More than 1 million people in the United States have been infected by the coronavirus as of Tuesday, a mark that comes as some states begin to ease lockdowns.
The U.S. has recorded more than 56,000 deaths due to COVID-19, according to NBC News' tally. Worldwide, over 3 million people have been sickened and more than 212,000 have died.
Some parts of the U.S. have shown indications of a leveling off of new cases and deaths. That has, in turn, sparked greater calls — particularly from supporters of the Trump administration — to push for governors to begin reopening stores and public spaces.
But health professionals warn that coronavirus cases could easily spike again if proper social distancing is not maintained.
President Donald Trump said Monday that the effort to expand testing is being done with the private sector to "help local governments get this horrible plague over with and over with fast."
- MAPS: Confirmed cases in the U.S. and worldwide, confirmed deaths in the U.S. and globally.
- Stay-at-home orders across the country: What each state is doing — or not — amid widespread coronavirus lockdowns.
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White House Coronavirus Task Force directs FEMA to ship PPE to more than 15,000 nursing homes
The White House Coronavirus Task Force is directing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate shipments of a week's supply of personal protective equipment to more than 15,000 nursing homes throughout the country, according to an internal FEMA email obtained by NBC News.
The shipments are expected to begin the first week of May on a rolling basis, and will be completed by mid-June, according to the email, which announced the plan to FEMA's state directors. They will include gloves, gowns, eye protection and surgical masks. Due to the number of nursing homes in the country, it is unlikely facilities will know in advance when their shipment arrives.
It's unclear if FEMA is coordinating this effort with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that has oversight over nursing homes. Neither FEMA nor CMS responded to a request for comment from NBC News.
Only nursing homes certified by CMS will receive the shipments, a decision made "based on input from the American Health Care Association" — the for-profit nursing home industry's trade organization — the email said.
North Carolina anti-lockdown activist stuck inside with coronavirus
A North Carolina woman active in a movement demanding that businesses in her state be allowed to reopen was reportedly in quarantine after testing positive for coronavirus.
Audrey Whitlock, a moderator on the Facebook page "Reopen NC," missed the group's first two rallies in Raleigh, fellow organizer Ashley Smith told NBC affiliate WRAL.
Whitlock tested positive three weeks ago, according to Smith.
Trump to order meat processing plants to stay open amid coronavirus pandemic
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is expected to use the Defense Production Act on Tuesday to compel meat processing plants to stay open amid the coronavirus pandemic and will provide liability protections, according to three sources familiar with the plan.
“The reason for this EO is there were discussions among certain processing companies (Tysons, for example) to keep only 20% of facilities open. The vast majority of processing plans could have shut down, reducing processing capacity in the country by as much as 80%,” an administration official explained to NBC News.
NYC creates pet hotline to help owners affected by coronavirus
New York City launched the COVID-19 Pet Hotline on Tuesday, designed to provide support for pet owners who may need help due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The hotline is managed by the mayor's office for animal welfare and the city's emergency management department, according to a press release. New York City has partnered with nonprofits to provide residents with necessities to care for their furry friends, including subsidized emergency veterinary care and supply distribution services.
Christine Kim, with the mayor's office of animal welfare, thanked New York City's animal task force for their work to create the resource.
“During this time of uncertainty and fear, we understand people need the comfort of their companion animals more than ever,” Kim said. “In order to keep people and their animals together, we have ensured that animals are included in the safety net we have created for all New Yorkers."
Pence flouts Mayo Clinic policy by touring facility without a mask
Vice President Mike Pence went on a tour of the Mayo Clinic's coronavirus testing labs Tuesday — and ignored the prestigious Minnesota hospital's rules that all occupants wear a mask.
"Mayo Clinic had informed @VP of the masking policy prior to his arrival today," the clinic tweeted while Pence was still inside meeting with doctors and patients. The tweet was later deleted.
The clinic referred press questions to the vice president’s office, which had no immediate comment.
France set to loosen lockdown restrictions from May 11
France’s parliament voted in favor Tuesday of the government’s plan to loosen the country’s lockdown restrictions next month.
French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said that as of May 11 all stores and shops will be able to open excluding cafes and restaurants. Some students within elementary schools will be able to return as of May 11, with older students and high schools slated to return later.
However, businesses have been encouraged to continue remote working for at least three more weeks.
Philippe also warned that if by May 7 the number of daily coronavirus cases recorded surpassed 3,000, then the loosening of restrictions in France would be postponed.
17-year-old Texas girl dies of coronavirus
A 17-year-old girl died in Lancaster, Texas, after contracting the coronavirus, the city announced on Tuesday.
The unidentified teen died of complications from COVID-19, the disease associated with the coronavirus. She was the first death within Lancaster, according to a tweet from the city's official account.
"It is devastating to see the havoc this virus has put on our community both young and old," Lancaster Mayor Clyde Hairston said. "We will continue to pray for the family and safety of our residents during this difficult time.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he will allow many businesses to begin reopening on Friday, a day after the state's stay-at-home order is set to expire. Texas has more than 25,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and at lest 663 deaths.
New Jersey sees record single-day high of coronavirus deaths
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Tuesday that an additional 402 people have died from the coronavirus, a record single-day high. Meanwhile, fatalities in neighboring New York continued to drop.
The total number of deaths for New Jersey is now 6,442 with 113,856 positive cases, Murphy announced at a press conference on Tuesday.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at his news conference that 335 residents have lost their lives to the virus, bringing the state's confirmed virus deaths to 17,638.
Last Wednesday, Cuomo reported 438 deaths. In the days since that number has continued to drop. On Monday, there were 337 deaths.
"Every day, I think maybe today is the day that the nightmare will be over — but maybe not," Cuomo said.
Postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics could be canceled
The 2020 Olympics, which have been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, could still be canceled if the outbreak continues into next year, according to the president of the Tokyo Games.
The Olympics were rescheduled to begin on July 23, 2021 from this summer. Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori made his comments in an interview Tuesday with Japanese newspaper Nikkan Sports when asked whether another postponement would be considered if the virus continued into 2021.
"No. It will be canceled then," Mori said. "The Olympics were canceled in the past for problems like war. We are fighting against an invisible enemy now."
Mori said organizers are still working towards holding the Games, but his comments about a potential cancellation are in stark contrast with the continued messaging from International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who have said canceling the Games isn't an option they're considering. The IOC did not respond to a request for comment.
Mori was clear about the significance of these Games, saying they'd be "much more valuable than any Olympics in the past if we could go ahead with them after winning this battle."
Tripadvisor is laying off 900 employees as coronavirus continues to hammer travel industry
Tripadvisor is laying off 900 employees, or one-quarter of its global workforce, the company announced Tuesday.
With hotel vacancy rates running at 100 percent in many parts of the world, and airline booking at record lows, the travel company said it had little option but to reduce headcount.
It is also asking some remaining staff to take a temporary 20 percent pay cut and work a four-day week.
Co-founder and CEO Stephen Kaufer said the company would also close some of its 52 offices around the world, including Boston and San Francisco, and re-evaluate its need for real estate.
“We have been and will continue to more fully embrace a remote work culture,” Kaufer said in a memo to staff on Tuesday, suggesting the success of work-from-home could affect the company’s future real estate footprint.
'Out of touch': Pelosi, Schumer blast McConnell's bankruptcy remarks
Democratic leaders on Tuesday doubled down on their calls for the next major coronavirus relief package to include financial aid to state and local governments and they blasted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for suggesting that states should instead declare bankruptcy.
"Really? Really?" House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said about McConnell's bankruptcy comments during a press call. Pelosi said that McConnell must have been referencing Illinois, which she said made mistakes under its previous Republican governor.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called McConnell "out of touch" for suggesting that states crushed by the coronavirus go bankrupt. He warned that McConnell's idea would lead to "hundreds of thousands" of state and local government employees being potentially fired or furloughed.
"What did they do Leader McConnell? Why are you suggesting that they should lose their jobs?" he said. "The McConnell plan will only drive up unemployment even higher."
Rapper 2 Chainz hands out meals to Atlanta's homeless
Rapper 2 Chainz handed out meals to homeless people at his Atlanta restaurant Escobar on Monday.
2 Chainz, born Tauheed Epps, grew up in College Park, a mostly black city in Georgia.
A plan announced last week by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp allowed restaurants to resume dine-in service, and movie theaters and other entertainment venues to reopen Monday.
2 Chainz said in an Instagram post that his restaurant would only be open for takeout.
Grim milestone: Total number of U.S. coronavirus cases hits 1 million
The total number of coronavirus cases in the United States reached 1 million on Tuesday afternoon, according to a tally compiled by NBC News.
The number stood at 1,00,037 just before 1:30 p.m. ET Tuesday. In all, 57,071 have died in the U.S.
Pennsylvania announces over 1K additional coronavirus cases
The Pennsylvania Department of Health announced 1,214 additional coronavirus cases as of Tuesday, bringing the statewide total to 43,264.
Every county in the state is under a stay-at-home order until May 8.
Pennsylvania has seen 1,716 deaths. To date, 165,824 patients have tested negative.
Quest to offer direct-to-consumer antibody tests
Quest Diagnostics announced Tuesday that its coronavirus antibody tests be will available without a visit to a doctor’s office first. The company started offering antibody tests on April 21, but patients first needed to visit a doctor, who would prescribe the test.
Consumers who would like a test can sign up through QuestDirect, an online service that asks individuals a series of questions to determine if they qualify. Each request is reviewed, and if appropriate, an order for the test is issued by a licensed physician. Individuals can then make an appointment at one of Quest’s nationwide labs, where they will be tested. (Quest's antibody test is not an at-home test.)
Patients will be able to speak to a physician about their results. It’s important to note that it’s unclear at this point whether a positive antibody test means that an individual is immune to the coronavirus. A positive test can indicate whether a person has been infected at some point in the past.
Quest will be sharing the data collected from its antibody testing with government agencies in an effort to provide a more clear picture of how many people in the U.S. have had the coronavirus.
Fauci says coronavirus-like outbreak 'what keeps me up at night'
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said Tuesday that the unique qualities of the “unprecedented” novel coronavirus that helped it “explode” into a global pandemic represent the kind of nightmarish scenario that keeps him up at night.
“What keeps me up at night is the emergence of a brand new infection, likely jumping species from an animal, that's respiratory born, highly transmissible, with a high degree of morbidity and mortality. And, lo and behold, that's where we are right now,” Fauci said during a live-streamed interview Tuesday with The Economic Club of Washington, D.C. "And the reason it's so unprecedented, it exploded upon us."
“Everyone is at risk,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said. “With this, everyone seems vulnerable, with a disease that's highly transmissible.”
Senate Dems call on Trump admin to extend work authorizations for DACA, TPS recipients
Senate Democrats are calling on the Trump administration to extend work authorizations for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and those with Temporary Protected Status.
"We're joining forces to demand that the Trump administration extend the work authorizations for the over 130,000 TPS holders and 200,000 DACA recipients, many of whom are serving on the front lines in the battle against COVID-19," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., during a press conference call with Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Robert Menendez, D-N.J., along with a group of immigrants.
Schumer added, "These hard-working members of our community must receive automatic extensions of their work authorizations, so they don't fall out of status and lose their protections in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis."
The senators said that the administration is "hell-bent" on ending the programs for these immigrants threatening them with the possibility of deportation. They noted that court decisions on DACA and TPS are pending.
Doctors Without Borders provides assistance in U.K. for first time
The medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders has started providing medical assistance in the United Kingdom for the first time since it was founded in 1971.
A team of eleven staff members are providing nursing and logistics support at the London Covid Care Centre, the organization said Tuesday.
The project, which is run in partnership with the University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, provides rapid testing, accommodation in which to self-isolate and medical care for members of the homeless community with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, the group said.
The center, which opened earlier this month, has the capacity to host 60 residents and as of Tuesday was treating 10 people, it added.
Reversing course, House won't return to D.C. next week because of coronavirus threat
A day after announcing that the House would reconvene in Washington next week, House Democrats reversed course and announced Tuesday that lawmakers will not be returning to the Capitol after all because of the coronavirus threat.
“We made a judgement that we will not come back next week,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said in a phone call with reporters.
Hoyer said he spoke with the House physician late Monday about the decision. The majority leader cited a rising number of coronavirus cases in the Washington metropolitan area.
“We will not come back next week, but we hope to come back very soon to consider CARES 2 legislation,” Hoyer said, referring to the next round of major coronavirus relief legislation, which would mirror the $2 trillion package signed into law in late March.
Fauci praises Brad Pitt's 'SNL' impersonation: 'He did a great job'
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, offered an exceptionally positive diagnosis Tuesday for actor Brad Pitt’s imitation of him on "Saturday Night Live" this weekend.
“I think he did a great job,” Fauci said.
“He got the raspiness of my voice right. … He got the hand gestures right,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said during a live-streamed interview Tuesday with The Economic Club of Washington, D.C.
Fauci suggested, however, that Pitt could perhaps improve upon one element of his imitation.
Goya donates 300,000 pounds of food, 20,000 protective masks
Goya Foods has donated more than 300,000 pounds of food and 20,000 masks in recent weeks, and plans to continue donating additional food and gear weekly, the company said Tuesday.
Food donations have been made to food banks and organizations in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas, and Illinois.
“As an essential business, our Goya teams are working 24/7 to meet the overwhelming demand for food and ensure that supermarket shelves nationwide are stocked with nourishing products, while also providing food to communities who are food insecure or not able to get to supermarkets,” Bob Unanue, President of Goya Foods, said in a news release.
Goya Foods, headquartered in Jersey City, N.J., is the country’s largest Hispanic-owned food company.
Putin extends Russia's stay-at-home regime to May 12
In a national address Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced an extension of a nationwide self-isolation order until May 12.
“The peak has not yet passed,” Putin said. "The stricter we follow the quarantine rules, the faster it will pass."
Putin also ordered officials to draw up plans for a phased return to normal life after May 12 if the situation improves by then.
He said that the measures cannot be lifted immediately, and that “there is a long and difficult road ahead."
Russia reported a record in new cases on Tuesday, with 6,411 new cases confirmed — bringing the total to 93,558 cases.
Photo: Birthday wishes for U.K. centenarian
'Pathetic': Schumer slams Trump's coronavirus testing blueprint
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Tuesday slammed President Donald Trump’s new blueprint to ramp up coronavirus testing, saying that it lacked details about how states should implement the plan.
“You know the report they issued yesterday? It was pathetic. It didn't have any details. And then at the end, it said let the states do it,” Schumer said in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Schumer said that he plans to send a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to push for oversight hearings when the Senate reconvenes at the Capitol next week in which committees could call members of the White House coronavirus task force and Trump administration as witnesses.
“No one in the administration has given an answer specifically as to how the states should do it and that's one of the reasons I think we need to get the hearings,” Schumer said Tuesday.
'Fogging' technology could help battle coronavirus
A machine invented a dozen years ago may make it possible to kill the coronavirus in shared spaces.
The HaloFogger, which has been used against SARS and Ebola, has been approved by the EPA for emergency use against COVID-19.
It sprays a dry hydrogen peroxide mist that can clean rooms without damaging electronics. Each machine costs $10,000, and the amount of mist needed to clean a room costs $10.
Tom Trojansky, whose ambulances serve a portion of suburban Philadelphia, has been using a HaloFogger to clean his fleet of emergency vehicles. He has more than 100 employees, responding to dozens of COVID-19 calls per day, but says only one employee has contracted the disease.
NYC mayor announces 'one big city-wide virtual graduation ceremony' for seniors
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday said the city would throw "one big city-wide virtual graduation ceremony" for seniors who won't be able to walk and receive their diplomas in person this year.
De Blasio said he realizes graduating seniors are being robbed of a very "human moment," but that "we need to celebrate you." Individual schools can decide how to handle graduation ceremonies on their own, and the city-wide event will be additional.
"We're going to make it something very special," de Blasio said. "We’re going to give you something you will remember for the rest of your life."
He said the ceremony will include "very special guests," some of whom are from the "extraordinary roster of people" who graduated from the New York City public school system.
JetBlue becomes first U.S. airline to require passengers to wear masks
JetBlue Airways on Monday became the first U.S. airline to announce that all passengers will have to wear a face covering on flights.
Starting May 4, passengers will be required to wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth during the duration of each flight and also during check-in, boarding and deplaning, according to a JetBlue statement. Small children who can't keep a mask on are exempt.
The airline has already started requiring flight crew members to wear face coverings on the job. American Airlines will begin requiring flight attendants to wear masks starting May 1, the airline said in a statement Monday. Passengers will be offered personal protective equipment. Masks became mandatory for United Airlines flight attendants on Friday.
On Thursday, the Association of Flight Attendants, which represents 50,000 flight attendants across 20 airlines, sent a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar asking that the departments use their "authority to mandate masks in aviation for crew, employees and passengers; require personal protective equipment; and end all leisure travel until the virus is contained."
Navy Blue Angels and Air Force Thunderbirds to honor frontline workers
The Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy Blue Angels will give a loud salute Tuesday afternoon to healthcare workers and others on the frontline in the fight against the coronavirus with flyovers in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The event will begin at noon in Newark, New Jersey and New York City and will last about 35 minutes, the Thunderbirds said in a press release. The aircraft will then head to Trenton, New Jersey, for a 10-minute show that begins at 1:45 p.m.
The final stop will be in Philadelphia at 2 p.m. and will last for about 20 minutes.
'Naked concerns': German doctors strip down to protest lack of protective equipment
A group of German doctors has posed naked to show how vulnerable they feel without adequate protective equipment on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.
The group calls its protest Blanke Bedenken, which translates as “naked concerns,” saying shortages of protective clothing and equipment are putting their lives at risk.
“We are your general practitioners. To treat you safely, we need protective equipment. If we run out of what little we have, we look like this,” one of the group’s tweets said next to a naked photo of a male physician.
The group, which was launched on Thursday and has since garnered growing attention online, has featured more photos of doctors posing in their medical practices, some wearing nothing but a stethoscope.
Naples' pizza ovens fired up again as city eases lockdown restrictions
Wood is burning again in Naples’ pizza ovens as of Monday night, giving a symbolic and savory boost to Neapolitans after two months of lockdown meant an end to their most iconic and favorite food.
Whereas pizzerias in Rome and elsewhere were allowed to operate for take-out and delivery service, they were banned in Naples out of fears that such a congested, high-density city could fast become a new hot spot for COVID-19 infections. With Italy as whole gradually reopening, Campania’s Governor Vincenzo De Luca lifted bans on pizza deliveries as well as home deliveries from bars, pastry shops and ice-cream parlors and restaurants.
De Luca enforced strict lockdown measures, knowing that the region’s hospitals couldn’t handle a major influx of sick. In the end, Campania had a relatively manageable outbreak of about 4,300 people infected, half of whom didn’t need to be hospitalized. Italy was the first country in the West to be slammed by the outbreak, and its death toll is the highest in Europe and second only to the U.S.
Over 30 percent of Americans have witnessed COVID-19 bias against Asians, poll says
Sixty percent of Asian Americans, who made up about 6 percent of the survey’s respondents, told Ipsos they've seen the same behavior.
The poll, released Tuesday, comes as advocacy groups and researchers report an alarming rise in anti-Asian discrimination. Stop AAPI Hate, an effort to track these cases, reported about 1,500 instances of harassment against Asian Americans in a one-month period since mid-March.
Turkey donates medical equipment, PPE to U.S.
The Turkish government donated essential medical supplies and personal protective equipment to the United States on Tuesday, the U.S. Embassy in Ankara confirmed.
The supplies were loaded on a Turkish A-400M military aircraft and headed to Washington, D.C., to help the fight against the coronavirus outbreak, the embassy said in a statement. Distribution of the equipment— including N95 masks, gowns and face shields — would be handled by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
U.S. officials thanked Turkey, a NATO ally, adding it was a signal of the strong relationship between the countries.
McConnell: 'Better idea' that White House focus briefings on health care experts
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Monday suggested that the White House change its daily coronavirus press briefings so that people hear more from health experts and less from the president.
"Certainly what the American people are most interested in is advice from health professionals about how to conduct their daily lives safely," McConnell said in an interview on Fox News Radio when asked whether President Donald Trump should shorten the briefings or not show up at all.
He added, "And to the extent that the White House decides to recraft those briefings to reflect that goal, probably a better idea."
Trump has faced fierce backlash since he suggested last week that people should possibly inject themselves with disinfectant in order to treat the coronavirus and clean the lungs.
Britain is on track to become one of Europe's worst-hit countries
Britain is on track to become one of Europe's worst-hit countries in the coronavirus pandemic, according to data on Tuesday that showed deaths from COVID-19 had already topped 20,000 by April 17, including a fast-rising toll in care homes.
The Office for National Statistics said the death toll involving COVID-19 in England and Wales was 52 percent higher than the daily figures for deaths in hospitals released by the government as of April 17, according to official data that include deaths in the community.
That takes the United Kingdom's total death toll as of April 17 beyond that reported by France — which also includes deaths in care homes — and Spain, according to Reuters calculations, though lower than Italy's total toll.
Pandemic 'far from over,' World Health Organization head says
The head of the World Health Organization warned that the coronavirus pandemic was "far from over," expressing concern about growing outbreaks in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and some Asian countries.
"We have a long road ahead of us and a lot of work to do,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual news conference in Geneva on Monday, adding that cases and deaths are under-reported in many countries in these regions because of low testing capacity.
The virus, which originated in China late last year, has so far claimed the lives of more than 211,000 people worldwide, infecting more than three million people, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally.
'So stoked': New Zealanders get their caffeine fix as lockdown eases
Spain expected to roll out wider plan to lift restrictions
The Spanish government is expected to roll out a wider plan to lift coronavirus restrictions and gradually restart the country’s stuttering economy on Tuesday. Having suffered one of the world’s deadliest coronavirus outbreaks, Spain shut down public life on March 14 to curb its spread, but recently began to ease restrictions as it reined in the infection rate.
In the most significant relaxation of the lockdown yet, children under 14 were granted one hour of daily supervised outdoor activity on Sunday if they adhered to social-distancing guidelines and stayed within 0.6 miles from their homes.
More than 23,500 people have died from COVID-19 in Spain, with nearly 210,000 confirmed cases.
Berlin Zoo welcomes visitors as Germany slowly reopens
Hong Kong's civil servants will gradually return to work starting May 4
The Hong Kong government announced Tuesday that with coronavirus case numbers dropping in the city, it plans to resume public services in phases starting May 4.
The semi-autonomous city has reported no new cases for three consecutive days and said the epidemiological situation had stabilized.
Officials emphasized that public services, including the reopening of outdoor facilities such as tennis courts and jogging tracks in sports grounds, will be resumed while still maintaining “a high degree of vigilance” and following all necessary precautionary measures. Hong Kong has so far recorded 1037 confirmed cases and four deaths.
Judge sides with tribes, limits distribution of virus relief
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — A judge has ruled in favor of tribal nations in their bid to keep Alaska Native corporations from getting a share of $8 billion in coronavirus relief funding — at least for now.
In a decision issued late Monday, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in Washington, D.C., said the U.S. Treasury Department could begin disbursing funding to 574 federally recognized tribes to respond to the coronavirus but not to the corporations.
The ruling comes in a case brought by at least 15 tribes against the Treasury Department. The tribes allege that Congress intended the funding to go only to tribal governments and that the corporations don’t fit within the definition of “Indian Tribe” in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
Mehta said the tribes easily showed they would suffer irreparable harm unless he limited the funding temporarily to tribal governments while he awaited more argument on the question of eligibility of Alaska Native corporations.
The Treasury Department and the U.S. Justice Department representing the Treasury did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday.
Tokyo Olympics unrealistic without vaccine, Japan medical expert says
TOKYO — The head of Japan’s medical association thinks it will be difficult to hold the Olympics without an effective coronavirus vaccine.
“I hope vaccines and drugs will be developed as soon as possible,” Japan Medical Association President Yoshitake Yokokura said Tuesday.
Japan and the International Olympic Committee agreed to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games until July next year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Japan is under a monthlong state of emergency amid a rapid increase of infections throughout the country, where hospitals are overburdened.
Yokokura did not say whether he opposes the Olympics without a vaccine.
“The key is a situation with the infections at that point. If the infections are under control only in Japan, it will still be difficult to hold the games unless the pandemic is over in the rest of the world,” he said.
Experts have said it could take 12-18 months or longer to develop a vaccine that is safe and effective for clinical use.
Japan has 13,576 reported virus cases, plus 712 others from a cruise ship quarantined near Tokyo earlier this year, with 389 deaths, the health ministry said Tuesday.