New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has emerged as a national leader in the fight against the coronavirus, has thrown his weight behind businesses by issuing an executive order authorizing them to deny entry to any customers who don't wear masks.
And while the pandemic is confusing to adults, it's especially so for children who have suddenly lost their school, family connections and ability to play freely outside. To them, the coronavirus is like an unseen monster under the bed.
- 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. have already reopened.
- The coronavirus has destroyed the job market in every state. See the per-state jobless numbers and how they’ve changed.
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Whistleblower says Hungary discharged critically ill patients to clear space for potential coronavirus patients
In April, Hungary’s government cleared out its hospitals in preparation for an intake of COVID-19 patients. The government said they had eight days to clear out 60 percent of their beds. In the end, Hungary only had around 3,800 infections and 600 deaths, leaving hospitals empty and sick patients forced to return home.
A spokesperson for Prime Minister Viktor Orban told NBC News that hospitals were issued guidance to ensure that they didn’t send anyone home who could not be cared for there. But a whistleblower says that many of those discharged from the hospital were desperately unwell, and many have now died.
The whistleblower, Athina Nemeth, an ambulance officer in Budapest, says that of 10 patients she cared for, nine died after being sent home. One of her patients was sent home with an open stomach wound, another with a stoma bag. Patients were discharged without medical supplies, to families who did not know how to care for them.
Lilla Szeleczki’s mother is one of the dead. Szeleczki was given less than a day’s notice that her 80-year-old mother was coming home from hospital. She had dementia, chronic pneumonia and a kidney tumor. Szeleczi didn’t receive any medical support, and had to Google how to administer her mother’s injections. She told NBC that she felt abandoned. It was, she said, “like a horror movie.” Her mother died less than a week after returning home.
Hungary’s secretary of state for International Communication and Relations, Zoltan Kovacs, says that the decision to clear beds was based on sound medical and scientific advice. He said that freeing up beds was necessary, and that although it meant patients were discharged, “this problem could not be solved any other way."
The Hungarian Medical Chamber did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The former director of the National Institute of Medical Rehabilitation has been prevented from responding by a law that prohibits medical staff from speaking to reporters.
Dems ask ICE to expand testing for COVID-19 and stop transferring detainees
Seventeen Democratic senators sent a letter to Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf on Friday demanding that ICE halt the transfer of detainees in its custody and expand testing to stem the spread of coronavirus among detainees.
“Testing and outbreak patterns make clear that … inter-facility transfers result in virus outbreak in previously unaffected jails,” the senators wrote. “Yet, ICE has initiated transfers from facilities with high concentrations of COVID-19 positive cases to facilities with no known cases.”
The lawmakers, led by Sen. Martin Heinrich, D.-N.M., are asking ICE to suspend detainee transfers into the ICE system from federal prisons and state and local law enforcement agencies, and to test detainees at “all ICE facilities, including processing centers, privately run facilities, and local jails contracting with ICE.”
According to ICE, there are currently about 26,000 detainees in custody, and there have been at least 1,327 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among detainees in 54 locations across the U.S.
New Jersey governor allows child care centers, non-contact sports, and summer camps to resume in the upcoming weeks
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Friday that he will be signing an executive order allowing child care services, non-contact organized sports, and youth day camps to resume over the next several weeks.
As long as they follow public health guidelines, child care centers can reopen on June 15, non-contact sport activities can restart on June 22, and summer programs can begin on July 6, the governor said.
Horse racing is also expected to resume as early as next weekend. Health and safety standards are expected to be released Friday afternoon.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says NYC is set to begin reopening on June 8
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday that the city is on track to begin Phase I reopening on June 8, a week from Monday, as long as it meets the outstanding criteria related to hospital capacity remaining low and bringing contact tracing up to speed.
A number of regions that opened when statewide shutdown orders were lifted — Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier, North Country and Central New York — will move onto Phase II, reopening office-based jobs, hair salons and retail services, Cuomo said during his daily briefing.
“We are reopening to a new normal, a safer normal. People will be wearing masks, people will be social distancing," Cuomo said. "It will just be a new way of interacting.”
Coronavirus started spreading in the U.S. in January, CDC says
The coronavirus began quietly spreading in the U.S. as early as late January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday — before President Trump blocked air travel from China and a full month before community spread was first detected in the country.
More than four months into the pandemic that has killed at least 102,000 Americans, the new data is the first comprehensive federal analysis of when COVID-19 took hold in the U.S.
It was also the first media briefing from the CDC in more than two months.
"As America begins to reopen, looking back at how COVID-19 made its way to the United States will contribute to a better understanding to prepare for the future," Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, said Friday during a call with reporters.
Connecticut state colleges and universities to reopen in the fall
Connecticut state colleges and universities will reopen their campuses this fall, President Mark Ojakian announced Friday.
The system's four universities and 12 community colleges will open its doors to students on August 24, according to a press release. Each campus will be required to write a plan to meet the state's health and safety standards for reopening.
"I am excited to announce that we are planning to return to our campuses in fall 2020 with significant measures in place to make our institutions as safe as possible," Ojakian said. "We still have a lot of planning to do and more questions need to be addressed in the coming weeks and months."
Trump wants 'crowd-like setting,' no face masks on last day of RNC, letter says
President Donald Trump wants "a crowd-like setting" on the final day of the Republican National Convention when he gives his acceptance speech, with attendees neither observing social distancing nor wearing face masks, according to a letter from North Carolina's top health official to the Republican National Committee's leadership.
"During our phone conversation on Tuesday, May 26, you indicated a desire from President Trump to hold Thursday’s nomination event with ‘people together in a crowd-like setting’ and without social distancing or face coverings for attendees," wrote Mandy Cohen, the secretary of the state's Department of Health and Human Services, in reference to conversations the state has had with GOP officials to ensure a safe convention.
“We know that it is possible to have a large-scale event during these trying times," Cohen said, citing a recently submitted NASCAR plan. She added, "The state continues to support hosting of the Republican National Convention in Charlotte if it can be done safely.”
Despite concerns about holding nominating conventions amid the coronavirus pandemic, Trump has been insistent on continuing as planned with the Republican convention in late August.
Sen. Casey tests positive for coronavirus antibodies
Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., said Friday that he has tested positive for coronavirus antibodies after experiencing "low-grade fever and some mild flu-like symptoms" earlier this spring, adding that he would be donating plasma to help others fight the virus.
The senator said in statement that after consulting with his doctor, he self-quarantined at his home in Scranton for two weeks and did not seek medical care because his symptoms were "relatively mild and manageable."
"My fever went away on its own by mid-April, and it was never recommended that I be tested for the virus," he wrote. "I was able to work during my illness, remotely engaging with constituents and staff and keeping a full schedule."
Casey's statement comes a day after Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said he and his wife, Anne Holton, also recently tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies after learning in April that they might have had mild cases of the disease caused by the virus.
Iowa pushes to reopen despite 'substantial spread' of COVID19
DES MOINES, Iowa — Despite acknowledging there is still “substantial spread” of COVID-19 in the state, Gov. Kim Reynolds continues to push forward on reopening the economy.
Bars and distilleries were given the go-ahead to reopen this week and casinos, amusement parks and sporting events can all resume Monday.
While the CDC recommends that states wait to reopen their economies after seeing a two-week decline in cases, the longest streak of declining COVID-19 cases that Iowa has seen is just three days. And on Thursday, another meatpacking plant reported an outbreak: The Tyson plant in Storm Lake is shutting down temporarily after 555 workers tested positive.
Reynolds also said businesses are not required to report positive cases if they don’t want to, and her administration won’t be disclosing outbreaks at meatpacking plants or other places were people congregate unless members of the media ask directly.