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Anthony S. Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, reiterated during Saturday’s White House briefing that while social distancing efforts are working across the country, the risk of a coronavirus resurgence is real. “That is our most important tool,” Fauci said of mitigation. “As sobering and as difficult as this is, what we are doing is making a difference.”

Meanwhile, confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States surpassed 300,000, with more than 8,000 deaths. New York’s death toll topped 3,500 as confirmed cases rose to 113,704.

Here are some significant developments:

  • A Post investigation uncovered alarm and dismay among scientists at health labs about the Trump administration’s reliance on a flawed coronavirus test developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • The U.S. will likely go down as the country that was supposedly best prepared to fight a pandemic but ended up catastrophically overmatched. The Washington Post retraces the failures over the first 70 days of the crisis.
  • Italian authorities said that for the first time since the beginning of the outbreak, the use of intensive care unit beds fell.
  • At least 155 crew members aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for coronavirus, days after the Navy aircraft carrier’s captain was relieved of his post.
  • Two people on the Coral Princess cruise ship, which reported 12 positive cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, died overnight.

Sign up for our coronavirus newsletter | Mapping the spread of the coronavirus: Across the U.S. | Worldwide | What you need to know about the virus | Has someone close to you died of covid-19? Share your story with The Washington Post.

3:21 a.m.
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Several with covid-19 spent time in isolation on Navy hospital ship that is not accepting coronavirus patients

The mission of the Navy hospital ship berthed in New York is to relieve stress on the city’s hospitals by accepting patients not infected with the novel coronavirus. At first, the ship required a negative coronavirus test for anyone who boarded.

But amid pressure to serve more people and criticism that the USNS Comfort was not living up to promises, the Department of Defense said Friday that it would accept asymptomatic patients screened with temperature checks. On Saturday, the Navy said that a few patients tested positive while they were transferred to the 1,000-bed ship.

Navy spokeswoman Marycate Walsh said the patients were “isolated immediately upon arrival and received care for the entirety of their time aboard,” then moved “as soon as practical” to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, which is treating those with covid-19.

“Our medical experts on board are well prepared for cases like this, and have taken the appropriate precautionary measures,” Walsh said. “The Comfort is capable of continuing its mission."

Until late this week, the Javits Center was also supposed to only treat patients who were not infected. But President Trump approved Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s request to use the facility for pandemic purposes, which, in turn, prompted transfers of uninfected patients to the Comfort.

Patients transferred to the Comfort on Friday had not shown symptoms of carrying coronavirus and were isolated until test results returned 24 hours later. Those who tested positive were transferred.

The Navy has faced criticism for not treating coronavirus patients aboard the Comfort, which arrived amid fanfare but, as of early Saturday, had treated 27 people.

3:11 a.m.
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D.C. region marks largest one-day spike in covid-19 fatalities

An additional 21 people have died of covid-19 in the District, Maryland and Virginia, officials announced on Saturday, marking the region’s largest one-day jump in fatalities since the novel coronavirus pandemic began.

The figure brings the region’s cumulative death toll to 126, double the number of victims just four days ago. Total reported case numbers swelled to 6,442, with 911 new infections identified. As in the rest of the United States, cases reported by the three jurisdictions are probably gross underestimates of actual infections because of the limited number of tests being conducted.

The record death count came a day after D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) delivered a sobering forecast of the pandemic’s path through the nation’s capital, warning that 93,000 people — one in seven District residents — might contract the virus. It capped a week in which Maryland, Virginia and the District all ordered residents to stay in and around their homes except for necessary errands.

Read more here.

2:18 a.m.
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Inside the Javits Center: New York’s militarized, makeshift hospital

NEW YORK — Soldiers in camouflage and civilians in polo shirts lined up for a life-or-death battle: keeping a potentially deadly microbe from overrunning this makeshift hospital inside a 2.1-million-square-foot convention center within the densest, most populous city in America.

The massive, glass-walled event hall of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, steps away from the Hudson River on Manhattan’s west side, is usually home to cocktail-swilling conference-goers or Comic-Con superfans. Now it is abuzz with urgent activity in a race to assist a city being overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more here.

2:17 a.m.
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American Indians have the highest rates of diseases that make covid-19 more lethal

LUMMI NATION, Wash. — They hastily piled all the dumbbells and treadmills in the back of a gym to make room for 23 extra hospital beds. The beds aren’t needed yet, but on a reservation where residents suffer high rates of diseases that exist throughout Indian Country, the Lummi Tribal Health Clinic is taking every precaution to prepare for the deadly coronavirus.

Two thousand miles away at the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, where 11 people had tested positive for the virus as of Friday and one has died, Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said: “We’re preparing for the worst.” Health workers plan to move hospital beds into a nearby university and a job-training facility shuttered because of the pandemic. “This is the worst public health crisis we’ve had in a generation.”

The coronavirus is ravaging the United States, but experts say more than 5 million people who identify as American Indians and Alaskan Native are especially vulnerable.

Read more here.

1:20 a.m.
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Georgia’s beaches reopen under stay-at-home order, sparking fury from local officials

Local officials in Georgia are lashing out at Gov. Brian Kemp (R) after his decision Thursday to issue a stay-at-home order that reopened all state beaches.

Kemp’s order supersedes all local orders related to the coronavirus and ended up rolling back some local restrictions, including beach closures.

The mayor of Tybee Island, one of Georgia’s most popular vacation destinations, released a statement Saturday firing back at Kemp, saying that she and the town council were “devastated by the sudden directives and do not support” Kemp’s move. Tybee Island beaches had been closed since March 20.

“The health of our residents, staff and visitors are being put at risk and we will pursue legal avenues to overturn his reckless mandate,” Tybee Island Mayor Shirley Sessions said in her statement.

As of Saturday night, confirmed coronavirus cases in Georgia totaled 6,383. There were 208 confirmed deaths.

Sessions also said that while beaches will have to reopen because of the order, Tybee will not have beach access and parking lots will remain closed until further notice. There will also be no lifeguards in place. In a video posted on Facebook, Sessions also urged people to voluntarily stay away from beaches.

Kemp tweeted out a photo of the Tybee Island beaches, noting that patrolling officials reported “no issues."

“Beachgoers are mostly locals and complying with social distancing orders,” Kemp tweeted. “We will continue to monitor conditions.”

12:58 a.m.
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1 in 5 NYPD officers is out sick or quarantined. Thousands of fire employees have been sidelined, too.

New York police officers do not get sick that often, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said earlier this week. But with the novel coronavirus pandemic striking the city harder than any other metro area in the country, he added, “our sick numbers are significantly moving up.”

Those numbers continued their sobering rise Saturday, when the department said 6,698 of the force’s 36,000 officers — or 18.5 percent — were out sick or in quarantine Friday. A day earlier, there were 6,498 unavailable, or 18.1 percent.

Most cited flu-like symptoms. Almost 1,800 have tested positive for coronavirus since the outbreak began.

The New York City Fire Department said that, as of Friday, about 3,000 of its 17,000 employees, including firefighters, EMTs and civilians, have had to take sick leave during the outbreak; 376 have tested positive for the coronavirus.

“That’s a problem. That’s a problem in the NYPD. That’s a problem in the FDNY. It’s a problem all across the board,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Friday.

The sidelining of so much of the workforce comes as officials warn that the city is overwhelmed with calls for aid. In a Saturday tweet, the FDNY reiterated that it “urges New Yorkers to only call 911 to seek medical care after all other options … have been exhausted.”

The police department has taken action to mitigate the spread of the virus, Shea said. Many officers are working from home, and those with preexisting conditions are being kept out of circulation.

Security personnel are screening people outside precincts to prevent infecting those inside, officials said. Some precincts are conducting roll call outside.

Additional equipment arrived Thursday after the police department sent an “SOS” to the White House: 6,000 gallons of hand sanitizer, 120,000 pairs of gloves and 4,275 protective suits.

About 700 officers are enforcing social distancing among residents. “If we have to, we’ll summons,” Shea said, “but we don’t want to.”

12:14 a.m.
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Most Americans are under stay-at-home orders, but 6 out of 10 are still on the road

Traffic around the country has plummeted since governments began enacting stay-at-home ­orders amid the coronavirus outbreak, but data from vehicle navigation systems and other monitors shows many of us are still out of our homes and on the road.

Nationwide, traffic analytics firms say, daily traffic remains at about 60 percent of normal levels, even as the vast majority of Americans tell pollsters they’re staying home more.

Experts have some theories about why. Read more here.

11:39 p.m.
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'Heroes have arrived’: Health workers from around the country answer New York City’s call for help

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to hit New York City, hundreds of emergency medical services workers from various states traveled to New York, driving ambulances and responding to calls to help combat the virus.

“This outpouring of support for New York made me very proud as a New Yorker, and made me very proud as an American,” said New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), in a video produced by the mayor’s office highlighting the EMS workers who traveled to aid New York City.

The video shows EMS workers from Illinois, Florida, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Missouri, Georgia, Indiana and Ohio who left their families to come to New York. A Wall Street Journal reporter’s tweet captured “ambulances from Ohio, Massachusetts, Minnesota and more” awaiting calls in Queens.

On Friday afternoon, de Blasio called for a national enlistment effort to bring all available personnel to the city during his daily coronavirus briefing. He also announced that United Airlines and JetBlue have offered to help fly in the health-care workers who answer officials’ pleas.

“On behalf of our city and the lives that will be saved: thank you,” de Blasio tweeted.

An emergency alert went out to New Yorkers on Friday night addressing all health-care workers: “Attention all healthcare workers: New York City is seeking licensed healthcare workers to support healthcare facilities in need. Visit to volunteer.”

“We will then offer our personnel to go to the next front as well,” said de Blasio during his briefing. “That is the only way we are going to get through the months ahead.”

Saturday night, the New York City’s Mayor’s Office tweeted to thank the “heroes [who] have arrived from around the country to back up our heroes when they need it the most.”

11:24 p.m.
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Trump, GOP challenge efforts to make voting easier amid pandemic

President Trump and a growing number of Republican leaders are aggressively challenging efforts to make voting easier as the coronavirus pandemic disrupts elections, accusing Democrats of opening the door to fraud — and, in some cases, acknowledging fears that expanded voting access could politically devastate the GOP.

Across the country, election officials trying to ensure ballot access and protect public health in upcoming contests face an increasingly coordinated backlash from the right. Much of the onslaught of litigation has been funded by the Republican National Committee, which has sought to block emergency measures related to covid-19, such as proactively mailing ballots to voters sheltering at home.

“I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting,” Trump, who voted absentee in New York in 2018, said at a news conference Friday, offering no examples.

Read more here.

10:49 p.m.
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Trump optimistic that sports will be back 'sooner rather than later’

After holding a conference call with the commissioners and top executives of 13 professional sports leagues, President Trump said Saturday at a White House news briefing that he can’t commit to having fans back in stadiums at a specific date amid the pandemic, but pushed for sports to return as soon as possible.

“These are all the great leaders of sport, and they want to get back,” Trump said. “They’ve got to get back. They can’t do this. Their sports weren’t designed for it. The whole concept of our nation wasn’t designed for it. We’re going to have to get back."

“I can’t tell you a date,” the president continued. “But I think it’s going to be sooner rather than later. We’re not going to have separation for the rest of our times on the planet. We need it for this period of time. But eventually people are going to be able to occupy those seats in arenas next to each other, like we have for all of my life and all of your life.”

Trump addressed the issue a few hours after he spoke with leaders from the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, WNBA, Major League Soccer, WWE, the PGA and LPGA tours, UFC, NASCAR, IndyCar and the Breeders’ Cup, according to a White House pool report. Citing unidentified people familiar with what was said during the call, ESPN reported that Trump told the executives that he thinks the NFL season should start on time in September and that he hopes fans will be back in sports venues by August and September.

10:18 p.m.
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Fauci says social distancing is working, but warns that the risk of resurgence is real

Anthony S. Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, reiterated during Saturday’s White House briefing that while social distancing efforts are working across the country, the risk of a coronavirus resurgence is real.

“That is our most important tool,” Fauci said of mitigation. “We will be talking about vaccines and drugs and things like that, that will mitigate later, but this is what we have to do. … As sobering and as difficult as this is, what we are doing is making a difference.”

Fauci said the White House coronavirus task force is focused on the number of new coronavirus cases. As deaths rise through next week, he said, it is the number of new coronavirus cases that will indicate how the country is trending.

“We are going to pay close attention to that,” Fauci said. “Hopefully the kinds of mitigation we are talking about [are] going to have the impact.”

What is “very much on the front burner” is what happens when the country starts to pull back on those mitigation efforts, which include stay-at-home orders in many states, Fauci said.

“When you get it down you need to make sure it doesn’t resurge and that will require the ability to test, to identify, to isolate and to do contact tracing,” Fauci said. “That’s what we have to have in place, and hopefully we will.”

9:35 p.m.
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All across the United States, the virus is killing more men than women, data show

In most states, slightly more women are being infected with the novel coronavirus than men. But of more than 3,600 deaths in 13 states and New York City that report fatalities by gender, the majority of victims are men.

The disproportionate toll of the virus appears to have deep biological roots. An emerging body of research has revealed that women’s bodies are better at fighting off infection, thanks to the hormones in their systems and the genes on their two X chromosomes.

Read more here.

8:41 p.m.
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Newsom: California is challenged by testing

California’s backlog of coronavirus tests has been substantially reduced from 60,000 to 13,000, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced during a Saturday news briefing in Sacramento. But even now, Newsom said the state’s testing hasn’t been adequate.

“The testing space has been a challenging one for us and I own that,” he said. “You deserve better and more.”

A total of 126,700 Californians have been tested for the virus. California has 12,026 positive cases as of Saturday, a 12.4 percent increase in 24 hours. About 2,300 people are hospitalized and 1,008 are in intensive care units in the state.

In comparison, 271,002 New Yorkers have been tested, 94,412 Floridians and 63,751 Texans. To address testing concerns, Newsom announced a state partnership with UC Davis and UC San Diego that would expand testing capacity, and also a statewide task force to determine best practices.

8:38 p.m.
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Trump’s pick for coronavirus inspector general wins praise from some oversight experts as Democrats slam pick

President Trump’s pick to be the coronavirus inspector general won praise Saturday from some oversight experts, but Democrats slammed the president’s decision to elevate a member of his own staff to the key new role.

Brian Miller, who is senior associate counsel in the White House Counsel’s Office, would oversee a $500 billion bailout fund for industry if confirmed by the Senate as the new special inspector general for pandemic recovery. Trump announced late Friday his intent to nominate Miller for the job.

In the White House Counsel’s Office, Miller was involved in defending the president during the impeachment proceedings, and Democrats said his current role raised questions about his independence.