President Donald Trump said he disagreed with Dr. Anthony Fauci's Senate testimony from Tuesday. Trump said Fauci's remarks about the dangers or reopening too soon were "not an acceptable answer."
House Democrats are pushing a new $3 trillion stimulus package, which would include another round of $1,200 checks for Americans and extending federal unemployment benefits. Trump called the legislative bill "DOA. Dead on arrival."
Meanwhile, the California State University system said that it plans to offer most of its courses for the fall virtually. And in the U.K., coronavirus restrictions eased on Wednesday morning, allowing people to spend time outdoors and play sports with members of their household.
- 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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Whistleblower to warn of 'darkest winter' if virus rebounds
WASHINGTON — America faces the “darkest winter in modern history” unless leaders act decisively to prevent a rebound of the coronavirus, says a government whistleblower who alleges he was ousted from his job after warning the Trump administration to prepare for the pandemic.
Immunologist Dr. Rick Bright makes his sobering prediction in testimony prepared for his appearance Thursday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Aspects of his complaint about early administration handling of the crisis are expected to be backed up by testimony from an executive of a company that manufactures, respirator masks.
A federal watchdog agency has found “reasonable grounds” that Bright was removed from his post as head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority after sounding the alarm at the Department of Health and Human Services. Bright alleged he became a target of criticism when he urged early efforts to invest in vaccine development and stock up on supplies.
“Our window of opportunity is closing,” Bright says in his prepared testimony posted on the House committee website. “If we fail to develop a national coordinated response, based in science, I fear the pandemic will get far worse and be prolonged, causing unprecedented illness and fatalities.”
U.N. expects pandemic to shrink world economy by 3.2% this year
UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations is forecasting that the coronavirus pandemic will shrink the world economy by 3.2% this year, the sharpest contraction since the Great Depression in the 1930s.
The U.N.’s mid-year report released Wednesday said COVID-19 is expected to slash global economic output by nearly $8.5 trillion over the next two years, wiping out nearly all gains of the past four years.
In January, the U.N. forecast a modest growth of 2.5 percent in 2020.
The United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects report said the pandemic is also “exacerbating poverty and inequality,” with an estimated 34.3 million people likely to fall below the extreme poverty line in 2020 — 56 percent of them in Africa.
It said an additional 130 million people may join the ranks of people living in extreme poverty by 2030, dealing a “huge blow” to global efforts to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by the end of the decade.
Rare child illness linked to coronavirus detected in states not considered hot spots
Wisconsin Supreme Court strikes down state's 'stay-at-home' order
The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down the state's stay-at-home order during the coronavirus pandemic as "unlawful, invalid and unenforceable" after finding the state's health commissioner exceeded her authority.
In a 4-3 ruling, the court called State Department of Health head Andrea Palm's directive, known as Emergency Order 28, a "vast seizure of power."
The order directed all individuals present within the state of Wisconsin to stay at home or at their place of residence, subject only to exceptions allowed by Palm, the ruling says. The order, which was set to run until May 26, also put in place travel restrictions and business restrictions, along with threats of jail time or fines for those who don't comply.
Minnesota letting stay-at-home order expire Monday
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said he will let his stay-at-home order expire as scheduled Monday, though he’ll leave key restrictions in place to keep up the state’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Don’t get me wrong — we believe that the safest place we can be is at home,” Walz said in a televised address Wednesday. “But we know we can’t continue like this forever.”
Walz made the announcement after health officials released updated modeling — couched in caveats — that showed the potential effects of various scenarios he could have chosen. The Democratic governor has been under increasing political pressure to loosen up the restrictions, and some business owners have threatened defiance if they remain in place.
Walz said his new order brings back some of the social interactions “that are so important in life.”
While the stay-at-home order will expire, the changes he announced amount to only a gradual relaxation of the state’s restrictions. Bars, restaurants and other places where people gather in large numbers won’t be allowed to reopen for business as usual just yet. But gatherings of 10 people or fewer, such as family celebrations, will be allowed. Retailers that had been shuttered as nonessential will be allowed to reopen with restrictions on how many people can be allowed inside.
Mother-daughter duo pivots printing company to custom face mask production
After Susan Kaden’s work at a New York City printing company came to a pause because of the COVID-19 pandemic, she and daughter Samantha decided to pivot and began making custom face masks focused on brand identity.
“It’s an expression of fashion. It’s necessary and it’s a part of our momentary world where it’s required,” Susan Kaden told NBC News.
They enlisted the help of social media influencers to help spread the word, Samantha Kaden said.
The two plan to expand the business and create branded products that businesses will need for reopening such as signage and floor markers for social distancing or plexiglass protective shields for front desks and registers.
'DOA': That's what Trump says about House Democrats' coronavirus relief package
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump shot down the massive new Democratic coronavirus relief package ahead of a planned House vote on Friday.
"DOA. Dead on arrival. Of course, Nancy Pelosi knows that," he told reporters at the White House on Wednesday when asked about the bill's prospects.
About one-third of the $3 trillion legislation is relief for state, local and tribal governments, which many Republicans are resisting. The measure also includes assistance to essential workers, an extension of unemployment insurance beyond July, another round of $1,200 direct cash, and various other measures that are unlikely to gain bipartisan support but serve as an opening bid for Democrats.
Coronavirus could make work-from-home the future of the office
As many industries grapple with how to redesign office space to minimize health risks, this historic economic crisis is also forcing companies to cut costs with real estate on the chopping block.
An instant coronavirus test missed nearly half of potential positives, NYU study finds
A recent study from New York University's Langone Health found that a rapid coronavirus test missed more than 48 percent of positive cases.
The study, which has not been peer reviewed, concluded that the Abbot ID NOW COVID-19 tests missed a third of the samples detected positive when using nasopharyngeal swabs in viral transport medium and more than 48 percent when using dry nasal swabs.
Abbott Labs said in a statement Wednesday its test was studied "in a manner that it’s not intended to be used."
"It’s unclear how the samples were tested," the statement said. "The outcomes in this paper are inconsistent with any experience that we’ve had with this instrument." Abbott added that out of 1.8 million tests distributed, the false negative rate was about .02 percent
NYU said in a statement Wednesday that the study's authors acknowledge their limitations, including a small sample size and testing of the nasal swabs in the laboratory rather that at the point of care.
The Food and Drug Administration said it was aware of the NYU report and are reviewing the information from the study.
Trump criticizes Fauci's Senate testimony: 'Not an acceptable answer'
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Wednesday criticized comments Dr. Anthony Fauci made during a Tuesday congressional hearing about the risks of reopening the country too soon as "not an acceptable answer."
"I was surprised by his answer actually because, you know, to me it's not an acceptable answer especially when it comes to schools," Trump said during a meeting with North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and Colorado Gov. Jared Polis in the Cabinet Room of the White House Wednesday afternoon.
"He wants to play all sides of the equation," Trump said of Fauci, before emphasizing his confidence that the economy would quickly rebound from the pandemic.