Dr. Anthony Fauci told senators “it is without a doubt that there will be infections” in the fall and warned of more deaths without adequate response.
As the nation’s premiere infectious disease expert offers a chilling warning of the dangers of prematurely reopening the country, the first global epicenter, Wuhan, China, is drawing up plans to test its entire population for COVID-19.
The consequences for states and communities that don’t follow reopening guidelines “could be really serious,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Tuesday. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is among federal health officials testifying via video.
There are now more than 82,000 deaths and 1.3 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S., according to the Johns Hopkins University data dashboard. Worldwide, the virus has killed more than 291,000 people. More than 4.2 million people have been infected.
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Here are some of the most significant developments today:
- During a hearing on the coronavirus Tuesday, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., asked about the prospects for treatments or a vaccine be ready in time for colleges planning to start classes in August. Fauci warned relying on that prospect was “a bridge too far.”
- Wuhan, China, is planning to test all of its 11 million residents for the coronavirus in a matter of 10 days, according to a report. A handful of new cases have been reported in what was once the world’s hotspot.
- The nation’s largest county “with all certainty” will extend stay-at-home orders through August, according to Los Angeles County health director Barbara Ferrer. And that could skewer when and how major league sports return.
What we’re talking about today: Men may be more vulnerable to the coronavirus than women. A new study could help explain why.
Some good news:Alexander Hamilton meets Disney+. The “Hamilton” movie will premiere on streaming, instead of a 2021 theatrical release. Bonus: Unlike other recent movie musicals this is a filmed version of the stage production – recorded in June 2016. Get more joyful distractions in your inbox.
Los Angeles County closed through August? Sports leagues could be further delayed
The largest county in the nation is expected to extend stay-at-home orders into August, jeopardizing the chances of multiple sports leagues resuming or beginning seasons in a uniform fashion.
Los Angeles County – home to the Lakers, Clippers, Rams, Chargers, Kings, Dodgers, Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game, Sparks, Galaxy, Los Angeles FC, USC and UCLA – will “with all certainty” extend stay-at-home orders for the next three months, county health director Barbara Ferrer told a Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday.
That would extend past the hoped-for early July start Major League Baseball has proposed to the MLB Players’ Association, in addition to the July 14 All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium, which was likely to be postponed anyway.
California has been home to some of the earliest and strictest stay-at-home orders since the pandemic accelerated in March. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday eased the state into what he called “early Stage 2” reopening, most notably allowing for retail curbside pickup and delivery. Stage 3 – which includes sports facilities opening for games without fans – was expected to be a more rigorous leap, though Newsom allowed that there may be variance among individual counties.
— Gabe Lacques
Accidental poisonings from disinfectants continue to rise
For the second consecutive month, accidental poisonings from misuse of disinfectants, bleach and hand sanitizers rose in April compared to last year, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
The AAPCC’s National Poison Data System, which scrapes information from poison control centers across the nation, saw a spike of 122% in reported cases of accidental poisonings related to disinfectants, according to Forbes. That included a 77% jump for bleach and a 56% increase for hand sanitizer.
What is unclear is what effect, if any, President Donald Trump’s comments during a White House briefing on the possibility of disinfectants helping cure coronavirus had on the reported cases.
California State University system to cancel in-person classes this fall
California State University system chancellor Timothy White announced Tuesday that in-person classes at its 23 campuses would be cancelled and replaced with online instruction for the fall semester.
The move impacts schools such as Fresno State, San Diego State and San Jose State.
White made the announcement during a meeting with board of trustees members.
“This virtual planning approach for the next academic year is necessary because of the evolving data surrounding the progression of COVID 19,” White said during the meeting, according to KABC-TV in Los Angeles.
Counterfeit masks reaching frontline health workers in US
An Associated Press investigation has found that millions of medical masks, gloves, gowns and other supplies being used in hospitals across the country are counterfeit, putting lives at risk.
Before the pandemic, federal trade law enforcement agencies were focused on busting knockoffs such as luxury goods and computer software, mostly from China. As America fell sick, the mission shifted to medical supplies. To date, Operation Stolen Promise, spearheaded by Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, has netted 11 arrests and 519 seizures. And yet counterfeit goods continue to pour in — not just masks, but also mislabeled medicines, and fake COVID-19 tests and cures, according to the agency.
“These are really bad times for people who are out there trying to do the right thing and be helpful, and they end up being exploited,” said Steve Francis, HSI’s assistant director for global trade investigations.
– The Associated Press
What you need to know from the 3-hour Senate coronavirus hearing
Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health; Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn; head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Robert Redfield; and Adm. Brett Giroir, the coronavirus “testing czar” at the Department of Health and Human Services, all testified during Tuesday’s Senate hearing on the coronavirus response.
- Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. clashed with Fauci over school reopenings and said child mortality rate from the virus was lower than in adults. “As much as I respect you, Dr. Fauci, I don’t think you’re the end all,” Paul said. “I don’t think you’re the one person who gets to make the decision.” Fauci responded that he had never made himself “to be the end all and only voice in this” but added that officials shouldn’t be “cavalier in thinking that children are completely immune to the deleterious effects” of the coronavirus.
- Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., highlighted differences in how South Korea and the U.S. responded to the coronavirus, saying “We’ve got a long way to go.” When Kaine asked about the death toll, Fauci said, “A death rate that high in any manner or form in my mind is unacceptable.”
- Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., criticized the Trump administration for withholding detailed guidance from states about how to reopen their economies, saying the information that was provided was “criminally vague.” In response, Redfield said the guidance would be released “soon.”
- Murphy later called it “infuriating” that Trump had said the U.S. “prevailed” over the coronavirus.
- Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, criticized Giroir over U.S. testing, saying it was “nothing to celebrate” because the country “treaded water” during the early stages of the pandemic while other countries such as South Korea tested people aggressively to curb the outbreak.
- When asked by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, whether the virus was contained, Fauci said the U.S. was headed “in the right direction” but that “we don’t have it completely under control.”
- Fauci said that while patients treated with Remdesivir recovered 31% faster, he emphasized that the result was “statistically significant, but really modest.
– Bart Jansen, Maureen Groppe and William Cummings
Democrats unveil $3 trillion coronavirus stimulus proposal
State and local governments would share nearly $1 trillion in federal aid to cover coronavirus-related costs and families would get another round of direct payments under a stimulus bill House Democrats unveiled Tuesday.
The more than $3 trillion Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, or HEROES Act, also would expand unemployment assistance, boost food stamps and increase emergency grants to small businesses.
The bill is likely to get a cool reception in the GOP-controlled Senate where leaders have said they want to let the first $2.4 trillion of stimulus spending take full effect before moving on another measure that would pile on to the nation’s soaring debt.
“The families who are suffering know that hunger doesn’t take a pause,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. “The rent doesn’t take a pause. The bills don’t take a pause. The hardship of losing a job or tragically losing a loved one doesn’t take a pause.”
The bill could be brought to the floor for a full vote as early as Friday.
– Ledyard King
52 children diagnosed with inflammatory syndrome in New York City
In New York City, 52 children have been diagnosed with a rare pediatric syndrome possibly linked to the coronavirus, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday. Another 10 cases are pending, he said, and one child has died.
Children elsewhere in the U.S. and in Europe also have been hospitalized with the condition, known as pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome.
“It’s sobering, it’s bluntly frightening,” de Blasio said, “and I want to say to parents out there, if you’re hearing this information about pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome and it sounds scary, it does sound scary.”
– Associated Press
R-0 may be the most important scientific term you’ve never heard of when it comes to stopping the coronavirus pandemic.
Wuhan plans city-wide test for all 11 million residents
Over a 10-day period, the Chinese city of Wuhan plans to administer coronavirus tests to all residents, according to Reuters, which cited an internal document.
Each district was asked to submit by Tuesday a detailed plan for how it could conduct the comprehensive testing in their respective regions. According to BBC News, the document states that older residents and densely-populated regions should be prioritized for testing. The document refers to the testing plan as “The 10-day battle.”
Wuhan, which became the first global epicenter to suffer a coronavirus outbreak, reported a cluster of new cases over the weekend. Wuhan lifted a strict lockdown on April 8. According to the Johns Hopkins University data dashboard, Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, has reported 68,134 cases as of Tuesday morning, with 4,512 deaths.
US donating up to 1,000 ventilators to South Africa
The U.S. government is donating up to 1,000 ventilators and accompanying equipment to South Africa to assist that country’s battle against COVID-19. The U.S. Embassy tweeted that the gift is the first such global donation from the Trump administration – which has drawn criticism for failing to provide meaningful support to nations in need. The U.S.-built ventilators “reflect state-of-the-art and in-demand” technology and cost about $14 million, with the accompanying equipment and related items pushing the value over $20 million, the embassy said in a statement.
“These ventilators are another example of the American spirit of generosity as we battle this virus at home in the United States and together abroad with our partner countries,” Ambassador Lana Marks said.
More coronavirus news and information from USA TODAY
UK extends 80% furlough payments through October
The United Kingdom’s program that pays furloughed workers 80% of their salaries up to about $3,100 per month has been extended through October, the government announced.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the plan, set to expire at the end of July, will continue with greater flexibility, allowing for firms to slowly bring staff back to work part time. Under the current setup, furloughed employees cannot work. “As we reopen the economy, we need to support people to get back to work,” Sunak said.
WHO picks ‘top’ vaccine candidates, hopes to speed development
Work is being accelerated on seven or eight “top” vaccine candidates to combat the coronavirus, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. Tedros, speaking to the U.N. Economic and Social Council, said an effort was underway to compress the timeline of 12 to 18 months that was forecast two months ago – but he provided no new timeline.
Fauci, in testimony Tuesday during a coronavirus hearing before a Senate committee, echoed Tedros’ comments but added that if trials are successful, “we hope to know in the late fall and early winter.”
The top candidates were selected from more than 100 vaccine projects. The effort is being financed by $8 billion in funding pledged by leaders from 40 countries and organizations, although the U.S. is not among them. Tedros said more funding is needed to expedite development and “to make sure that this vaccine reaches everyone — there’s no one (to) be left behind.”
White House has confirmed a second coronavirus case among West Wing staff, this time in VP Mike Pence’s office. President Trump addresses concerns.
70% of US could become infected
Coronavirus has shut down the U.S. for two months, but the pandemic is just getting started, says Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. Osterholm said only an effective vaccine can slow the virus before a large enough segment of the population becomes infected and develops some level of immunity. Even if a vaccine works, Osterholm said, it’s unknown whether it would provide long-lasting protection.
“This damn virus is going to keep going until it infects everybody it possibly can,” Osterholm said at a meeting with the USA TODAY Editorial Board. “It surely won’t slow down until it hits 60% to 70%” of the population.”
– Ken Alltucker
US closing in on 10 million coronavirus tests, Trump claims
The U.S. is on track this week to pass 10 million coronavirus tests conducted, President Donald Trump said in announcing that states would receive $11 billion in additional funding for testing. Trump also said daily tests nationwide would increase “substantially’’ from the current amount, which he pegged at about 300,000.
Anyone who gets near Trump or Vice President Mike Pence is routinely tested every day since multiple White House staffers tested positive. The U.S., however, is a long way from providing that amount of testing in workplaces across the nation. Harvard University researchers have concluded the country would need 5 million daily tests by early June.
The 1.3 million-plus confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. represent one-third of the world total. The U.S. total could rise substantially when testing becomes more pervasive.
– Jeanine Santucci
IRS issues deadline for direct deposit info for stimulus payments
Still waiting on your stimulus stash? The IRS has a new deadline to urge you to act soon if you’re considering entering direct deposit information online at “Get My Payment.” The Internal Revenue Service wants people to take action by noon Wednesday if they want a shot at receiving stimulus cash more quickly via direct deposit. Bank account information can be entered at “Get My Payment” at IRS.gov.
And in other news, the IRS said automatic payments will be sent soon to those receiving Social Security retirement, disability benefits, Railroad Retirement benefits, Veterans Affairs benefits or Supplemental Security Income. No specific timetable was given.
More COVID-19 headlines from USA TODAY
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