Coronavirus pandemic in the US
Our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic in the US has ended for the day. Follow the latest developments from around the globe here.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, there has been a 600% increase in demand for food bank assistance in South Florida, according to Feeding South Florida.
To keep up with the demand, 45 members of the Florida National Guard have been deployed to help sort and pack family meal boxes and help with receiving and shipping docks.
Feeding South Florida says it is serving about 265,000 people per week in Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.
The Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector general announced a probe into the process used by the Food and Drug Administration to authorize coronavirus tests, according to a post on the IG’s website.
That process, known as “Emergency Use Authorization,” or EUA, has faced criticism from some lab directors and personnel throughout the country who say they were ready to begin testing residents in their communities during the early stages of the virus’ spread but couldn’t due to regulations at the FDA, CNN previously reported.
The inspector general’s office “will examine FDA's EUA processes and any challenges it may have faced regarding EUAs for COVID-19 diagnostic tests and serological tests for antibodies developed in response to the viral infection,” the post said.
While private and public labs have worked to ramp up testing capacity in recent months, coronavirus diagnostic testing initially lagged after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a flawed test in February.
Coronavirus is likely to keep spreading for at least another 18 months to two years — until 60% to 70% of the population worldwide has been infected, a team of longstanding pandemic experts predicted Thursday in a new report.
They recommended that the US prepare for a worst-case scenario that includes a second big wave of coronavirus infections in the fall and winter. Even in a best-case scenario, people will continue to die from the virus, they predicted.
“This thing’s not going to stop until it infects 60 to 70% of people,” Michael Osterholm, who directs the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota, told CNN. “The idea that this is going to be done soon defies microbiology.”
Osterholm has been writing about the risk of pandemics for 20 years and has advised several presidents.
Because Covid-19 is new, no one has any immunity, the report said.
“The length of the pandemic will likely be 18 to 24 months, as herd immunity gradually develops in the human population,” the report states.
Osterholm wrote the report along with Harvard School of Public Health epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch, who is also a top expert on pandemics; Dr. Kristine Moore, a former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention epidemiologist who is now medical director for CIDRAP; and historian John Barry, who wrote the 2004 book “The Great Influenza” about the 1918 flu pandemic.
The California Police Chiefs Association apologized Thursday after a memo sent to top law enforcement officers across the state incorrectly claimed California Gov. Gavin Newsom would order the closure of all the state's beaches and parks starting this Friday.
Newsom on Thursday announced only beaches in Orange County would be closed, not all beaches statewide as the memo stated.
"Yesterday, the Executive Board of the California Police Chiefs Association was invited to participate on a conference call with public safety leaders from Governor Gavin Newsom’s Administration,” the statement said. “The call centered on issues with crowding at public beaches and related public health issues of COVID-19. In an ever-changing environment, we sent out information regarding decisions that were still evolving, which was regrettably shared outside of our police chief membership and we apologize for the undue concern that caused to the public, our colleagues, the Governor and his staff.”
The California Police Chiefs Association represents the state’s municipal police chiefs whose agencies protect over 26 million Californians, it said.
Asked about the police chiefs memo earlier Thursday, Newsom said, “That memo never got to me.”
“We just want to focus on where there’s a problem in a smart, strategic way,” the governor said, noting that he has been concerned about scenes showing crowds at beaches in recent days.
“We don’t want to be heavy handed about these things,” he said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office has directed the New York State Department of Corrections to begin the release of pregnant, non-violent, inmates who have six months or less remaining on their sentences, Melissa DeRosa, the secretary to the governor, said in a statement Thursday.
"Earlier today, we directed DOCCS to begin the release of pregnant non-violent offenders with six months or less remaining on their sentence. We will continue to monitor the Covid situation as it impacts every aspect of our state, including prisons, and make adjustments as appropriate,” DeRosa said.
New York state had previously released inmates with less than 90 days on their sentence who were 55 or older and whose underlying crime was not a violent felony or a sex offense. New York had also lifted technical parole violation warrants for individuals who didn’t pose a threat to public safety.
The United States' three biggest airlines -- American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines -- each said Thursday they will now require their passengers to wear masks.
The Delta and United policy takes effect on Monday and the American policy takes effect a week later, on May 11.
These airlines join JetBlue, Frontier, and Lufthansa, which have made similar announcements.
This post was updated to reflect the United Airlines mask policy.
President Trump discussed what aid to states and localities might look like as part of a phase four stimulus package.
Trump was asked if he would support giving $1 trillion dollars to states and localities, a number floated by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Trump said that Democrats want to help the states in the form of bailouts. He also said that it was states with Democratic governors that are asking for money.
“They happen to be Democratic states. It's California, it’s New York, it’s Illinois, you start with those three. And the Republican states are in strong shape. You know, I don't know, is that luck or talent? Or is it just a different mentality? But the Republican run states are in strong shape,” Trump said.
Trump said that Democrats should have brought funding for states up earlier when Republicans wanted certain things.
“Maybe the Democrats should have brought this up earlier when we wanted certain things. And I said specifically, let's look at it later on down the road,” Trump said.
Democrats pushed to have funding for states included in the most recent stimulus package, but ultimately passed the stimulus without it. Pelosi has said that state and local funding will be included in the next stimulus package.
"We will have state and local and we will have it in a very significant way," Pelosi said on CNN's State of the Union on Sunday.
Trump said that Republicans are in a much better negotiating position on funding for states and if they agree to it, Republicans “have to get something for it.”
“I think we want to take a little bit of a pause but if we do that we have to get something for it,” Trump said.
When asked about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s remarks that states should declare bankruptcy, Trump said, “I have spoken to him about it very strongly and we are going to see what happens. We will take a little bit of a pause, we’ll see what happens, but some states are in trouble,” Trump said.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the state's modified stay-at-home order will allow more flexibility "where it is safe" to do so.
The order will go into effect Friday, May 1.
State parks, golf courses, retail stores, and garden centers are some of the few places that are reopening with strict social measures.
Elective surgeries that have been put off due to the crisis can also now be scheduled in surgery centers and hospitals, Pritzker said.
He also will require everyone in the state to wear a face mask when possible.
"Tomorrow will be the first day where adults and any children over the age of two and everyone medically able to tolerate a face covering will be required to wear one in public places where they can't maintain a 6-foot social distance," he said.