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Newborn Baby With Coronavirus Dies In Connecticut




The governor of Connecticut has announced that a newborn baby in the state who tested positive for coronavirus has died.
“It is with heartbreaking sadness today that we can confirm the first pediatric fatality in Connecticut linked to #COVID-19,” wrote Gov. Ned Lamont (D) in a Twitter statement.
“A 6-week-old newborn from the Hartford area was brought unresponsive to a hospital late last week and could not be revived.”
The governor stated that the newborn had tested positive for COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus, on Tuesday night. The baby is believed to be among the youngest worldwide to have died as a result of the virus.
This is a virus that attacks our most fragile without mercy. This also stresses the importance of staying home and limiting exposure to other people. Your life and the lives of others could literally depend on it. Our prayers are with the family at this difficult time. (3/3)— Governor Ned Lamont (@GovNedLamont) April 1, 2020

Lamont implored people to stay home, to limit contact with others and to consider the impact of their actions on the lives of others.
Last week, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported the death of an infant under 1 in Chicago who had tested positive for COVID-19. 
“There has never before been a death associated with COVID-19 in an infant.  A full investigation is underway to determine the cause of death,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike in a statement at the time. “We must do everything we can to prevent the spread of this deadly virus. If not to protect ourselves … to protect those around us.”
Only a small percentage of recorded cases of COVID-19 have been in children, and it’s rare for children who contract the virus to become seriously sick. One study in China, however, found that among children who do contract the virus, babies are particularly vulnerable to developing more severe illness.
As a whole, the risk of serious illness and death is statistically higher for older people and those with preexisting health conditions.
Connecticut is one of numerous places under a stay-at-home order to contain the virus and limit its spread. Nonessential businesses and schools have been temporarily shuttered there.
Of more than 213,379 confirmed cases nationwide, there are at least 3,557 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Connecticut and 85 deaths recorded in the state, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

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Coronavirus Deaths Mount In New York




NEW YORK (AP) — New York authorities rushed to bring in an army of medical volunteers Wednesday as the statewide death toll from the coronavirus doubled in 72 hours to more than 1,900 and the wail of ambulances in the otherwise eerily quiet streets of the city became the heartbreaking soundtrack of the crisis.
As hot spots flared around the U.S. in places like New Orleans and Southern California, the nation’s biggest city was the hardest hit of them all, with bodies loaded onto refrigerated morgue trucks by gurney and forklift outside overwhelmed hospitals, in full view of passing motorists.
”It’s like a battlefield behind your home,” said 33-year-old Emma Sorza, who could hear the sirens from severely swamped Elmhurst Hospital in Queens.
And the worst is yet to come.
“How does it end? And people want answers,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “I want answers. The answer is nobody knows for sure.”
President Donald Trump acknowledged that the federal stockpile is nearly depleted of personal protective equipment used by doctors and nurses.
“Difficult days are ahead for our nation,” Trump said. “We’re going to have a couple of weeks, starting pretty much now, but especially a few days from now that are going to be horrific.”
Scientists offered more evidence Wednesday that the coronavirus is spread by seemingly healthy people who show no clear symptoms, leading the U.S. government to issue new guidance warning that anyone exposed to the disease can be considered a carrier.
Stocks tumbled on Wall Street and markets around the world, with 100,000 to 240,000 deaths projected in the U.S. before the crisis is over. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost more than 970 points, or over 4%.
A new report Wednesday from the United Nations said the global economy could shrink by almost 1% this year instead of growing at a projected 2.5%.
Under growing pressure, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis belatedly joined his counterparts in more than 30 states in issuing a statewide stay-home order, taking action after conferring with fellow Republican Trump. The governors of Pennsylvania and Nevada, both Democrats, and Mississippi’s GOP governor took similar steps.
Trump said his administration has agreed to ship out 1,000 ventilators — breathing machines that are vital for treating people with severe cases of COVID-19. He said that the U.S. government has a stockpile of nearly 10,000 but has kept close hold on them so they can be deployed quickly to states that need them.
Meanwhile, European nations facing extraordinary demand for intensive-care beds are putting up makeshift hospitals, unsure whether they will find enough healthy medical staff to run them. London is days away from unveiling a 4,000-bed temporary hospital built in a huge convention center.
In a remarkable turnabout, rich economies where virus cases have exploded are welcoming help from less wealthy ones. Russia sent medical equipment and masks to the United States. Cuba supplied doctors to France. Turkey dispatched protective gear and disinfectant to Italy and Spain.
Worldwide, more than 900,000 people have been infected and over 45,000 have died, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University, though the real figures are believed to be much higher because of testing shortages, differences in counting the dead and large numbers of mild cases that have gone unreported.
The U.S. recorded about 210,000 infections and about 4,600 deaths, with New York City accounting for about 1 out of 4 dead.
More than 80,000 people have volunteered as medical reinforcements in New York, including recent retirees, health care professionals taking a break from their regular jobs and people between gigs.
Few have made it into the field yet, as authorities vet and figure out how to use them, but hospitals are expected to begin bringing them in later this week.
Those who have hit the ground already, many brought in by staffing agencies, found a hospital system being driven to the breaking point.
“It’s hard when you lose patients. It’s hard when you have to tell the family members: ‘I’m sorry, but we did everything that we could,’” said nurse Katherine Ramos, of Cape Coral, Florida, who has been working at New York Presbyterian Hospital. “It’s even harder when we really don’t have the time to mourn, the time to talk about this.”
To ease the crushing caseload, the city’s paramedics have been told they shouldn’t take fatal heart attack victims to hospitals to have them pronounced dead. Patients have been transferred to the Albany area. A Navy hospital ship has docked in New York, the mammoth Javits Convention Center has been turned into a hospital, and the tennis center that hosts the U.S. Open is being converted to one, too.
With New York on near-lockdown, the normally bustling streets in the city of 8.6 million are empty, and sirens are no longer easily ignored as just urban background noise.
“After 9/11, I remember we actually wanted to hear the sound of ambulances on our quiet streets because that meant there were survivors, but we didn’t hear those sounds, and it was heartbreaking. Today, I hear an ambulance on my strangely quiet street and my heart breaks, too,” said 61-year-old Meg Gifford, a former Wall Streeter who lives on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
Cuomo moved to close the city’s playgrounds because of too much crowding, but people can still use wide-open green spaces as long as they stay 6 feet apart. Police went around in patrol cars, blaring warnings to obey the rules.
Nearly 6,200 New York City police officers, or one-sixth of the department, were out sick Wednesday, including about 4,800 who reported flu-like systems, though it was not clear how many had the virus.
Cuomo said projections suggest the crisis in New York will peak at the end of April, with a high death rate continuing through July.
“Let’s cooperate to address that in New York because it’s going to be in your town tomorrow,” he warned. “If we learn how to do it right here — or learn how to do it the best we can, because there is no right, it’s only the best we can — then we can work cooperatively all across this country.”
Elsewhere around the country, the number of dead in Louisiana was put at more than 270. In Southern California, officials reported that at least 51 residents and six staff members at a nursing home east of Los Angeles have been infected and two have died.
Florida’s DeSantis was locked in a standoff over whether two cruise ships with sick and dead passengers may dock in his state. More than 300 U.S. citizens were on board. Two deaths were blamed on the virus, and nine people tested positive, Holland America cruise line said.
Even as the virus appears to have slowed its growth in overwhelmed Italy and in China, where it first emerged, hospitals on the Continent are buckling under the load.
“It feels like we are in a Third World country. We don’t have enough masks, enough protective equipment, and by the end of the week we might be in need of more medication too,” said Paris emergency worker Christophe Prudhomme.
Spain reported a record 864 deaths in one day, for a total of more than 9,000, while France registered an unprecedented 509 and more than 4,000 in all. In Italy, with over 13,000 dead, the most of any country, morgues overflowed with bodies, caskets piled up in churches and doctors were forced to decide which desperately ill patients would get breathing machines.
England’s Wimbledon tennis tournament was canceled for the first time since World War II.
India’s highest court ordered news media and social media sites to carry the government’s “official version” of developments, echoing actions taken in other countries to curb independent reporting.
The strain facing some of the world’s best health care systems has been aggravated by hospital budget cuts over the past decade in Italy, Spain, France and Britain. They have called in medical students, retired doctors and even laid-off flight attendants with first aid training.
The staffing shortage has been worsened by the high numbers of infected personnel. In Italy alone, nearly 10,000 medical workers have contracted the virus and more than 60 doctors have died.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with health problems, it can cause severe symptoms like pneumonia.

Charlton reported from Paris. Sherman reported from Washington. Associated Press writers around the world contributed, including Joseph Wilson in Barcelona; Danica Kirka and Jill Lawless in London; Frank Jordans in Berlin; Karen Matthews in New York; and Nick Perry in Wellington, New Zealand.

Follow AP news coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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OANN Barred From White House COVID-19 Briefings For Defying Social Distancing Rules




The White House Correspondents Associations decided Wednesday to remove the far-right One America News Network from its seating rotation for daily coronavirus briefings because its reporter has repeatedly violated social distancing guidelines.
The association’s board released a statement citing a policy it created last month that restricts seating at the White House’s James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in order to comply with social distancing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Under the policy, White House correspondents have been asked not to attend the briefings if they don’t have an assigned seat “to ensure the safety of the White House press corps and White House staff during this difficult time.” 
“We are writing to inform you that the WHCA Board has voted this evening to remove a news outlet from the rotation for a seat in the briefing room,” the association’s board said. “We did this because a reporter for this outlet twice attended press briefings in contravention of this policy.”
WHCA Statement on Removing News Organization from News Briefing Seat Rotation pic.twitter.com/KL3XcPq7Rt— WHCA (@whca) April 1, 2020

Wednesday was the second time that an OANN correspondent attended the White House’s daily coronavirus briefing in defiance of the WHCA’s social distancing requirements. The correspondent, Chanel Rion, violated the policy by standing in the back of the room on two occasions when she was not listed on the briefing seat rotation.
The OAN person’s first question was a loaded one meant to denigrate China. Her second was a loaded question meant to heighten tensions with Iran. pic.twitter.com/xztrhL3ABe— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 1, 2020

“We do not take this action lightly,” the board said in its statement. “This is a matter of public safety.”
Rion made headlines for her racist remarks during an earlier coronavirus briefing when she asked a leading question about whether President Donald Trump considers the term “Chinese food” to be racist. (Trump has been rightfully criticized for calling the pandemic the “Chinese Virus.”)
She also attempted to peddle a right-wing conspiracy theory, saying American journalists “have teamed up with Chinese Communist Party narratives” and are siding with “foreign state propaganda, Islamic radicalism, Latin gangs and cartels.”
OANN is a small, family-owned conservative television network based in San Diego that has been challenging bigger outlets like Fox News for conservative cable and satellite TV viewers. The network has found a fan in President Donald Trump by solely giving him favorable coverage. 

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Self-Care Tips For Asian Americans Dealing With Racism Amid Coronavirus




It’s a difficult time to be Asian American: Along with the everyone else in the country, the COVID-19 pandemic has infiltrated almost every aspect of our day-to-day lives. And racially motivated violence against Asian Americans seems to be spreading just as quickly as the coronavirus itself. People are being coughed at and spat on. Verbal insults and threats against women and older people make headlines. In Midland, Texas, a father and his toddler were slashed across their faces at a Sam’s Club for being Asian. According to NBC News, the online reporting forum Stop AAPI Hate said that since its inception March 18, it’s received more than 650 direct reports of discrimination primarily targeting Asian Americans. (Because COVID-19 originated in Wuhan, China, Asian Americans have been widely scapegoated and harrassed, regardless of whether they’re Chinese or not. )All the while, President Donald Trump has intermittently called the coronavirus the “Chinese Virus,” something many critics say is fueling racism throughout the country.Whether you’ve been subjected to discrimination or not, simply hearing about the widespread xenophobia can affect your mental health. We asked therapists who work within Asian American communities to share their best self-care advice for these stressful times. 1. Reach out to friends who can validate your experiences. (Online friends count, too!) Because we’re physically distancing, social bonds are more important now than ever, especially if you’re emotionally exhausted from this current wave of xenophobia and racism. (Maybe you’ve experienced a glare or rude comment yourself at the market or on a walk.) “I think the need for connection is particularly important when we’ve encountered a micro or macroaggression,” said Gabrielle Zhuang-Estrin, a clinical social worker who works in the Asian American community in Los Angeles. “We should be sharing the burden of our experience and let family and friends know what’s happening.” If you see or hear about another person who’s been targeted, reach out and validate their experiences. For instance, if you see a social media post about someone being verbally abused, make a point to comment. (It could be something like, “Hey, we don’t know each other, but we’re mutual friends through Lauren; I just want to tell you I’m so sorry about what happened to you when you were walking your dog. I’ve had some experiences like that myself recently, so please let me know if you want to talk.”)“Oftentimes with things like this, you need someone to witness and listen AND affirm what we’ve seen,” Zhuang-Estrin said. “I’d also suggest joining a POC or Asian American/APIA online community or advocacy organization to hear more voices that are dealing with this right now and to find larger supportive networks that are mobilizing outreach or action. ”The more popular online communities ― NextShark.com or the Facebook group Subtle Asian Traits — can serve as a good jumping-off point when looking for specific advocacy groups. 10’000 Hours via Getty ImagesFind online communities you can lean into during these difficult times. 2. Pull yourself away from the TV and headlines once in a while. You want to be as informed as possible during an international health crisis like this ― especially when there are local threats to your community. You might feel like you can’t take a break and it’s not until you’re overwhelmed and hit with a wave of exhaustion that you stop. Don’t let it get that far, said Zhuang-Estrin.“I tell my clients that while watching or reading the news, keep track of your personal experience, your feelings and emotions as well as your bodily reactions,” she said. “Check to see if there’s sadness, grief or anger coming up. If so, maybe you need to take a pause and metabolize that for a moment before moving forward.”Zhuang-Estrin said to notice sensations in your body ― a tightening in the chest or belly, for instance, or a quickened heart rate ― and let that inform your decisions on what you can take in, content-wise, and when it’s too much.“We each have our own tolerance levels of what we can absorb and what is too overwhelming and it takes some mindfulness to be aware of when we become overwhelmed with distressing stories,” Zhuang-Estrin said.When you do take a break, try some mindfulness-based relaxation, go on a walk or do something you love, said Therese Mascardo, a psychologist of Filipino descent who works in the Asian American community.If you’re constantly overwhelmed and are struggling to self-soothe, consider seeing a therapist — over FaceTime or Zoom, that is. “Professional mental health support from culturally sensitive licensed therapists can be an effective way to process the emotions related to the trauma, and to learn coping skills for resulting depression, anxiety or hypervigilance,” Mascardo said. fanjianhua via Getty ImagesWhen the headlines about bigotry and xenophobia get to you, therapists say to lean into your friends.3. If you have to go to the grocery store, steel yourself. For many Asian Americans, there’s heightened concern about going to the market right now. It’s easy to be wary when you hear stories from others. Take, for instance, the experience that journalist Jeff Yang recently tweeted about: “So I had my first ‘breathing while Asian’ moment,” he tweeted. “Went out for groceries and an older masked white woman passing by the line shouted ‘FUCK YOU!’ at me for no apparent reason. As I stared at her, she pulled off her mask, coughed directly at me, turned on her heel and walked off.” I planned to go out for groceries today and this gives me pause. So sorry this happened to you Jeff. https://t.co/IWVlSLTyLh— Nancy Wang *Not A Virus* Yuen (@nancywyuen) March 23, 2020

It’s likely that going to the grocery store will be totally OK, but Yang’s story is hardly an outlier; there is cause for concern, which is why Amazon Fresh or other grocery delivery services are increasingly more appealing.If that’s not an option for you and you have to go to the market to restock, steel yourself for your visit by talking through your feelings beforehand with your loved ones.“Ask them what they’ve done to feel OK in situations where they felt like they might be potentially at risk of attack,” Mascardo said. “If it helps when you’re at the market, be on a call or FaceTime with someone who can serve as an emotional support and ‘witness’ if something were to happen.”d3sign via Getty ImagesGoing to the market is particularly stressful for Asian Americans, who are being racially profiled over the coronavirus.4. If you’re discriminated against, put your safety first. If someone confronts or profiles you because you’re Asian ― whether it’s a racial slur or a dirty look ― safety should be your first concern. Typically, the best self-defense is to ignore and walk away from a provocation.“It’s important to remember that by doing so, you are not saying that racism or the racist act is OK,” Mascardo said. “Walking away from a racist encounter is simply choosing to not engage in a lose-lose situation. Then, after you’ve secured safety, it can be valuable to seek immediate emotional support from a friend or loved one.”If you want to make a complaint ― or just need immediate emotional support ― seek out staff at the market and let them know what happened.How do you calm down in the moment? Zhuang-Estrin said to breathe in and out and to feel your feet. “Connecting and expanding into our bodies helps us remain as calm as we can and as open as we can so we can access different action options,” she said. “When you were faced with a threat, your breathing probably became more shallow and your vision narrowed because you were readying yourself [for] rapid action. Taking a breath and staying connected to our bodies also allows us to remain present rather than relying on our immediate impulses.”However you act, don’t judge yourself for it later. Accepting how you handled the encounter is important, Zhuang-Estrin said, because you don’t want to deal with that “pang of guilt or concern that you haven’t handled the situation ‘right’ on top of everything else.”5. Lean into literature written for and by Asians. Now is a great time to grab your Kindle and check out books by Asians and Asian Americans. In this difficult hour, hearing how others in the community have persevered can be heartening, Zhuang-Estrin said. “I always tell my clients to lean into our ancestors, social justice elders or beloved spiritual figures in hard times,” she said. “It allows us to bring in different models that can help lead how we can think and act during this time. Read Grace Lee Boggs, Maxine Hong Kingston and Thich Nhat Hanh.”6. Remind yourself that this is part of a larger story. Try to keep a wide lens when you consider the current wave of xenophobia and racism that Asian Americans are dealing with. These microaggressions and macroaggressions feel painfully personal, but they’re reflective of a larger legacy of oppression against Asians in the U.S., Zhuang-Estrin said.“Historically, Asian Americans are either exalted (model minority) or vilified (red scare),” she said. “In our current context we are seeing fear and blame being inflamed by a leader who seeks to scapegoat the pandemic so the problem is institutional in nature.”Recognizing that this is bigger than you isn’t meant to minimize your current experiences. They’re still very valid. “Looking at our history doesn’t give the other person a pass when we’re directly confronted with racism,” Zhuang-Estrin said. “But holding this wider lens shows us the greater complexity we are in and helps us assess what we can and cannot control.” A HuffPost Guide To Coronavirus



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U.N. Climate Summit Postponed To 2021 Amid Pandemic Fears




The United Nations on Wednesday postponed its annual climate summit from November to mid-2021 over fears that the global coronavirus pandemic won’t be safely contained by the end of the year. 
The U.N.’s climate body and the British government ― which was slated to host the 26th Conference of the Parties, or COP26, in Glasgow, Scotland, from Nov. 9 to 18 ― faced mounting pressure to cancel the event after public officials around the world put severe restrictions on travel and movement within their own borders in a bid to keep COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, from spreading. 
The move, widely expected for days, was confirmed Wednesday afternoon in a press release from Finland’s Ministry of the Environment.  
The U.N. also delayed a smaller gathering of climate negotiators in Bonn, Germany, from June to fall of this year. The main November conference ― the longest-running event in U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change’s history ― has yet to be rescheduled, but is expected to take place by the middle of next year.  

CRISTINA QUICLER via Getty Images

COP25 in Madrid last December.

At the summit, top diplomats and officials were scheduled to hammer out details on how to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement — the historic, if largely unenforceable, pact in which nearly every nation on Earth agreed to cut carbon dioxide emissions in hopes of preventing average temperatures from soaring above a catastrophic 2 degrees Celsius. 
Few countries ― and none of the world’s largest emitters ― have come close to meeting the goals set nearly five years ago, and temperatures have already risen by about 1 degree Celsius above the pre-Industrial Revolution average.
Last year’s COP25 began with disaster, when Chile, the planned host country, canceled the event amid a wave of protests against cuts to social spending. Spain stepped in to hold the conference in Madrid, but the summit ended in what most climate advocates saw as total failure. Parties proved unable to finalize rules and technical details of the Paris climate pact, including on carbon trading and “loss and damages” for the countries most vulnerable to the rapidly worsening impacts of planetary warming. At the time, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said the “international community lost an important opportunity to show increased ambition on mitigation, adaptation and finance to tackle the climate crisis.” 
Last year’s outcome made COP26 all the more crucial.
In November, a new paper in Nature warned that failure to keep warming within 1.5 degrees Celsius ― the Paris Agreement’s secondary, more ambitious goal ― risked setting off a series of systemic tipping points that could make rapid warming uncontrollable in the years to come. Last week, in a study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, scientists announced the discovery of a major new vulnerability in East Antarctica that has the potential to increase sea levels by as much as 5 feet. And travel restrictions, quarantines and government efforts to prevent COVID-19 from spreading to remote areas of Greenland and the Arctic have stalled climate field research, InsideClimate News reported.
Already, the fallout from COVID-19 has generated widespread debate over the parallels between the response to the pandemic and climate change. The causes, environmentalists argue, are similar. The coronavirus originated in a wild animal market in Wuhan, China, making it among the three-out-of-four infectious diseases that emerge from animals ― a problem experts warn will worsen alongside species and ecosystem loss. The pandemic has led to growing calls for China and other countries to shutter wild animal markets, which scientists say provide ideal conditions for viruses to spill over into humans.
“Along with habitat loss, shifting climate zones are causing wildlife to migrate to new places, where they interact with other species they haven’t previously encountered,” three Australian researchers wrote in a recent op-ed for The Conversation. “This increases the risk of new diseases emerging.” 
Similarly, containing the virus requires governments to halt economic activity and provide for workers and businesses whose incomes dissolved overnight, offering a test case for the kind of emergency intervention climate activists have long demanded to aid the millions of people whose industries would need to shrink to severely reduce emissions. 
In the United States, the deadly pandemic hasn’t slowed the Trump administration’s assault on environmental safeguards. The administration on Tuesday rolled out a long-anticipated final rule to gut Obama-era auto emissions standards, and last week the Environmental Protection Agency cited COVID-19 in its decision to suspend enforcement of clean air and water rules.  

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Mike Pence Says Trump Is Just Being ‘Optimistic’ About Coronavirus




Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday that President Donald Trump is merely being “optimistic” with remarks that downplayed the coronavirus outbreak.
Pence was pressed during an appearance on CNN by politics anchor Wolf Blitzer to explain why Trump hadn’t ordered a national lockdown in the days since he had stopped “belittling the enormity of this crisis.” New White House projections, Blitzer noted, suggest as many as 200,000 people may die from COVID-19 in the U.S. if the current state-by-state advisories and restrictions are maintained. 
Pence rejected the criticism.
“I don’t believe the president has ever belittled the threat of the coronavirus,” Pence said, adding: “He expressed gratitude and confidence in health care workers in this country, and the American people can be assured President Trump is going to continue to be confident that we will meet this moment.”
Trump, however, has repeatedly contradicted public health officials about the threat of the coronavirus. Even this week, after acknowledging the seriousness of the pandemic, he has attacked state governors asking for equipment and suggested that hospital staffers are squandering masks or stealing them “out the back door.”
Earlier, the president repeatedly compared the outbreak to the seasonal flu, which has a much lower fatality rate and is much less contagious. 
“We lose thousands of people a year to the flu. We never turn the country off,” Trump said at a briefing last week when he argued for a loosening of national social distancing guidelines. He went on: “We lose much more than that to automobile accidents. We didn’t call up the automobile companies and say, ‘Stop making cars.’” 
He also shrugged off the coronavirus in a tweet earlier this month, two days before the World Health Organization officially declared the outbreak a pandemic. 
So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 9, 2020

Blitzer confronted Pence with Trump’s remarks, but the vice president stuck to his talking points.
“The president is an optimistic person,” Pence responded. “We’ve been from the very beginning ― when the president suspended all travel from China, stood up the White House coronavirus task force in January ― we have been hoping for the best but planning for the worst. And that’s been being worked out every single day. And what the American people can see in this president every day is a leader who knows that we will get through this.”
But health care workers say the U.S. medical system is not at all prepared for the worst and that they’re facing a deadly shortage of protective gear, ventilators and other items necessary to treat COVID-19 patients.

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Stabbing Of Asian American Toddler And Family Deemed A Hate Crime: Report




Federal investigators determined that the man who stabbed an Asian American family out shopping at a Sam’s Club last month committed a hate crime fueled by coronavirus panic, according to an FBI report obtained by ABC News.
Three members of a family were stabbed in Midland, Texas, on March 14, including two children ages 2 and 6.
Suspect Jose Gomez, 19, admitted to police that “he stabbed the family because he thought the family was Chinese, and infecting people with the coronavirus,” according to the document. A Sam’s Club employee named Zach Owen was stabbed in the leg as he tried to stop the attack.
Gomez is being held on several bonds totaling $1 million as federal investigators pursue the case.
The World Health Organization had declared the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, a pandemic three days earlier. Because the virus is believed to have originated in China, Asian Americans across the country have reported being harassed in public over baseless accusations that they personally had something to do with the crisis.
The FBI said it has already started to see a surge in coronavirus-related hate crimes across the country, and warned that the U.S. will only see more as the coronavirus spreads, according to the ABC News report.
“The FBI makes this assessment based on the assumption that a portion of the US public will associate COVID-19 with China and Asian American populations,” the agency said.
President Donald Trump has certainly not helped to discourage the connection, refusing to apologize for calling COVID-19 by the derogatory “China virus” nickname. Instead, he has issued tweets discouraging hate crimes against Asian Americans.
The FBI report made no mention of Trump or any other specific official, according to ABC News.

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Trump Said Coronavirus Would ‘Miraculously’ Be Gone By April. Well, It’s April.




President Donald Trump thinks he’s doing a fabulous job getting the country through the coronavirus crisis. He’s more than happy to boast about it. 

“One of the things I did is I closed down the borders to China and to other areas that are very badly affected and really having a lot of troubles. … I closed them down very early, against the advice of almost everybody, and we’ve been given rave reviews.” [March 6]

“No, I’m not concerned at all. No, I’m not. No, we’ve done a great job.” [March 7]

“Our team is doing a great job with CoronaVirus!” [March 11]

“I’d rate it [our response] a 10. I think we’ve done a great job.” [March 16]

“My administration has done a job on really working across government and with the private sector, and it’s been incredible. It’s a beautiful thing to watch, I have to say.” [March 29]

But Trump spent weeks, if not months, downplaying the seriousness of the virus while pushing his political agenda of boosting his own brand and trying to shut down U.S. borders. 
In fact, the president really didn’t want to do much of anything about the virus. He tried to assure people that it would be gone by April. Nothing to see here. 
On Feb. 10, he repeatedly predicted ― at a meeting with governors, at a campaign rally and in a Fox Business interview ― that the coronavirus would no longer be a problem by April. He then made this claim at least three more times a few days later. 

“Now, the virus that we’re talking about having to do ― you know, a lot of people think that goes away in April with the heat ― as the heat comes in. Typically, that will go away in April. We’re in great shape though. We have 12 cases ― 11 cases, and many of them are in good shape now.” [Feb. 10]

“Looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.” [Feb. 10]

“I really believe they are going to have it under control fairly soon. You know in April, supposedly, it dies with the hotter weather. And that’s a beautiful date to look forward to.” [Feb. 10]

“We think and we hope, based on all signs that the problem goes away in April.” [Feb. 13]

“There’s a theory that, in April, when it gets warm ― historically, that has been able to kill the virus. So we don’t know yet; we’re not sure yet.” [Feb. 14]

“I think it’s going to work out fine. I think when we get into April, in the warmer weather, that has a very negative effect on that and that type of a virus.” [Feb. 14]

On Feb. 10, there were 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University. Now there are nearly 200,000. And on Tuesday, the death toll in the U.S. surpassed 3,000, making the virus more deadly than the 9/11 terrorist attacks that reshaped much of American life. 
Medical experts never agreed with Trump’s rosy prediction. But as usual, science didn’t stop Trump from saying whatever he wanted. 
“We don’t know a lot about this virus,” CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said on Feb. 13. “This virus is probably with us beyond this season, beyond this year, and I think eventually the virus will find a foothold and we will get community-based transmission.”

On Feb. 10, there were 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University. Now there are more than 174,000.

Much of the U.S. economy is now shut down as people work from home and practice social distancing in an effort to stop the spread of the virus. Medical experts say it will get worse before it gets better. 
On Tuesday, the White House said that in a best-case scenario, as many as 240,000 Americans could die from COVID-19. 
But even amid the rising number of cases, Trump has continued to insist that everything is going well. As recently as last week, he said he wanted the country “opened up and just raring to go by Easter,” which is on April 12. 
Health experts have warned against easing restrictions too early.
During an online COVID-19 briefing last week, Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, dismissed Trump’s Easter target.
“I just want to say on behalf of everyone I know in the business, that is literally out of the question,” Redlener said. “This cannot happen. It should not happen. We actually should be increasing the restrictions for some period of time.”
A group of more than 800,000 physicians with the Council of Medical Specialty Societies also wrote to the White House urging continued social distancing measures.
“Federal, state, and local governments should only set a date for lifting nationwide social distancing restrictions consistent with assessments by public health and medical experts,” they wrote. “Lifting restrictions sooner will gravely jeopardize the health of all Americans and extend the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
On Sunday, Trump endorsed extending social distancing guidelines through the end of April, saying his Easter timeline was “aspirational.” 
At the same press conference, he wondered why hospitals, which usually don’t need so many masks and ventilators, are suddenly saying they do. Instead of realizing that the need for medical equipment has jumped exponentially with the spread of the coronavirus, Trump offered up a conspiracy theory: that the  ventilators and masks that hospitals are asking for might be “going out the back door.” 
Chris D’Angelo contributed reporting.

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How Long Can Asymptomatic Coronavirus Carriers Infect Others?




One of the more puzzling aspects of COVID-19 has been the seemingly vast range of symptoms.For thousands of people around the world, the virus has been deadly. But for an unquantified group of individuals (at least so far), the illness has been practically invisible.“There are some people who are truly infected], but they don’t get sick,” Stephen Gluckman, an infectious diseases physician at Penn Medicine and the medical director of Penn Global Medicine, told HuffPost. These “asymptomatic carriers” ― who have no symptoms at all (or whose symptoms are so mild they go unnoticed) ― are not unique to COVID-19.“When we get infections, there is often a spectrum from very sick to modestly sick to not sick at all,” Gluckman said. Unfortunately, that represents the full extent of what health experts know with any certainty about asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 at this time. It is not yet clear how many people are asymptomatic carriers of the disease. Nor is it clear how much they are contributing to the spread of the epidemic, though preliminary research suggests they might play a significant role. Similarly, it is not known how long those carriers may be contagious.The best we can all do right now is act like we’re already a carrier of the virus and follow current recommendations for preventing transmission.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes that people who have been infected with COVID-19 are at their most contagious at the peak of their symptoms. This means that the days people feel their worst ― that may include a cough or a fever ― are when they’re most likely to spread the virus. But that does not mean it is the only time they are contagious. People can “shed” or emit the virus in the incubation period before they show symptoms, which is generally from two to 14 days after their initial exposure. One recent model found the median incubation period for COVID-19 was five days and that 98% of people who develop symptoms after an exposure do so within 11½ days. Research also suggests that COVID-19 patients continue to shed the virus for days after their symptoms clear. In general, individuals who are suspected of having COVID-19 are asked to remain in isolation for at least three days after they have recovered and for at least a week after their symptoms first appeared. Gluckman told HuffPost that he imagines researchers will have a better understanding of asymptomatic transmission of COVID-19 in the next month or so, if not sooner, as more studies come out of places like China, South Korea, Europe and the United States. But that kind of research relies on testing for the virus, which is the only way to capture silent cases of the illness. For now, uncertainty about how many asymptomatic carriers there may be — and how long those carriers pose a risk to others they come into contact with — is why we should adhere to social distancing measures. If you’re exposed to someone with coronavirus and you get infected, you could spread the virus long before you realize you’re sick (if you even realize it at all). And given that COVID-19 has spread throughout communities, you may not even know you’ve been exposed.“People have to be vigilant about avoiding close contact with other individuals … and not assuming that just because someone isn’t sick, they’re not carrying the virus,” Gluckman said. “We have to be very, very, very aggressive about self-isolating.” A HuffPost Guide To Coronavirus



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Trump’s Coronavirus Claim Is His Biggest Lie Yet – And It Could Be Working




WASHINGTON ― Having sold himself as a great business and military leader despite bankrupt casinos and bone spurs, President Donald Trump faces his greatest challenge yet: making Americans forget the two months he dismissed concerns about a deadly pandemic as a “hoax.”
If recent polling showing a significant bump in his approval ratings is any indicator, though, Trump may well be succeeding ― setting himself on a path to reelection.
“No question that the president’s job approval has increased as a result of his handling of the coronavirus crisis,” said GOP pollster Neil Newhouse. “Already about topped out among Republicans, President Trump has made gains among both Independents and Democrats.”
To make this work, Trump has been pushing the biggest lie of his adult life ― a revisionist history in which he did everything correctly, that nobody could have anticipated such an outbreak, and his leadership alone is saving millions of lives.
“It’s hard not to be happy with the job we’re doing. That, I can tell you,” he said last week.
“Nobody could have predicted something like this,” he told Fox News Monday morning.
“I can’t tell you what the unfortunate final toll is going to be, but it’s going to be a very small fraction of that,” he said Tuesday afternoon of expert estimates of 2.2 million dead if the country had done nothing to stop the virus. “So we’re doing an awfully good job, I think, with what we’re doing.”
Each of his claims is false. Trump scrapped the pandemic response team that President Barack Obama created after the 2014 Ebola outbreak, part of an overall effort to undo everything that his predecessor had accomplished. Trump ignored warnings from his own intelligence community that China was covering up the severity of the coronavirus epidemic in the city and province where it originated. Trump even ignored a step-by-step pandemic “playbook” the Obama administration had written.
Instead, Trump discounted the threat the virus posed from Jan. 22, when he told CNBC that “we have it totally under control,” straight through until March 15, when he called it “a very contagious virus” but again claimed it was one “that we have tremendous control over.” 
Trump had based his re-election campaign on the strength of the economy, and feared that worries about a pandemic would hurt the stock market. “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA,” he wrote in a Feb. 24 tweet. “Stock Market starting to look very good to me!” 

History shows that it takes a personal experience of catastrophe to see that the leader has been telling lies.
New York University history professor Ruth Ben-Ghiat

Nevertheless, thanks in part to his ability to command a nationwide audience in press briefings broadcast live each day, Trump has been able push his new message to replace the old one.
“History shows that it takes a personal experience of catastrophe to see that the leader has been telling lies,” said Ruth Ben-Ghiat, an authoritarianism expert and history professor at New York University. “In this case, Trump has artfully ‘dosed out’ reality, telling people everything is fine, then gradually telling them it’s not, with lackey medical professionals to back him up. So he may weather even this crisis.”
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham did not respond to a query about Trump’s new messaging. Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh cited China travel restrictions that Trump imposed at the very end of January as showing he took“decisive action” from the start.
“Throughout this crisis, the president has always sought to keep the public calm, but has listened to his medical and scientific advisors in making firm decisions about keeping the country safe,” Murtaugh said.

Revising History From Two Months Ago

Key to turning Trump’s actual performance in those critical early weeks into electoral success likely hinges on two efforts underway.
First is redefining success. Trump early on promised Americans that he had “stopped” the virus from spreading in the U.S. through his ban on foreigners who had recently been in China from entering this country. That morphed into claiming that those few cases here were rapidly shrinking to zero, and that the virus itself would disappear on its own with April’s warmer weather.
Those goalposts have now been moved clear across the planet. From the Feb. 26 boasts of having only 15 cases and zero deaths, Trump this week said success would mean hundreds of thousands of dead Americans.
“If we can hold that down, as we’re saying, to 100,000 — that’s a horrible number — maybe even less, but to 100,000; so we have between 100- and 200,000 — we all, together, have done a very good job,” he said Monday at a press briefing in the White House Rose Garden.
And if Trump’s past is a guide ― he has claimed that running his casinos into bankruptcy starting in the early 1990s somehow represented a business success ― he will keep claiming he handled the crisis well, regardless of how many Americans wind up dying.
“I think he can move the numbers as high as he needs to with his base because he has primed them to accept whatever he tells them and to disbelieve everyone else,” Ben-Ghiat said.
The other piece of Trump’s strategy is relentlessly attacking those who point out his previous statements. Trump has done this repeatedly in his daily briefings, attacking reporters when they read his earlier remarks back to him verbatim.
“Instead of asking a nasty, snarky question like that, you should ask a real question,” he said to a journalist Monday.
His campaign, meanwhile, had set upon the mission of trying to block Trump’s most egregious downplaying of the pandemic: His Feb. 28 description of the coronavirus fears as “a hoax” ― the most recent in a line of Democratic attempts to hurt his presidency.
Campaign officials, realizing the seriousness of Trump’s riff at a rally in South Carolina that evening, soon afterward began attacking journalists who described Trump’s use of “hoax” as misrepresenting what he said.
“Will she apologize for lying?” wrote a Trump campaign staffer on March 23 after Washington Post reporter Ashley Parker accurately described Trump’s use of the word in an NBC News report.
The campaign has even threatened to sue TV stations that were running an ad by the Democratic super PAC Priorities USA that used the audio clip of Trump saying “hoax” in a montage of his statements downplaying the virus.
“We will not stand idly by and allow you to broadcast false, deceptive, and misleading information concerning President’s Trump’s healthcare positions without consequence,” the campaign said in a letter.
Of course, the response to that letter may foreshadow the steep hill Trump faces more broadly in re-writing the history of his coronavirus response. According to Priorities USA, not a single TV station complied with the campaign request to pull the ad, and the super PAC recently released a revised one, using the much higher number of coronavirus cases.

When The Big Lie Fails

Indeed, while Trump may be enjoying a bump right now in the public support, that newfound popularity could fade as his repeated lies about his performance come up against the reality of the coronavirus’ lethality.
Trump confounded the political class in both parties in 2016, seeming to suffer little consequence for repeated and readily disproven lies about himself, his opponents and the world at large.
Trump falsely claimed he had built “a massive empire,” a “phenomenal company,” starting with just a “very small loan” from his father. He boasted that he knew more about war than “the generals.”
In fact, Trump lost millions of dollars running an airline, vastly overpaid for a midtown hotel he wound up losing and bankrupted his casinos ― a near impossibility, given their business model ― nearly squandering the fortune his father had left him of nearly $1 billion in today’s dollars.
And when the prospect of serving in the Vietnam War presented itself, Trump claimed the ailment of “bone spurs” to avoid the military ― even though he later could not recall which heel had suffered the malady. 

At some point, reality intrudes on the ‘Big Lie.’ But at this point we don’t know when.
Norman Ornstein, of the

Trump countered endless media “fact checks” of his dishonesties by attacking the media instead ― a strategy he openly admitted to in an interview with Lesley Stahl of CBS News in 2016. “You know why I do it? I do it to discredit you all and demean you all so when you write negative stories about me, no one will believe you,” he said.
Yet Trump was able to get away with all those lies, as well as a torrent of fresh lies since becoming president, because they did not directly affect the lives of most Americans, NYU’s Ben-Ghiat said.
That will not be the case with the pandemic. In a span of just 30 days, 3,440 Americans had died by Tuesday afternoon, with 1,000 of those happening in the past two days. Which means that even Trump’s most loyal supporters, who crave his professional wrestling-style attacks on Democrats and the news media regardless of their accuracy, are likely to wind up personally knowing someone who has become gravely ill or died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
“The ‘Big Lie’ is not applicable in this case,” Ben-Ghiat said, referring to the maxim that people are more prone to believe a massive falsehood than a smaller one, because they do not want to accept that their leaders are capable of telling consequential lies. “For example, saying the virus was a hoax, because people will personally get sick and communities will be devastated.”
She said she believes Trump can continue to hold his base supporters by gradually increasing his assessment of the pain and loss it will cause ― but she and others doubt that his message will fly with anyone beyond that group.
“At some point, reality intrudes on the ‘Big Lie.’ But at this point we don’t know when,” said Norman Ornstein, a scholar with the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute think tank. “One interesting part of this is that the people who bought into the hoax idea, who are still resisting social distancing, are in the red states and in red areas in other states. They may be the ones who will really catch a wave that overwhelms them, especially in rural areas, with the virus a little bit later on.”
If that happens, Trump could quickly lose the “rally around the president” lift he has seen in recent polling. That boost has helped other presidents ― from Jimmy Carter in the immediate aftermath of the 1979 taking of American hostages in Iran, through Obama in 2012 with the landfall of Superstorm Sandy in the northeast. But it can fade away if the president is seen as failing to rise to the challenge.
“Read these polls with a most careful, cautious eye. They reflect the present in a time of crisis,” said Democratic pollster Peter Hart about Trump’s higher numbers, pointing out that Carter wound up losing in his reelection bid in a landslide. “The election is far ahead of us, but the challenges facing Donald Trump are as formidable as those that faced Jimmy Carter in 1980.”
Newhouse, the Republican pollster, agreed that Trump’s improved numbers now do not guarantee anything. “As others have said, we are in the early stages of this fight against coronavirus, and the president’s approval score will continue to reflect his handling of this crisis,” he said. “Unlike the recent impeachment inquiry, this crisis is likely to have a significant impact on the November election.”

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