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The F.D.A. plans to announce the emergency use of a virus treatment after a trial showed shortened recovery time.
The F.D.A. plans to announce as early as Wednesday an emergency use authorization for remdesivir, an experimental antiviral drug that is being tested in treating patients with Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, according to a senior administration official.
Ahead of the announcement President Trump and Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the federal government’s leading infectious diseases scientist, on Wednesday hailed early trial results of the drug, holding out hope that it could help stem the rising death toll.
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Meeting with reporters at the White House, Dr. Fauci cautioned that the results of the study overseen by his agency, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, still need to be properly peer reviewed but expressed optimism that it could make a difference in speeding up the recovery of some patients infected with the virus.
Another study, conducted in China and published in the Lancet, questioned the value of the drug for treatment of severely ill patients but left open the possibility that it might be useful for others. The research was incomplete, however, because not enough participants could be enrolled.
Dr. Fauci said the federal trial indicated that the drug remdesivir could shorten the time to recovery by about a third. “Although a 31 percent improvement doesn’t seem like a knockout 100 percent, it is a very important proof of concept because what it has proven is that a drug can block this virus,” Dr. Fauci said. “This is very optimistic.”
Mr. Trump called that a good sign. “Certainly it’s a positive, it’s a very positive event,” he said.
In a statement, Gilead Sciences said it was “aware of positive data emerging from” the study by Dr. Fauci’s institute, known as NIAID. “We understand that the trial has met its primary endpoint and that NIAID will provide detailed information at an upcoming briefing.”
Remdesivir is not yet licensed or approved in the United States or anywhere in the world “and has not yet been demonstrated to be safe or effective for the treatment of Covid-19,” according to Gilead.
Construction workers wearing face masks walk past a sign in front of The Anthem, a popular live music venue, that displays a message of support on their marquee amid the coronavirus pandemic on April 29 in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Anthony Fauci director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases speaks during a meeting with President Donald Trump and Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards in the White House in Washington, D.C on April 29.
Amid concerns over the spread of the coronavirus, a Dallas Police officer hands a sticker to a boy in a parking lot of a shopping center in Dallas, Texas on April 29.
Police, fire and rescue agencies arrive to cheers from medical staff at the main entrance to Central Florida Regional Hospital, in Sanford, for a “Heroes Thanking Heroes” parade on April 29 in Sanford, Florida.
A letter bearing the signature of President Donald Trump was sent to people who received a coronavirus economic stimulus payment as part of the Cares Act in Washington, D.C on April 29.
Coronavirus In The US
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi adjusts her face mask to protect against the spread of the new coronavirus as she attends a news conference to announce members of the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C on April 29.
Messages of Support Written On a Boarded Up store in New York City on April 28.
A customer makes a purchase at a cafe in Grand Central Terminal on April 29 in New York.
Spray bottles of sanitizer, gloves and rags sit at the ready in Flamingo Park on April 29 in Miami Beach, Florida. The city of Miami Beach partially reopened parks and facilities including golf courses, tennis courts and marinas as it begins easing restrictions made due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A pedestrian walks past a sign in a shop window reading “We Will Return Boston Strong” after Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker extended his stay-at-home advisory and his order closing non-essential businesses until May 18 because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Boston, Massachusetts on April 28.
Democrat Kweisi Mfume removes a face mask before addressing reporters during an election night news conference after he won the 7th Congressional District special election on April 28 in Baltimore, Maryland. Mfume defeated Republican Kimberly Klacik to finish the term of the late Rep. Elijah Cummings, retaking a Maryland congressional seat Mfume held for five terms before leaving to lead the NAACP.
Medical personnel attend a nightly 7 pm applause in their honor on April 28, outside NYU Langone Medical Center in the Manhattan borough of New York.
Hundreds of people line up for food donations, given to those impacted by the COVID-19 virus outbreak in Chelsea, Mass. on April 28.
On behalf of The New York Stock Exchange, Robert Glorioso, Chief Building Engineering Operations rings The Closing Bell on April 28 in New York, to thank volunteer motorcycle courier Robert Babington of Bristol Myers Squibb for navigating the pastoral countryside near Dundalk, Ireland to go the extra mile for patients. The NYSE joins millions of others who stand in awe and gratitude of the way people around the world have responded to the COVID-19 crisis – from medical professionals to workers who ensure food supply, and those who keep streets safe.
Tributes to veterans cover a sign on April 28, near an entrance road to Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, Mass., where a number of people died due to the coronavirus.
Jocelyn Bush, a poll worker at the Edmondson Westside High School Polling site, cleans each station after a ballot is cast, during the special election for Marylands 7th congressional district seat, previously held by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) in Baltimore, Maryland on April 28.
Two people walk past a mural on a boarded-up window that reads “This is Temporary,” on April 28 in Seattle, Washington.
President Donald Trump answers questions while meeting with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (L) in the White House on April 28 in Washington, D.C.
The U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels and U.S. Air Force’s Thunderbirds perform a flyover tribute to honor NYC COVID-19 frontline workers on April 28.
Detroit residents line-up to be tested for free for the coronavirus disease at the Sheffield Center in Detroit, Michigan on April 28.
A motorist drops off a mail-in ballot outside of a voting center during the 7th Congressional District special election on April 28 in Windsor Mill, Maryland.
A man shops in the meat section at a grocery store on April 28 in Washington, D.C
Volunteers help prepare bags of food to aid those in need during the coronavirus outbreak at the Arlington Food Assistance Center, on April 28 in Arlington, Virginia.
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during his daily coronavirus press briefing on April 28 in Syracuse, New York.
Kelly Millier prepares to have her temperature checked her team member in North Brookfield, Massachusetts on April 28.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker speaks during a press briefing on the state’s efforts battling the coronavirus pandemic in Boston on April 28.
A medical professional works at a drive-thru coronavirus testing site at Cambridge Health Alliance Somerville Hospital on April 28 in Somerville, Massachusetts.
U.S. Representative Joe Kennedy III greets a healthcare worker as he delivers Wahlburgers meals for the medical staff at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts on April 27.
President Donald Trump turns to Vice President Mike Pence as they depart following a coronavirus response news conference in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington on April 27.
A social distancing sign is seen on a table at a Waffle House on the day restaurants and theaters were allowed to reopen to the public as part of the phased reopening of businesses and restaurants on April 27 in Smyrna, Georgia.
Children’s playground equipment is canvased in construction site temporary plastic fencing to prohibit activities inside Belle Ziegler Park on April 27 in Takoma Park, Maryland.
A woman wearing a mask walks past shuttered stores as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues in the SoHo neighborhood of the Manhattan borough of New York City on April 27.
Activists organized by Black Lives Matter dance to a live band at the end of a rally at low speed in their cars as they highlight essential workers during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in underprivileged communities on April 27 in Washington.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker looks on during a press briefing on the coronavirus pandemic at the Massachusetts State House in Boston on April 27.
The statue of Edward Everett Hale in the Boston Public Garden in Boston wears a surgical mask and scrubs as the quarantine during the coronavirus epidemic continues on April 27.
Barry Lennon, operating partner of J. Christopher in Brookhaven, Georgia, hangs up signs to promote dine-in service at the restaurant on April 27. Gov. Brian Kemp has allowed some non-essential businesses to start re-opening in Georgia amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Betty Seward carries lettuce plants at the Cleveland Ott & Sons farm, which supplies garden centers and farm stands, in Graterford, Pa., on April 27.
Velma Mullen wears a protective mask as she walks past a sign advising park users to keep physical space between them on April 27 in Seattle.
Mannequin heads wear masks in the window of a small boutique advertising availability of masks, gloves and other pandemic necessities amid the coronavirus outbreak in Arlington, Va., on April 27.
A thank-you sign for health care workers hangs at the Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York City on April 27.
The T-Rex Walking Club, a group of people that gather in a variety of inflatable costumes, meet in the parking lot of Elks Lodge before heading out to parade through neighborhoods in hopes of cheering up the community during the coronavirus pandemic in Ferndale, Michigan, on April 27.
A sign displays a positive message thanking frontline workers at a car wash as the coronavirus pandemic continues on April 26 in Farmington, Michigan.
Pastor Emily Nesdahl leads a virtual Sunday service online broadcast due to the coronavirus disease restrictions at Peace Lutheran church, featuring drawings of parishioners taped to the pews, in Burlington, North Dakota, on April 26.
Residents listen at a “social distance” as singer/guitarist Phil Angotti performs songs from the back of a pick-up truck on April 26 in Oak Park, Illinois. Owner Will Duncan of Fitzgerald’s nightclub, a suburban music venue and restaurant shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic, created a “Stay-at-Home Concert Series” to bring music from local Chicago artists each weekend to fans in suburbs close to the club.
A man reaches to grab something as he maintains distance from another man at Alamo Square Park in San Francisco on April 26.
Golfers maintain proper social distancing as they relax after playing a round at Birch Creek Golf Club, on April 26 in Union, Mo. Golf courses in Franklin County, Mo., are among a handful of businesses being allowed to reopen this weekend as the county begins to relax restrictions put in place to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Opera singer Victoria Robertson, who has taken to performing each Sunday from the porch of her home, sings to a gathering of neighbors on April 26 in San Diego, California.
Sections of Grand Central Station are closed on April 26 n New York City.
A man sits in a window in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, on April 26.
Calvin Henry disinfects golf carts at Birch Creek Golf Club on April 26, in Union, Mo.
Gigi Gorgeous and Nats Getty speak during GLAAD presents “Together in Pride: You are Not Alone,” a star-studded livestream event highlighting the LGBTQ response to COVID-19 and benefiting CenterLink on April 26.
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A representative for Gilead said in an email Wednesday that “as we have done since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been sharing information, transparently and as it becomes available, with the administration, other officials and the public.”
The spokesman, Ryan McKeel, said the company could not speculate on what actions the federal government would take. “However, we are continuing to discuss with them the growing body of evidence for remdesivir as a potential treatment for COVID-19, with the goal of making remdesivir more broadly available for patients in urgent need of treatment.”
Remdesivir has never been approved as a treatment for any disease. It was developed to fight Ebola, but results from a clinical trial in Africa were disappointing.
Expectations were fueled by anecdotal reports of Covid-19 patients who took remdesivir and recovered.
Two such reports were published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, lending credibility to what researchers later said were uncertain results.
Without trials comparing the drug to a placebo, it has been impossible to know whether the drug made a difference or patients got better on their own with normal supportive care.
The study of remdesivir published in the Lancet found no benefit to the drug, compared to placebo.
“Unfortunately, our trial found that while safe and adequately tolerated, remdesivir did not provide significant benefits over placebo,” said the lead investigator of the new study, Dr. Bin Cao of the China-Japan Friendship Hospital and Capital Medical University in Beijing.
Flags and wreaths honor veterans on the grounds of the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, Mass., on Tuesday.
The police dispersed mourners in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on Tuesday.
Central Park in Manhattan on Monday.
Vice President Mike Pence visits the molecular testing lab at Mayo Clinic Tuesday, without a mask.
Many businesses were closed in Brooklyn on Tuesday.
Canary Wharf, one of London’s main financial centers, earlier this week.
An advertisement for online church services in Broken Arrow, Okla. last week.
A grocery store in Bethesda, Md., on Wednesday. The meat industry has warned that closing meatpacking plants could threaten the U.S. supply of beef, pork and other products.
“This is not the outcome we hoped for,” he added.
America’s growth streak is over: The economy shrank 4.8 percent, and the worst is yet to come.
The coronavirus pandemic has officially snapped the United States’ economic growth streak.
The questions now are how extensive the damage will be — and how long the country will take to recover.
U.S. gross domestic product, the broadest measure of goods and services produced in the economy, fell at a 4.8 percent annual rate in the first quarter of the year, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. That is the first decline since 2014, and the worst quarterly contraction since 2008, when the country was in a deep recession.
Things will get much worse. Widespread layoffs and business closings didn’t happen until late March, or the very end of the last quarter, in most of the country. Economists expect figures from the current quarter, which will capture the shutdown’s impact more fully, to show that G.D.P. contracted at an annual rate of 30 percent or mo“They’re going to be the worst in our lifetime,” Dan North, chief economist for the credit insurance company Euler Hermes North America, said of the second-quarter figures. “They’re going to be the worst in the post-World War II era.”
The larger question is what happens after that. Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, said this week that he expected the economy to “really bounce back” this summer as states lift stay-home orders and trillions of dollars in federal emergency spending reaches businesses and households.
Most independent economists are much less optimistic. The Congressional Budget Office last week released projections indicating that the economy will begin growing again in the second half of the year but that the G.D.P. won’t return to its pre-pandemic level until 2022 at the earliest.
Despite Wednesday’s grim report, stocks on Wall Street were set for a gain, following a rally in global stocks. Futures for the S&P 500 got a boost after signs that a drug being tested as a possible treatment could be showing progress.
© Brian Snyder/Reuters
Princess Bryant, a teacher in Boston, instructs her kindergarten class via video-conference on Tuesday.
More big news on Wednesday is set for 2 p.m., when Federal Reserve officials will give an update on their outlook for the economy and their nonstop plans over the past two months to avert financial calamity. The central bank’s chair, Jerome H. Powell, will hold a news conference that will be closely watched by investors and business leaders.
Global stocks rise despite gloomy economic figures.
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday pledged to do what it can to insulate the economy as coronavirus lockdowns take a severe toll on economic growth, underlining that it will keep interest rates near zero until a recovery is well underway.
Stocks rallied on Wednesday, boosted by indications that a drug being tested as a possible treatment could be showing progress, and as investors pinned their hopes on the gradual reopening of the world’s major economies.
The S&P 500 gained more than 2 percent, and major benchmarks in Europe were also higher.
The gains came despite data that showed the U.S. economy shrank by the most since 2008 in the first quarter of the year. Earnings reports from Volkswagen, Samsung, Airbus, Boeing and other giant businesses were also grim.
But investors have been shaking off bad news on the economy for weeks as they focus on progress on efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic. A steady climb has lifted the S&P 500 by nearly 30 percent since its March 23 low.
The trading on Wednesday had all the hallmarks of a rally fueled by hopes of a return to normal, with shares of airlines and cruise operators — both industries that are dependent on the end of restrictions and the return of travelers — among the best performing stocks in the S&P 500.
© John Taggart for The New York Times
People walk past empty restaurants in Brooklyn this month.
Oil prices also surged, with gains picking up steam after a weekly report on crude oil stockpiles showed they increased by less than expected. Investors have been worried about a glut of crude as demand for energy plunges, along with storage capacity in the United States.
On Wednesday, West Texas Intermediate crude, the U.S. benchmark, was up as much as 30 percent, to more than $16 a barrel. Brent crude, the international benchmark, was trading at a little over $23 a barrel, up about 14 percent.
Trump declared meatpacking plants ‘critical infrastructure,’ but how they would stay open remains unclear.
Mr. Trump’s declaration on Tuesday that meatpacking plants were “critical infrastructure” that should be kept open during the pandemic sent a powerful signal that protecting the nation’s food supply was a federal priority.
© Tony Azios/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
The aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt earlier this month.
But exactly how the executive order would keep plants running, even in the midst of outbreaks that have sickened thousands of workers and turned the facilities into hot spots, was unclear.
“This is more symbolism than substance,” said Steve Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas. “He’s opening the door for the executive branch to take some far more specific actions vis-à-vis the meat plants, but the order itself doesn’t do anything.”
While the order does not explicitly mandate that plants stay open, it could allow the Department of Agriculture to potentially force meat companies to fulfill orders from retailers, effectively keeping them in some capacity.
Lobbyists for the meat industry said the executive order, which invoked the Defense Production Act, was significant because it created federal guidelines for the steps plants needed to take to prevent the virus from spreading. Until now, meat plants have been forced to close based on a patchwork of regulations from local and state health departments. The meat industry has warned that closures could threaten the U.S. supply of beef, pork and other products.
“It’s now a partnership between federal agencies and state and local officials to ensure everything is done to keep workers safe,” said Julie Anna Potts, the chief executive of the North American Meat Institute, a trade group for beef, pork and turkey packers and producers.
Still, the order does not address some critical questions such as whether the plants should test all their workers for the virus before reopening. Some plants have reopened without widespread testing.
Conservative groups challenging virus restrictions are seeing support from the Justice Department.
A network of conservative leaders, donors and organizations has launched a legal onslaught against state and local restrictions intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus, pushing to allow churches to hold services, businesses to reopen and people to be able to visit with family and friends.
They have been emboldened in recent days by increasing signs of support from a powerful ally: The Justice Department.
Justice Department officials have spoken on conference calls with leaders of conservative groups, who have flagged individual cases as worthy of the department’s review. Some cabinet officials have signaled that they back the effort by participating in private calls with conservative allies, according to multiple people involved with the calls.
This week the Justice Department delivered the clearest show of support yet when Attorney General William P. Barr issued a memorandum directing two of his department’s top lawyers to lead an effort with other federal agencies to monitor state and local policies “and, if necessary, take action to correct” those that “could be violating the constitutional rights and civil liberties of individual citizens.”
Though the Justice Department has so far weighed in formally on only one case — a lawsuit by a Baptist church in Greenville, Miss. — the new directive reinforced the message that court challenges to state and local restrictions by Mr. Trump’s allies could get a favorable viewing, and potential support, from the administration.
Massachusetts nursing home has had at least 68 deaths.
Deaths have been mounting at a nursing home for veterans in western Massachusetts, where at least 68 residents have died after contracting the virus, making it one of the deadliest nursing home outbreaks in the country.
To date, 82 residents and 81 employees of the facility have tested positive for the virus.
Employees at the 247-bed, state-managed Holyoke Soldiers’ Home have described the facility as unprepared for the wave of virus cases that emerged in March, and said infected patients were left on crowded wards, exposing dozens of vulnerable veterans.
Lethal outbreaks of the virus have ravaged nursing homes across the nation. The virus is known to be more deadly to aging, immune-compromised people, and small, confined settings like nursing homes, where workers frequently move from one room to the next, are particularly vulnerable to spreading infection.
The outbreak in Holyoke became public at the end of March, after Alex Morse, the mayor of Holyoke, received an anonymous letter from a staff member, describing “horrific circumstances.” Within days, the facility’s superintendent had been placed on administrative leave, and the National Guard was deployed to assist with testing.
Since then, because military honors are unavailable, flags in the state have been lowered to half-staff, in memory of veterans lost in Holyoke and at a soldiers’ home in Chelsea.
After 100 days, there have been more than one million confirmed infections, and a country has been transformed.
It has been 100 days since a 35-year-old man presented to an urgent care clinic in Snohomish County, Wash., with a four-day history of cough and fever and tested positive.
His was the first case to be detected. Since then, more than one million people had tested positive in the United States.
Residents in most states in the country — along with more than half of all humanity — have been ordered to shelter in their homes in the hopes of slowing the spread of the highly contagious virus and to try to keep hospital systems from being overwhelmed.
Still, more than 53,000 people across the United States have died — roughly one in four of the 210,000 deaths around the world.
Epidemiologists have estimated that the true number of infections may be about 10 times the known number, and preliminary testing of how many people have antibodies seems to support that view. Similarly, the official death toll is likely to vastly underestimate the true number by at least several thousand, according to an analysis of mortality data by The New York Times.
While the timeline for the spread of the virus across the country has shifted as public health authorities find evidence that the pathogen was spreading in communities earlier than believed, the speed at which the world has been transformed is shocking.
The global economy has suffered such a swift and sudden decline that economists have had to reach back to the Great Depression for analogies. More than 26 million people in the United States have lost their jobs.
Masks are becoming an accepted part of public life, which is why there was such a backlash on Tuesday after Vice President Mike Pence flouted the Mayo Clinic’s protocols on wearing a protective face covering on a visit there.
With the United States leading the world in both deaths and infections, the image of the country has taken a beating around the world, and Americans have been forced to re-examine their own self-image.
The country has watched Mr. Trump speak about the pandemic almost every day in ways that were alternately misleading, resentful, insulting, dangerous and, often, sown with self-praise.
But as the country tries to slowly move out of a lockdown and find a way to restore some form of public life, with no vaccine or therapy yet available, the virus is still setting the course.
Pelosi names Democrats to special coronavirus investigative committee.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday named six House Democrats to sit on a newly created select committee that will scrutinize the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic.
Among them are three senior Democrats who lead House committees: Representative Maxine Waters of California, the chairwoman of the Financial Services Committee; Representative Carolyn B. Maloney of New York, the chairwoman of the Oversight and Reform Committee; and Representative Nydia M. Velázquez of New York, the chairwoman of the Small Business Committee.
Ms. Pelosi also selected three more junior members based on their areas of expertise. Representative Bill Foster, Democrat of Illinois, is a former scientist. Representative Andy Kim of New Jersey is a former National Security Council staff member with extensive national security experience. And Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland was a constitutional law professor before joining the House.
“We must make sure that the historic investment of taxpayer dollars made in the CARES Act is being used wisely and efficiently to help those in need, not be exploited by profiteers and price-gougers,” Ms. Pelosi said in a statement, referring to the $2.2 trillion stimulus measure.
The speaker had already announced that she would place Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina, the third-ranking Democrat and one of her top deputies, at the helm of the panel. It is expected to begin working in the weeks to come, and it will be given wide leeway to scrutinize all aspects of the federal response, from the fulfillment of the stimulus to the Trump administration’s struggle to ramp up virus testing.
Five slots on the committee are reserved for Republicans, who have yet to name their members.
As Pence defends his mask-less visit to Mayo Clinic, some former patients also criticize the institution.
Vice President Mike Pence defended his decision Tuesday not to wear a face mask while touring a building at the renowned Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, saying he is regularly tested for the virus and was following the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, even if he was violating the clinic’s own policy for visitors.
While critics lashed out at Mr. Pence, the head of the coronavirus task force, former Mayo Clinic patients and their family members pointed blame at the institution they had long held in high esteem for permitting the vice president to flout the rules.
Kenneth Rinzler, an attorney who had open-heart surgery at the clinic in 2010, wrote in a letter to the president of the institution, that he was “beyond shocked” to see Mr. Pence inside the building without a mask “and violating every basic tenet of social distancing.”
Susie Watson, the wife of a former bone marrow transplant patient at the clinic, was equally alarmed and wrote to the Mayo Clinic asking why it’s administrators didn’t insist Mr. Pence wear a mask.
“It really makes us wonder about your judgment,” she wrote in an email that she shared with The Times. “Wearing a mask should not be voluntary at Mayo. This is seriously upsetting, not to mention a huge public relations mistake for all the nation to see.”
Ms. Watson also said she considered it “their error as much as Pence’s.”
A spokeswoman for the vice president did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday. Mr. Pence defended his decision a day earlier and said, “As vice president of the United States, I’m tested for the coronavirus on a regular basis, and everyone who is around me is tested for the coronavirus.”
After Trump nudges schools to reopen, a national union pushes to protect educators.
As schools across the country consider when they might reopen and what that could look like, the American Federation of Teachers, one of two national teachers’ unions, said it would release a plan today outlining its demands for the conditions that should be met before schools reopen.
The vision is more cautious than the one expressed in recent days by the president, who told governors in a call on Monday that they should “maybe get going on it,” and some state leaders.
Randi Weingarten, the union’s president, said the plan offered “a stark contrast to the conflicting guidance, bluster and lies of the Trump administration.”
The union is asking for school buildings to remain closed until local cases have declined for 14 consecutive days with adequate testing in place. It says that when schools do open, they should be prepared to screen for fevers, set up hand-washing stations at entry points, place individuals with suspected cases in isolation rooms and provide staff with protective equipment.
The plan floats the possibility of voluntary summer programs; smaller class sizes of 12 to 15 students; and schedules of partial days or weeks to maintain social distancing, with after-school programs for families that need more hours of child care.
The union is also asking for schools to halt formal evaluations of teachers’ work until more established procedures for both in-person and remote learning are in place.
‘I have no regrets about calling out this danger,’ de Blasio said of a crowded Hasidic funeral.
Mayor Bill de Blasio lashed out at Hasidic residents of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Tuesday night after personally overseeing the police’s dispersal of a crowd gathered for the funeral of a rabbi, Chaim Mertz, who died of the virus.
Mr. de Blasio warned “the Jewish community, and all communities” on Twitter that violating social-distancing guidelines could lead to summonses or arrest. The police commissioner said that 12 summonses were issued, including four for refusal to disperse.
At his Wednesday briefing, the mayor repeated the point.
“Members of the Jewish community were putting each other in danger,” he said. “They were putting our police officers in danger.”
Mr. de Blasio said the funeral was “by far the largest gathering in any community of New York City of any kind that I had heard of or seen directly or on video since the beginning of this crisis, and it’s just not allowable.”
New York’s ultra-Orthodox Hasidic communities have been hit especially hard by the virus — one Brooklyn resident called the disease “a plague on a biblical scale” — and Hasidic residents’ tendency to congregate in big groups has been held partly responsible.
Some Jewish leaders criticized the mayor for seeming to single out one community.
Jewish leaders and others pointed out that Mr. de Blasio’s Tuesday diatribe came on the same day that New Yorkers clustered in large dense crowds to watch a flyover by the Blue Angels fighter-jet squadron and accused the mayor of a double standard.
On Wednesday, Mr. de Blasio offered a limited apology, but he said he would not tolerate violations of social-distancing guidelines.
“If I see it in any other community, I’ll call that out equally,” he said. “If in my emotion I said something that in any way was hurtful, I’m sorry about that, that was not my intention. But I also want to be clear, I have no regrets about calling out this danger and saying I want to deal with it very, very aggressively.”
At his daily briefing, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said 330 more people had died in the state, a third consecutive day at a flat rate. That brought the state’s total official tally to 17,968. But the number of new hospital admissions for the virus increased slightly, for the first time in 12 days. “That is not good news,” the governor said.
New Jersey reported 329 new virus deaths, almost equal to the latest reported daily toll in New York, which is more than twice as populous.
He said he was issuing an order allowing elective surgeries to resume in 35 counties that have been hit less hard by the virus. New York City and the five downstate counties closest to the city were not among them.
Top restaurateurs seek $120 billion in federal aid.
A group of prominent independent restaurant owners is asking Congress for a $120 billion stabilization fund to prevent thousands of restaurants across the country from closing after massive and protracted losses stemming from the pandemic.
“We are fighting to give restaurants a fighting chance,” said José Andrés, a Washington-based chef and philanthropist who has been at the forefront of lobbying for his industry, which has accounted for roughly 60 percent of all American job losses in March, according to the Independent Restaurant Coalition. The group formed after the vast majority of independent operators were unable to take part in a vast federal program to aid small businesses.
Under that program, businesses will be forgiven if their employees are paid over the eight-week period after the loan is made. But that is difficult for bars and restaurants, many of which government officials ordered to close. Even once reopened, many restaurants will be unable to comply with social distancing rules and run at full capacity.
“How do I make money if I have to bring back all my staff doing less volume and less sales?” Nina Compton, the owner of Compère Lapin in New Orleans, said during a conference call on Wednesday. “We need support, we need stabilization.”
Andrew Zimmern, the executive producer of the Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods” and a member of the coalition, said that only 20 percent of independent restaurants owners in cities that are shut down are certain they will be able to sustain their businesses.
“The severity of this crisis is extremely deep,” he said.
The Navy delays a decision on restoring the captain of the Theodore Roosevelt carrier and extends an investigation.
The acting secretary of the Navy on Wednesday ordered a wider investigation into the events aboard the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, apparently shelving for now a recommendation by the Navy’s top admiral to restore Capt. Brett E. Crozier to command the virus-stricken warship.
“I have unanswered questions that the preliminary inquiry has identified and that can only be answered by a deeper review,” the acting secretary, James E. McPherson, said in a statement.
Mr. McPherson said he was directing the chief of naval operations, Adm. Michael M. Gilday, to conduct a follow-on investigation, expanding a preliminary review that the Navy completed and presented to Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper last week.
Mr. McPherson’s announcement came just days after Admiral Gilday recommended giving Captain Crozier his job back. But Mr. Esper, who initially said he would leave the process largely in the hands of the military chain of command, delayed endorsing the findings last week until he said he could review the Navy’s investigation into the matter.
Kushner calls the administration’s handling of the pandemic ‘a great success story.’
Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser who has been overseeing efforts to provide medical equipment to hard-hit states, declared the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic a great success despite withering criticism that it was slow to see the threat and respond to it.
“We’re on the other side of the medical aspect of this, and I think that we’ve achieved all the different milestones that are needed,” Mr. Kushner said on “Fox & Friends” on Wednesday morning. “The federal government rose to the challenge, and this is a great success story. And I think that that’s really, you know, what needs to be told.”
Mr. Kushner rejected the concerns of governors and public health experts who said that testing remained woefully inadequate to justify reopening the country after weeks of lockdown. While Mr. Trump’s administration committed this week to helping states be able to test at least 2 percent of their populations each month, experts said that is a fraction of what is needed to map out how far the virus has spread.
“We’ve done more tests than any other country in the world, so we’ve got to be doing a lot of things right,” Mr. Kushner said.
Mr. Kushner did not address why the president for weeks played down the virus, comparing it to the ordinary flu, predicting that cases would go down to zero and suggesting that the virus would “miraculously” go away. People close to the White House have said that Mr. Kushner agreed with Mr. Trump early on that the Democrats and media were hyping the virus to damage the president, although Mr. Kushner’s allies have insisted that the always took it seriously.
In his interview on Wednesday, Mr. Kushner said May “will be a transition month” as states began reopening. “I think you’ll see by June a lot of the country should be back to normal,” he said. “And the hope is that by July the country’s really rocking again.”
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Sweden forged its own path while countries around it shut down, and Russia extended its lockdown despite having relatively few confirmed cases.
Reporting was contributed by Peter Baker, Ellen Barry, Alan Blinder, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Audra D. S. Burch, Ben Casselman, Michael Cooper, Michael Corkery, Nicholas Fandos, Michael Gold, Dana Goldstein, Jenny Gross, Amy Harmon, Christine Hauser, Josh Katz, Gina Kolata, Denise Lu, Rick Rojas, Margot Sanger-Katz, Marc Santora, Jennifer Steinhauer, Eileen Sullivan, Linda Villarosa, and Noah Weiland.