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The United States, which recorded its first confirmed case two months ago, now has more than 100,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, as reported by states’ health departments. The nation passed 10,000 cases on March 19 and on Thursday became the country with the most confirmed cases.

Shortly after signing a sweeping $2 trillion coronavirus spending package into law, President Trump moved to curb oversight provisions in the legislation and assert presidential authority over a new inspector general’s office created to monitor the disbursement of loans. The decision could set up a momentous battle between the White House and Congress as the administration implements the new law.

Here are some significant developments:

  • President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act on Friday to force General Motors to manufacture ventilators. U.S. cities have reported acute shortages of masks, test kits and ventilators.
  • Trump also signed the $2 trillion emergency spending bill, which the House passed on Friday, to combat the economic effects of the pandemic.
  • Italy reported 919 coronavirus deaths in one day — the largest single-day toll reported by any country. The known death toll from the coronavirus has surpassed 25,000 globally.
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for the virus and is self-isolating but will continue to be active in governing.
  • The New York City area is the current U.S. epicenter, but the number of confirmed cases is beginning to surge elsewhere. “We also see hot spots like Detroit, like Chicago, like New Orleans, will have a worse week next week,” the surgeon general said Friday.
  • A Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that 9 in 10 Americans are staying home “as much as possible” and practicing social distancing to lessen the risk of becoming infected.
2:37 a.m.
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New Yorkers show appreciation for essential workers with citywide applause

By Samantha Pell

As the fight against the coronavirus pandemic continues, New York residents showed their appreciation for the city’s essential workers Friday night with a two-minute round of applause.

Using the hashtag #ClapBecauseWeCare, the initiative was planned through social media by the Karla Otto public relations agency. Citywide, people were advised that wherever they were at 7 p.m. — gardens, living rooms — they should show their respect and begin clapping.

The initiative asked city residents to “come together to clap and celebrate for all the doctors, nurses, health-care workers, grocery store workers, restaurant workers, truck drivers, sanitation workers, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and whoever else deserves a round of applause for their continued, essential work.”

It is the first time this mass display of gratitude for essential workers has been conducted in New York City. It has been seen in Europe and in Britain in recent days.

1:47 a.m.
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Trump says he just wants governors to be ‘appreciative’ of White House efforts

By Colby Itkowitz and Hannah Knowles

In discussing the federal government’s assistance to the states, Trump said he advises Pence not to call governors who aren’t appreciative of what the administration is doing in its response to the coronavirus.

“Mike, don’t call the governor of Washington. You’re wasting your time,” Trump said during the White House media briefing. “Don’t call the woman in Michigan. . . . You know what I say: ‘If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call.’ ”

Asked what he wanted from the two governors he referenced — Jay Inslee of Washington and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan — Trump said, All I want them to do, very simple, I want them to be appreciative. I don’t want them to say things that aren’t true. I want them to be appreciative.”

Trump, who often measures people by their praise of him, listed the governors who had been complimentary but said, “You know, a couple people aren’t. We have done a hell of a job. The federal government has really stepped up.”

Later Friday evening, Inslee — who has sparred with the president online and in person before — tweeted a response to Trump’s criticism.

“I’m not going to let personal attacks from the president distract me from what matters: beating this virus and keeping Washingtonians healthy,” he wrote.

Then, shortly after 9 p.m., Trump derided Whitmer as “way in over her [head]” while deploying an insulting nickname.

“Likes blaming everyone for her own ineptitude!” he wrote.

Earlier Friday evening, Whitmer had emphasized in a video posted to Twitter that her state needs more medical equipment, calling Michigan a “hot spot” for the virus.

“It’s on all of us to lock arms and to meet this challenge and to remember the enemy is covid-19,” she urged.

1:23 a.m.
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Cuomo says New York has secured about half of the ventilators it needs

By Samantha Pell

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) said Friday night that his state has secured about half of the 30,000 ventilators it needs.

“We need ventilators and we need them now. … My possible apex is 14 days away,” Cuomo told Chris Hayes on MSNBC. “If I don’t have the ventilators in 14 days, Chris, people die.”

Cuomo said his state has received 4,000 ventilators from the federal government. New York had 4,000 in its own hospital system and bought 7,000 more ventilators, in addition to a scattered number of orders which “may or may not” come in, he said.

Cuomo estimated the price of a single ventilator at $2,500.

“We’re scrambling to buy them all across the world. … In a cruel irony, states are bidding against other states, Chris, for the same materials and they are actually bidding up the price,” Cuomo said.

During his Friday news conference, President Trump continued to double down on his comments that New York’s estimates of needing 30,000 ventilators, or more, were high.

“Maybe you send out too much equipment, so what,” Cuomo said. “The real crime and the heartburn is if you have too little. And I’m not even taking an aggressive model. I have a reasonable, numeric model based on our numbers.”

1:10 a.m.
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Biden to Trump: ‘Do your job. Stop personalizing everything.’

By Meryl Kornfield

Former vice president Joe Biden took swings at President Trump’s response to the coronavirus crisis, saying Trump was taking criticism from governors personally, during a live CNN town hall Friday focused on the outbreak.

“This is not personal,” the Democratic presidential hopeful told CNN’s Anderson Cooper via satellite from his home studio in Delaware. “It has nothing to do with you, Donald Trump. Do your job. Stop personalizing everything. Stop it.”

Trump had singled out Democratic Govs. Jay Inslee of Washington and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan earlier Friday, during a White House press briefing, as unappreciative of federal support while their states have been ravaged by the virus. Trump told reporters he instructed Vice President Pence not to speak with Inslee and Whitmer, but Pence has done so anyway.

“Mike, don’t call the governor of Washington. You’re wasting your time,” Trump said. “Don’t call the woman in Michigan. … You know what I say: ‘If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call.’ ”

Biden said he had talked to multiple Democratic governors, naming Inslee and Whitmer, but didn’t say which Republican governors he’s spoken with.

Biden called for all states to be shut down, advice that stands in opposition to Trump, who has not called for a nationwide lockdown and has said he hopes the nation will reopen by Easter.

“Two weeks in what is going to be a long fight to deal with this is a small price to pay,” Biden said.

He predicted that Americans will have to self-isolate until June, based on what he has heard from medical experts.

12:54 a.m.
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Treating Fido via FaceTime: Veterinarians adapt as the coronavirus spreads

By Kim Kavin

In January, Jen Reeder’s Labrador retriever Rio had a life-threatening bout of colitis. He pulled through after a weekend at Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital in Colorado, but when he started suffering from diarrhea on March 16, Reeder called the veterinarian.

The novel coronavirus crisis already had forced restaurants and bars to close, and people were being urged to stay home. But the vet said Rio needed to come in.

Only Rio, however. When Reeder arrived at the clinic, “a nice lady in a lab coat and mask came out and handed us a clipboard and a hot-pink, giant laminated card,” she said.

Soon, a masked technician came to collect Rio from the car. The dog jumped out and pulled his leash taut — creating just enough social distance so that the tech could put a different leash on him. He was delivered back to Reeder after the visit and, within a couple days, he was outside chasing squirrels.

As the virus spreads, veterinarians across the country are creating new systems for treating animals — both to protect clients and staff and to keep their businesses open. From curbside patient pickup and telemedicine to canceled elective surgeries and rationed masks and gowns, they are implementing their own version of improvisation and adaptation, just like doctors in human hospitals.

“We’re doing everything that we can to keep ourselves open,” said veterinarian Janisse Cailles, owner of Oldwick Animal Hospital in Whitehouse Station, N.J. “Dogs don’t recognize snowstorms, holidays or, as it turns out, pandemics. The pets expect us to be available, or certainly their owners do.”

12:14 a.m.
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U.S. becomes first country to record 100,000 confirmed coronavirus cases

By Hannah Knowles

The United States, which recorded its first confirmed case two months ago, now has more than 100,000 cases of the coronavirus, as reported by states’ health departments. The nation passed 10,000 cases on March 19 and on Thursday became the country with the most confirmed cases.

The United States surpassed China in confirmed coronavirus cases Thursday as the pandemic continued to slow in the country where it began, though Wuhan’s dwindling case counts have been called into question by independent reporting and treated with suspicion from experts.

As Chinese leaders tout their strict measures to contain the virus as effective, the coronavirus’s toll has only intensified elsewhere in the world. Earlier this month, health officials declared Europe the crisis’s new epicenter, and coronavirus-related deaths in the United States topped 1,000 on Thursday.

12:13 a.m.
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Four unaccompanied immigrant children in federal custody have tested positive, court filing says

By Maria Sacchetti

Four immigrant children in federal custody without their parents have tested positive for covid-19 in a single facility in New York state, according to a Justice Department court filing Friday.

The infected children are “in isolation,” according to the court filing, and are being monitored and cared for in compliance with Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

U.S. officials did not disclose the minors’ ages and nationalities or the facility’s name in the filing. Unaccompanied minors are typically taken into custody after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border without their parents and are held in ORR shelters until they can be placed with their parents or legal guardians.

The court filing was in response to immigration lawyers’ efforts to hasten the release of the unaccompanied minors, fearing the dormitory-style residences will spread the disease.

The four are among 18 minors tested for covid-19, according to the court filing. Eleven tested negative and three tests are pending.

Eight staff members and foster parents in five programs that care for minors in New York, Washington state and Texas also tested positive for the virus.

Jallyn Sualog, deputy director of ORR, said in a footnote in the records that three minors were unable to get tested “due to the particular community’s system for allocating tests among primary care providers,” and said officials were monitoring the situation to ensure they would be tested.

ORR is currently overseeing care for 3,374 minors, a sharp drop from the nearly 12,000 minors in custody this time last year.

ORR said it stopped placing minors in New York, California and Washington on March 9 because of the outbreak.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s family residential centers in Texas and Pennsylvania have had zero positive tests among residents or staff, the court records show. But two adult detainees in New Jersey and five detention employees in Colorado, New Jersey and Texas have tested positive, according to ICE’s website. Nineteen ICE employees who do not work in detention facilities have also tested positive.

12:00 a.m.
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Panera Bread and McLane Global vow to help deliver school meals

By Laura Meckler

Two companies said Friday they will help to package and deliver food to children who normally depend on school for breakfast and lunch. Appearing at a White House briefing on the coronavirus, executives with Panera Bread and McLane Global said they will assist families who are having trouble picking up meals offered by their districts.

Distributing food has been one of the biggest challenges for many school districts that are closed because of the pandemic. Before schools closed, they served free lunches to more than 20 million students who qualified based on income. Feeding children has become part of the mission of public schools, even when class is out of session, with many opening cafeterias during the summertime and extended weather closures.

Many school districts are offering “grab and go” service, where families can pick up meals from a central location. But this can be difficult for children who live far away, for instance in rural areas.

McLane said the help will focus on rural America. Panera said it will begin work in Ohio and hopes to expand. Their efforts were announced by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.

“While our dedicated educators are dedicated to help fill our kids with knowledge, even when they’re not in a school site, USDA is working very hard to continue to fill their tummies,” Perdue said.

11:51 p.m.
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Fox parts ways with Trish Regan after she dismissed coronavirus as 'impeachment scam’

By Meryl Kornfield

Fox Business anchor Trish Regan has departed the cable news network two weeks after she controversially dismissed concerns about the coronavirus during her show, calling it a “scam” to impeach President Trump.

The network said Friday that it “has parted ways” with Regan after it had pulled her prime-time show, citing scheduling of more breaking news coverage on the coronavirus crisis.

“We thank her for her contributions to the network over the years and wish her continued success in her future endeavors,” the network wrote in a statement distributed to The Washington Post. Regan’s on-air monologue earlier this month when she claimed “many in the liberal media” were using the pandemic “in an attempt to demonize and destroy” Trump ignited criticism.

“This is yet another attempt to impeach the president,” she had said of reporting on the virus.

In a statement of her own that the network distributed, Regan wrote that she’s “looking forward to this next chapter” in her career. “I have enjoyed my time at FOX and now intend to focus on my family during these troubled times,” she said.

11:38 p.m.
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Trump sends mixed messages on how many ventilators he believes are needed

By Colby Itkowitz

President Trump, who less than 24 hours earlier said states were requesting more equipment than they needed and that New York didn’t need 30,000 additional ventilators, announced that he was seeking the production of 100,000 new ventilators to deal with the coronavirus need.

“Within the next hundred days, we will either make or get in some form over 100,000 additional units. And I guess to put it, in other words, in the next 100 days, will receive over three times the number of ventilators made during a regular year in the United States,” he said.

Pressed on his comments to Fox News’s Sean Hannity on Thursday night that the need wasn’t as great as some predicted, Trump still agreed with that assessment.

“Well, I think there’s a very good chance we won’t need that many. And I think, frankly, there’s a great chance that we’re not going to need that many,” he said.

Asked how he’d determined that New York wouldn’t need as many ventilators as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) says it will, Trump responded, “I think their estimates are high. I hope they’re high. They could be extremely high.”

But he said that he’s having U.S. companies such as General Motors make them anyway and that any surplus of equipment can be sent to other countries that are friends to America.

If we do not need them, that would be wonderful. We can help a lot of great people all over the world. We can help them live,” Trump said. “But I think I think [Cuomo’s] estimates are going to be very high. We’re going to see.”

11:22 p.m.
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12 Chicago nurses test positive. Union alleges they had to work without protective equipment.

By Samantha Pell

A dozen nurses working at the University of Illinois Hospital in Chicago have tested positive for the coronavirus, the Illinois Nursing Association announced in a statement Friday. INA claims the nurses have had to work without personal protective equipment in the hospital’s Covid Care Unit.

Nurses “do not know day to day if they will have masks, gowns, gloves or goggles for that shift,” INA Executive Director Alice Johnson said in the statement. “One nurse said their unit manager scolded them for wearing a mask in a room where a COVID19 positive patient was being intubated.”

Michael Zenn, chief executive of the University of Illinois Hospital and Clinics, said “a limited number” of these 12 nurses who tested positive for the coronavirus are believed to have been exposed in “the health care setting.” All providers who care for patients confirmed to have covid-19 or suspected of having covid-19 should wear PPE per hospital policy, Zenn said.

As of Friday, the hospital is planning to implement new guidance for all employees in their inpatient and outpatient units, asking them to wear masks daily, Zenn said.

“There are no circumstances in which we would ask our care providers to forgo PPE when caring for COVID-19 patients,” Zenn said. While the hospital is “very concerned about the availability of PPE and are doing all we can to responsibly conserve our supply,” they have not yet run out of any materials, he said.

Over the past several weeks, the nurses’ union has urged hospitals and clinics to provide PPE and safer working conditions for their nurses. They’ve criticized the American Hospital Association for not doing more to protect nurses by enforcing stronger workplace safety standards.

On March 16, INA released a statement demanding that “nurses receive personal protective equipment that is best suited to keep them safe. Now, as much as ever, our government must take every possible available measure to keep nurses safe and healthy.”

“These nurses served patients on the frontline of the fight to contain the coronavirus pandemic and risked their lives to make sure patients received proper care,” Johnson said. “We hoped their hospital and their government would protect them, but they failed.”

11:09 p.m.
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Trump downplays challenges of keeping millions of students at home

By Laura Meckler

With more than 50 million children stuck at home, their schools closed, trying to tackle online learning, President Trump has this advice: be proud of your country.

At a White House briefing, Trump was asked what he has to say to families and children stuck at home, he did not acknowledge the struggle underway for school districts and families to stand up remote education. Instead, he suggested children just wait it out.

“They have a duty to sit back, watch, behave, wash their hands, stay in the apartment with mom and dad,” he said. “Some of them are very happy not to go to school.”

He added: “We have literally had no problem,” though in fact districts have struggled to distribute food to poor families and to ensure that all students have computers and can connect to the Internet, and more.

“They should just sit back and be very proud of our country,” Trump said. “Ultimately we’re doing it for them.”

He then explained that young people are less likely to become seriously ill from the coronavirus than older people, which is true.

10:27 p.m.
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People in addiction treatment are losing crucial support during the pandemic

By Debbie Cenziper, Karin Brulliard and Joel Jacobs

With much of the country shut down amid calls for social distancing, thousands of people in opioid addiction treatment face weeks or months without the in-person meetings and support services long considered a lifeline in drug treatment and recovery.

From Seattle to New York, providers have been forced to cancel support groups or move them online. Inpatient treatment centers have limited family visits. Counselors have urged patients to check in by phone. Clinics that dispense medications to treat opioid addiction have reduced access to their waiting rooms, routing staff outside for curbside delivery.

At a time when overdose deaths from opioids and other drugs are rising in many states, addiction specialists worry that the changes in a newly isolated United States will disrupt the fragile healing process for those who rely on a robust drug-treatment support system.

Providers say they are determined to stay open, even with more limited services.

“The last thing that the health-care system needs right now are thousands of people in withdrawal or filling up the emergency rooms or going back on the streets and overdosing,” said Dan Reck, who oversees MATClinics, which has four drug treatment centers in Maryland. “This is unprecedented, and it’s not always clear what we should be doing.”

10:08 p.m.
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A New York hospital, desperate for ventilators, is treating two patients on a device intended for one

By Lenny Bernstein

A New York hospital is putting two patients at a time on ventilators intended for one, a stopgap move that reflects the desperate shortage of lifesaving breathing devices during the coronavirus pandemic.

The procedure has never been studied in humans. It was briefly pressed into service in the emergency room of a Nevada hospital that ran short on ventilators during the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas and, according to an image on Twitter, in the past few days in Italy. An emergency doctor at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University in Brooklyn kept four sheep alive for 12 hours in a 2008 experiment, using a jury-rigged ventilator. But another researcher who tested the idea on simulated mechanical lungs in a laboratory said it is too difficult to be practical, even under current circumstances.

“There’s no physician, including myself, who believes this is ideal. This is a doomsday idea,” said Lorenzo Paladino, an associate professor of emergency medicine at SUNY Downstate who performed the 2008 experiment. Rather than choose who can have a ventilator and who will be left to die, “I can do this and maybe keep everyone alive,” he said.

Doctors at Columbia University Irving Medical Center have two patients at a time on some ventilators. Jeremy Beitler, a pulmonary disease specialist at the hospital that is part of the New York-Presbyterian health system, declined to say how many patients are being treated this way.

He said the hospital began the effort in recent days, with the approval of several regulatory agencies and is “scaling up” in response to the shortage.

The ultimate number of additional patients who can be treated this way is unknown, Beitler said. But he cautioned that “this is not a panacea. It’s not going to double the number of ventilators.”

On Friday, President Trump signed an order that requires General Motors to begin manufacturing ventilators, using his authority under the Defense Production Act.

Read more here.