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White House asks everyone who left NYC area to self-quarantine for coronavirus; Trump pushes to ease restrictions by mid-April against expert advice

Vice President Pence, along with other White House officials, stressed on March 24 that anyone who recently left New York should self-quarantine for 14 days. (Video: The Washington Post)
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The White House coronavirus task force, citing concern about the high infection rate in the New York City area, is asking everyone who has left that area recently to self-isolate for 14 days, wherever they are.

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Deborah Birx, the response coordinator for the task force, said at a Tuesday news conference that 60 percent of all the new cases in the United States are coming out of the New York City metro area.

“To everyone who has left New York over the last few days, because of the ... number of cases, you may have been exposed before you left New York," Birx said.

President Trump said Tuesday that he wants the country “opened up” by Easter — April 12 — and continued to play down the dangers of the coronavirus pandemic even as experts warned of a worsening crisis.

Here are some significant developments:

  • The number of confirmed cases around the world passed 400,000, suggesting that the global pace of infection continues to increase. Italy reported 743 new deaths, bringing the country’s total to 6,820. France became the fifth country to mark more than 1,000 coronavirus deaths.
  • Liberty University is welcoming students back to campus, while colleges across the county have sent students home to to try slow the spread of coronavirus.
  • Rep. Ben McAdams (D-Utah), who has covid-19, remains hospitalized because of low oxygen levels. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said he tested negative after being in contact with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who later tested positive.
  • The Tokyo Olympics have been postponed until 2021.
  • Ford sent teams of engineers this week to consult with counterparts at 3M and General Electric to ramp up production of 3M respirators, GE ventilators and new 3-D-printed face shields, the companies announced Tuesday.
  • The pandemic has hit the Federal Emergency Management Agency with the most complex disaster it has ever faced, threatening to swamp the agency, current and former FEMA officials say.
  • Terrence McNally, celebrated playwright who chronicled gay lives, died at 81 from complications of covid-19.

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