President Donald Trump said Monday that the number of coronavirus cases were going down “almost everywhere” — even though an unreleased White House report showed infection rates spiking across the United States.
“We have met the moment, and we have prevailed," Trump told reporters during a White House briefing. The president later added that he was referring to testing, not the virus itself.
Inside the White House, a memo instructed staffers to wear facial coverings and to avoid coming to the West Wing unless it was “absolutely” necessary. The move came after a top aide to Vice President Mike Pence and one of Trump’s personal valets tested positive for the virus.
On Capitol Hill, U.S. Senators will question top health officials on Tuesday about the federal government’s response to the pandemic, though the officials and the subcommittee chairman, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., will all appear via videoconference because of potential exposure to the virus.
- MAPS: Confirmed cases in the U.S. and worldwide, confirmed deaths in the U.S. and globally.
- Reopening America: See what states across the U.S. are starting to reopen.
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Fact check: Trump says everyone who 'wants' a test can get one
Trump claimed on Monday during a press conference focused on coronavirus testing that Americans "should all be able to get a test right now."
But there's no evidence that the U.S. is testing everyone who wants it. Some counties are able to perform testing on-demand, but many regions are prioritizing symptomatic individuals or requiring doctor's notes to get tests despite the prevalence of asymptomatic transmission. The CDC encourages states to prioritize hospitalized and high-risk patients, over lower-risk patients who remain in the community.
So far, the U.S. has done just 9 million tests since the pandemic erupted earlier this year, and that hasn't come close to meeting the demand for testing. A third of people surveyed by a Business Insider poll conducted in late April said they thought they'd had the disease; just 5 percent of those people were able to get tested.
Admiral Brett Giroir, the Health and Human Services official overseeing testing efforts, said that the states "aspire" to perform more than 12 million tests in the next four weeks. That figure represents approximately 3.6 percent of the population. Pressed by a reporter, Giroir countered that "anybody who needs a test" can get one — calling out specifically symptomatic people or those with a confirmed exposure uncovered through contact tracing — but the president again doubled down on his claim.
"If people want to get tested, they get tested," Trump said. "But for the most part, they shouldn't want to get tested."
‘Don’t ask me, ask China’: Trump abruptly ends briefing when asked about China hostility
President Donald Trump abruptly ended a White House briefing on coronavirus response when a reporter asked him about his hostility toward China and the spread of COVID-19.
Louisiana will lift stay-at-home order and begin reopening on Friday
Louisiana, one of the states hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, will allow its stay-at-home order to expire on Friday and will loosen other lockdown restrictions this weekend, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced on Monday.
The first phase of the state's reopening on Friday will draw back certain restrictions currently impacting churches, restaurants, salons and gyms, officials said.
Louisiana has struggled to contain COVID-19, the disease associated with coronavirus, which might have been inadvertently fueled by New Orleans' annual Mardi Gras celebration. For example, as of Monday afternoon there had been at least 2,242 virus-related deaths in Louisiana, a state with 4.6 million residents. Compare that to about 2,712 fatalities in California, a state with nearly 40 million residents.
Edwards' orders have been in place since March 23.
Fact check: Trump falsely claims coronavirus numbers are 'going down almost everywhere'
President Donald Trump falsely claimed on Monday that coronavirus is abating in the U.S., despite data showing that the virus is on the rise in some states and a lack of testing that leaves experts unsure about infection rates elsewhere.
“Coronavirus numbers are looking MUCH better, going down almost everywhere. Big progress being made!” Trump tweeted Monday morning. The claim dovetails with the president’s push to reopen the country to try to restart the economy amid historic unemployment numbers, even as thousands of people die from the virus daily and researchers hike predicted death tolls.
“Anybody that claims we’re on a downward trajectory nationally is out of touch with reality,” said Dr. Irwin Redlener, the director of the Columbia University National Center for Disaster Preparedness and a public health analyst for NBC News and MSNBC.
Redlener said low testing rates have kept the U.S. from knowing the scope of the virus’ hold in the U.S. “There isn’t a single state in the union that has sufficient testing,” he told NBC News.
At least 26,646 deaths at long-term care facilities, 7,001 facilities with outbreaks nationwide
There are now at least 7,001 long-term care facilities with COVID-19 outbreaks, and at least 26,646 deaths of long-term care residents from the disease, according to data from state health departments collected and compiled by NBC News.
The figures are based on death reports from 42 states and reports on affected facilities from 45 states, so they are both undercounts. The federal government has not released its own count.
Deaths at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have accounted for about a quarter of all COVID-19 deaths since the beginning of the outbreak in the U.S. In some states, however, the percentage of deaths that have occurred in nursing homes has topped 50 percent.
The total of deaths was about 11,000 as of April 23 and over 15,000 as of April 29, according to NBC News reporting.
Which kids get sickest from COVID-19? The 'medically complex,' study finds
As reports of soaring cases of the coronavirus — first in China, then Italy — first reached the United States, there appeared to be a silver lining: children seemed to be spared from the illness.
And while adults have, by far, borne the brunt of the disease, it's become increasingly clear that children are indeed susceptible to the coronavirus, and in some cases, becoming sick enough to be hospitalized.
American Airlines passenger: 'No social distancing whatsoever' on plane
A flight from New York City to the nation's capital appeared to be packed to the gills — but the carrier insisted Monday that wasn't the case.
One Twitter user told New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo that there was "no social distancing whatsoever" on American Airlines Flight 4333 from LaGuardia Airport to Reagan National Airport.
But an AA spokesman insisted the image doesn't properly show "25 seats not occupied" on this regional E-175 and that "the aircraft was not at max capacity." The airline said it has pledged to keep 50 percent of middle seats empty, though this smaller craft only has seats in pairs.
This AA picture emerged one day after a United Airlines traveler posted a selfie aboard his craft, appearing full, as it traveled between Newark Liberty International Airport and San Francisco International Airport.
Gov. Baker announces four-phase approach to reopening Massachusetts
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday announced a four-phase approach to reopening the state's economy.
Baker defined the phases as follows:
Start — "Here we're looking at industries that are more naturally set up to have little face-to-face interactions and workplaces that are better able to manage face-to-face customer interactions with certain conditions."
Cautious — "We plan to have more industries with more face-to-face interactions resume operations, again with conditions."
Vigilant — "Where we can allow for loosening of some of the restrictions from some of the earlier phases if, in fact, the public health data continues to conform to the terms that we're all pursuing as we look at that going forward."
New Normal — "We all know life will be different, but as the medical and life sciences communities make progress in developing treatments or vaccines, we can really begin to put this virus into the rear-view mirror. But none of that is going to happen overnight."
Baker said the goal is to begin this process around May 18. All nonessential businesses have been closed in the state since March 23, Baker said.
"Keep in mind this is a disease we're still learning about across the globe," Baker said at a news conference Monday. "We've been one of the hardest-hit states, with almost 5,000 deaths and nearly 78,000 confirmed cases."
Pentagon watchdog to evaluate Navy's response to coronavirus
The Pentagon’s Inspector General will evaluate whether the U.S. Navy has done enough to stop the spread of COVID-19 throughout the fleet.
In a letter dated Monday, May 11, the DOD Inspector General’s office informed the Department of the Navy that it plans to begin a subject evaluation to “determine whether the Navy has implemented policies and procedures to prevent and mitigate the spread of infectious diseases, such as coronavirus-2019 (COVID-19), on ships and submarines.”