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Hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malarial drug Trump has touted as a “game changer" in treating covid-19, had no benefit and was linked to higher rates of death for Veterans Affairs patients, according to a study.

The U.S. surpassed 800,000 confirmed cases, with more than 44,000 reported deaths. Globally, countries have reported 2.5 million infections and more than 175,000 covid-19 deaths.

Here are some significant developments:

  • The Senate passed a $484 billion bill to replenish a small-business loan program and boost spending for hospitals and coronavirus testing. The House plans to vote on the measure Thursday.
  • President Trump said he will sign an executive order to suspend immigration to the U.S. for 60 days, a ban that would be unprecedented in the country’s history.
  • A second wave of the novel coronavirus will be far more dire, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Tuesday, as a few governors begin scaling back restrictions and restarting their economies.
  • Cratering oil prices drove the Dow down more than 600 points, a sign that oil markets and the global economy may not stabilize for months.
  • The Food and Drug Administration approved the first coronavirus test that allows patients to collect nasal samples at home to mail in for testing.
  • Munich’s Oktoberfest event and Pamplona’s annual running of the bulls were canceled. The Scripps National Spelling Bee outside Washington will not be held for the first time since 1945.

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April 21, 2020 at 11:25 PM EDT
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Jazz bassist Henry Grimes, who returned to music after 30-year absence, dies of the coronavirus

By Matt Schudel

In the 1950s and 1960s, Henry Grimes was one of the most versatile and admired bass players in jazz. He went on to become perhaps the leading bass player in the emerging free jazz movement of the 1960s, anchoring ensembles led by pianist Cecil Taylor, saxophonist Albert Ayler and trumpeter Don Cherry.

After moving to the West Coast in the 1960s, he simply dropped out of sight. By the 1980s, some writers and reference books said he had died. But in 2002, a jazz-loving Georgia social worker tracked him down in Los Angeles, where he lived in a single-room occupancy hotel and worked as a janitor. He hadn’t played a note of music in more than 30 years.

What followed was one of the most triumphant rediscoveries in music history. A fellow musician sent Mr. Grimes a bass as a gift, and he practiced day and night before he slowly returned to form. He moved to New York in 2003, his musical energy and skills as strong as ever, and became a revered figure in the jazz avant-garde. He performed all over the world, made numerous recordings, taught at conservatories and was hailed as a musical visionary whose time had finally come.

Mr. Grimes was 84 when he died April 15 at a nursing facility in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood. He had complications from the coronavirus, said his wife, Margaret Davis Grimes.

Read more here.

April 21, 2020 at 10:58 PM EDT
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Kentucky, Rhode Island illustrate challenges posed by lack of national testing strategy

By Juliet Eilperin and Chris Mooney

Kentucky and Rhode Island might look similar on paper. They’ve done comparable numbers of diagnostic tests and lost similar numbers of residents to the coronavirus. But Kentucky has more than four times Rhode Island’s population, meaning it has tested 0.7 percent of its residents, compared with Rhode Island’s 3.7 percent, the highest per capita testing level in the United States.

The difference suggests Rhode Island probably has a better sense of the virus’s spread throughout the state, making it better prepared to curb it. The contrast offers a clear illustration of the challenges posed by a state-by-state testing strategy, in the absence of a national plan coordinated by the federal government.

Read more here.

April 21, 2020 at 10:26 PM EDT
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The Bronx leads New York City in covid-19 cases per capita

By Richard Morgan

NEW YORK — Amid this unfolding public health crisis, New York City has been distilled to its essential workforce. The Bronx, predominantly, is where they live, each day cramming into buses and subway trains that take them into Manhattan.

As the city rallies around a mantra of “New York Tough,” the marginalized here — among them city transit staff, garbage collectors and health-care workers — know that New Yorkers are not truly all in this together. There are now more coronavirus infections in the Bronx per capita than in any of the city’s other boroughs, according to health department data.

Read more here.

April 21, 2020 at 9:55 PM EDT
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Washington state’s recovery plan aims to slowly lift restrictions but most will remain in place

By Candace Buckner

Many of Washington’s covid-19 restrictions will remain in place at the start of the next month, but Gov. Jay Inslee (D) hopes the state will soon allow elective surgeries, outdoor recreation and construction jobs.

During a Tuesday night address, Inslee outlined the state’s recovery plan as a process that “will look more like a turning of a dial than a flip of the switch.” In the slow rollback, most of the state’s restrictions will not be lifted by May 4 — the original date until which its “stay home, stay safe” order was to be in place. However, Inslee said, with information that the virus spread is “likely declining” in the state, the recovery plan would permit the trio of services that are essential to medical treatment, health and employment.

“We hope that the data comes in the next few days so we can implement these measures,” Inslee said.

Washington hopes to resume elective surgeries, if health officials have personal protective equipment, as well as permit outdoor activities that are crucial to the state’s identity and critical for mental and physical health, Inslee said. Also, the governor proposed a limited return to construction with safety measures in place.

“We’re going to take steps and then monitor to see whether they work,” Inslee said, “or if we must continue to adapt.”

In February, Washington reported the first death related to covid-19 in the United States as the state became the epicenter for the virus before New York’s numbers spiked. As of Tuesday night, Washington had 197 new positive cases, increasing the total to 12,282, and 30 more deaths, elevating the number to 682 overall, according to the state’s health department.

However, Inslee said Washington’s spread has declined, as seen from an analysis of hospitalizations and confirmed cases and deaths from the beginning of the encounter with the virus until now.

April 21, 2020 at 9:48 PM EDT
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Biden slams Trump over immigration ban

By Colby Itkowitz

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic challenger to President Trump in November, condemned the president for focusing on immigration rather than increasing coronavirus testing.

“Rather than execute a swift and aggressive effort to ramp up testing, Donald Trump is tweeting incendiary rhetoric about immigrants in the hopes that he can distract everyone from the core truth: he's moved too slowly to contain this virus, and we are all paying the price for it,” Biden said in a statement.

Biden said there should be a policy that all travelers, citizens and noncitizens, coming to the U.S. be screened for covid-19, but that a flat ban on new immigration was “irrational.”

He also accused Trump of writing “inflammatory tweets” to hide from “one of the most glaring failures of this president’s response” — the lack of widespread testing.

April 21, 2020 at 9:03 PM EDT
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Boeing workers return to reopened factories and new anxieties

By Christian Davenport and Gregory Scruggs

RENTON, Wash. — Boeing workers came back to their jobs this week after a three-week furlough intended to halt the spread of the coronavirus through the workforce. The third shift resumed at 10:30 p.m. Monday, and the first shift reported back between 5 and 6 Tuesday morning.

They returned to new hand-washing stations. To managers asking them about their health. To more signs warning of the dangers of the coronavirus — as if the workers needed the reminder after scores of their colleagues had fallen ill during the pandemic, forcing Boeing to shutter some of its biggest manufacturing plants across the country.

Now Boeing has started reopening the shuttered factories in what will be a closely watched experiment in whether Americans can safely return to work in the nation with the highest number of coronavirus casualties in the world.

Read more here.

April 21, 2020 at 8:25 PM EDT
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‘The numbers are low until it’s your child’: The coronavirus can be deadly for children, too.

By Chelsea Janes and Vickie Elmer

The death of a 5-year-old in Detroit from the coronavirus stands as a heartbreaking exception in a pandemic that has largely spared children even as it ravages older populations and people with underlying medical conditions. Skylar Herbert was both young and without known underlying conditions.

Her story disproves “the myth now that children couldn’t get it,” the child’s father, Ebbie Herbert, said.

Boston Children’s Hospital, one of the nation’s major pediatric medical centers, reported a jump in covid-19 admissions last week when as many as 13 patients were hospitalized with the condition at one point. Children’s National Hospital in the District reported a steady increase in cases, as did Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Doctors at both hospitals say they believe the increase correlates to the surge of cases in the broader populations of those cities, though the number of adults infected still dwarfs the number of children testing positive.

Read more here.

April 21, 2020 at 8:19 PM EDT
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Harvard says it has not received PPP funds, despite Trump urging the school to pay them back

By Jesse Dougherty

Harvard University tweeted Tuesday that it has not applied for or received funds through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, which is aiding hard-hit businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

The tweets were triggered by comments by President Trump during the evening’s White House coronavirus task force press briefing. Harvard’s rebuttal came less than a half hour after the briefing ended.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was at the briefing to discuss the program. When he was asked a question about big businesses paying back money from the program, Trump butted in to point at Harvard.

“I’m going to request it, I’m going to request it. Harvard is going to pay back the money,” Trump said. “They shouldn’t be taking it. Harvard is going to, you have a number of … I’m not going to mention any other names, but when I saw Harvard, they have one of the largest endowments in the country, maybe in the world, I guess, and they’re going to pay back that money. They shouldn’t be taking it.”

In a series of tweets, in direct response to Trump’s accusations, Harvard denied requesting or receiving PPP funds. The university added: “President Trump is right that it would not have been appropriate for our institution to receive funds that were designated for struggling small businesses.”

Harvard and other elite private universities have faced additional criticism for receiving taxpayer money from the Cares Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. The university wrote Tuesday on Twitter that “Harvard has committed that 100% of these emergency higher education funds will be used to provide direct assistance to students facing urgent financial needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

April 21, 2020 at 8:16 PM EDT
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Birx: Ga. residents should still practice social distancing as the state starts to reopen

By Candace Buckner

Although Republican Gov. Brian Kemp cited the White House’s proposed reopening plan in his decision to allow some businesses to reopen as soon Friday, President Trump and his coronavirus task force weren’t as eager to put their weight behind him during a White House briefing Tuesday night.

While Trump referred to Kemp as a “very capable man” who knows what he’s doing, Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response director, said she would not prejudge a state leader’s decisions but cautioned Georgia residents to use common sense.

“I believe people in Atlanta would understand if their cases are not going down then they need to continue to do everything that we said: social distancing, washing your hands, wearing a mask in public,” Birx said, citing the administration’s “Opening Up America Again” guidelines.

Before any state attempts to reopen, Birx said it is up to the elected officials to transparently convey to the public the evidence-based data utilized to make the decision. Also, Birx said opening up retail stores, entertainment venues and salons should vary from community to community. For instance, a highly populated area like Atlanta or a hard-hit region like Dougherty County (with 103 deaths, the most of any county in the state) would not conceivably be ready to reopen as the more rural areas of the state that have recorded few positive cases.

Kemp’s decision has been highly critiqued, and even Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) expressed hesitation about the move, tweeting: “I worry that our friends and neighbors in Georgia are going too fast too soon.”

Though Birx stated several times that she did not want to second-guess Kemp, she advised elected officials to follow the administration’s phases of reopening protocols.

“We’ve been very clear in the guidelines,” Birx said. “It’s up to the governors and mayors to ensure that they’re following, the best they can, each of those phases to make sure that the … public is completely protected.”

Birx, however, gave an implausible scenario for hairstylists and tattoo artists to remain six feet away from patrons while providing personal services.

“So, if there’s a way that people can social distance and do those things, then they can do those things. I don’t know how, but people are very creative,” Birx said. “So I’m not going to prejudge.”

April 21, 2020 at 7:52 PM EDT
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Prisons become part of the pandemic supply chain, despite risk of the virus

By Hannah Dreier

With inconsistent access to soap and disinfectant and social distancing difficult to maintain, American prisons are becoming incubators for the coronavirus. Thousands of inmates are getting sick, and guards are spreading the virus back out to the larger community. This week, a single Ohio prison has become the largest hot spot in the country, with 1,950 inmates — 78 percent of the prison population — testing positive for the virus.

But even as detention centers suspend visits and confine hundreds of thousands to their cells to try to slow transmission, inmates throughout the country are also going to work, whether they want to or not. Prisons have begun shifting to become part of the pandemic supply chain, with nearly every state drafting inmates into their virus response efforts, despite warnings from public health experts that these are the last people who should be put on production lines right now.

“That is a recipe for disaster,” said Gavin Yamey, director of Duke University’s Center for Policy Impact in Global Health. Yamey said anything that increases transmission in detention centers represents a serious public health threat, because the virus will not stay contained to just prisoners. “They are already more vulnerable because of prison conditions, and now we are compelling them to put themselves at even higher risk.”

Read more here.

April 21, 2020 at 7:47 PM EDT
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Trump says immigration ban to last 60 days, could be extended

By Colby Itkowitz

Trump confirmed reports that his administration will be stopping legal immigration to the United States for 60 days and left open the possibility that he could extend it.

The president claimed the decision was an economic one, intended to ensure American workers are prioritized for hiring. This argument over whether immigrants “take” jobs from U.S. workers is one of the central tension points in the larger immigration debate.

But Trump denied that his order was political. When asked if he was using the pandemic to make good on campaign promises to his supporters to reduce immigration, Trump said: “No, no. I want people that are in this country, I want our citizens to get jobs. I don’t want them to have competition.”

Trump’s executive order, which he will sign Wednesday, deals with immigrants seeking permanent resident status, or green cards.

He also claimed that the immigration ban would "help to conserve vital medical resources for American citizens,” though there’s been no evidence that immigrants are depleting the medical supplies of which Trump has said the country has plenty. Reports have actually shown immigrants are fearful of getting medical treatment because of the Trump administration’s strict immigration policies.

Trump entertained the idea of extending the order after 60 days or having a second one that goes even further, though he didn’t say what that might look like.

“As we move forward, we will examine what additional immigration-related measures should be put in place to protect U.S. workers,” Trump said. “We want to protect our U.S. workers, and I think as we move forward, we will become more and more protective of them.”

April 21, 2020 at 7:09 PM EDT
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Netflix reports record growth in new subscriptions as world went into coronavirus quarantine

By Steven Zeitchik

As the coronavirus pandemic and its quarantines hit around the world, people made purchases they thought essential. Among them, apparently, was Netflix.

The streaming service added a record 15.8 million accounts between January and March. The number, which Netflix provided in its quarterly earnings report Tuesday, is double what most Wall Street analysts expected for the period and is by far the biggest quarterly add since Netflix became a mature business several years ago.

“We’re acutely aware that we are fortunate to have a service that is even more meaningful to people confined at home, and which we can operate remotely with minimal disruption in the short to medium term,” the company said in an investor letter. “Like other home entertainment services, we’re seeing temporarily higher viewing and increased membership growth.”

Read more here.

April 21, 2020 at 6:49 PM EDT
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Edwards reminds protesters he’s following guidance from Trump and Pence

By David Montgomery

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has a message for protesters reportedly planning to rally in Baton Rouge this weekend to call for letting people quickly go back to work: He is simply following the guidance of President Trump and Vice President Pence in pursuing a phased reopening of the state economy.

“I would just make sure that they understand that what we are doing is what we’ve been advised to do by the president and by the vice president,” Edwards said at a news briefing Tuesday, referring to guidance issued by the White House last week on reopening state economies in three phases. “I really don’t need anybody protesting me to tell me that we ought to open up the economy as soon as we can. I get it. Nobody wants to do that more than I do. But as a governor, I’m going to protect public health and safety.”

Edwards declined to offer details on what would happen May 1, the day after his stay-at-home order expires, except to say that the same order would not continue in place. He had already said Monday that reduced case numbers and other data suggest that the state is on a path to meet the criteria for the first phase of reopening by May 1.

He cautioned residents not to expect a quick return to normal: “It will be a gradual, phased reopening of different parts of the economy. Social distancing will be a prominent feature of daily life” for some period of time.

For now, to even get to phase one, the residents must continue to obey the state-at-home order, and the state must continue to ramp up its testing capacity and establish a robust program of contact-tracing, Edwards said.

Louisiana reported 24,854 total cases and 1,405 deaths as of Tuesday, with 6,169 cases in New Orleans and 344 deaths.

April 21, 2020 at 6:46 PM EDT
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Abigail Disney criticizes Disney executives for putting employees on unpaid leave during crisis

By Lateshia Beachum

Filmmaker and Disney heiress Abigail Disney on Tuesday criticized leaders of the company that holds her family’s name.

In a Twitter thread, the documentary filmmaker criticized the findings of a Financial Times story, which showed that Disney leaders stopped paying nearly half of its workforce to save $500 million. The company has yet to disclose its 2020 dividends, but has made $1.5 billion in payments to its shareholders in the past, the Financial Times reports.

The payments in particular are an outrage, according to the heiress, who doesn’t hold a role in the company but often feels compelled to call out what she feels are its misdeeds.

The company declined to comment.

$1.5 billion would “pay for three months salary to front line workers,” Abigail Disney wrote. “And it’s going to people who have already been collecting egregious bonuses for years.”

The company has the opportunity to do better amid the coronavirus crisis and could’ve seen some sort of crisis on the horizon, she said.

She said the executives should give up some of their generous compensation this year and up to 3 percent of the returns on their dividends.

The Financial Times reported that chairman Bob Iger will forgo the remainder of his $3 million salary this year, and chief executive Bob Chapek will forgo half of his $2.5 million base salary.

“A crisis is always an opportunity for change. Reassess this mess you’ve made of the good will you got handed on which you depend more than you like to admit,” Disney wrote. “And pay the people who make the magic happen with respect and dignity they have more than earned from you.”

Correction: A previous version of this post incorrectly said that Disney plans to pay $1.5 billion in dividends to its leaders. The Financial Times reports that it has paid that in the past to its shareholders, but has not yet commented on this year’s dividends. Our story also initially failed to distinguish between shareholder dividends and executive pay.