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As the official U.S. death toll surpassed 10,000 — standing at 10,530, including 4,758 in New York — Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams warned that this will be “the hardest and saddest week of most Americans’ lives.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, sick with covid-19 and suffering from a persistent cough and fever, was moved to intensive care after his condition worsened on Monday afternoon.

Here are some significant developments:

  • The fatalities in New York state held steady on Monday for the second consecutive day at about 600 deaths — a once-unthinkable statistic that now gives officials some cautious reason to hope that the pandemic may be cresting there.
  • A survey of hospitals across the country showed health-care workers are facing shortages of tests, masks, face shields, ventilators and staff. President Trump rejected the results of the report, which was compiled by the Inspector General of Health and Human Services, suggesting it was political.
  • U.S. and global stock markets soared on Monday as investors took in overseas progress against the coronavirus.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told fellow Democratic lawmakers Monday that the next coronavirus relief bill could “easily” pass $1 trillion in cost. Congressional leaders and the White House are converging on the need for a new assistance package.
  • A leading coronavirus forecast model used by the White House predicted Monday that the United States may need fewer hospital beds, ventilators and other equipment. Experts and state leaders, however, noted the model conflicts with others that show higher peaks.
  • Rapid developments on Monday have left Wisconsin voters confused about the status of Tuesday’s elections. Hours after the governor suspended in-person voting, a court ruling reinstated it. The U.S. Supreme Court then reversed an extension of the mail-in ballot deadline, a decision criticized by Pelosi.

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April 6, 2020 at 11:46 PM EDT

All Los Angeles residents can apply for testing

By Teo Armus

All 10 million residents of Los Angeles County can now apply to be tested for the novel coronavirus, Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) said Monday evening.

The country’s expanded testing capacity does not mean everyone in the county, the most populous in the nation, can get tested, Garcetti said. But an influx of more tests has allowed local health officials to lift preexisting limits and expand who can seek out a test.

Los Angeles County had previously only allowed testing for certain groups of people: those over age 65, those with underlying medical conditions, or those with a weakened immune system.

Also on Monday, Garcetti said the city saw its smallest increase in new coronavirus cases since mid-March. But he cautioned against making too much of the good news, echoing warnings from other officials about the expected upsurge of the virus in the coming days.

“This will be a critical week in our fight against this crisis,” he said. “This week is a make-or-break week for us all.”

April 6, 2020 at 11:09 PM EDT

Acting Navy secretary apologizes for speech calling USS Roosevelt captain ‘too naive or too stupid’

By Dan Lamothe and Paul Sonne

After days of chaos and sickness, sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt listened on Monday as the Navy’s top political official took to a loudspeaker and fumed about how wrong it was that their captain had raised the alarm about the Navy’s handling of a coronavirus outbreak on his ship in a letter that leaked to the media.

In a profanity-laden speech, acting Navy secretary Thomas Modly told the sailors that Navy Capt. Brett Crozier, relieved of command on Thursday, committed a “betrayal” by writing the letter and distributing it to some people who were not in his chain of command.

“It was my opinion that if he didn’t think information was going to get out into the public in this information age that we live in, then he was either A, too naive or too stupid to be the commanding officer of a ship like this,” Modly said

A leak of his speech plunged the Navy and the Trump administration deeper into a political crisis and prompted calls from Democratic lawmakers for Modly’s resignation. Modly issued an apology on Monday evening but suggested he stood by his remarks about Crozier.

Read more here.

April 6, 2020 at 10:47 PM EDT

At a telephone town hall, questions to Graham are a microcosm of nation’s woes

By Chris Dixon

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) held an unusual telephone town hall Monday night that served a microcosm of the myriad issues playing out across the country.

After a new stay-at-home order from South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) that discourages but does not prohibit church gatherings, he fielded calls from confused and concerned South Carolinians.

“You don’t have to be in a church to worship,” Graham said, appealing to clergy for the Passover and Easter observances. “To all the pastors out there, take good care of your flocks.”

One frustrated caller couldn’t get a Small Business Administration loan to cover his payroll because Wells Fargo had loaned all its allocated money. Graham replied that the Federal Reserve would buy the loans, freeing the bank to loan more, but he gave no date on when that might happen.

A gig-income-based musician complained that he could not collect unemployment. When Graham said he was “definitely qualified to get federal benefits,” the musician said South Carolina’s unemployment system is not set up to compensate gig-economy workers.

At several points, Graham praised the legislative compromises that led to the Cares Act, saying that he hoped President Trump and Congress would model their future work on the bipartisanship between former president Ronald Reagan, a Republican, and then-House Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill (D-Mass.)

Trump, still angry about impeachment, hasn’t spoken to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) since October.

Graham, a close ally of Trump, defended the president.

“I think he’s doing a good job. I’m going to help him as much as I can, and the drugs are the key to this thing. And Dr. Fauci and his people are really smart,” Graham said.

April 6, 2020 at 10:35 PM EDT

Grocery workers are beginning to die of the coronavirus

By Abha Bhattarai

Major supermarket chains are beginning to report their first coronavirus-related employee deaths, leading to store closures and increasing anxiety among grocery workers as the pandemic intensifies across the country.

A Trader Joe’s worker in Scarsdale, N.Y., a greeter at a Giant store in Largo, Md., and two Walmart employees from the same Chicago-area store have died of covid-19, the disease the novel coronavirus causes, in recent days, the companies confirmed Monday.

Though more than 40 states have ordered nonessential businesses to close and told residents to stay home to stem the spread of the virus, supermarkets are among the retailers that remain open. Thousands of grocery employees have continued to report to work as U.S. infections and death rates continue to climb, with many reporting long shifts and extra workloads to keep up with spiking demand. Many workers say they don’t have enough protective gear to deal with hundreds of customers a day. Dozens of grocery workers have tested positive for the coronavirus in recent weeks.

Some companies have begun installing plexiglass sneeze guards at cash registers and requiring customers to stand six feet apart in line. The country’s two largest grocers, Walmart and Kroger, are beginning to check employees’ temperatures at the beginning of each shift and will provide workers with gloves and masks.

Read more here.

April 6, 2020 at 10:10 PM EDT

Pelosi denounces Supreme Court’s decision on Wisconsin mail-in ballots

By Felicia Sonmez and Amy Gardner

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Monday sharply criticized the Supreme Court’s ruling that blocked the extension of a deadline for mail-in ballots in Wisconsin, denouncing the move as “shameful” and bad for democracy.

“You have the Supreme Court of the United States undermining our democracy,” Pelosi said in an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. “It’s really shameful. Five to four, surprise, surprise.”

The Supreme Court earlier Monday blocked a lower court’s six-day extension of the receipt deadline for mailed ballots in Wisconsin, turning aside pleas from Democrats that thousands of the state’s voters will be disenfranchised because of disruptions caused by the pandemic. The ruling was 5 to 4, with the court’s conservatives in the majority.

Pelosi also broadly criticized Republicans who have pushed ahead with plans for Wisconsin’s Tuesday election in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) issued an executive order Monday suspending in-person voting, but the state Supreme Court blocked it hours later.

“People should not have to decide between whether they can vote or be sick,” Pelosi said. “That’s just not a good choice for anyone in a democracy.”

April 6, 2020 at 9:40 PM EDT

Civil rights group calls for release of race and ethnicity data on infections and deaths

By Vanessa Williams

A civil rights group and hundreds of doctors are calling on the federal government to release race and ethnicity data on infections and deaths from covid-19, citing reports that the pandemic is affecting African Americans at a disproportionate rate.

The information is necessary to “better inform a robust public health response in the Black community” and to “ensure COVID-19 tests are not being administered or withheld in a racially discriminatory manner,” says a letter sent to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

The states of Illinois and North Carolina report covid-19 cases and death by race and ethnicity. In Illinois, black people are 14 percent of the population but account for 30 percent of the confirmed cases and 41 percent of the deaths. In North Carolina, African Americans are 22 percent of the population and make up 37 percent of cases and 22 percent of deaths.

Read more here.

April 6, 2020 at 9:03 PM EDT

House Armed Services Committee chairman calls for acting Navy secretary to resign over remarks on ousted captain

By Felicia Sonmez and Dan Lamothe

A growing number of House Democrats, including the House Armed Services Committee chairman, are calling for acting Navy secretary Thomas Modly to resign in the wake of reports of his remarks about Capt. Brett Crozier, the ousted commander of an aircraft carrier afflicted by the coronavirus.

Modly told sailors Monday that Crozier was “too naive or too stupid to command a ship,” or that he leaked a letter raising concerns about the service’s handling of the crisis to the media.

In a statement, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) said that Modly’s decision to address the sailors “shows a tone-deaf approach more focused on personal ego than one of the calm, steady leadership we so desperately need in this crisis.”

“I no longer have confidence in Acting Secretary Modly’s leadership of the Navy and believe he should be removed from his position,” Smith said.

Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), who leads the panel’s subcommittee that oversees the Navy, also called on Modly to resign, as did Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.), a Navy veteran, and Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), who denounced Modly’s “rant.”

Two other military veterans, Reps. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) and Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), also called for Modly’s resignation. In a letter to Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, the two Democrats noted that Modly relieved Crozier of command in part because his private letter was leaked. The same principle should apply to Modly, whose “private speech was also leaked,” they argued.

Trump, who previously said he supported Crozier’s removal, told reporters Monday that he was “going to look into it.”

April 6, 2020 at 8:30 PM EDT

Everything you need to know about Monday’s White House briefing

By Aaron Blake

The White House coronavirus task force held its daily briefing on Monday, updating the press and the nation on the status of the outbreak and the government’s response.

Among the topics in Monday’s briefing:

  • Anthony S. Fauci downplayed the idea of getting ‘back to normal’ before a vaccine is developed
  • The USNS Comfort is now a coronavirus-treatment ship
  • Trump offered drug treatments for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is in intensive care

Read the full rundown here.

April 6, 2020 at 8:23 PM EDT

What’s behind Trump’s embrace of hydroxychloroquine?

By Philip Rucker, Robert Costa, Laurie McGinley and Josh Dawsey

As he stares down a pandemic, economic collapse and a political crisis of his own, President Trump thinks he may have found a silver bullet: hydroxychloroquine.

Never mind that hydroxychloroquine is an unproven treatment for covid-19 and is still in the testing stages, or that it has dangerous side effects, or that medical professionals are divided on its capability. The infectious disease expert on Trump’s own coronavirus task force, Anthony S. Fauci, has privately pleaded with the president to be more cautious.

But Trump — who famously has said he trusts his gut more than anything an expert could counsel him — is again letting his impulses guide what he tells a locked-down nation eager to return to normal.

Read more here.

April 6, 2020 at 8:04 PM EDT

Wisconsin rulings reinstate in-person voting, reverse mail-in extension

By Steven Goff, Amy Gardner, Elise Viebeck and Dan Simmons

Rapid developments on Monday have left Wisconsin voters confused about the status of Tuesday’s state elections.

Hours after Gov. Tony Evers (D) suspended in-person voting because of concerns over spreading the coronavirus, the Wisconsin Supreme Court blocked his executive order.

And later Monday, in a 5-to-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed a lower-court order extending the deadline for mail-in ballots. As it stands, those ballots must be postmarked by Tuesday.

The day’s events left open questions of how many poll workers would show up, how many polling sites would be able to open, and whether sufficient precautions would be possible to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Citing the pandemic, Evers said he had sought to postpone in-person voting because, “at the end of the day, this is about the people of Wisconsin. They frankly don’t care much about Republicans and Democrats fighting. They’re scared. We have the surgeon general saying this is Pearl Harbor. It’s time to act.”

Tuesday’s contests include the Democratic presidential primary and local races, including a place on the state Supreme Court.

Read more here.

April 6, 2020 at 7:34 PM EDT

A coronavirus model revised its estimates downward, but not all agree

By William Wan and Carolyn Y. Johnson

A leading forecasting model used by the White House to chart the coronavirus pandemic predicted Monday that the United States may need fewer hospital beds, ventilators and other equipment than previously projected and that some states may reach their peak of covid-19 deaths sooner than expected.

Experts and state leaders, however, continued to steel themselves for grim weeks ahead, noting that the revised model created by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington conflicts with many other models showing higher equipment shortages, deaths and projected peaks.

Read more here.

April 6, 2020 at 7:33 PM EDT

Trump rejects HHS watchdog’s report on severe hospital shortages

By Felicia Sonmez and Amy Goldstein

At Monday’s coronavirus task force briefing, Trump rejected a report by the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services outlining the severe equipment shortages facing the country’s hospitals, claiming without evidence that the results were politically biased.

“It’s wrong,” Trump told reporters. “Give me the name of the inspector general. Could politics be entered into that?”

The report, which was released earlier Monday, found that some hospitals are so desperate for protective masks that they are scrounging them from auto-body shops and nail salons. At least one hospital is making its own hand sanitizer by mixing gel used for ultrasounds with alcohol from a nearby distillery, the report said.

Trump dismissed its findings by noting that Christi A. Grimm, the HHS principal deputy inspector general who issued the report, previously worked in the Obama administration — even though Grimm began working at the Office of the Inspector General in 1999, according to her official biography.

April 6, 2020 at 7:13 PM EDT

3M to provide 165.5 million more masks for U.S. health-care workers, Trump says

By Jeanne Whalen

President Trump said the federal government has struck a deal with 3M for “an additional” 166.5 million protective masks over the next three months.

3M said in a statement that it will import the masks “primarily from its manufacturing facility in China, starting in April.”

Trump last week invoked the Defense Production Act in relation to 3M, saying he was not happy with the company’s delivery of N95 masks to U.S. health-care workers fighting the coronavirus. The DPA order required 3M to prioritize orders from the federal government.

At a briefing Monday evening, Trump said he had resolved things after speaking with 3M chief executive Michael Roman.

“We have reached an agreement, a very amicable agreement, with 3M for the delivery of an additional 55.5 million face masks each month, so that we’re going to be getting over the next couple of months 166.5 million masks for our front-line health-care workers,” Trump said. “So the 3M saga ends very happily.”

Read more here.

April 6, 2020 at 6:26 PM EDT

USNS Comfort will now take in coronavirus patients, after refusing to do so for a week

By Candace Buckner and Felicia Sonmez

New York and New Jersey will finally receive a small amount of comfort for its crowded hospitals.

On Monday night, hours after New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) thanked President Trump on Twitter for allowing covid-19 patients to be treated aboard USNS Comfort, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) also announced the navy ship’s new purpose in the fight against the novel coronavirus.

“This will provide much-needed relief to our overstressed hospital systems,” Cuomo said in a tweet.

Trump confirmed the move at Monday’s coronavirus task force briefing, noting that “hopefully that will be very helpful to both states.”

The naval hospital ship will provide 1,000 additional beds staffed by federal medical personnel, but its approval to treat patients of the contagious virus came a week after USNS Comfort had already docked in New York Harbor. On March 28, with a wartime-like fanfare, Trump attended the ship’s send-off and proclaimed: “We are marshaling the full power of the American nation — economic, scientific, medical and military — to vanish the virus.”

However, upon arrival, the ship accepted only 20 patients, according to the New York Times, and restricted anyone infected by the coronavirus. Michael Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health within the state’s hospital system, described the ship’s refusal of covid-19 patients as “a joke.”

By Sunday, however, Trump reversed course in a task force briefing and said the Navy ship would be “ready” to assist hospitals overburdened by coronavirus cases.

“That was not supposed to be for the virus at all and under circumstances. It looks like more and more we’ll be using it for that,” Trump told reporters at a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House. “The ship is ready and if we need it for the virus, we’ll use it for that.”