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Coronavirus news – live: Outdoor exercise could be banned if Britons break lockdown rules as over 600 die in 24 hours, as Queen set to address nation tonightIt is “quite unbelievable” that Britons continue to break the lockdown measures imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus, the health secretary, Matt Hancock, said after people were pictured sunbathing and enjoying picnics in the sunshine.The Queen will urge the nation to show its traditional “quiet, good-humoured resolve” as she broadcasts a rare televised message tonight, in which she will acknowledge the grief and financial hardship experienced by the public as it prepares to enter its third week in lockdown.


South Korea's return to normal interrupted by uptick in coronavirus casesWith many parts of the world wondering what a slow return to normal life will look like, South Korea's situation offers a warning: The curve doesn’t necessarily stay flat.


Pope livestreams Palm Sunday mass due to virus 'tragedy'Pope Francis called for courage in the face of the coronavirus pandemic as he delivered Palm Sunday mass by livestream instead of before Saint Peter's Square crowds. The Vatican is abandoning centuries of tradition and refraining from public celebrations of the official start of the Catholic world's Holy Week. Pope Francis called the pandemic a tragedy on Sunday that must be faced with courage and hope.


Coronavirus: Australia launches criminal investigation into Ruby PrincessPassengers from the Ruby Princess disembarked in Sydney without knowing the coronavirus was on board.


Blame the Chinese Communist Party for the coronavirus crisisCoronavirus crisis proves communism is still a grave threat to the entire world. If Beijing had just been honest, the pandemic could be preventable.


Palm Sunday: Pope celebrates without public in St. Peter'sPope Francis celebrated Palm Sunday Mass without the public because of the coronavirus pandemic, which he said should focus people's attention on what's most important, despite heavy hearts — using one's life to serve others. Looking pensive and sounding subdued, Francis led the first of several solemn Holy Week ceremonies that will shut out rank-and-file faithful from attending, as Italy's rigid lockdown measures forbid public gatherings. Instead, Francis celebrated Mass inside St. Peter’s Basilica, which seemed even more cavernous than usual because it was so empty.


Tokyo reports 143 new coronavirus cases, highest jump in one day: governorSome 143 more cases of the novel coronavirus have been reported in Tokyo, the city's governor said on Sunday, with the highest daily jump bringing the number of cases in the Japanese capital to more than 1,000. Tokyo's metropolitan government has strongly urged people to stay at home as the city of nearly 14 million has seen an uptick in the number of cases in recent days. The number of cases with untraceable transmission routes had increased in recent days, Governor Yuriko Koike said in a livecast YouTube video on Sunday, adding it was worrying that there were a number of people who were infected at hospitals.


Drive-by blessings in virus-hit PhilippinesLocals lined up in front of their homes in a district of Manila, which is entering its fourth week of a lockdown that has brought the frenetic metropolis nearly to a halt. "This celebration will continue despite the spread of the virus," said Bong Sosa, who attended wearing a mask crafted from a water cooler bottle. The blessings come as the Philippines recorded a total of 144deaths and 3,094 confirmed virus cases, numbers that are expected to keep rising as the nation ramps up testing.


Greece quarantines second migrant camp after COVID-19 case confirmedGreece has quarantined a second migrant facility on its mainland after a 53-year-old man tested positive for the new coronavirus, the migration ministry said on Sunday. On Thursday, authorities quarantined the Ritsona camp in central Greece after 20 tested positive for the coronavirus. It was the first such facility in Greece to be hit since the outbreak of the disease.


To Donald Trump, coronavirus is just one more chance for a power grabChaos in response to Covid-19 is no surprise. Nor is the unscrupulous operators’ pursuit of profit and political advantage * Coronavirus – latest US updates * Coronavirus – latest global updates * See all our coronavirus coverageThe utter chaos in America’s response to the coronavirus pandemic – shortages of equipment to protect hospital workers, dwindling supplies of ventilators and critical medications, jaw-dropping confusion over how $2.2tn of aid in the recent coronavirus law will be distributed – was perhaps predictable in a nation that prides itself on competitive individualism and hates centralized power.But it is also tailor-made for Donald Trump, who has spent a lifetime exploiting chaos for personal gain and blaming others for losses.“I don’t take responsibility” for the slow rate of coronavirus testing in the US, he said.On Friday, when asked if he could assure New Yorkers there would be enough ventilators next week when virus victims are expected to overwhelm city hospitals, he replied: “No. They should have had more ventilators.”Trump has told governors to find life-saving equipment on their own. He refuses to create a central bargaining agent, arguing the federal government is “not a shipping clerk”. This has left states and cities bidding against each other, driving up prices.Andrew Cuomo, the New York governor, described how ventilators went from $25,000 to $45,000 “because we bid $25,000. California says, ‘I’ll give you $30,000’ and Illinois says, ‘I’ll give you $35,000’ and Florida says ‘I’ll give you $40,000. And then, Fema [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] gets involved and Fema starts bidding!“And now Fema is bidding on top of the 50! So Fema is driving up the price. What sense does this make? We’re literally bidding up the prices ourselves.”New York state is paying 20 cents for gloves that normally cost less than five cents, $7.50 for masks that normally go for 50 cents, $2,795 for infusion pumps that normally cost half that, $248,841 for a portable X-ray machine that typically sells for $30,000 to $80,000.Who’s pocketing all this? An array of producers, importers, wholesalers and speculators. State laws against price gouging usually don’t apply to government purchases.Some of it may be finding its way into this fall’s election campaigns. The veteran Republican fundraiser Mike Gula and Republican political operative John Thomas just started a company selling coronavirus testing kits, personal protective equipment and other “hard to find medical supplies to beat the outbreak”. They call themselves “the largest global network of Covid-19 medical suppliers”.Asked how he’d found such equipment, Gula explained: “I have relationships with a lot of people.”Thomas added: “In politics – especially if you’re at a high enough level – you are one phone call away from anybody in the world.”Meanwhile, Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner – who’s one phone call away from anyone – is running a “shadow” coronavirus task force that has been enlisting the private sector and overseeing the Strategic National Stockpile of medical supplies, all out of public view.“It’s supposed to be our stockpile – it’s not supposed to be state stockpiles,” he said cryptically on Thursday.Oh, and let’s not forget the giant coronavirus bill Trump signed into law on 27 March, which created a $500bn fund that Trump and his treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, will distribute to the private sector. Most of it will backstop $4.5tn of subsidized loans (ie, bailout money) coming from the Fed, also distributed by the Treasury.In a signing statement, Trump said he wouldn’t agree to provisions in the bill for congressional oversight – meaning the wheeling-and-dealing will be in secret. When the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, said she’d form a special select committee to watch how the money is spent, Trump accused her of “conducting partisan investigations in the middle of a pandemic”, adding: “Here we go again … It’s witch hunt after witch hunt.”Is there any doubt Trump will try to use this money, as well as his son-in-law’s secretive dealings, to improve his odds of re-election?Trump was impeached a mere three and a half months ago on charges of abuse of power and obstructing investigations. Eight months ago, he phoned the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, seeking dirt on Joe Biden and threatening to hold up military aid to get it.In June 2016, his son Donald Jr and Jared Kushner met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, after a Russian intermediary contacted Trump Jr with a promise to provide material that would “incriminate” Hillary Clinton and be “very useful to your father”, adding it was part of the Russian government’s “support” for Trump.Donald Trump calls allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election a “hoax”. He called his impeachment a “hoax”. He initially called the coronavirus a “hoax”.But the real hoax is Trump’s commitment to America. In reality he will do anything – anything – to hold on to power. In his mind, the coronavirus crisis is just another opportunity. * Robert Reich, a former US secretary of labor, is professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley and the author of Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few and The Common Good. His new book, The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It, is out now. He is a columnist for Guardian US


Search continues for Arkansas woman who vanished from her home in 2016Mercedes Toliver was last seen leaving her Prescott, Arkansas home on foot just after midnight on December 17, 2016. She was reportedly on her way to her aunt’s house nearby. She never made it. There has been no activity on her social media accounts since. The Prescott Police Department is investigating.


2 Coral Princess cruise passengers dead as ship with coronavirus cases docks in MiamiA Princess Cruises ship carrying at least a dozen people on board who have tested positive for COVID-19 will be docking at Port Miami Saturday.


Fact check: Did the Obama administration deplete the federal stockpile of N95 masks?During the presidency of Barack Obama, the national stockpile was seriously taxed as the administration addressed multiple crises over eight years.


For journalists covering Trump, the new reality at the White HouseBehind the scenes: Temperature checks, reduced staffing, lots of Purell and coping with grim news.


Mexican tequila makers, unlike brewers, plan to keep up production, exportsMexican tequila makers have sought to dispel concerns that their exports to the United States will dry up, after two large brewers in the country suspended production to comply with government rules put in place due to the new coronavirus. "Neither in the United States nor in Canada are there restrictions on manufacturing and selling alcoholic beverages," the president of the Mexican tequila chamber, Rodolfo Gonzalez, said in an interview. Mexican tequila makers, however, interpret the newly imposed rules differently.


‘My Everything’: Husband of Robert F. Kennedy’s Granddaughter Recounts Tragic DrowningMaeve Kennedy Townsend McKean’s husband has posted a heartbreaking tribute to his wife—the granddaughter of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy—and the couple’s child, who went missing in the Chesapeake Bay Thursday afternoon.The Kennedy family announced Friday that the Coast Guard suspended the rescue effort for McKean, 40, and son Gideon, 8, who disappeared after paddling a canoe out into the bay. The effort to recover their remains is ongoing.“The search that began yesterday afternoon went on throughout the night and continued all day today,” McKean’s husband, David McKean, wrote in a Facebook post late Friday. “It is now dark again. It has been more than 24 hours, and the chances they have survived are impossibly small. It is clear that Maeve and Gideon have passed away.”The family had been self-quarantining from the novel coronavirus in a house on the bay owned by McKean’s mother, former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, according to her husband’s post. The largely empty house provided them with more space to ride out the pandemic than their D.C. home, he said.McKean and her son were playing on a beach in a small, shallow cove behind the house at around 4 p.m. when one of them accidentally kicked a ball into the water. The two attempted to retrieve the ball by paddling a canoe into the protected cove, but ended up in the open bay where strong winds during the day had whipped up vicious currents.“The cove is protected, with much calmer wind and water than in the greater Chesapeake,” David McKean wrote. “They got into a canoe, intending simply to retrieve the ball, and somehow got pushed by wind or tide into the open bay.”About 30 minutes later, an onlooker called emergency services to report seeing the pair struggling to paddle to the shore. That was the last anyone saw of them. The Coast Guard recovered their capsized canoe miles away from the beach at 7 p.m. Friday.David McKean wrote tenderly of his late son, recalling his love of sports and strong morals.“He was deeply compassionate, declining to sing children’s songs if they contained a hint of animals or people being treated cruelly,” he wrote. “And he was brave, leading his friends in games, standing up to people who he thought were wrong (including his parents), and relishing opportunities to go on adventures with friends, even those he’d just met.”“I used to marvel at him as a toddler and worry that he was too perfect to exist in this world,” he added. “It seems to me now that he was.”His wife, McKean wrote, was “magical,” with “endless energy” and a laugh you could hear a block away.“Maeve turned 40 in November, and she was my everything,” he wrote. “She was my best friend and my soulmate. I have already thought many times over today that I need to remember to tell Maeve about something that’s happening. I am terrified by the idea that this will fade over time.”The couple met while working for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and were married in 2003. Maeve served in the Peace Corp, with the State Department’s global AIDS program, and in the Obama administration’s Department of Health and Human Services, before signing on as executive director of the Georgetown University Global Health Initiative.“Maeve was vivid,” her mother, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, said in a statement Friday night. “You always knew when she was in a room. Her laughter was loud, unabashed and infectious.” McKean’s cousin, Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA), posted on Twitter: “We love you Maeve. We love you Gideon. Our family has lost two of the brightest lights.”McKean is survived by her 7-year-old daughter, Gabriella, and 2-year-old son, Toby. “I know soon he will start to ask for Maeve and Gideon,” her husband wrote of Toby. “It breaks my heart that he will not get to have them as a mother and brother.”In his Facebook post, David McKean asked friends and family to share photos of his late wife and son.“As Gabriella and Toby lay sleeping next to me last night, I promised them that I would do my best to be the parent that Maeve was, and to be the person that Gideon clearly would have grown up to be,” he wrote. “Part of that is keeping their memories alive.”The Kennedy family has endured an extraordinary amount of tragedy over several generations, from the high-profile assassinations of McKean’s grandfather and great-uncle to the fatal plane crash that killed John F. Kennedy Jr., to the heart attack that killed Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s niece, Kara, in 2011 and the death by suicide of his ex-wife, Mary, in 2012.Just last year, McKean’s cousin, Saoirse Roisin Kennedy Hill, died of an accidental drug overdose at the Kennedy family compound in Cape Cod.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


North Korea's official coronavirus count: Zero. Why that claim is hard to believeExperts are skeptical of the no-coronavirus claim from the tightly controlled country so desperate to maintain the status of its border with China.


Boris Johnson's pregnant fiancee Carrie Symonds suffers coronavirus symptomsBoris Johnson's pregnant fiancee Carrie Symonds has revealed she has "spent the past week in bed" after suffering coronavirus symptoms but is now recovering. The 32-year-old, who is expecting the couple's baby in early summer, falls into the group of vulnerable people urged to avoid contact with those with symptoms of Covid-19. Prime Minister Mr Johnson said last week that he had tested positive for coronavirus and has now spent more than a week in self-isolation in Downing Street. Shortly after his announcement, Ms Symonds - who usually lives with the Prime Minister in the Number 11 flat - shared a photograph of herself self-isolating in Camberwell, south London, with the couple's dog Dilyn. But on Saturday evening she revealed she too has suffered coronavirus symptoms. She tweeted: "I've spent the past week in bed with the main symptoms of Coronavirus. I haven't needed to be tested and, after seven days of rest, I feel stronger and I'm on the mend. "Being pregnant with Covid-19 is obviously worrying. To other pregnant women, please do read and follow the most up to date guidance which I found to be v reassuring."


Holdout States Resist Calls for Stay-at-Home Orders: 'What Are You Waiting For?'A surge in coronavirus deaths in the United States has prompted the vast majority of governors to order their residents to stay home, but a small number of states are resisting increasingly urgent calls to shut down.The pressure on the holdouts in the Midwest and the South has mounted in recent days as fellow governors, public-health experts and even their own citizens urge them to adopt tougher measures that have been put in place across 41 states and Washington, D.C.Health experts warn that the coronavirus can easily exploit any gaps in a state-by-state patchwork of social distancing in the country, where the death toll climbed past 6,600 on Friday."I just don't understand why we're not doing that," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading expert on infectious diseases, said on CNN. "We really should be."By Friday, nine states had yet to issue formal statewide stay-at-home orders. It is the most direct, stringent measure available, going beyond closing down restaurants and schools and instructing all residents to stay at home, except for necessities. In some of those states, cities and counties had stepped in to issue their own orders, leaving a patchwork of restrictions.The contrast is the starkest in five states - Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota - where there are no such orders in place, either in major cities or statewide. Another four had partial restrictions issued locally in certain cities or counties.In interviews and at news conferences this week, the governors in the holdout states defended their decision, saying that they had already taken strong steps - closing schools, and shutting down or limiting many aspects of public life, including restaurants, bars, gyms, bowling alleys and movie theaters."I can't lock the state down," said Gov. Kim Reynolds of Iowa, which has recorded more than 600 confirmed cases and at least 11 deaths. "People also have to be responsible for themselves."For many conservative governors who believe strongly in small government and personal responsibility, the prospect of mandatory stay-at-home orders is anathema and they rejected what they called a catchall approach that could wreck their states' economies. Though governors issuing the orders elsewhere have spanned the political spectrum, with some Republican governors emerging as early and strong advocates, the remaining holdout states are all Republican-led.Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota said he was appealing to residents "who love liberty and freedom" to respect social-distancing rules. "It's important that we exercise individual responsibility," he said at a news conference. "By following these guidelines, we're literally saving lives."Some holdout governors have issued different levels of restrictions within their states. Iowa has adopted a point system to determine whether particular parts of the state should be ordered to shelter in place. In Nebraska, restaurants in more rural areas were still open for customers to eat-in - as long as there were fewer than 10 at a time.Other states with partial restrictions in cities or counties, but no statewide orders, included Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah and Wyoming.Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas had previously toughened social-distancing guidelines, but stopped short of calling the move a statewide stay-at-home order; on Friday, a spokesman clarified that Texas was indeed under a statewide mandate. Also Friday, the governors of Missouri and Alabama, who had previously resisted such a move, also issued stay-at-home orders."Some will naturally say, why did you wait so long?" Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama said. "Others will say, why now?" She said she had sought balanced measures that "would look out for people's safety while keeping government from choking the life out of business and commerce."In many of the holdout states - largely rural, with far fewer cases than the hardest hit regions like New York City - residents said they were already social distancing, even without formal orders.Still, some feared the lack of clear instructions could leave dangerous gaps."If we don't get some clear directive from our governor, people will begin to rationalize reasons for getting together: 'It's not that bad. I see them anyway at the store,'" said Nancy DeBoer, a nurse in Brookings, South Dakota, home to South Dakota State University. "It's our governor's responsibility to show some leadership."Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas said in an interview that the typical stay-at-home order was a misleading "illusion" because it includes so many exemptions allowing people to go out in public, such as for groceries or exercise. He said Arkansas had taken "very aggressive measures," and said ordering people to stay at home would simply leave thousands jobless."If I signed it today, more than 700,000 people would get up and go to work tomorrow," he said, adding another 100,000 would be suddenly unemployed.The different approaches have created a rift between states, angering other governors and residents living under stricter orders just across state lines. A Tennessee congressman wrote the governor of Arkansas asking for a stay-at-home order so that the virus did not spread next door."What are you waiting for?" Gov. Gavin Newsom of California, who issued the first statewide order last month, told CNN when asked about governors who have not followed suit. "What more evidence do you need? If you think it's not going to happen to you, there are many proof points all across this country."People demanding tougher measures are barraging elected officials with phone calls and social-media messages.A doctor in Iowa and a registered nurse in South Dakota have started online petitions. In Nebraska, the Facebook page of Gov. Pete Ricketts is filled with commenters second-guessing his decision. "PLEASE issue a stay at home order!" one person wrote. "Very soon it is going to be too late!!""We've got people begging us," said Rod Sullivan, chair of the board of supervisors in Johnson County, Iowa, who said he had gotten calls at home and on his cellphone asking why he had not done more to keep people at home. Under state law, he said, such an order must come from the governor."It's hard to just tell them there's nothing we can do," he said.Many residents said they were taking precautions and social distancing anyway, organizing virtual Bingo games, taking children on "bear hunts" to see teddy bears positioned outside homes or in windows in the neighborhood and organizing car cruise nights, where residents pile in their cars and drive the local strip, waving at each other from a safe distance."You end up with some self-governance," said Michael Stepp, the owner of a tap room and coffee spot in O'Neill, Nebraska, who said he does not think a statewide order is needed because most residents, like himself, are largely staying home anyway."It's more a result of the general outlook and demeanor of Midwest people," he said. "Everybody wants to be helpful."For some residents, further restrictions seemed both daunting and unnecessary. Connie Wright is already working out of her home in Altoona, Iowa, coordinating insurance payments for a hospital system. Her gym is closed, so she cannot get out of the house to take Zumba classes and chat with friends she has made there.The only thing keeping her sane these days, it seems, is walking on the bike trail behind her house and seeing her grandchildren, who still come over to dance to Disney music and songs from the 1960s. She fears even those small comforts could go away if the governor gives in to what Wright sees as pressure from critics to issue a stay-at-home order."It would be depressing," said Wright, 51, who said she appreciated that the governor was showing faith in residents to do the right thing. "You might as well slap an ankle bracelet on me."A stretch of Interstate 40, which runs from downtown Memphis, Tennessee, across the Mississippi River into Arkansas, has come to illustrate the patchwork of rules restricting movement in the United States. On the Arkansas side of the river, where the governor has resisted a statewide mandate, some "nonessential" businesses remain open. On the Tennessee side, a stay-at-home order went into effect this week, closing stores.Now, the owner of a chain of clothing stores called Deep South, located on both sides of the Mississippi, is operating under two different sets of rules. The company's owner, Munther Awad, a 47-year-old immigrant from the Middle East, said he owns two stores in Arkansas, which are open, one in West Memphis and another in Little Rock. And he owns a third store in Memphis, which is now closed because of a local mandate last week."I feel like if you would have just went ahead and put the whole nation at the same time on a lockdown, we could have got some control over it," said Lavanda Mayfield, 33, who was waiting to serve takeout to customers at the Iron Skillet restaurant at a truck stop near I-40 in West Memphis on Friday."But now it's just out of control," she said, "because you did state-to-state."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company


Trump rolled back fuel-economy standards in the US this week to make vehicles 'substantially safer,' but his claims about car safety don't mesh with realityTrump has said efficient cars are made out of "papier-mâché," hindering them in crashes. That's incorrect, like many of his claims about crash safety.


Coronavirus: Germany and France accuse US of taking face masks as international tensions riseGermany and France have accused the US of taking face masks already ordered by Europe as the coronavirus pandemic continued to cause rising international tensions.Politicians in Berlin and Paris both said America had been using unfair means to undermine their own attempts to secure personal protective equipment.


Experts are questioning China's reported coronavirus case and death counts. Here's why it's so important to get the data right.Case counts and death tolls are "often misleading," one epidemiologist said, but China's informed early perceptions of the coronavirus.


The Recession Bread Lines Are Forming in Mar-a-Lago’s Shadow(Bloomberg) - Though it’s just a four-minute drive across the lagoon from Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s private club, and ten minutes from the Palm Beach outposts of Chanel and Louis Vuitton, Howley’s diner has become an emblem of America’s stark new economic reality.With more than 10 million people across the nation suddenly unemployed, bread lines are forming in the shadows of privileged enclaves like this one in Florida.For the past two weeks, the kitchen staff at Howley’s has been cooking up free meals—the other day it was smoked barbecue chicken with rice and beans, and salad—for thousands of laid off workers from Palm Beach’s shuttered restaurants and resorts. The rows of brown-bag lunches and dinners are an early warning that the country’s income gap is about to be wrenched wider as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, and the deep recession it has brought with it.Even as much of America is fretting about supermarket shelves depleted of their favorite cereal brands and toilet paper or the logistics of curbside pickup from favorite restaurants, a brutal new hunger crisis is emerging among laid-off workers that has begun to overwhelm the infrastructure that normally takes care of the needy.“We’re seeing about a 650% increase in our request for support,” said Sari Vatske, executive vice president of Feeding South Florida, which before the pandemic was already serving more than 700,000 people a year in four counties including Palm Beach County. “The growth is exponential.”The surge in demand is not just in Palm Beach. Food banks around the world have recorded increases in requests for assistance as government-ordered lockdowns have started to bite, prompting employers to lay off staff.Food insecurity was already a chronic problem in many U.S. communities. Across the U.S. 14.3 million households were short of food in 2018, the last year for which government data are available. That equates to just over one in ten American households. For Black and Hispanic households the rate is closer to one in five.That is likely only to get worse with the number of people losing jobs at historic levels. In the final two weeks of March alone an unprecedented 10 million workers applied for unemployment insurance. And some economists predict about 20 million people will have lost their jobs by July. Those being thrown out of work are often people who were living paycheck-to-paycheck beforehand and are therefore among the most vulnerable.The $2 trillion rescue package Congress passed on March 27 includes $1,200 emergency payments for most Americans and extended unemployment benefits. But the speed in which the aid finds its way to the segments of the population that need it the most will have consequences for how long and deep the recession that’s already underway is.“It’s just really hitting people who are already the most vulnerable workers in our society so that is going to mean the pain will propagate faster,” said Heidi Shierholz, a former Labor Department chief economist now at the Economic Policy Institute. “They’re more likely to be living paycheck to paycheck than anyone else, and so if their income falls, they’re more likely to actually have to cut back on necessities like rent and food. So that just makes the recession deeper and longer by pulling even more economic activity out.”Rodney Mayo, whose 17-location Subculture restaurant group owns Howley’s, started handing out free meals in the diner’s parking lot on Saturday, March 21, after having to lay off 650 workers the day before.“They were asking ‘Where do we go? What do we do?’ All I really had was the unemployment site that was crashing and nobody could file anything on it,” Mayo said. “But I did promise them: No matter what, you and your families will get fed by us. And I said tomorrow we’ll be open at Howley’s.”What started with his own employees quickly grew into a bigger effort as friends, suppliers, and fellow restaurateurs  pitched in, and area charities began sending other people needing meals his way.Two weeks on, Mayo has opened another of his restaurants to distribute meals and is preparing to open a third. He’s also turning a warehouse into a food pantry that will distribute groceries. He has secured funds from the local government and set up a charity called Hospitality Helping Hands that is taking donations to keep the effort going.The 15,000 meals he gave away in the first ten days cost an average of $1.30 each, Mayo said. The bonus has been being able to rehire some of his kitchen staff and to let the others who volunteer keep tips handed out by passersbys.Just a few days into April, Mayo already expects that he will be handing out meals into June. Even if and when the $1,200 payments the federal government has promised land and unemployment benefits kick in there will be a lingering need, he said.The current crisis, Mayo said, shone a spotlight on the divide between the pastel-clad privileged lives in the city of Palm Beach, an enclave on a barrier island connected to the mainland by a series of bridges, and the wider county around it. “There’s east of the bridge, which is Palm Beach, and then there’s everything west which is everything else,” Mayo said. “We have some very poor communities.”Even before the current crisis, three in five children in Palm Beach County’s public schools were eligible for federally-funded free or subsidized lunches, a measure of poverty. “When I tell people there’s hunger in Palm Beach County people think I’m kidding,” said Karen Erren, executive director of the Palm Beach County Food Bank. “But in south Florida our poverty level is always significant.”The threat of Covid-19 infections has caused food pantries in the area to change how they operate, or shut down. About a third of the 125 that the Palm Beach County Food Bank supplies are now closed, Erren said. Also a rush of panic buying has depleted stocks at supermarkets, particularly of shelf-stable foods, meaning donations from grocery chains are shrinking. Vatske said a sharp reduction in the supply from retailers to Feeding South Florida alongside the surge in demand had almost tripled its running costs. “It costs us about a $125,000 a week to operate under blue skies. Right now we’re looking at about $350,000 with having to purchase food. So we’ll need about $1.4 million a month to keep this going,” she said.Food banks and pantries are also planning for what they fear will be a longer term effect from the Covid-19 crisis. “What I’m thinking about right now is ‘Call me in a month’s time. Call me in two month’s time.’ Because that’s when reality will have hit,” said Ruth Mageria, executive director of Christians Reaching Out to Society Ministries, in Lake Worth, another town in Palm Beach County. Local food banks and pantries interviewed for this story said they have not had any contact with the Trump Organization or Mar-a-Lago, which was shut for cleaning last month after a cluster of Covid-19 cases was linked to a member of the entourage of visiting Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro and has not reopened.Neither the club’s general manager nor spokespeople for the Trump Organization responded to multiple requests for comment. Venues with a more upscale clientele than Howley’s are doing their part. At The Addison, a venue for weddings and other events in nearby Boca Raton, chefs have started working with a local charity and preparing 100 meals a day for delivery to elderly people stuck inside and other people affected. On the menu one day earlier this week: maple and mustard glazed Atlantic salmon with rice and broccoli.“We decided since we can’t host events we’d use resources to help our non-profit partner,” said Melanie De Vito, the business’ marketing director. It has helped fill one small gap, De Vito said, in a place where social distancing is far from the norm, “Boca is a very tight-knit community” in which “events are a big thing,’’ she said. “Having the socializing stop has been really surreal.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Revealed: food bank shortages expected to hit Washington state by mid-AprilReport obtained by Guardian projects acute demand and supply problem, meaning agencies will struggle to provide for the hungry * Coronavirus – live US updates * Live global updates * See all our coronavirus coverageAgencies and organisations tasked with feeding children, the poor and the elderly in Washington state during the coronavirus crisis will experience shortages of food and supplies as early as mid-April, according to state government emergency planning documents obtained by the Guardian.A 27 March situation report (SitRep) document produced by the Unified Command of Washington’s State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) projects that a combination of acute demand at food banks and schools, supply problems for food and cleaning supplies, plus staffing shortages, will mean government and NGOs will struggle to provide for hungry people whose incomes have disappeared as the state’s economy stutters.This raises the prospect of food bank shortages in Washington but also nationwide, as food banks across the US are being increasingly utilized by unprecedented numbers of people in an economy that has been abruptly slowed to fight the spreading pandemic.Washington state has experienced one of the earliest and most serious outbreaks of Covid-19 in the US. Governor Jay Inslee has received praise in recent days for his decisive response, which is thought to have prevented an even worse crisis.But the document suggests that at the predicted peak of the epidemic, which has already infected at least 4,896 Washingtonians and killed at least 195, the state will need to head off a parallel humanitarian crisis.The SitRep document, produced by the emergency agency coordinated by Washington state’s military department and distributed to state and local agencies involved in the emergency response, details emerging problems and frantic efforts to solve them across a range of numbered emergency support functions (ESF), including communications, firefighting, and energy.Under the heading “ESF11 Agriculture and Natural Resources”, the SitRep details the growing problems in food security. Many of the problems involve food banks – non-governmental organizations that deliver food to needy people.The document says there is already a “shortage of food at food banks”, which is projected to become worse. It says: “NGOs have food on hand. However, burn rate is increasing fast. Demand is growing dramatically so supply is quickly being used up.”It goes on to warn: “Food banks expect a significant gap in the food supply across the whole system by mid-April (April 10-20).”It then offers insight into spiking demand at specific NGOs delivering food in Washington: “Northwest Harvest (a statewide food bank service) reported they are distributing 450,000lbs of food this week.”It continues: “The burn rate and demand are rising sharply. These NGOs are seeing 30 percent to 100% increases in the number of people served.”In a telephone conversation, Northwest Harvest chief executive Thomas Reynolds said of his food banks: “We don’t predict peak demand for another three weeks and then we anticipate peak demand for 12 to 20 weeks.”He added: “I worked for 15 years for Care International. So what it reminds me of is earthquakes in Nepal, the tsunami in Japan, food crises in Yemen. And the difference is there’s a lot more experience in a place like Nepal or Yemen to respond to emergencies.”The document says rural counties are already moving to rationalize food delivery in the face of demand.“Chelan county is moving away from using small distribution centers. Instead they are going to start using a single, mass-distribution site for emergency food,” it says.It continues with a prediction: “It’s a model we will likely see more of in the days and weeks to come.”On Wednesday, Inslee, announced he had mobilized 130 National Guard members to provide support for food banks in Chelan and four other counties, with potentially more to follow.The problems are being compounded by supply problems in other goods necessary for food service, such as supplies used to clean kitchens.As in other states, Washington has closed schools, but many districts have maintained school lunch delivery as a way of feeding needy children.These programs, too, are under strain, according to the SitRep.One issue is in the workforce, which “is a growing issue because schools rely on older people to work in food service and as bus drivers. These are two job categories important to food assistance.”The document says “older workers are opting not to work because of Covid concerns” and that schools are also experiencing supply problems.The document does offer some hope that solutions to shortages are emerging, but leaves open the question of whether they will arrive in time.Chris McGann, a spokesman for the Washington state department of agriculture, said in an email: “The current situation with its rapidly increasing demand and limited resources is putting incredible strain on the social safety net. Hunger relief is no different.”He added: “We have called on the federal government and private industry to identify and commit additional resources to help us make sure families have the nutritional support they need to make it through this crisis.”He also said that the problem was so far confined to food banks. “The food supply chain is otherwise operational and functional. People will still be able to get food at the grocery store.”Reynolds stressed that Northwest Harvest was working well with the state and has “good relationship with our local elected officials”. But he said he hoped food security will become more central to political debate.“I think we should be asking people who are running for office. What is your food policy?”


BA cabin crew virus fears after long-haul flightsPilots and cabin crew say the airline was slow to take action to protect them from the coronavirus.


Tokyo area sees daily coronavirus cases topping 100 for first time: NHKSome 118 people were newly infected with the novel coronavirus in the Japanese capital of Tokyo, NHK public broadcaster reported on Saturday, citing metropolitan government officials. It marked the first time that daily confirmed cases exceeded 100 in the Tokyo area, bringing the number of confirmed cases there to 891, NHK said. Tokyo's metropolitan government has strongly urged people to stay at home at the weekend as the mega-city faces a rising number of cases and as speculation simmers that Japan may declare a state of emergency, leading to lockdown.


Trump accused of ‘firing people for telling the truth’ after dismissing man who handled impeachment complaintDonald Trump has fired the US inspector general for the intelligence community, Michael Atkinson, the man who first handled the complaint made by an anonymous CIA whistleblower that became the basis for his impeachment.The president wrote to the House and Senate intelligence committees late on Friday informing them of his decision, saying it was “vital” he had confidence in the independent government watchdog and and “that is no longer the case with regard to this inspector general”.


Biden to name VP vetting team, thinking about Cabinet makeupJoe Biden said Friday that he will announce a committee to oversee his vice presidential selection process and is already thinking about whom he’d choose to join his Cabinet. Biden, who holds a significant lead in delegates over Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary race but has yet to officially clinch the nomination, also said he’s spoken to Sanders to let him know he’d be proceeding with the vice presidential vetting process. Biden, a former vice president himself, has previously committed to choosing a woman as his running mate.


3M pushes back at Trump over order to produce more face masksManufacturing giant 3M pushed back Friday against criticism from President Trump over production of face masks that are badly needed by American health care workers.


McGrath offers quick response to McConnell virus-related adDemocrat Amy McGrath has punched back at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, accusing him of seeking a political windfall from an economic aid package while the coronavirus crisis worsens. McGrath's campaign released a TV ad Friday lambasting the Kentucky Republican for “taking a victory lap against the coronavirus." It's a quick response by his most well-funded Democratic challenger to a McConnell commercial in which he trumpeted his key role in passing the $2.2 trillion rescue package.


Fact check: No, coronavirus did not lower the death rate in ChicagoA widely shared Facebook post claims COVID-19 has lowered the death rate in Chicago. But that's not what the data show.


As coronavirus ravages Spain, doctors get a grim order on 'futility of care' for the very old and very sickA document circulated by the health department of Catalonia recommends that emergency teams and health care workers stop using ventilators for patients older than 80, and further recommends that extremely ill victims of COVID-19 be allowed to die at home rather than being taken to the hospital.


Which states have done the least to contain coronavirus?Some states are stubbornly defying expert advice to order residents to stay home – even as cases rise * Coronavirus – latest US updates * Coronavirus – latest global updates * See all our coronavirus coverageWhile most states in the US have ordered their citizens to stay home as they deal with the coronavirus outbreak, some are stubbornly defying expert advice – even as cases continue to rise.The urgent need for action was made clear on Thursday, when Dr Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, issued a plea for states to force people not to leave their homes.“I don’t understand why it’s not happening,” said Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.“We really should be.”Here are five states who have taken the least action: AlabamaThe deep south state of Alabama has resisted implementing a statewide stay-at-home order, despite it having, as of Friday, 1,270 confirmed coronavirus cases. The lack of action is particularly troubling as Alabama’s population is especially vulnerable to infectious disease. The state had the third-most deaths from flu in 2018.As one of the poorest states in the US, Alabama would be ill-placed to deal with prolonged economic hardship due to the virus. The state’s governor, Kay Ivey, has been evasive when asked about a stay-at-home order. “Each state has to weigh their own set of factors,” she responded during a Q&A on Thursday.Ivey has defied Alabama’s US senator, Doug Jones, who has urged officials to act. ArkansasArkansas is another southern state yet to order residents to stay at home, despite parts of the state experiencing soaring rates of infection – Cleburne county has 253.7 cases per 100,000 people, among the highest in the nation. Yet while many businesses including gyms and casinos have been ordered to close, some clothing stores remain open, US News reported. Asa Hutchinson, the governor, cited clothing stores on Thursday when he said people could lose their jobs if a wider order was put in place. MississippiMississippi, another deep south state, has chronically low income, and a poverty rate of 19.5%. Of the southern states, Mississippi has the second-highest rate of coronaviruses cases per capita, yet the state’s governor, Tate Reeves, has been sluggish with his response.Reeves finally implemented a stay-at-home order on Wednesday 1 April, after weeks of confusion where the governor overruled cities and towns which had attempted their own orders, then defended his inaction by stating: “Mississippi’s never going to be North Korea”. The order came into effect on Friday.A Wallethub survey which considered each states’ prevention and containment measures to gauge the aggressiveness of their response, ranked Mississippi dead last. OklahomaOklahoma has added more than 100 new cases of coronavirus on each of the past four days, but is yet to implement a stay-at-home order. Governor Kevin Stitt has instead ordered a “Safer-At-Home” measure, which asks Oklahomans over 65 or those with a compromised immune system to only leave their homes for essential needs, like food shopping or collecting prescriptions.Epidemiologists have said extending social distancing orders to only the vulnerable, and not the wider population, is not effective. “In my opinion, I cannot shut things down and bunker in place,” Stitt said. MissouriMissouri saw a 600% rise in coronavirus cases over seven days at the end of March – the largest increase in the country, according to Johns Hopkins University. Despite that, Governor Mike Parson has said he will not introduce a stay-at-home order: “It’s very difficult sometimes to just put a blanket order in place,” Parson said on Thursday.Parson did not order schools to close as the seriousness of the coronavirus became apparent, instead leaving it to school districts to decide whether to close. All 555 did so.Some cities in Missouri, including St Louis and Kansas City, have issued their own stay-at-home orders, but leaders there have pleaded with Parson to introduce a statewide measure to prevent spread from rural communities. On Thursday, a column in the Kansas City Star summed up the governor’s lackadaisical response. It was headlined: “Missouri’s Mike Parson in contention for governor who’s done the least to contain Covid-19.”


Two cats have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, but experts still don't think pets infect humansCats have tested positive for coronavirus and shown symptoms, but experts say there's not reason to think pets can infect owners with the coronavirus.


'Just one week and it's a whole different world': An ER doctor who survived Ebola shares the new reality of treating the coronavirus in NYCThe volume and severity of cases hitting the emergency room is new for Dr. Craig Spencer. "Our ERs are ICUs," he tweeted.


Driver who said woman coughed on his bus has died of coronavirusBus drivers in Detroit shut down public transportation last month, fearful of the coronavirus. News of the driver's death has reignited those fears.


Israel sends army to ultra-Orthodox city over coronavirusPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday gave the green light for soldiers to be deployed in a mostly ultra-Orthodox Jewish city considered the centre of Israel's novel coronavirus outbreak. "In light of the special situation in Bnei Brak following the restrictions due to the coronavirus, the IDF (army) will immediately present the necessary civil assistance to Bnei Brak municipality in fulfilling its responsibilities," Netanyahu's office said after talks with security and health officials. Authorities have enforced restrictions on access to Bnei Brak, a majority ultra-Orthodox city near Tel Aviv that is home to around 200,000 people.


Trump nominates McConnell ally to powerful appeals courtPresident Donald Trump is nominating a 37-year-old judge and former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh to a seat on the powerful U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Walker drew a “Not Qualified" rating from the American Bar Association when Trump nominated him last year to be a federal judge in Kentucky.


New York reports more than 500 coronavirus deaths in 1 dayNew York on Friday reported 562 new deaths from COVID-19, bringing the state's coronavirus death toll to nearly 3,000.Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) in his daily briefing on Friday said the number of deaths from the COVID-19 coronavirus in New York has reached 2,935, an increase from 2,373 the day before. This is the highest single-day increase in deaths so far in the state, which just passed 500 total deaths last week. The number of new hospitalizations, 1,427, also reached a new high."Daily ICU admissions is down a little bit, but you had more deaths, you had more people coming into hospitals, than any other night," Cuomo said.The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New York has reached 102,863. New York has reported by far the most cases of any state in the country. Cuomo noted the state has seen an increase in cases on Long Island, which "has us very concerned."Cuomo also once again stressed New York's need for ventilators during the briefing and announced he's signing an executive order that will allow the state to take ventilators and personal protective equipment from hospitals and private sector companies that don't need them, redistributing them to hospitals that do. The National Guard will be deployed to distribute the ventilators, he said."I understand that even if they're not using them, they are reluctant to see them go out the door," Cuomo said. "The theory is if the government gets them, they'll never get them back. I understand that. But I don't have an option. ... I'm not going to let people die because we didn't redistribute ventilators."More stories from theweek.com Social distancing is going to get darker The noble lie about masks and coronavirus should never have been told 5 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's TV ratings boast


Biden wants to give Trump advice on coronavirus outbreakJoe Biden said Thursday that he wants to speak with President Trump in the hope that the president can “learn some lessons” from the Obama administration on how to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.


‘New York Is in Crisis’: Cuomo Pleads for Help as State Suffers Worst Single-Day Death TollMore people in New York State have died in the last 24 hours than in most of March, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday—but the Empire State, the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., is still struggling to find enough medical equipment to combat the pandemic.“The curve continues to go up,” Cuomo said at a Friday briefing in Albany, adding that, in the last day, the state saw its “highest single increase in the number of deaths since we started.” “New York is in crisis," he said. "Help New York.”More than 2,935 people have died and 102,863 people have been infected with the virus in New York State, marking 562 deaths in a single day on Thursday. The state’s death toll has almost doubled in just three days, Cuomo said. In the 27 days after the state's first coronavirus case was confirmed on March 1, 366 New Yorkers died. NYC Is on the Brink as Patients Flood Hospitals Already ‘Under Siege’New York accounts for almost 50 percent of 6,069 virus-related deaths nationwide. At least 245,658 individuals across the country have been infected with COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University’s tracker.  The daily surge speaks to a nationwide problem: while state governments are working to get ahead of the virus, hospitals across the nation are overwhelmed, understaffed, and short on supplies necessary to combat the flu-like virus. The shortage has caused several states to bid against each other for purchase supplies from China. In New York, projections state that the apex of infections could come anytime between one week and a month from now. Those same projections suggest the virus could continue to plague New York until August, Cuomo said.  “No state can get the supplies they need. No state can get the PPE they need. No state can get the ventilators they need,” Cuomo said. “The market has literally collapsed.”Cuomo begged on Friday for New York manufacturers to start making gowns, gloves, and N95 masks. In an attempt to combat the shortage, Cuomo said Friday he will authorize the National Guard to borrow and redistribute ventilators and other personal protective equipment (PPE) from hospitals across the state—an attempt to put a band-aid on medical facilities hemorrhaging with too many patients. The equipment, which Cuomo said he would pay for as well, will be eventually given back to the hospitals. Hospital Suppliers Take to the Skies to Combat Dire Shortages of COVID-19 GearThe executive order comes one day after Cuomo said the state stockpile of supplies only had enough ventilators to last six days at the “current burn rate.” Over the last 24 hours, the trajectory of daily hospitalizations hit a new record, with 1,427 more people admitted and 335 new ICU patients. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also said Friday the city is expected to run out of ventilators by Tuesday. “I’m not going to let people die,” Cuomo said. “I’m not going to get into a situation where I know we are running out of ventilators and we could have people dying because there are no ventilators, but there are hospitals in other parts of the state that have ventilators that they’re not using.”Cuomo said he’d asked the federal government for help in obtaining more ventilators, stating that it was unacceptable for doctors to be forced to split one ventilator between two patients or use other machines as short-term fixes. So far, state officials have already taken extraordinary steps to combat the pandemic. The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, originally converted into a makeshift, 3,000-bed overflow hospital facility to alleviate overcrowding, will now be fully dedicated to COVID-19 patients, Cuomo said. The USNS Comfort—a naval ship with 1,000 beds, 12 operating rooms, a medical laboratory, and over 1,000 officers—docked in Manhattan on Monday and is now the only facility meant to relieve hospitals of non-coronavirus patients. As of Thursday, Cuomo said the converted supertank once used after 9/11 has only treated 20 patients.“I’m going to speak to the secretary of defense,” Cuomo said when asked about the ship’s low admission rate. “I know they’re not taking COVID-positive patients. But they said that from day one, to be fair.”Central Park has also been transformed into a field hospital to help house COVID-19 patients, and construction has begun on a 350-bed facility at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens for patients without the virus. City officials have also increased the number of mobile morgues. As of Thursday, 45 refrigerated trucks have been set up across the five boroughs, some of which are already full, as morgues and funeral homes struggle to find space and time to keep up with the mounting bodies. New York doctors and nurses on the frontlines of the pandemic have previously told The Daily Beast they are “constantly stressed” about working for an overwhelmed hospital system without the proper supplies to protect themselves and those around them. At least three nurses in city hospitals have died after contracting the coronavirus during their shifts and dozens more have tested positive.On Friday, several terrified city nurses protested outside Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan to demand more supplies to help them combat the daily surge of cases. “Here we are, against the worst enemy, because this one we can’t see,” Diana Torres, a nurse, told the New York Daily News. “We can’t touch it. It’s killing us all. And we have nothing to fight with.” Sasha Winslow, a 9-year nursing veteran, stood next to Torres outside the entrance with a sign states: “We won’t be your bodybags.”And New Yorkers may still be confused about what precautionary steps to take against the coronavirus on Friday after New York Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said no data suggests that wearing masks, scarves, or bandanas while outside will protect people against infection. The statement directly contradicts guidance from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio—and expected guidance from President Donald Trump—that all residents should wear masks to prevent contracting and spreading the highly contagious virus.“The masks couldn’t hurt unless they gave a wearer a false sense of security,” Cuomo said. Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


Schiff proposes postelection 9/11-style commission to study coronavirus responseRep. Adam Schiff’s proposal for a 9/11-style commission to study the nation’s response to the coronavirus outbreak "is not an exercise in casting blame or scoring political points, but something that the American people should rightly expect from their government as an exercise in accountability," he said.


Mexico murder rate reaches new high as violence rages amid Covid-19 spread* March sees 2,585 homicides – highest monthly figure on record * Mexico tries to pour resources into containing coronavirusMexico’s homicide rate raced to a new record in March, as violence raged even as Covid-19 spread across the country and authorities urged the population to stay home and practise social distancing.Mexico registered 2,585 homicides in March – the highest monthly figure since records began in 1997 – putting 2020 on track to break last year’s record total for murders.The surge in killings comes as federal and state officials put resources into containing the Covid-19 crisis and confront the prospect of an already sluggish economy falling even further – potentially deepening the misery for the more than 40% of the population living in poverty.“It’s business as usual [for drug cartels] with a risk of further escalation, especially if at some point the armed forces are called away for pandemic control,” said Falko Ernst, senior Mexico analyst at the International Crisis Group.Violence has flared throughout the country, but it has been especially intense in the central state of Guanajuato, where criminal groups have battled over lucrative territories rife with theft from pipelines.The bloodshed has hit shocking levels in the city of Ceyala – home to a major automotive manufacturing plant – with gunmen engaging security forces in shootouts, blockading streets and torching businesses.Francisco Rivas, director of the National Citizen Observatory, which monitors security issues, attributed the increasing violence in Guanajuato to the fallout of the federal government trying to stamp out petrol theft.The crackdown weakened the local Santa Rosa de Lima cartel, Rivas said, prompting the rival Jalisco New Generation cartel (CJNG) to move in and attempt to take its territory.Other causes for rising violence, Rivas said, include growing pains with a new militarised police known as the national guard, the lack of a federal strategy and cutting the security budget to its lowest level in 20 years.“We’re seeing iolence hitting its peak and we’re left asking, ‘who’s going to stop it?’” Rivas said.Calderón sends in the armyMexico’s “war on drugs” began in late 2006 when the president at the time, Felipe Calderón, ordered thousands of troops onto the streets in response to an explosion of horrific violence in his native state of Michoacán.Calderón hoped to smash the drug cartels with his heavily militarized onslaught but the approach was counter-productive and exacted a catastrophic human toll. As Mexico’s military went on the offensive, the body count sky-rocketed to new heights and tens of thousands were forced from their homes, disappeared or killed.Kingpin strategySimultaneously Calderón also began pursuing the so-called “kingpin strategy” by which authorities sought to decapitate the cartels by targeting their leaders.That policy resulted in some high-profile scalps – notably Arturo Beltrán Leyva who was gunned down by Mexican marines in 2009 – but also did little to bring peace. In fact, many believe such tactics served only to pulverize the world of organized crime, creating even more violence as new, less predictable factions squabbled for their piece of the pie.Under Calderón’s successor, Enrique Peña Nieto, the government’s rhetoric on crime softened as Mexico sought to shed its reputation as the headquarters of some the world’s most murderous mafia groups.But Calderón’s policies largely survived, with authorities targeting prominent cartel leaders such as Sinaloa’s Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.When “El Chapo” was arrested in early 2016, Mexico’s president bragged: “Mission accomplished”. But the violence went on. By the time Peña Nieto left office in 2018, Mexico had suffered another record year of murders, with nearly 36,000 people slain."Hugs not bullets"The leftwing populist Andrés Manuel López Obrador took power in December, promising a dramatic change in tactics. López Obrador, or Amlo as most call him, vowed to attack the social roots of crime, offering vocational training to more than 2.3 million disadvantaged young people at risk of being ensnared by the cartels. “It will be virtually impossible to achieve peace without justice and [social] welfare,” Amlo said, promising to slash the murder rate from an average of 89 killings per day with his “hugs not bullets” doctrine.Amlo also pledged to chair daily 6am security meetings and create a 60,000 strong "National Guard". But those measures have yet to pay off, with the new security force used mostly to hunt Central American migrants.Mexico now suffers an average of about 96 murders per day, with nearly 29,000 people killed since Amlo took office.President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said on Friday that a drop in violence had been expected towards the end of March when coronavirus cases had started increasing in Mexico, “but it didn’t turn out like that.”López Obrador came to power promising to solve Mexico’s security woes by tacking what he considered the root causes of crime: poverty and corruption. But the strategy has so far failed to rein in the violence.“The [anti-crime] strategy isn’t a strategy,” said Rivas. “The national guard isn’t pulling its weight because building an institution is difficult and expensive. Budget cuts to public security have been brutal. These all have serious effects.”The president stirred further outrage during a visit to Sinaloa state on Sunday, when he stopped to greet the mother of convicted cartel kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán – breaking with social-distancing protocols to shake her hand.López Obrador downplayed the greeting as little more than a courtesy to a mother who hadn’t seen her son in five years, but his comments prompted outrage from families of victims of violence, who say he has failed to extend the same courtesy to them.“For society and victims, who have been having a hard time meeting or being listened to by the president,” Ernst said, “it’s a heavy slap in the face.”


Provincial Communist Party Officials Are Concealing Extent of Coronavirus Outbreak from Beijing, According to U.S. IntelligenceThe U.S. intelligence community has concluded that the Chinese government does not know the full extent of the coronavirus outbreak within the country, the New York Times reported on Thursday.China's government has encountered difficulties collecting accurate data on the spread of the coronavirus because mid-level bureaucrats in Wuhan and elsewhere in China have been lying about the number of cases, current and former intelligence officials told the Times. Local administration officials in China fear that their superiors will punish and even fire them if they report high numbers of cases.U.S. intelligence believes that China does conceal the extent of the outbreak known to higher-level Communist Party officials. However, because of inaccurate reporting of cases at local levels of government, the C.I.A. and other agencies have themselves been unable to determine the full scope of coronavirus cases in China.While doctors in Wuhan were sounding the alarm about the then-unidentified illness in late December and early January, local government and hospital administrators attempted to prevent doctors from spreading news of the infections, the Wall Street Journal reported. In one case, the administration of Wuhan Central Hospital reprimanded Dr. Ai Fen, head of the hospital's emergency department, for "spreading rumors" and damaging "the stability of Wuhan" after she alerted authorities to the spread of the SARS-like virus.On Tuesday Dr. Deborah Birx, response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, suggested that the U.S. responded slowly to the pandemic in part because of faulty data from China."The medical community interpreted the Chinese data as, this was serious, but smaller than anyone expected,” Birx said at a press conference. “Because, probably … we were missing a significant amount of the data, now that we see what happened to Italy and we see what happened to Spain.


U.S. Stops Issuing Passports Except For 'Life-Or-Death' EmergenciesThe U.S. State Department has stopped issuing passports due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with exceptions for people who have a "qualified life-or-death emergency." In a…


Navy removes captain for raising alarm about coronavirus outbreak on shipThe U.S. Navy on Thursday removed the captain of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, who wrote a scathing letter to Navy leadership asking for stronger measures to control a coronavirus outbreak onboard.


Dr. Fauci Shuts Down ‘Fox & Friends’ on Coronavirus Cure: ‘We Don’t Operate on How You Feel’Top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci left the hosts of Fox & Friends disappointed and frustrated Friday when he threw cold water on their insistence that the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine is a game-changing cure for the coronavirus.Citing a recent poll showing that 37 percent of doctors around the world feel the drug is currently the most effective treatment of COVID-19, co-host Steve Doocy added that frequent Fox News guest Dr. Mehmet Oz recently touted a small Chinese study that found the drug had some efficacy in treating the virus.Doocy went on to play a clip of Dr. Oz wondering whether Fauci was impressed with the results of that study. The Fox host asked the top physician to respond to the TV doctor.“That was not a very robust study,” replied Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force. He also pointed out that while there’s still a possibility of a “beneficial effect,” the scale and strength of the evidence is not “overwhelmingly strong.”“But getting back to what you said just a moment ago that ‘X percent’—I think you said 37 percent—of doctors feel that it’s beneficial. We don’t operate on how you feel. We operate on what evidence is, and data is,” he continued. “So although there is some suggestion with the study that was just mentioned by Dr. Oz—granted that there is a suggestion that there is a benefit there—I think we’ve got to be careful that we don’t make that majestic leap to assume that this is a knockout drug.”Co-host Brian Kilmeade, meanwhile, pushed back against the disease expert, claiming a large percentage of doctors in other countries are now prescribing the drug to treat coronavirus. He then speculated as to whether those taking the drug for other conditions were prevented from infection of COVID-19.Seth Meyers Exposes Fox News’ Sean Hannity Over Huge Coronavirus ‘Hoax’ Lie“I would be very curious, doctor, to see if anyone who was taking this for lupus or arthritis has gotten the coronavirus, that would be one way to go the other way to see about this study,” Kilmeade wondered aloud.“I mean, obviously this is a good drug in many respects for some of the diseases you mentioned, and the one thing we don’t want to happen is that individuals who really need a drug with a proven indication don’t have it available,” Fauci responded, adding that it doesn’t matter if a large percentage of doctors “think that it works.”Co-host Ainsley Earhardt then jumped in, suggesting that “Democratic leaders” are preventing patients from receiving hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the disease and asking Fauci what could be done to make sure we’re giving it to everyone in need.“Well first of all, this is an approved drug for another indication, and doctors can, and the FDA has made it very clear that doctors can prescribe it on what we call off label,” he explained. “There’s no inhibition for that. So a considerable amount of drug was made available, as you remember, just a few days ago. But the FDA was very clear that they’re not going to be inhibiting anyone from doing an off label prescription of the drug. So they’re free to do that if they want to.”While President Donald Trump and many Fox News personalities have been bullish on the possibility that the drug is a miracle cure for the virus, Fauci has repeatedly attempted to temper expectations, noting that the benefits have largely been anecdotal and that there are other studies showing no noticeable effects at all.This isn’t the first time that pro-Trump Fox News hosts have tried to get Fauci to boost hydroxychloroquine. Laura Ingraham, who has been at the forefront of touting the drug, asked the doc last week if he would take it if he were stricken with the virus. Fauci, for his part, said only if it were part of a clinical trial.Dr. Anthony Fauci: I Don’t Want to ‘Embarrass’ TrumpRead more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


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