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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Floridians call for reopening of gyms with #PushUpProtest
Florida gymgoers participated in the #PushUpProtest outside the Pinellas County Courthouse on Monday afternoon to urge elected officials to reopen fitness centers in the state.
Around 20 to 30 people gathered, including Jozef Gherman, one of the founders of "Open Tampa Bay."
Gherman told NBC News the group organized the protest with "Amped Fitness" to "put pressure on our elected leaders and to gather the community around opening up Tampa Bay, restoring our constitutional rights and the ability for businesses to operate."
Gov. Ron DeSantis closed gyms in Florida at the end of March in order to limit the spread of COVID-19; gyms cannot reopen until Phase 2 of his reopening plan.
Gherman said the #PushUpProtest is only one of the protests the group has planned; it is aiming to partner with other small businesses in the area.
Los Angeles County beaches to reopen Wednesday
Los Angeles County beaches will reopen Wednesday with restrictions that prohibit sunbathing and require masks.
Swimming, surfing, running, walking and other "active recreation" will be allowed, but no chairs, canopies, coolers or grills will be permitted. Beach parking lots, boardwalks, bike paths and volleyball courts remain closed.
The beaches were closed in late March to help slow the spread of the coronavirus illness COVID-19.
As of Monday, 32,258 COVID-19 cases have been identified across the county, with 1,569 deaths, according to the county health department.
Santa Monica is among the beaches that will reopen, that city said. Manhattan Beach Mayor Richard Montgomery in a statement said people should obey health department guidelines or the easing may be short-lived.
"If beach visitors do not follow all the rules, the State of California or Los Angeles County can once again close our beaches," Montgomery said. "By abiding by these measures, you will play an important role in keeping the beaches open.”
Unreleased White House report shows coronavirus rates spiking in heartland communities
Coronavirus infection rates are spiking to new highs in several metropolitan areas and smaller communities across the country, according to undisclosed data the White House's pandemic task force is using to track rates of infection, which was obtained by NBC News.
The data in a May 7 coronavirus task force report are at odds with President Donald Trump's declaration Monday that "all throughout the country, the numbers are coming down rapidly."
Study: Virus death toll in NYC worse than official tally
New York City’s death toll from the coronavirus may be thousands of fatalities worse than the tally kept by the city and state, according to an analysis released Monday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Between March 11 and May 2, about 24,000 more people died in the city than researchers would ordinarily expect during that time period, the report said.
That’s about 5,300 more deaths than were blamed on the coronavirus in official tallies during those weeks.
Some of those excess fatalities could be COVID-19 deaths that went uncounted because a person died at home, or without medical providers realizing they were infected, the researchers at New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said.
It might also represent a ripple effect of the health crisis, they wrote. Public fear over contracting the virus and the enormous strain on hospitals might have led to delays in people seeking or receiving lifesaving care for unrelated conditions like heart disease or diabetes.
How to avoid coronavirus risks as U.S. reopens
New York will no longer require nursing homes to take COVID-19 patients from hospitals
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled a requirement for hospital patients to test negative for the coronavirus before they can be discharged to nursing homes. This effectively reversed a much-criticized state policy that required long-term care facilities to accept recovering patients who may still test positive for COVID-19.
Cuomo, a Democrat, announced the change Sunday, along with a requirement for all New York nursing homes and adult care facilities to test staff members for COVID-19 twice a week and report positive cases to the state.
"We're just not going to send a person who is positive to a nursing home after a hospital visit. Period," he said during a news conference.
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.