Guantanamo Bay coronavirus, US Navy Sailor Becomes First COVID-19 Case.
President Donald Trump says that he wants to reopen the country for business in weeks, not months, and claims without evidence that continued closures could result in more deaths than the coronavirus pandemic.
Health experts have made clear that unless Americans continue to dramatically limit social interaction — staying home from work and isolating themselves — the number of infections will overwhelm the health care system.
Meanwhile, U.S. infections continued to rise, hitting 46,000 cases and over 530 deaths. Worldwide, more than 392,000 people have been infected and 17,000 have died from the virus that first emerged in central China late last year. As cases in China ebbed, the dangers to Europe and the U.S. have grown exponentially.
Here’s the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis in the U.S.:
NY’s Cuomo Slams FEMA Over Ventilator Shortage
Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned Tuesday the infection rate of coronavirus cases in New York is accelerating and the state could be two to three weeks away from a crisis that sees 40,000 people in intensive care.
Cuomo also criticized the federal response to the outbreak, saying the Federal Emergency Management Agency sent the state 400 ventilators when they need at least 30,000.
“You pick the 26,000 people who are going to die because you only sent 400 ventilators,” Cuomo said in his daily briefing Tuesday.
The governor said the rate of new infections is doubling about every three days, standing at 25,665 as of Tuesday. The death toll in New York climbed to 183.
A surge of infections would swamp hospitals, which now have just 3,000 intensive care unit beds in the entire state. New York now estimates it will also need 140,000 hospital beds, up from previous projections of 110,000.
“The rate of increase continues unabated. We’re not slowing it — and it is accelerating on its own,” Cuomo said. “We’re not looking at a freight train. We’re looking at a bullet train, because the numbers are going up that quickly.”
US Navy Sailor Tests Positive at Guantanamo Bay
A U.S. Navy sailor has become the first person to test positive for the coronavirus at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The base says in a statement Tuesday the unidentified sailor is isolated at home at the naval station along the southeastern coast of Cuba. The base says health authorities are attempting to track anyone who had contact with the sailor.
Medical personnel have been screening anyone who arrives at the base and the Navy has imposed social-distancing rules.
The naval station has a population of about 6,000 people. That includes about 2,000 foreign laborers from Jamaica and the Philippines.
There are still 40 prisoners held at the Guantanamo detention center. Most base personnel have no contact with the men held there.
McConnell: ‘We Are Very Close’ on Stimulus Package
Top congressional and White House officials said they expected to reach a deal Tuesday on a measure to shore up businesses and send relief checks to ordinary Americans.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin returned to the Senate Tuesday for final negotiations on a nearly $2 trillion measure aimed at easing the economic damage inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Opening the Senate on Tuesday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said “we are very close” to reaching an agreement on the bill.
“Today we can make all of the Washington drama fade away,” McConnell said. “If we act today, what Americans will remember and what history will record is that the senate did the right thing.”
The sense of optimism extended to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who told CNBC: “I think there is real optimism that we could get something done in the next few hours.”
Tokyo Olympics Postponed Until 2021
The International Olympic Committee postponed the Olympics until 2021 on the recommendation of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, adding the games to the long roster of sports events disrupted by the deadly outbreak.
The announcement was a nod to the reality that training and qualifying schedules have been ruptured beyond repair as the coronavirus spreads. Next up for the organizers is picking a date when it might be safe again to hold such a massive event. They’ll also have to rearrange the 2021 global sports calendar.
The IOC says the games will still be called the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.