The nation’s premiere public health expert on Monday vigorously defended President Donald Trump’s decision to extend social distancing and self-isolation measures, saying coronavirus infections and deaths have not begun decreasing “within the time frame that was originally estimated.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CNN that he showed Trump the data and the president quickly agreed with the recommendation to extend the guidelines through the end of April.
“It would not have been a good idea to pull back at a time when you really needed to be pressing your foot on the pedal as opposed to on the brakes,” Fauci said.
The U.S. death total stood at more than 2,500 people, with more than 143,000 confirmed cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University data dashboard. Just last week, Trump said he wanted the country — most notably, the economy — “raring to go” by Easter. That was before Fauci said Sunday that between 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die due to the virus.
The CDC, citing “extensive community transmission,” insisted that residents in New Jersey, Connecticut and New York refrain from non-essential travel for 14 days, effective immediately. The advisory does not apply to essential employees like truckers, public health professionals and those working in financial services or food supply.
In New York alone, close to 1,000 people have died.
The global death count was nearing 34,000 late Sunday, with more than 700,000 confirmed cases.
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Anthony Fauci: Millions of Americans will be infected, thousands will die
Millions of Americans will likely be infected by the coronavirus before the crisis is over and more than 100,000 could die despite aggressive efforts to curb the outbreak, Fauci told CNN on Monday. He noted that, two years ago, the flu killed more than 60,000 Americans and “this is clearly worse” than the flu.
Fauci said he recommended that Trump extend the guidelines because New York and other cities were continuing to see an increase in confirmed case and in deaths, with other cities are likely to follow.
“You want to start seeing some flattening out and turning around of the curve,” Fauci told CNN. “It wasn’t doing that.”
Fauci said Trump was not a hard sell: “He looked at the data and he got it right away. … He just shook his head and said ‘I guess we gotta do it.'”
Donald Trump extends US social distancing guidelines until April 30
The social distancing guidelines were put in place March 16 with an initial time frame of 15 days, but President Donald Trump acknowledged Sunday that wasn’t long enough.
“The peak in death rate is likely to hit in two weeks,” Trump said at a briefing Sunday. “Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won.” He estimated that by June 1, “we will be well on our way to recovery.”
The guidelines call on Americans to avoid social gatherings involving groups of 10 or more, to stay away from public spaces like restaurants and bars, to avoid discretionary travel and to practice increased hygiene. They also asked Americans to stay home if they are sick and for older individuals to stay away from other people.
– Jeanine Santucci
Dow futures fall again, signaling more ‘volatility’ among US stocks this week
Stocks were poised to extend losses Monday as the coronavirus pandemic deepened over the weekend, with the U.S. death total escalating.
On Sunday evening, futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 300 points, signaling another volatile week on Wall Street after it tumbled more than 900 points on Friday. Standard & Poor’s 500 futures lost 1.5%.
The stock market has shed more than 20% since touching records just over a month ago. Despite Friday’s losses, the Dow still notched its biggest weekly gain since 1938, helped by promises from Congress and the Federal Reserve to provide aid for the economy and markets. But analysts caution that the recent rally could fade until there’s a long-term solution to fight coronavirus infections.
“Volatility will likely persist,” says Rusty Vanneman, chief investment officer at Orion Advisor Solutions. “It’s a race against the clock right now.”
– Jessica Menton
Liberty University pushes back against NYT report on coronavirus on campus
Last week, despite college campuses closing all over the country, Liberty University in Virginia welcomed almost 2,000 back to campus amid the nation’s coronavirus outbreak. The decision by university president Jerry Falwell, Jr. brought criticism from both campus and the surrounding community.
Then, Sunday afternoon, The New York Times published a story that claimed multiple students were experiencing coronavirus symptoms. But the university pushed back, labeling the report “false.” Liberty president Jerry Falwell, Jr., was more blunt on Twitter: “Prime example of why you never believe anything @nytimes says about @LibertyU. Complete liars.”
– Lindsay Schnell
Dr. Deborah Birx to ‘every’ mayor: Prep for a New York City-type outbreak
Metro areas across the nation must assume they “could have an outbreak equivalent to New York and do everything right now to prevent it,” White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said. Birx called on local officials to “know where every piece of equipment is.”
“Mitigate it now, before they start seeing cases in the emergency room and in the hospital. Once you see those, the virus has been spreading days to weeks,” Birx said on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press.’ “This is my call on every mayor to prepare now.”
New York City has become the epicenter of the U.S. spread of the coronavirus.
One healthcare expert warns that “New York is not an outlier” and the virus is on track to hit “every city in America.”
– Lorenzo Reyes
More coronavirus news and information from USA TODAY
More than 60 Maryland nursing home residents test positive
Sixty-six residents of a nursing home in Mount Airy, Maryland, have tested positive for the coronavirus, and 11 of those residents are currently hospitalized, the state announced.
“Multiple state agencies are on the scene and working closely with the local health department and the facility as they take urgent steps to protect additional residents and staff who may have been exposed,” a statement from Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said.
Carroll County Health Officer Ed Singer said a resident of the Pleasant View Nursing Home, a man in his 90s with underlying health conditions, has died.
Hogan said coronavirus cases in Washington, D.C., and parts of Maryland and Virginia around it have increased from 1,000 to 2,000 in three days.
– Erick Smith
Music legend John Prine in ‘critical’ condition with coronavirus symptoms
The family of John Prine says that the legendary singer-songwriter has been hospitalized since Thursday after a “sudden onset of COVID-19 symptoms.”
According to the family’s statement, Prine, 73, was intubated Saturday, “and continues to receive care, but his situation is critical.”
On March 18, Prine’s wife and manager, Fiona Whelan Prine, announced she had the coronavirus. John Prine had been tested as well, but the results were “indeterminate.”
– Dave Paulson, Nashville Tennessean
US begins airlifting medical supplies from abroad amid coronavirus crisis
The Trump administration is airlifting medical supplies from Asia and other parts of the world to areas of the United States hardest hit by the coronavirus, the White House said. A flight from Shanghai carrying more than 10 million surgical gloves, 130,000 N-95 masks and other equipment landed Sunday at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. It was the first of what is expected to be about 20 flights over several weeks.
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner said in a statement that the flights would bring “massive amounts of masks” and other gear to “better equip our health care workers on the front lines.” The effort comes as state and local officials say hospitals are running short of medical equipment needed by front-line health workers dealing with the pandemic.
– John Fritze