Coronavirus updates: Cuomo says Trump has ‘no fight’ on ‘total’ authority claim

Written by on April 15, 2020

narvikk/iStock(NEW YORK) — A global pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now claimed the lives of more than 125,000 people around the world.

Over 1.9 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their nations’ outbreaks.

Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the U.S. has become the worst-affected nation, with more than 598,000 diagnosed cases and at least 25,239 deaths.

The number of cases in New York state alone is higher than in any single country outside the U.S.

Here’s how the news is developing Tuesday. All times Eastern:

6:43 p.m.: Trump announces WHO funding suspension

President Donald Trump lashed out at the World Health Organization and announced he would cut U.S. funding to the organization, claiming it mismanaged the outbreak response.

The president specifically laid blame on the WHO’s lack of support for his ban on travel from China when the outbreak began.

“They were very much opposed to what we did,” he said during his daily briefing.

The president said he will have conversations with other health officials around the world about where the WHO money would go. He did not rule out restoring the money to the organization.

Trump’s announcement is likely to set up a battle with Congress, which controls funding for the WHO.

The president also announced the Food and Drug Administration is authorizing a new coronavirus test from Rutgers University that uses saliva samples. Trump said Rutgers will process 10,000 tests daily.

6:25 p.m.: NYPD COVID-19 deaths surpass losses on 9/11

The New York Police Department announced it lost another member to the coronavirus.

Supervising Police Communications Technician Irving Cruz, an 18-year veteran, passed away from complications from the disease on Monday, the department said.

Cruz’s death is the NYPD’s 24th COVID-19 fatality, one more than the number of members who were killed on Sept. 11.

Currently, 2,232 uniformed members and 568 civilian members are diagnosed with the virus.

Also, the department said 6,372 uniformed members, roughly 17.6% of the force, were out sick Tuesday.

5:41 p.m.: Stimulus deposits completed within 4 to 5 weeks: Treasury

Treasury Department officials said they expect that direct deposit stimulus payments to all eligible Americans will be completed within four to five weeks.

The first wave of stimulus checks going out to 80 million Americans is expected to be completed by tomorrow, according to the agency.

Paper checks will begin to be sent out toward the end of the month, according to the agency.

3:30 p.m.: About 25% of NY deaths are from nursing home/adult care facilities

About 25% of those who have died in New York state from COVID-19 were residents of nursing homes or adult care facilities, new data shows.

At least 2,722 nursing home residents have died from the coronavirus. Queens in New York City accounts for the highest number of total deaths: 603 residents.

The elderly are among the most vulnerable to the dangerous virus.

3:10 p.m.: California’s governor unveils next steps

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday unveiled steps the state would need to take before the stay-at-home order could be modified.

First is expanding testing by using technology, infrastructure and a trained workforce.

The second phase is protecting the most vulnerable populations, like seniors and the homeless, he said.

Third is addressing the hospital system “to meet the needs of potential surges.”

“The next step is engaging academia, research partners and those on the front lines to make sure that we’re advancing and continuing to promote protocols on therapeutics which are profoundly important as we bridge toward the herd immunity and the vaccine within, we hope, the next year or so,” Newsom said.

After that comes “redrawing our floor plans,” so when the state reaches reopening businesses and schools, there will be a plan for “safe physical distancing” inside all facilities.

The final step, Newsom said, is determining when to reinstitute certain measures.

“That’s just a process that will perhaps be the most challenging if, indeed, we lean in, but we have to then lean back out as we toggle from stricter to looser interventions, back and forth as things change, as data comes in,” he explained.

Newsom added that when the economy does reopen, daily activities will be different. Restaurants will open with fewer tables, waiters will likely wear gloves and masks, and face coverings will be common in public, he said.

1:15 p.m: Louisiana surpasses 1,000 deaths

In Louisiana, one of the hardest-hit states, the death toll from the virus surpassed 1,000 on Tuesday, reaching a total of 1,013.

“Today’s death count is the largest we have reported in a single day since this COVID-19 outbreak started,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement. “They are more than just a number on a report or graph, and as our fellow Louisianans, we all grieve alongside their families.”

Among the Louisianans who died were a first-term state representative and a beloved high school football coach.

The governor said that analysis showed most people passed away 11.2 days after symptoms began.

“We must look at long-term data and trends,” the governor stressed.

12 p.m.: Cuomo responds to Trump’s claim of ‘total’ authority over states

In New York state, 778 lives were lost on Monday, bringing the total number of deaths in the state to 10,834.

Despite the grim numbers, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday he thinks the hard-hit state has reached the apex.

Cuomo also responded to President Donald Trump’s claim that he has “total” authority over states in ordering a reopening of the country.

Cuomo called that “not an accurate statement, in my opinion.”

“The balance between the state and the federal … is the essence of our democracy,” Cuomo said. “We don’t have a king in this country.”

“The president is clearly spoiling for a fight on this issue. The worse thing we can do in all of this is start with political division,” Cuomo said.

“I will not engage,” Cuomo said. “I look forward to working with the president in partnership and cooperation, but he has no fight here. I won’t let it happen.”

10:35 a.m.: In NYC, 26 homeless people have died

In New York City, 421 homeless individuals have tested positive for the coronavirus, including 26 people who have died.

With public bathrooms and soup kitchens largely unavailable amid the pandemic, the nightly shelter population has swelled.

To reduce density the city has spent about $200 per night to rent hotel rooms where symptomatic homeless people can be isolated.

“Six-thousand single New Yorkers, meaning single adults, will be in hotels, not traditional homeless shelters,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “Those who will be prioritized across our shelter system for transfer to hotels, will include seniors, will include, of course, anyone with symptoms of COVID-19, or who tested positive for COVID-19.”

To limit gatherings, shelters are now staggering meal times. They’re also waiving a rule that required residents to leave during cleanings to discourage them from going outside and returning potentially exposed.

10 a.m.: NYC producing face shields and gowns, soon to make test kits

In hard-hit New York City, companies are creating face shields and masks, and will soon be producing test kits, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.

Eight firms are now making 240,000 face shields per week. The companies plan to be producing 465,000 per week by April 24, and the goal is to eventually reach 620,000 per week, the mayor said.

“We will be able to fulfill our entire need for face shields right here,” he said. “New York City will be self-sufficient.”

Furthermore, five companies are making 30,000 surgical gowns per week in New York City. They plan to grow to 100,000 per week by April 24 ,and then the goal is to produce 250,000 per week.

“These are brand-new production lines created from scratch,” which have already “surpassed expectations,” de Blasio said.
US close to coronavirus peak, but we have to take it ‘day by day’: FDA commissioner

But from day one, the main issue was testing, de Blasio said, and city officials “scoured the world looking for test kits on the open market,” which he called an “extraordinarily frustrating” process.

De Blasio said the federal government was not providing adequate test kits.

Now, New York City will start producing its own 50,000 test kits per week, with production planning to launch in the beginning of May.

Also, Aria Diagnostics, based in Indiana, has donated 50,000 kits to the city, and New York City will buy 50,000 kits per week from them beginning April 20, said the mayor.

That will give the city access to 100,000 test kits per week.

9:45 a.m.: Death toll over 12,000 in UK

In the United Kingdom, the coronavirus death toll has climbed to at least 12,107, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.

The U.K. has the fifth highest death toll, behind the U.S., Italy, Spain and France.

The U.K. has over 93,000 people diagnosed with COVID-19.

9:03 a.m.: World faces worst recession since Great Depression

The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday warned that the world faces its worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

In its new World Economic Outlook, the IMF now forecasts the global economy to shrink by 3% this year — rather than expand by 3.3%, as previously projected in January — as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The cumulative loss to global GDP over 2020 and 2021 from the crisis could be around $9 trillion.

“It is very likely that this year the global economy will experience its worst recession since the Great Depression, surpassing that seen during the global financial crisis a decade ago,” IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath said at a press conference Tuesday. “The Great Lockdown, as one might call it, is projected to shrink global growth dramatically.”

The IMF, an organization of 189 countries, projects global growth in 2021 to partially recover to 5.8%, but Gopinath cautioned that “the level of GDP will remain below the pre-virus trend, with considerable uncertainty about the strength of the rebound.”

“Much worse growth outcomes are possible,” he said, “and maybe even likely.”

7:14 a.m.: Positive cases top 15,000 in Africa

At least 15,284 people across Africa have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and 815 of them have died, according to data released Tuesday by the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The cases span all but two of the continent’s 54 nations.

South Africa has the highest national tally with 2,272 positive cases. Egypt is not far behind with 2,190 cases, according to the Africa CDC.

6:43 a.m.: France extends nationwide lockdown till May 11

French President Emmanuel Macron has extended a lockdown for his country till May 11.

Addressing the nation Monday night, Macron said he sees “hopeful signs” since imposing the nationwide lockdown on March 17 to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Macron said schools will reopen “progressively,” starting from May 11. However, cafes, restaurants, cinemas, concert halls, museums and hotels will remain closed and large gatherings won’t be allowed until mid-July.

An announcement is expected this week on either a postponement or an outright cancellation of cycling’s biggest race, the Tour de France, which is slated to kick off in Nice on June 27.

France is one of the worst-affected countries in the pandemic, with more than 137,000 diagnosed cases and nearly 15,000 deaths, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

6:21 a.m.: India extends nationwide lockdown through May 3

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced an extension to the nationwide lockdown for the country’s 1.3 billion people.

In a televised address to the nation, Modi explained the lockdown will now remain in effect through May 3 but some restrictions on people’s movement may be loosened after a week to help low-income employees and those working in the agriculture sector.

The restrictions will be relaxed only in areas that don’t show any deterioration in the spread of the novel coronavirus, Modi said.

India seems to have fared well in the pandemic so far, with just over 10,500 diagnosed cases and 358 deaths, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

5:39 a.m.: Austria and Italy reopen some shops as lockdown slowly eases

Austria and Italy slowly began to reawaken Tuesday after a month of lockdown measures to control the spread of the novel coronavirus.

In Italy, where more than 20,000 people have died from COVID-19, a limited number of stores and small business were allowed to reopen their doors Tuesday. Shops selling books, stationary and children’s clothes could reopen, along with a few specific small business and activities, including forestry, fertilizer production, wholesale paper and cardboard distribution, and computer manufacturing.

All businesses must ensure a number of safety rules, including social distancing, twice-a-day disinfection of the space, access to disinfecting gel for all workers, health information placed on front doors and masks required in all closed spaces.

Lombardy and other hard-hit regions in Italy’s north have decided to maintain their restrictions for longer.

Thousands of shops reopened Tuesday in Austria, one of the first European countries to follow Italy in imposing strict measures.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz outlined a step-by-step plan last week to relax the lockdown and reopen parts of the economy, starting with non-essential shops under 4,300 square feet as well as home improvement stores and garden centers.

Social distancing measures remain in effect and Austrians are still encouraged not to leave their homes unless absolutely necessary. All shoppers are required to wear face masks.

3:30 a.m.: Seven crew members on USNS Mercy test positive for virus

A growing number of crew members aboard the USNS Mercy hospital ship docked in Los Angeles have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

A total of seven medical treatment facility crew members have now been infected and are currently isolated off the ship, according to U.S. Navy Cmdr. John Face, a 3rd Fleet spokesman. The first positive case was confirmed on April 9.

Face said everyone who was considered to have been in close contact with the infected individuals remain in quarantine off the ship and have tested negative, with the exception of one crew member who was the fifth positive case.

“The ship is following protocols and taking every precaution to ensure the health and safety of all crew members and patients on board,” Face told ABC News in a statement early Monday. “This will not affect the ability for Mercy to receive patients at this time.”

After arriving in the Port of Los Angeles last month, the USNS Mercy began treating non-coronavirus patients from area hospitals to help free up resources for COVID-19 patients.

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