Dr. Anthony Fauci, whose recommendations on dealing with the coronavirus outbreak have generally been taken as law by U.S. politicians and the American public, is starting to draw doubters.
Fauci, testifying at a Senate hearing Tuesday, warned of “needless suffering and death” if states attempt to reopen too quickly. That drew criticism from GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and, later, from Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson.
The news isn’t all bad. Some data dashboards appear to show the daily U.S. death toll is flattening. And Los Angeles, despite extending its stay-at-home order, opened its beaches Wednesday.
There are now more than 82,000 deaths and 1.3 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S., according to the Johns Hopkins University data dashboard. Worldwide, the virus has killed roughly 292,000 people. More than 4.2 million people have been infected.
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Here are some of the most significant developments from Tuesday:
- President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been released from prison and is now in home confinement as the coronavirus spreads through the federal prison system.
- During a hearing on the coronavirus Tuesday, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., asked about the prospects for treatments or a vaccine be ready in time for colleges planning to start classes in August. Fauci warned relying on that prospect was “a bridge too far.”
- Fauci did say a vaccine was “more likely than not,” but cautioned about the prospects of a second wave of the virus in the fall. He said it was critical to develop better testing and to identify and trace who is sick and stock up on emergency supplies.
- With no end in sight for the coronavirus lockdown and millions of Americans still out of work, House Democrats are proposing another round of stimulus. The bill would spend more than $3 trillion in aid to unemployed and small businesses.
What we’re talking about today: If my coworker has COVID-19, can I file for unemployment? We take on questions about your money.
Some good news: The wife of Broadway star Nick Cordero announced her husband is awake after more than a month in a medically induced coma due to complications from the coronavirus.
Fox’s Carlson: ‘Is Tony Fauci right about the science?’
A Fox News commentator is questioning whether Americans are putting too much faith in the wisdom of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the face of the nation’s public health response to the coronavirus outbreak.
“Fauci says, ‘The children must stay home or countless people could die,’ that’s the message,” Tucker Carlson said hours after Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, provided grim testimony on prematurely reopening the nation. “So I’m asking a very simple question, how does he know this exactly? Is Tony Fauci right about the science?”
Carlson said there is “an awful lot of evidence” indicating states should start to loosen restrictions that have paralyzed the nation’s economy. Carlson’s comments aligned with those of Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who at the hearing suggested Fauci wasn’t the “end-all” for coronavirus decisions. Fauci countered that he advises on public health issues alone and doesn’t “give advice about economic things.”
The national pandemic curves appear to be flattening – for now
The Johns Hopkins and Worldometer data dashboards show the rise of confirmed cases and daily deaths in the U.S. may be slowing. And the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, a leading model, released projections this week that show a steady decline for daily deaths – falling to 100 or less by early August. Is the worst over? What happens as states slowly reopen will tell the tale, experts say.
“Deaths are about who was infected three weeks ago,” says Dennis Carroll, who led the U.S. Agency for International Development’s infectious disease unit for more than a decade. “With the rapid suspension of (mitigation) measures, we’re in a brave new world.”
Surf’s up! Los Angeles beaches reopen – minus sunbathing
Los Angeles County beaches reopened Wednesday after a six-week hiatus, but no lollygagging. The county will follow regulations in place for other beaches on the left coast, meaning activities such as walking, running and surfing are cool but gathering, sitting and team sports like volleyball are not. A 6-foot social distance and face covering are mandatory. Oh, and one more hitch – beach parking lots remain closed. The opening comes hours after public health Director Barbara Ferrer said the county’s stay-at-home restrictions, set to end Friday, will likely last for three more months.
Economists brace for latest blast of unemployment news
America’s dispiriting weekly tally of COVID-19-related layoffs is likely to add millions more Thursday. Economists estimate the Labor Department will report that 2.5 million Americans filed new applications for unemployment insurance last week, down from the 3.2 million the prior week. That would push total unemployment claims the past eight weeks to a staggering 36 million. April’s unemployment rate hit 14.7%, highest since the Great Depression, up from 4.4% the prior month, and a 50-year low of 3.5% in February.
– Paul Davison
More coronavirus news and information from USA TODAY
China, Iran hacking could be hampering vaccine efforts
Chinese and Iranian hackers are aggressively targeting American universities, pharmaceutical companies and other health-care firms and could be hampering efforts to find a coronavirus vaccine, U.S. officials told the Wall Street Journal. Since at least Jan. 3, the two nations have waged cyberattacks that are tantamount to war, said the officials, who were not named. The Journal and The New York Times previously reported that the Trump administration could issue a statement as soon as this week planning to accuse China of attempting to hack information from U.S. researchers.
Street vendors across the US demand rights and coronavirus aid
Street vending advocates and vendors from Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C. will come together Wednesday for a virtual town hall to discuss how to help street vendors amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The four organizations – the Los Angeles Street Vendor Campaign, the Street Vendor Association of Chicago, the Street Vendor Project in New York and Many Languages One Voice in Washington, D.C. – will present a national agenda with “recommendations on how policy must be changed to support the thousands of micro-entrepreneurs who contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to our economies, but are consistently left out of small business support systems,” says the news release.
Mohamed Attia of the Street Vendor Project in New York told USA TODAY that they’re demanding that the government to “step up” and think about workers in the informal economy.
The groups in Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. have set up emergency relief funds to distribute to vendors. Vendors from each city will also share how the coronavirus pandemic has affected them during the town hall.
– Jessica Flores
Disney parks likely to require masks when properties reopen
Facemasks are expected to be mandatory for workers and guests when Disney parks reopen in the U.S. In a CNBC interview published on Twitter, Disney CEO Bob Chapek addressed the coronavirus safety precautions that will be required in the era of the pandemic.
“Along with social distancing, one of the things we’re likely going to require is masks for both the cast and the guest,” Chapek said.
In Shanghai Disneyland, which reopened Monday, Disney is limiting visitor numbers, requiring masks and checking for the virus’ telltale fever.
– Charles Trepany
Amanda Kloots announces husband Nick Cordero has emerged from his coma
Broadway star Nick Cordero has emerged from his coma, wife Amanda Kloots triumphantly announced on Instagram Tuesday to repeated cries of “He’s awake!” The star has spent more than a month in a medically induced coma over coronavirus complications.
“I asked the doctor today, ‘Can we say he is awake?’” said Kloots, speaking on Instagram Stories about Cordero while holding their 1-year-old son Elvis “And he is awake.”
Over the course of six weeks, Cordero faced several coronavirus complications, including a leg amputation and the insertion of a temporary pacemaker.
– Bryan Alexander
California’s latest restrictions could further delay pro, college sports
The largest county in the nation is expected to extend stay-at-home orders into August, jeopardizing the chances of multiple sports leagues resuming or beginning seasons in a uniform fashion. Los Angeles County — home to the Lakers, Clippers, Rams, Chargers, Kings, Dodgers, Sparks, Galaxy, Los Angeles FC, USC and UCLA — will “with all certainty” extend stay-at-home orders for the next three months, county health director Barbara Ferrer told a Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday.
That would extend past the hoped-for early July start Major League Baseball. Adding to sports woes, California State University system chancellor Timothy White announced that in-person classes at its 23 campuses would be replaced with online instruction for the fall semester. That could jeopardize football and other fall sports at schools such as Fresno State, San Diego State and San Jose State.
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday eased the state into what he called “early Stage 2” reopening, most notably allowing for retail curbside pickup and delivery.
– Gabe Lacques and Steve Berkowitz
Accidental poisonings from disinfectants continue to rise
For the second consecutive month, accidental poisonings from misuse of disinfectants, bleach and hand sanitizers rose in April compared to last year, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
The AAPCC’s National Poison Data System, which scrapes information from poison control centers across the nation, saw a spike of 122% in reported cases of accidental poisonings related to disinfectants, according to Forbes. That included a 77% jump for bleach and a 56% increase for hand sanitizer.
What is unclear is what effect, if any, President Donald Trump’s comments during a White House briefing on the possibility of disinfectants helping cure coronavirus had on the reported cases.
Democrats unveil $3 trillion coronavirus stimulus proposal
State and local governments would share nearly $1 trillion in federal aid to cover coronavirus-related costs and families would get another round of direct payments under a stimulus bill House Democrats unveiled Tuesday.
The more than $3 trillion Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, or HEROES Act, also would expand unemployment assistance, boost food stamps and increase emergency grants to small businesses.
The bill is likely to get a cool reception in the GOP-controlled Senate where leaders have said they want to let the first $2.4 trillion of stimulus spending take full effect before moving on another measure that would pile on to the nation’s soaring debt.
– Ledyard King
Walmart, Sam’s Club giving hourly employees coronavirus cash bonuses worth $390M in June
Walmart and Sam’s Club are giving hourly employees another round of cash bonuses. The retailers announced Tuesday they would give the bonuses worth more than $390 million combined in June to all hourly U.S. employees “to recognize them for their many contributions to communities across the country during this unprecedented time.”
The bonus is $300 for full-time workers and $150 for part-time hourly and temporary associates who work in stores, clubs, supply chain and offices if they are employed as of June 5.
The retailers previously gave employees cash bonuses worth a combined $365 million April 2 and handed out quarterly bonuses worth $180 million a month early on April 30.
– Kelly Tyko
What you need to know from the Senate coronavirus hearing
Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health; Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn; head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Robert Redfield; and Adm. Brett Giroir, the coronavirus “testing czar” at the Department of Health and Human Services, all testified during a Tuesday Senate hearing on the coronavirus response.
- Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. clashed with Fauci over school reopenings and said child mortality rate from the virus was lower than in adults. “As much as I respect you, Dr. Fauci, I don’t think you’re the end all,” Paul said. “I don’t think you’re the one person who gets to make the decision.”
- Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., highlighted differences in how South Korea and the U.S. responded to the coronavirus, saying “We’ve got a long way to go.” When Kaine asked about the death toll, Fauci said, “A death rate that high in any manner or form in my mind is unacceptable.”
- Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., criticized the Trump administration for withholding detailed guidance from states about how to reopen their economies, saying the information that was provided was “criminally vague.” In response, Redfield said the guidance would be released “soon.”
- When asked by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, whether the virus was contained, Fauci said the U.S. was headed “in the right direction” but that “we don’t have it completely under control.”
- Fauci said that while patients treated with Remdesivir recovered 31% faster, he emphasized that the result was “statistically significant, but really modest.”
– Bart Jansen, Maureen Groppe and William Cummings
Wuhan plans city-wide test for all 11 million residents
Over a 10-day period, the Chinese city of Wuhan plans to administer coronavirus tests to all residents, according to Reuters, which cited an internal document.
Each district was asked to submit by Tuesday a detailed plan for how it could conduct the comprehensive testing in their respective regions. According to BBC News, the document states that older residents and densely-populated regions should be prioritized for testing. The document refers to the testing plan as “The 10-day battle.”
Wuhan, which became the first global epicenter to suffer a coronavirus outbreak, reported a cluster of new cases over the weekend. Wuhan lifted a strict lockdown on April 8. According to the Johns Hopkins University data dashboard, Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, has reported 68,134 cases as of Tuesday morning, with 4,512 deaths.
More COVID-19 headlines from USA TODAY
Contributing: Associated Press