March 19 coronavirus news
President Trump's notes from Thursday's coronavirus briefing show someone crossed out the word “Corona” in coronavirus and replaced it with the word “Chinese.”
This picture captured by Washington Post Photographer Jabin Botsford, comes as Trump has stepped up his efforts to scapegoat China for the spread of the coronavirus.
The change in tone from the White House comes as the number of cases in the US rises on a daily basis, and despite Trump initially praising China's President Xi Jinping for his handling of the crisis.
After consulting with medical experts and receiving guidance from the World Health Organization, CNN has determined that the term “Chinese virus” is both inaccurate and considered stigmatizing.
Some background: CNN previously reported that a prominent Chinese official has promoted a conspiracy theory that the US military could have brought the novel coronavirus to China — and it did not originate in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Parts of Chinese social media, and even the country's government, appear to have launched a concerted campaign to question the origin of the novel coronavirus, which has infected more than 170,000 people globally as of Tuesday midday, according to CNN's case tracker.
The first reported cases of the virus were in Wuhan, and scenes from the city on lockdown shocked the world. The lockdown gave an early indication for how seriously global authorities would need to combat the fast-spreading virus.
"Viruses know no borders and they don't care about your ethnicity or the color of your skin or how much money you have in the bank," said Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization health emergencies program. "It's really important that we be careful in the language we use."
The Festival de Cannes has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the organizers tweeted Thursday
The film festival's organizers added that “several options are considered in order to preserve its running, the main one being simple postponement, in Cannes, until the end of June-beginning of July, 2020."
The festival was originally planned for May 12-13.
The Pentagon has not received a request from the State Department at this point to operate flights that would be used to fly Americans currently stranded overseas back to the United States, two defense officials tell CNN.
President Trump indicated on Thursday that such planning was already in place for a group of Americans in Peru who are unable to arrange flights home amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“We're trying to get them out. And, you know, they got caught. They were late with their flights. We gave them a period of time. They didn't make it, but we're looking to get them out with military, probably through the military,” Trump said during a news conference Thursday at the White House.
Days after Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced that the Defense Department would use its labs to help conduct coronavirus testing for civilians, a top military medical official said that the military had not yet been asked to do that.
”The department has made our 14 certified coronavirus testing labs available to test non-DOD personnel as well, and we will soon offer two additional labs for that purpose. We hope this will provide excess capacity to the civilian population,” Esper said Tuesday.
Esper repeated this at the White House press conference on Wednesday.
But on Thursday, Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Place, the director of the Defense Health Agency, said “at this time we are only testing DOD beneficiaries...at present we have not been asked to add our laboratories to the myriad labs across the country that have that capability.”
Place added “we are far from being overwhelmed in our laboratories and have the capability to do way more than that.”
Some context: Earlier Thursday, the Pentagon said the Defense Department “currently has 15 labs with 40 test kits available” with a daily capacity of 9,096 tests/day.
It said that 1,574 patients had been tested and that “an additional lab is being prepared at Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Services in Thailand."
There are now 10,995 cases of COVID-19 in France, Jerome Salomon, the director of the French health agency, said on Thursday.
Salomon urged French citizens to respect lockdown measures imposed by the French government.
The US State Department on Thursday issued a worldwide Level 4: Do Not Travel Advisory due the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Department of State advises US citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19,” the updated advisory said. “In countries where commercial departure options remain available, US citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period."
The advisory added: "US citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel. Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice.”
The state of Michigan has reported 226 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing its total to 336.
According to the state’s website today, a total of 2,449 tests have been conducted.
An association representing 290,000 US nurse practitioners says it, and other healthcare providers, “urgently need personal protective equipment” and are asking the Trump administration “to support this priority to the fullest extent of its authority.”
The American Association of Nurse Practitioners are also asking federal and local governments to lift regulations that prevent nurse practitioners from certain functions, the group said in a statement.
President Trump committed to leaving National Guard units under state control during a meeting with the nation's governors at the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency on coronavirus.
The issue was brought up by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.
“I just want to encourage you all to leave the directives with the National Guards with the governors,” Kemp said to the President and other members of the coronavirus task force. "As you all know, I think we’re on the front line of the fight, and we’re in the fight with you, but I believe we can best make those directives based on what’s going on in our state."
Without pausing, Trump agreed.
“I like that idea, Brian. That’s done. I like it,” the President said.