Vice President Mike Pence was back to work at the White House on Monday after Trump administration officials denied a report Sunday that he was self-isolating.
Meanwhile, in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is scheduled to release more details about reopening, a day after revealing new rules for nursing homes, a hot spot for coronavirus deaths in the state.
There were nearly 80,000 deaths and more than 1.3 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. early Monday, according to the John Hopkins University data dashboard. Worldwide, the virus has killed more than 282,000 people and surpassed 4.1 million infections.
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Here are some of the most significant developments Monday:
- Trump administration officials denied a report that Vice President Mike Pence is self-isolating and said he would be back at work in the White House on Monday.
- The man identified as New York’s coronavirus “patient zero” is home now and says he feels much better.
- Foodborne illness investigations have slowed and food recalls have plummeted because of disruptions in the U.S. food safety system caused by the coronavirus, a USA TODAY investigation found.
Good news: Visitors in face masks streamed into Shanghai Disneyland as the theme park reopened Monday in a high-profile step toward reviving tourism.
What we’re talking about today: A photo of a crowded flight posted on Twitter by a California cardiologist returning from the New York City area may hint at the difficulties of social distancing as air travel picks up again.
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MLB plan for games in July ‘an aggressive timetable,’ KC mayor says
Major League Baseball’s hopes of playing games without fans in attendance as early as July in as many of its home cities as possible “is an aggressive timetable,” Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas says. USA TODAY Sports reached out to the mayors of all MLB cities, as well as governors in select states, and the roughly one-third who responded, Lucas among them, revealed a caution to bringing back sports before data indicate it is safe.
“How low can you push the risk and how much risk will you tolerate in the name of baseball?” said Lawrence Gostin, director of the WHO Collaborating Center on National & Global Health Law. “That’s the bottom line.”
– Gabe Lacques and Rachel Axon
England, Germany, France begin reopening schools, businesses
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson “actively encouraged” people who can’t work from home to go to their jobs while shops and elementary schools across Germany and France reopened Monday. In the Netherlands, libraries are also opening, and hairdressers, nail technicians, beauticians, masseuses and occupational therapists are back at work. Spain is keeping schools closed but is allowing churches and mosques to reopen at less than capacity.
Johnson’s announcement Sunday night was met with widespread confusion Monday morning as some people raced back to work. His administration later suggested the true start date would be Wednesday. More details were to be released later Monday.
New York’s ‘patient zero’ back home and feeling much better
The man identified as New York’s coronavirus “patient zero” remembers going to the emergency room in February. The next thing he remembers is waking up from a coma. Lawrence Garbuz told NBC’s Today show he thought he just had a cough. At that point, the disease was not on his radar and New York had not yet taken strict measures to prevent the spread of the disease.
“I’m a lawyer. I sit at a desk all day,” he said. “I think at the time we were sort of focusing on individuals who had maybe traveled internationally, something that I had not done.”
But the outbreak in his town of New Rochelle prompted the governor to create a “containment zone,” which shut down schools and places of worship before the rest of the state was under stay-at-home orders. Garbuz, 50, said he didn’t have any pre-existing conditions. He is home now and said he feels much better.
Parties divided over makeup of next bailout bill
Trump administration economic advisers will conduct a conference call Monday with senators from both sides of the aisle as leaders struggle to agree on a new economic stimulus plan. Trump wants a payroll tax cut that Democrats have flat-out opposed. Democrats are adamant about more funding for state and local governments. And some Republicans would rather wait and see how the nearly $3 trillion in already approved relief pans out. Pressure for another package could intensify, however, amid predictions that unemployment could approach the 25% rate reached during the Great Depression.
“Before we take up any new bill, let’s have hearings,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tells USA TODAY. “As states open up, there will be a difference of what’s needed today than is needed tomorrow.”
– Christal Hayes and Michael Collins
Food safety investigations, recalls plummet
Foodborne illness investigations have slowed and food recalls have plummeted because of disruptions in the U.S. food safety system caused by the coronavirus, a USA TODAY investigation found. The pandemic struck the system at every level – from the federal agencies tasked with stopping contaminated food before it leaves farms and factories to the state health departments that test sick residents for foodborne illnesses such as E. coli. Experts say there is no evidence yet of resulting widespread health issues, but food safety advocates say Americans are now more at risk.
“We have so many different safeguards built into our system, and one by one COVID is knocking pieces out,” said Sarah Sorscher, deputy director of regulatory affairs at the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
– Kyle Bagenstose
NYC Mayor de Blasio unveils effort to combat form of Kawasaki Disease
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced a plan to test all kids with symptoms of Kawasaki Disease for coronavirus and its antibodies. Thirty-eight city children are suffering from the symptoms and one has died, he said. Statewide, three young people have died and more than 80 have or are suffering from fever, rash, abdominal pain and vomiting linked to a form of Kawasaki Disease, authorities say. Almost all have tested positive for coronavirus or the antibodies that reflect exposure to the virus.
A health alert was being sent to the city’s public school parents, and child enrichment centers were being urged to increase enforcement of face coverings, masks and hand sanitizer, de Blasio said.
“To every parent out there: Early detection is the key to fighting this,” de Blasio said. “It can be treated. If you see these symptoms, take them seriously and act immediately.”
Trump administration reportedly to accuse China of hacking vaccine data
The Trump administration is reportedly planning to accuse China of attempting to hack information from U.S. researchers scrambling to develop a coronavirus vaccine. Federal officials believe hackers are exploiting the pandemic and searching for “valuable intellectual property and public health data through illicit means related to vaccines, treatments and testing,” The New York Times reports. A draft of the warning expected to be released within the next few days by the FBI and Homeland Security delves into cybertheft and action by ]”‘nontraditional actors” – researchers and students allegedly tapped to steal data from inside academic and private laboratories, the Times reports.. The Wall Street Journal published a similar report.
Blue Angels, Thunderbirds plan more flyovers to honor front-line workers
As part of a tribute to front-line workers fighting the coronavirus, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the Air Force Thunderbirds will fly over five cities this week.
The Blue Angels will visit the skies over Detroit, Chicago and Indianapolis on Tuesday, and the Thunderbirds will fly over Austin and San Antonio on Wednesday.
The flyovers are part of a Pentagon plan to fly over nearly three dozen major American cities. Both groups have already conducted joint and separate flyovers in cities including Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, New Orleans and Dallas.
States reopening: Alabama, Arizona, South Carolina to reopen restaurants
The start of the new week will bring significant steps toward normalcy across the U.S. Alabama, Arizona and South Carolina will permit dine-in service with occupancy restrictions at restaurants, New Hampshire will allow hair salons, barbershops, retail stores and drive-in movie theaters to open again for business, and Arkansas will allow dental offices to reopen.
Also, Minnesota will allow dentists, doctors and veterinarians to resume elective surgeries. Find out the latest news in your state.
National Park Service tests access in Utah, preps visitors for ‘new normal’
After closing amid the coronavirus pandemic, the National Park Service is testing public access at several parks across the nation, including two in Utah, with limited offerings and services.
Visitor centers and campgrounds remain largely shuttered at Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef national parks, but visitors are welcome at some of the sites.
Acting Park Service Director David Vela said visitors should steel themselves for a “new normal” that will not likely square with their last trip.
Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander to self-quarantine for 14 days
Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander will self-quarantine for 14 days after a member of his staff tested positive for COVID-19. The 79-year-old Republican is doing well and has no symptoms of the respiratory illness, according to a Sunday night statement from his office. He tested negative for COVID-19 last week.
Because of his age, Alexander is among older adults who are considered at high risk for the coronavirus, which has killed nearly 80,000 Americans and more than 280,000 worldwide.
Little information has been released about the staffer who tested positive, but the senator’s office said that person is recovering and doing well. Alexander will continue to oversee the Senate health committee hearing during his self-quarantine.
– Anna Celia Gallegos, The Tennessean
White House denies report that Vice President Mike Pence is self-isolating
Vice President Mike Pence is not self-isolating and was planning to be back at work in the White House on Monday, a Pence spokesman said, denying a published report.
The story by Bloomberg came two days after his press secretary tested positive for the virus. Earlier in the week, a valet for President Donald Trump also tested positive. In addition, three members of the White House coronavirus task force entered quarantine after being close to someone diagnosed with COVID-19. Both Trump and Pence have tested negative.
“Vice President Pence will continue to follow the advice of the White House Medical Unit and is not in quarantine,” spokesman Devin O’Malley said in a statement. “Additionally, Vice President Pence has tested negative every single day and plans to be at the White House tomorrow.”
As part of new protocols announced Sunday, Trump and Pence will be tested daily for the virus, as will every staff member in close proximity to them. White House guests will be tested, work spaces will undergo regular deep cleaning, and staff will follow social distancing guidelines, undergo daily temperature checks and have their symptom histories reviewed.
– Michael Collins
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New York sets new rules for nursing homes, a hot spot for coronavirus
As its rate of new infections and deaths from COVID-19 continues to slow, New York state is taking new measures to protect those most susceptible to the disease.
Nursing homes that can’t provide a prescribed level of care for patients for any reason will have to transfer them to another facility or contact the state department of health, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced at his Sunday news briefing.
In addition, nursing homes that can’t treat coronavirus-positive residents will have to do the same. Cuomo also said nursing home staffs will be required to get tested for the virus twice a week, and hospitals won’t be allowed to discharge patients to those facilities unless they have tested negative for COVID-19.
“This virus uses nursing homes. They are ground zero,’’ Cuomo said. “They are the vulnerable population in the vulnerable location. It’s a congregation of vulnerable people.’’
More coronavirus news and information from USA TODAY
LGBTQ community fears coronavirus will impact census outreach
For decades, LGBTQ people have battled for a seat at the census table.
Then in 2020, there came a beacon of hope when same-sex couples living together were included in the 10-year survey for the first time, even though sexual orientation and gender identity questions were absent. Advocates rallied the LGBTQ community, urging full participation.
Then in the midst of rollout this spring, a global health crisis erupted – upending lives and tangling census outreach efforts.
“Because of social distancing, people are not out there pushing the census,” said Glennda Testone, executive director of New York’s LGBT Community Center. “My fear is that the response numbers will go down.”
– Susan Miller
The secret to fighting COVID-19 could be in recovered patients. Here’s how antibodies could lead to a treatment for those fighting coronavirus.
Unemployment rate may pass 20%, White House adviser tells CBS
White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett believes the unemployment rate could rise above 20% and the worst job losses would come in “May or June” because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
When asked Sunday what the “bottom” of the country’s unemployment pain would be, Hassett, who advises the Trump administration on economic policy and is the former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, told CBS’s “Face the Nation,” “to get unemployment rates like the ones that we’re about to see … which I think will climb up toward 20% by next month, you have to really go back to the Great Depression to see that.”
When asked about the “low point” in the unemployment rate, he said: “I’m looking for rates north of 20, sadly.”
The U.S. lost 20.5 million jobs in April, and the unemployment rate rose to 14.7%, both record-high numbers as the nation felt the economic effects of the coronavirus. Social distancing measures have forced the closures of businesses across the country, leading to employee layoffs and furloughs.
– Nicholas Wu
More COVID-19 headlines from USA TODAY
Contributing: The Associated Press
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