Coronavirus Live Updates: Canada Threatens to Boycott Olympics; Democrats Stall Trillion-Dollar Stimulus Plan

Coronavirus Live Updates: Canada Threatens to Boycott Olympics; Democrats Stall Trillion-Dollar Stimulus Plan


After the governors of multiple states and other leaders made urgent pleas on Sunday for masks and other protective equipment to help fight the swelling outbreak, President Trump listed a number of federal actions in a news conference in the evening.

As the number of known cases in the United States crossed 31,700, California officials told hospitals to restrict coronavirus testing, and a hospital in Washington State warned that it could run out of life-preserving ventilators by early next month. ​Washington State’s Department of Health told local leaders that only the highest-priority areas would have access to the government’s reserves of protective equipment, including N95 masks.

Mr. Trump said that major disaster declarations were in process for New York, California and Washington — the three states hardest hit by the virus — and that they would not have to pay for deploying National Guard units.

“Through FEMA, the federal government will be funding 100 percent of the cost of deploying National Guard units to carry out approved missions to stop the virus, while those governors remain in command,” Mr. Trump said.

Mr. Trump placed National Guard units from California, New York and Washington under Title 32 authority. This means the troops from these states will still be under the control of their state’s governors but will be supporting a federal mission, much like the roughly 2,200 National Guard soldiers currently on the southern border.

Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, the head of the National Guard Bureau, told reporters Sunday that the troops will support the Department of Health and Human Services with testing and at medical facilities, as well as provide unspecified support for FEMA.

“We’re in this for the long haul,” General Lengyel said. “It’s a historic event and it’s going to require a historic response.”

Mr. Trump also said during the Sunday conference that he had directed FEMA to supply four large federal medical stations with 1,000 beds for New York, eight large federal medical stations with 2,000 beds for California, and three large federal medical stations and four small federal medical stations with 1,000 beds for the State of Washington.

The stations for New York, to be built in Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, were announced earlier in the day by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

As Mr. Trump detailed federal activities, he at times repeated facts and appeared halting as he described a complex list of facts and figures in the millions.

Many state and local officials have pressed Mr. Trump to use his authority under the Defense Production Act to mobilize industry to manufacture scarce goods. On Sunday, Peter T. Gaynor, the FEMA administrator, said the president was not doing so, and instead was using the threat of the act as “leverage to demonstrate that we can.”

At the news conference on Sunday, Mr. Trump defended his decision not to implement the Defense Production Act despite an outcry from state governors and Democrats.

“Call a person over in Venezuela,” Mr. Trump said. “Ask them, how did nationalization of their businesses work out? Not too well. The concept of nationalizing our businesses is not a good concept.”

The president’s top trade adviser said that, in fact, the act had spurred the country’s “industrial base” to voluntarily mobilize, allowing for the quick conversion of corporate production facilities to produce medical supplies.

“We’re getting what we need without putting the heavy hand of government down,” Peter Navarro, the president’s top trade adviser, told reporters.

Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic Committees said on Sunday night that the country will not send teams to the Tokyo Games unless they are postponed by a year.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, followed the president’s remarks with a warning that there was only “anecdotal evidence” that chloroquine might work.

Washington was the first state to declare an emergency but the authorities there have yet to order residents to stay at home. On Sunday, several states including Ohio, Louisiana and Delaware joined those cities and states that have compelled residents to shelter in place except for essential tasks like grocery shopping or if their jobs were considered essential.

The number of known coronavirus cases in the United States passed 31,700 on Sunday.

Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday morning, Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York warned that the city’s hospitals were straining under a deluge of cases, and he again called on Mr. Trump to send more help.

“April is going to be worse than March,” he said. “And I fear May will be worse than April.”

China’s ambassador to the United States sought to distance himself from a prominent Chinese government spokesman who has been promoting a conspiracy theory that the coronavirus was started by the United States, an unusual display of discordance at senior levels of the Chinese government.

The diplomat, Cui Tiankai, said in an interview with Axios on HBO that politicians should refrain from “very harmful” speculation on the source of the virus that has upended daily life and economies around the world.

Mr. Cui’s remarks contradicted the approach taken by his colleague, Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, who has in recent days been tweeting unfounded theories that it may have been the U.S. Army that brought the epidemic to Wuhan, and promoting tweets suggesting that the United States was concealing cases of Covid-19 that had been misdiagnosed as the flu late last year.

In the interview with Axios, the Chinese ambassador, Mr. Cui, reiterated his criticism of people in the United States who were promoting unproven theories about the virus. “This is the job for the scientists to do, not for diplomats, not for journalists to speculate,” he said. “Because such speculation will help nobody. It’s very harmful.”

But he deflected questions about Mr. Zhao’s remarks, saying it wasn’t his job to explain the view of his colleague.





Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Close
Secondary Navigation