U.S. Cases Rise 2.2%; Nation’s Deaths Pass 140,000: Virus Update

U.S. cases rose 2.2%, above the 1.9% daily average over the last week. The nation’s deaths from Covid-19 reached 140,369, according to data from Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti warned that the city is on the brink of another stay-at-home order. New cases in California accelerated, while the pace of deaths slowed in Arizona and Florida. Texas cases dropped. New York City is set for Phase Four reopening on Monday.

Donald Trump said without evidence that the U.S. has the “best mortality rate” as a poll gave Joe Biden a 15 percentage-point lead over the president. Trump’s handling of the virus was a key topic for voters. Talks on the next coronavirus stimulus package will start at the White House on Monday.

Key Developments:

  • Global Tracker: Cases pass 14.3 million; deaths top 603,000
  • Half of virus patients in hospitals die in Mexico’s Baja state
  • A jobless recovery is becoming a real risk for Europe’s economy
  • Phase four is finally here. What you need to know as NYC reopens
  • Russia is trying to beat the west to a Covid-19 vaccine

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U.S. Cases Rise 2.2%; Nation’s Deaths Pass 140,000: Virus Update

Cases, Deaths Fall in Brazil (5:50 p.m. NY)

Brazil reported 23,529 new cases and 716 deaths, both declines from the day before. The Latin American nation, with the second most severe outbreak after the U.S., now has a total of 2,098,389 cases and 79,488 deaths. The World Health Organization on Friday said that the nation’s outbreak had hit a “plateau” and “is no longer exponential.

Texas Cases Slow (5:26 p.m. NY)

Texas reported 7,300 new cases of Covid-19, after five consecutive days of new infections over 10,000. The state now has a total to 325,030 confirmed cases of the virus. The number of deaths rose by 93 to 3,958, the Department of State Health Services said on its website.

Luxembourg Imposes New Restrictions (5:11 p.m. NY)

Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said he would impose new restrictions after an emergency meeting on rising cases, saying the nation is not respecting measures to curb Covid-19.

‘It’s a reality that restrictions are not being respected by a number of people, making them in some way a risk for others,” Bettel said.

Gatherings in homes and in public will be cut to 10 from 20, and violators will be fined, he said. Businesses that fail to obey virus-related rules could be forced to pay back virus aid, and restaurants or cafes that repeatedly breach the law could be forced to close for three months.

Bolsonaro Says Anti-Virus Measures Kill (4:28 p.m. NY)

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro berated social isolation measures designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, saying they are destroying jobs and compounding pain for Latin America’s largest economy.

Bolsonaro, who is himself recovering from the virus, told supporters outside the presidential palace on Saturday evening that people who are left jobless will end up dying of hunger.

“You have to think about the economy,” he said in the video that was posted on his Facebook page. “It’s no use talking about life, life and life because isolation kills.”

U.S. Virus Cases Rise 2.2%; Deaths Pass 140,000 (4:10 p.m. NY)

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased 2.2%, above the 1.9% daily average over the past week, as of 3:31 p.m. Sunday in New York, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. Deaths rose by 943 to 140,369.

  • Florida hit its fifth consecutive day of cases over 10,000, as Democratic Represenative Donna Shalala called the state’s outbreak “totally out of control.” Daily cases, while above the previous day, were still below the weekly average increase.
  • Deaths in hard-hit Arizona retreated from a record reported Saturday of 147. Another 31 fatalities were reported. Daily cases were below the weekly average.
  • Cases in New York fell the day before the city enters its final Phase Four reopening. In-door dining and other gatherings in closed spaces will remain prohibited.

Ex-CDC Head Warns of Racial Disparities in Schools (3:30 p.m. NY)

The racial disparities seen in how coronavirus affects more minorities may be replicated in schools as they re-open if not careful, Richard Besser, former acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on CBS.

“If we’re not intentional in making sure that doesn’t happen, it will happen,” Besser said. “Wealthy communities are going to be able to make the adjustments to their schools.”

“In low-income communities, schools have been under invested in,” Besser said. “Without additional resources we will see children of color, black and brown children, disproportionally affected as schools re-open.”

Chile Unveils Reopening Plan (3:21 p.m. NY)

Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera unveiled a five-stage plan to reopen the economy as the coronavirus pandemic eases in the Latin American nation for a fifth week. The lifting of restrictions will depend on epidemiological indicators, the assistance network and traceability in each region of the country.

Chile has a total of 330,930 cases of Covid-19 and 8,503 fatalities.

Gottlieb Sees Virus Spreading in Mid-South (3:19 p.m. NY)

While the recent focus has been on Florida, Arizona and California, other potential epicenters of epidemic spread are starting to emerge, former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on CBS.

“You have to be very worried right now about Georgia, about Tennessee, about Missouri and about Kentucky. We’re seeing record numbers of cases, rising hospitalizations and really a shifting of the center of the epidemic, potentially, in the United States,” he said.

“We’ve been unable to find some kind of an acceptable medium in this country between hapless spread and strict lockdowns,” Gottlieb said. “If we could come to a consensus about some reasonable measures that we all agree to take, we could potentially get this under control and keep this under control.”

Mask-Wearing Divide ‘Bizarre,’ NIH Chief Says (3:15 p.m. NY)

It’s “bizarre” that mask-wearing in the U.S. has become so partisan, the director of the National Institutes of Health said on NBC. The “divide between different political perspectives” is “getting in the way” of curbing the coronavirus, said NIH chief Frances Collins. He said mask-wearing shouldn’t be optional as the nation attempts to tamp down the Covid-19 outbreak running at record levels.

Explaining how the virus came roaring back through the South and West, Collins said states didn’t follow safety directives.

“The rest of the country, perhaps imagining this was just a New York problem, kind of went about their business, didn’t really pay that much attention to CDC’s recommendations about the phases necessary to open up safely,” he said.

California New Cases Above Average (2:08 p.m. NY)

California reported 9,329 new cases on Sunday, more than the 14-day average of 8,487, according to the health department’s website. There have been 384,692 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state. Deaths climbed by 90 to 7,685.

Trump Stimulus Talks Start Monday (2:04 p.m. NY)

Talks on a new coronavirus stimulus package will start at the White House on Monday with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and others, President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, said on Fox News Channel.

The administration is balking at $25 billion in new funding favored by Republican lawmakers to help states with coronavirus testing and contact tracing, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Rome Region Warns of New Lockdown (12:55 p.m. NY)

Rome and its surroundings could go under lockdown again, a regional health commissioner warned, after 17 new cases were reported, including 10 from other countries, the Associated Press reported.

“We can’t turn back and waste all the efforts done till now,” Lazio Region Health Commissioner Alessio D’Amato said.

Arizona Deaths Drop From Record (12:20 p.m. NY)

Arizona reported 31 deaths, down from a record of 147 the previous day. It reported another 2,359 cases, a 1.7% rise below the average 2.4% increase over the past week. The state, one of several hotspots in the south and west, now has a total of 143,624 cases and 2,761 cases.

Los Angeles ‘On the Brink’ of New Restrictions (12:11 p.m. NY)

Los Angeles, facing a renewed onslaught of the coronavirus, may be “on the brink” of new restrictions, said Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Another stay-at-home order was an option, Garcetti, a Democrat, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. But he emphasized that the city still had room in hospitals and is testing aggressively.

The mayor said he favors a “surgical” response “rather than a cleaver that would just shut everything down.”

No Fatalities in Italy’s Lombardy Region (11:35 a.m. NY)

Italy’s hard-hit Lombardy region reported no coronavirus deaths on Sunday, the first time since Feb. 22.

The entire nation registered 219 new coronavirus cases, health ministry data showed, compared with 249 on Saturday.

Italy had a one-day peak of 6,557 new infections on March 21; a total of 244,434 cases have been reported since the end of February. The country had 3 coronavirus-linked deaths, compared with 14 the day before, leaving total fatalities at 35,045.

Florida Cases Rise Over 10,000 for 5th Day (11:18 a.m. NY)

Florida reported 12,478 new virus cases, up from 10,328 the day before. The 3.7% daily increase was below the weekly average of 4.1%. It marked the fifth consecutive day with more than 10,000 cases.

New deaths among Florida residents dropped slightly to 87, from 90 the day before, for a total of 4,982.

Florida Virus ‘Out of Control’: Ex-HHS Chief (11:10 a.m. NY)

Democratic Representative Donna Shalala said Florida’s Covid-19 outbreak is “totally out of control” and called for a lockdown of the third most-populous U.S. state.

“It’s terrible,” and talking about reopening schools is “ridiculous,” Shalala, whose South Florida district sits within Miami-Dade County, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

She faulted the Trump administration and Governor Ron DeSantis for reopening the state too soon.

U.K Cases Rise 0.2% (11 a.m NY)

Cases in the U.K. rose 0.2%, in line with the increase over the previous seven days. Another 726 cases were identified, bringing the total to 294,792. Fatalities rose to 45,300, an increase of 27.

Hundreds of people gathered in Hyde Park in central London to protest against wearing masks, the Evening Standard reported. Face coverings will be required in shops in England starting on Friday, following a similar move in Scotland.

Trump Calls Fauci ‘Alarmist’ (9:50 a.m. NY)

President Donald Trump said Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious-disease expert, is a “little bit of an alarmist” but that the two men have a “great relationship.”

Trump made the comments in a lengthy interview on “Fox News Sunday” after members of his administration have criticized Fauci. The president also said he’d heard the U.S. has the “best mortality rate” related to the virus. He provided White House data that undercut his argument, showing the U.S. rate isn’t the lowest.

“We are the envy of the world,” Trump said about testing.

New York Cases Drop as City Reopens (9:45 a.m. NY)

New York reported 502 new virus cases, a 0.1% rise compared to the weekly average increase of 0.2%. Another 13 deaths were reported.

The drop comes as New York City, once the center of the nation’s Covid-19 outbreak, prepares to enter its final Phase Four reopening on Monday. Low-risk outdoor events, like zoos and botanical gardens, will open again, and movie shoots can resume. Sports can restart, but with no fans. And no gyms, museums or indoor dining.

Russia Rejects Vaccine Hacking Charge (6:12 a.m. NY)

Russia’s ambassador to the U.K., Andrei Kelin, rejected allegations that hackers linked to the country’s intelligence services targeted British coronavirus vaccine research, and accused Britain of cyber attacks against Russia.

Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre said on Thursday that vaccine and therapeutic sectors in multiple countries have been targeted by a group known as APT29, which it said is “almost certainly” part of Russian state intelligence. Security agencies in the U.S. and Canada later backed the findings.

Hong Kong Extends Measures as Cases Climb (5 p.m. HK)

Hong Kong reported more than 100 new infections on Sunday. Masks must now also be worn in indoor public areas beyond public transportation, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said at a press conference on Sunday. Social-distancing measures including restaurant restrictions and gym closures will remain in place for another week, she said.

Civil servants in the former British colony will be working from home starting Monday, and the government will only offer necessary and emergency services.

Tokyo Cases Drop, Government Looks to Do More (3:18 p.m. HK)

Japanese people are increasingly discontent with the government’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak in the country, according to a newspaper poll. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga called for a legal change that would support businesses that close in cooperation with authorities’ efforts to contain the virus.

Tokyo on Sunday confirmed 188 new coronavirus cases, broadcaster NHK reported, the first time in four days the new cases have been below 200.

Older Children Are Highly Contagious, Korea Study Finds (11:50 a.m. HK)

A study of thousands of coronavirus cases in South Korea found that children younger than 10 are much less likely to pass on the disease compared to older children, who are as contagious as adults if not more so. One of the most comprehensive studies to date, the findings could have broad implications for when, whether and how schools reopen in affected countries around the world.

State-level data from the U.S. suggests that the virus is spreading more rapidly among children and teenagers than previously thought. Researchers have struggled to understand the impact of Covid-19 on kids, because testing hasn’t been widely available to people with mild or no symptoms, as is the case with a lot of pediatric infections.

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