Basketball star Stephen Curry is currently hosting a q & a with Dr Fauci on Instagram as a way to try to inform young people and other Americans who may get much of their news from social media about the coronavirus.
The live chat has already surpassed 50,000 viewers, including at least one former president.
We’re getting a lot of updates from states and cities around the country:
Brian Kemp, the Republican governor of Georgia, announced that schools K-12 will be closed through April 24, which is two weeks after the Easter holiday, Trump’s desired deadline for “reopening” the country.
As testing continues to ramp up, so too are the number of cases are climbing.
Florida’s Department of Health confirmed 378 additional cases of Covid-19 and five new deaths, bringing the state total of confirmed cases to 2,355. The death toll is now at 28, according to the Miami Herald.
In Louisiana, another outbreak hotspot, the state’s department of health confirmed that there are 2,305 cases of Covid-19, with 83 deaths.
Pennsylvania’s Department of Health confirmed 560 new cases, bringing the state total to 1,687.
She appeared at a press conference alongside the state’s governor, Gretchen Whitmer, who announced on Thursday that she is seeking a federal disaster declaration. Whitmer also said the state has started to shift Covid-19 patients among its hospitals to help ease the burden on hospitals nearing capacity.
The state also is exploring locations for “alternative sites” that could host overflow from at-capacity hospitals, Whitmer said.
For many of Americans, the coronavirus response is being shaped by a trinity of outer-borough New Yorkers: Trump, Cuomo and Fauci.
While the governor and the doctor have relationships with the president that might be best described as complicated, Cuomo on Thursday said he has developed a friendship with Fauci as his state responds to the pandemic.
He said Facui has become a “friend” who he has come to rely on at all hours of the day.
“I call him late at night. I call him in the middle of the night. I call him in the morning,” he said.
Cuomo is now taking a moment to reflect on the resilience and fortitude required to weather the pandemic, offering his “two cents,” which he says wryly is probably only worth “one-and-a-half cents.”
He says he’s been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for the state from around the world during this moment of “national crisis.” Tens of thousands of doctors and nurses are coming out of retirement to assist in hospitals while nearly 9,000 mental health professionals are volunteering their time to provide free services to New Yorkers, he said.
“You get to see the best and you get to the see the worst,” he said. “You get to see the beauty and you get to see the opposite. … Easy times don’t forge character.”
“When the pressure is on, you see what people are made of,” he said.
He acknowledged that some New Yorkers are weary but urged them to consider the tireless work of the first responders, the health care workers, the grocery store employees, the pharmacists and the transportation workers who are working around the clock to combat the virus.
“During this difficult time, let’s listen to the voices of our better angels,” he said.
New Jersey’s governor, Phil Murphy, says the state has received a Major Disaster Declaration, meaning it can receive more federal support during the Covid-19 outbreak. As of Wednesday, New Jersey had the second-most confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the US. Murphy, a Democrat, thanked Donald Trump and Mike Pence for their help.
Today was supposed to be Opening Day in Major League Baseball, and a traditional sign that the winter is over and spring and summer are around the corner. Instead, due to the coronavirus outbreak, players are at home twiddling their thumbs or posting videos to TikTok. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said on Wednesday he hopes preparation for the start of the postponed season can start in May, although that may be a little too upbeat, given that a single positive test from a player during the season could shut a whole team down.
“It’s just such a strange time,” wrote Chicago Cubs star Anthony Rizzo on ESPN. “The more all of us can stay connected to others, the better we all are. Whether you are a professional athlete or a fan, just trying to stay positive right now, it is so important to keep moving any way you can.”
Meanwhile, the New York Mets’ Pete Alonso, who broke the rookie record for home runs last year, posted a message to Twitter thanking nurses and doctors for their work during the outbreak.
Nancy Pelosi ‘certain’ bill will pass but Congress is ‘just not doing enough’
House speaker Nancy Pelosi, speaking now at her weekly press conference, says she is “certain” there will be a “strong” bipartisan vote in the House for the coronavirus bill that will come to the floor tomorrow morning.
“Tomorrow we’ll bring the bill to the floor. It will pass,” she said. “It will pass with strong bipartisan support.”
She repeated that she is confident the House will pass the stimulus bill tomorrow by voice vote, meaning there would be no roll call if no member objects.
“If somebody has a different point of view, they can put in in the record,” she said.
Pelosi also said Congress is “just not doing enough for state and local government. That’s just the way it is.”
While touting the bill as a marked improvement from the initial Senate proposal, Pelosi also outlined some areas where Democrats would like to see in the next round of legislation.
She began her remarks by noting the death toll, which has surpassed 1,000 in the US.
She urged Americans to stay home and respect federal guidelines for social distancing. If not, she warned that “the light at the end of the tunnel may be a train coming at us.”
As Pelosi reaches her eighth decade of life, she told reporters she will not be celebrating her birthday until she can “hug [her] grandbabies.”
The House is planning to take up the $2tn rescue package passed by the Senate on Friday.
But the logistics of holding a vote in the midst of a pandemic are complicated: several members are quarantining, in addition to at least two members who have tested positive for Convid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Flights are severely restricted in some states while travel may pose undue risk for certain lawmakers.
Nevertheless, one Kentucky lawmaker wasn’t going to miss the vote at any cost. For members struggling to find flights, he suggested they “hitch a ride.”
A New York City health worker who was treating Covid-19 patients has died two weeks after being diagnosed with the virus. The news of Kious Kelly’s death was confirmed by his hospital, Mount Sinai West in Manhattan.
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of a beloved member of our nursing staff. The safety of our staff and patients has never been of greater importance and we are taking every precaution possible to protect everyone,” the hospital said in a statement.
New York City is being hit particularly hard by the virus and the acting navy secretary, Thomas Modly, said hospital ship USNS Comfort will “hopefully” reach the city in the next week to assist with the relief effort. “We had been originally looking at April 3, but in all likelihood, she’s going to be getting underway this weekend,” said Modly on Thursday. “I’m actually going to be going down there to the ship either tomorrow or Saturday. So sometime after that she’ll be leaving.”
Ford wants to reopen five plants shut down by the Covid-19 outbreak, although the company may well receive pushback from union members. Ford suspended production at the plants a week ago under pressure from the United Auto Workers, who feared its members could fall ill.
The company wants to restart production over the next three weeks at sites in Hermosillo, Mexico; Dearborn, Michigan; Louisville Kentucky; Cleveland, Ohio; and Kansas City. Ford says it will introduce new safeguards to protect workers. Donald Trump has already said that he wants America to reopen for business by Easter, despite warnings from medical experts that such a decision could have dire consequences for public health.
“We are reviewing with great concern and caution today’s announcement [from Ford],” the United Auto Workers said in a statement. “Our priority is the health and safety of our members, their families and the American public.”
Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin waived off the staggering unemployment numbers reported on Thursday morning, saying the figure was “not relevant” while touting the historic economic stimulus package he negotiated with Congressional leaders. The $2tn emergency relief bill passed the Senate on Wednesday night.
Asked on CNBC about the weekly joblessness report, which totaled nearly 3.3 million people, Mnuchin replied: “I just think these numbers right now are not relevant. Whether they’re bigger or smaller in the short term … the good thing about this bill is, the president is protecting these people.”
Mnuchin said he spoke to Pelosi and House minority leader Kevin McCarthy about the need to pass the bill quickly. The House is expected to vote on Friday.
The bill offers a one-time direct cash payment of up to $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for couples, with $500 added for every child. The benefit begins to phase out for individuals making more than $75,000 in income and those making $99,000 or more will not receive assistance. Mnuchin said most of the payments would come as direct deposits.
“We’re determined to get money in people’s pockets immediately,” he said.
You can follow business developments live in our dedicated business blog out of London, here.
Kenya Evelyn reports on why Florida congressman Matt Gaetz picked the wrong university to single out from the $2tn economic stimulus bill meant to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
In a tweet late on Wednesday, the Republican congressman questioned why Howard University, a historically black college located in the nation’s capital, was earmarked to receive $13m in funding from the bill.
“Education is important but a $13m check to Howard does not belong in COVID-19 relief,” Gaetz said.
Critics immediately highlighted that the university is home to a level-1 trauma hospital central to medical care in Washington DC. It had also been specially designated a Covid-19 treatment facility with a medical school training the next class of professionals to respond to the pandemic.
Howard University’s campus Democrats chimed in to explain the reason for the funding with a history lesson, before offering a quip about Gaetz’s home state of Florida handling the outbreak.
Another university located in Washington DC was also specifically earmarked in the legislation. Gallaudet University, another federally chartered institution, is set to receive $7m in funding from the bill.
Critics, including Howard alumnae and California senator Kamala Harris, were quick to point out the racial implications of Gaetz singling out an HBCU – one of 100 black educational institutions historically disenfranchised prior to the passage of Brown v Board of Education in 1954.