the past six months.  British docs receive guidance on parsing out ‘scarce lifesaving resources’ amid coronavirus Update 5:49 a.m. EDT April 2: The British Medical Association has issued new ethics guidelines dictating which patients should be saved if the United Kingdom’s health system becomes overwhelmed by the novel coronavirus pandemic. ]Per the new guidelines, ventilators could be removed from treatment protocols for older patients with a low survival probability if the machines mean healthier patients might survive. 'As such, some of the most unwell patients may be denied access to treatment such as intensive care or artificial ventilation,' the BMA’s ethics guidance note states, adding, “This will inevitably be indirectly discriminatory against both the elderly and those with long-term health conditions, with the latter being denied access to life-saving treatment as a result of their pre-existing health problems.' The guidance note was updated April 1. ‘Unruly’ coronavirus quarantine violators could be shot, Philippine president says Update 3:16 a.m. EDT April 2: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned during a Wednesday address that citizens who disregard the nationwide novel coronavirus quarantine and become unruly could be shot by authorities. Duterte’s remarks came during a televised address, covered by CNN Philippines. “My orders to the police, the military and the barangays: If they become unruly and they fight you and your lives are endangered, shoot them dead!” Duterte said. Israel’s health minister tests positive for coronavirus Update 2:52 a.m. EDT April 2: Israeli Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, 71, has been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus. The health ministry confirmed Litzman’s illness in a statement issued Thursday. Litzman has held the position for nearly a decade. To date, Israel has confirmed 6,092 coronavirus cases, resulting in 26 deaths. Coronavirus pandemic fueling gun sale background check surge, FBI says Update 2:39 a.m. EDT April 2: The FBI reported a record-setting number of gun purchase background checks during the month of March as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to sweep across the globe. According to data released by the bureau, the 3.7 million checks conducted in March represent a 41 percent month-over-month surge and the most processed during a one-month period since the FBI began tracking the information in 1998. Illinois led the nation in March with more than half a million federal firearm background checks conducted, followed by Texas, Kentucky, Florida and California, CNN reported. Click here to see the FBI data. Boeing preps to offer buyouts, early retirement amid coronavirus cash crunch Update 2:10 a.m. EDT April 2: Aerospace giant Boeing could soon begin offering early retirement and buyout packages to employees as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues pummeling the aviation industry, The Wall Street Journal reported. Read more here. Biden says Democratic National Convention likely to be postponed amid coronavirus crisis Update 1:28 a.m. EDT April 2: The Democratic National Convention will likely be shelved for several months due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, presidential candidate and former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said during a Wednesday night webcam interview on “The Tonight Show.”The “I doubt whether the Democratic convention is going to be able to be held in mid-July, early July,” Biden said, adding, “I think it’s going to have to move into August.” The convention is currently slated for July 13-16 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Jazz icon Ellis Marsalis Jr., 85, dies from coronavirus complications Update 1:12 a.m. EDT April 2: Jazz legend and patriarch of a musical dynasty Ellis Marsalis Jr. died on Wednesday from complications associated with the novel coronavirus. He was 85. 'Ellis Marsalis was a legend. He was the prototype of what we mean when we talk about New Orleans jazz,” New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said in a statement, adding, “He was a teacher, a father, and an icon — and words aren’t sufficient to describe the art, the joy and the wonder he showed the world.”  US coronavirus deaths hit 5,119, total cases top 216K Update 12:20 a.m. EDT April 2: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed 216,000 early Thursday morning across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, there are at least 216,515 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 5,119 deaths. U.S. cases now outnumber those in any other nation by wide margins, including more than twice the 110,574 reported in Italy and the 104,118 confirmed in Spain. Of the confirmed U.S. deaths, 1,941 – or roughly 40 percent of the nationwide total – have occurred in New York, 355 in New Jersey and 337 in Michigan.  In terms of diagnosed cases, New York remains the hardest hit with at least 83,712 confirmed cases – or more than three times the next-closest state – followed by New Jersey with 22,255 and Michigan with 9,334. Five other states have now confirmed at least 6,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 8,155, including 171 deaths • Massachusetts: 7,738, including 122 deaths • Florida: 7,495, including 100 deaths • Illinois: 6,980, including 141 deaths • Louisiana: 6,424, including 273 deaths Meanwhile, Washington and Pennsylvania each has confirmed at least 5,000 novel coronavirus infections, trailed only slightly by Georgia with 4,748 cases; Texas, Connecticut and Colorado each has confirmed at least 3,000 cases; and Tennessee, Indiana and Ohio each has confirmed at least 2,000 cases. Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • The cost of health care will be going up in Maryland after hospitals have been given permission to temporarily raise rates all patents are charged to help pay for emergency care related to COVID-19. Hospitals have not been getting the revenue that’s normally generated from patients who have other hospital care because of the coronavirus pandemic, The Baltimore Sun reported. Normally the amounts hospitals charge for surgeries and childbirth are regulated by Maryland. But because of the coronavirus, the medical facilities are adding beds and getting equipment like ventilators and masks without the other health services bringing in money to offset the cost of the needed supplies. The state’s Health Services Cost Review Commission gave hospitals permission to raise rates to provide emergency funding. Hospitals, if the facilities use the additional source of income, will have to tell the regulators that the amount increase is reasonable, the Sun reported. “If the number of coronavirus cases continues to increase, hospitals will need additional financial resources to further expand capacity. Our agency is taking action now to ensure hospitals are appropriately funded and ready for the potential surge of patients,” Adam Kane, HSCRC’s chairman, said via press release. But the cost of battling COVID-19 isn’t just coming from the pockets of patients; the federal government is also expected to pay some of the costs. “We are preparing for an increase in cases of novel coronavirus, and we want hospitals and health care systems to be ready,” Maryland Health Secretary Robert Neall said. “Maryland will pursue federal funding to help supplement the costs associated with the expanded care and resources that may be needed to care for Marylanders affected by this pandemic.”
  • DJ Jazzy Jeff may have contracted the novel coronavirus and is recovering from pneumonia, the hip-hop star said in social media posts. According to Billboard, the 55-year-old DJ and record producer, whose real name is Jeffrey Allen Townes, revealed his illness in an Instagram Stories post this week. “I’m recovering from pneumonia in both my lungs ... I lost my sense of smell and taste which is a main sign of the virus,” he wrote, referring to possible COVID-19 symptoms. Jazzy Jeff, best known for his work with rapper and actor Will Smith, also encouraged his followers to take the pandemic seriously. “It does not care who you are ... what you do or what your plans are,” he continued. “Stay safe.” >> See the posts here On Wednesday, Jazzy Jeff echoed the sentiment in a tweet. “I’m good ... lil scruffy but GOOD,” he added. >> See the tweet here It was not immediately known whether he had been tested for the virus. According to the Philly Voice, the updates came more than three weeks after he tweeted: “I’ll be happy when I’m home and I can cough freely ... LOL.” >> Read the tweet here Read more here or here.
  • Police in Pennsylvania are searching for a man accused of spitting on a Giant Eagle employee’s face. Aisha Mariner, a manager at the store in Swissvale, told WPXI-TV that she was trying to help a customer who was arguing with a clerk over a transaction. Mariner said she tried to calm the customer down numerous times, but he was irate and wouldn’t stop yelling and cursing. According to investigators, the man – who has not yet been identified – then crawled under the Plexiglas barrier and spat on the woman’s face. Mariner is worried, especially for her family, because her husband and mother are diabetic. “I have to wait and wonder if I’m hurting my family,” the employee said. Police are investigating the incident, and Giant Eagle issued a statement: 'We thank our Edgewood Giant Eagle Team Member, and all Giant Eagle, Market District and GetGo Team Members, for continuing to put their communities first during this unprecedented and uncertain time. How this Edgewood guest acted is wholly unacceptable, and his actions do not reflect the calm, positive and appreciative attitude of so many of those shopping in our stores. “We support the efforts of local law enforcement to take every action to ensure that this individual answers for his careless and disrespectful behavior, and are working closely with our affected Team Member to provide the care she needs and deserves.”

Washington Insider

  • Looking for ways to stop the further spread in the United States of the Coronavirus, President Donald Trump on Wednesday said that he was considering a plan to limit flights between certain cities which have been virus hotspots, but shrugging off the broader idea of halting all travel in the U.S. by air or rail. 'I am looking at hotspots,' the President said at his daily Coronavirus briefing at the White House. 'I am looking where flights are going into hotspots.' But pressed by reporters about a broader ban on travel - whether airlines or trains - the President indicated that did not seem to be one of his likely choices.  'Closing up every single flight on every single airline, that's a very, very rough decision,' Mr. Trump added. 'We have trains going back and forth, and people don't think of trains,' the President noted. 'It's a very big decision to do that (close them down).' The issue of restrictions on airline travel comes at a time when the U.S. airline industry is seeing record low traffic, as airlines have grounded passenger jets and reduced flights. Data released by the Transportation Security Administration shows a gigantic drop in the number of air travelers going through security at America's airports since the virus outbreak began, as many flights are operating with just a few passengers on board. 'When you start closing up entire transportation systems, and then opening them up, that's a very tough thing to do,' the President said. As for when he would make a decision, the President indicated he would not wait too long. 'We will let you know fairly soon,' Mr. Trump said Wednesday evening.