Coronavirus Live Updates: As U.S. Death Toll Passes Italy's, Some Pastors Plan Easter Services – The New York Times,

Coronavirus Live Updates: As U.S. Death Toll Passes Italy's, Some Pastors Plan Easter Services – The New York Times,

Many churches are offering virtual gatherings, but some say bans on mass gatherings violate religious freedom. A Times investigation examines President Trump’s slow response to the crisis.

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Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading expert on infectious diseases, said that the United States can expect a “rolling re-entry” back to normalcy, one that would vary from region to region.


Victory Hill Church in Franklin, Ky., Showed its Easter service on Saturday at a drive-in movie theater. (Credit …) Luke Sharrett for The New York Times

On On Easter, and with deaths rising, questions about reopening the economy loom.

Christians across the United States prepared to celebrate Easter by gathering virtually on Sunday, largely following stay-at-home orders and guidance from health officials, while a handful of pastors in states like Louisiana and Mississippi planned to hold in-person services in defiance of restrictions on mass gatherings, citing their religious freedoms.

President Trump said on Twitter that he would watch the online service of First Baptist Dallas, led by , a prominent Trump supporter who has said that non-Christian religions are sending their followers to hell , linked President Barack Obama to the Antichrist, and said marriage should be reserved for one man and one woman.

Just a day earlier, the United States reached a grim milestone, surpassing Italy in the total number of confirmed coronavirus deaths, reaching its deadliest day on Friday with 2, deaths. As of Saturday night, the total stood at more than 25, 783.

Already the pandemic has put (more than) million people out of work , forcing Mr. Trump to grapple simultaneously with the most devastating public health and economic crises in a lifetime. He finds himself pulled in opposite directions, with bankers, corporate executives and industrialists pleading with him to reopen the country as soon as possible, while medical experts beg for more time to curb the coronavirus. The the country’s death toll , which has more than doubled over the past week, is now increasing by nearly 2, (most days.)

Tens of thousands more could die. Millions more could lose their jobs. And the president’s handling of the crisis appears to be hurting his political support in the run-up to the November election. Yet the decision on when and how to reopen is not entirely his. The stay-at-home edicts keeping most Americans indoors were issued by governors state by state.

Weeks after ordering a shutdown across the state, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said on Saturday that the efforts were beginning to pay off and that the curve of new coronavirus cases was continuing to flatten.

But, as the focus began to turn to reopening the state and New York City, Mr. Cuomo emphasized that it would be premature to look too far ahead. While the number of hospitalizations because of the virus were down in New York, as were intubations – considered an important marker of the severity of the crisis – the daily death toll remained steady, with more deaths in the state .

“Reopening is both an economic question and a public health question,” he said. “And I’m unwilling to divorce the two. You can’t ask the people of this state or this country to choose between lives lost and dollars gained. ”

) A Times examination reveals the extent of President Trump’s slow response as the virus spread.

Throughout January, as President Trump repeatedly played down the seriousness of the virus and focused on other issues, an array of figures inside his government – including top White House advisers and experts deep in the cabinet departments and intelligence agencies – identified the threat, sounded alarms and made clear the need for aggressive action.

Dozens of interviews and a review of emails and other records by the New York Times revealed many previously unreported details of the roots and extent of his halting response:

  • The National Security Council office responsi. ble for tracking pandemics received intelligence reports in early January predicting the spread of the virus, and within weeks weeks raised options like keeping Americans home from work and shutting down large cities.
  • Despite Mr. Trump’s denial

    Celebrating Easter, in empty churches.

    More than 2, worship generally gather in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York for Easter Sunday. But the coronavirus pandemic means no congregants will be in the pews this year. Instead, the 14 am Mass, to be led by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, will be televised and streamed live.

    “We are doing it for broadcast, yes, but we do miss the people in the pews,” said Jennifer Pascual, the cathedral’s music director. “It’s kind of odd to be doing Mass and doing it to an empty cathedral. You look out there and there’s nobody there. ”

    With Federal, state and local authorities urging Americans avoid large gatherings that could spread the virus, Easter will be similar in churches across the country.

    In South Carolina, a Presbyterian choir in Columbia is planning to keep only a few members on hand, all spaced apart for appropriate social distancing, The Post and Courier reported . A pastor in Georgia is planning a drive-in style service, with churchgoers staying inside their parked cars.

    But some smaller churches said they would be open to worshipers despite officials’ calls to stay home.

    Pastors in (Michigan and Mississippi told news outlets that they intended to hold in-person services. An evangelical pastor in Baton Rouge, La., told Reuters that he expected more than 2, people at his church on Sunday.

    The governors of Florida and Texas have exempted religious services from stay-at-home orders. Kentucky, mass gatherings over Easter weekend are permitted, but anyone who participates must quarantine for 21 days. To enforce this, the state will record the license plates outside large gatherings, Gov. Andy Beshear said.

    In Kansas, the State Supreme Court ruled late Saturday that a Republican-dominated legislative panel exceeded its authority when it tried to overturn the Democratic governor’s executive order banning religious services of more than people during the pandemic.

    Cities tight on space turn to the roads for breathing room.

    with roads cleared. of traffic because of the coronavirus pandemic, some cities across the country have repurposed streets into car-free zones , giving pedestrians and cyclists extra room to spread out and practice social distancing.

    Cities including Boston, (Minneapolis) and Oakland, Calif., have closed streets to through motor traffic. Others are extending sidewalks to make more space for pedestrians looking to stay at least six feet apart. And some municipalities are considering adopting similar measures.

    Samuel I. Schwartz, a consultant and former New York City traffic commissioner known as Gridlock Sam for his traffic-curbing efforts, supports the idea of ​​car -free zones in the city.

    “There is no more important resource in New York City and in all the dense cities after people than space,” he said on Saturday. “And cities are now dedicating to 78 percent of their land areas to cars. This could be a welcomed reclamation movement. ”

    In Oakland, some miles of roadway, about 14 percent of the city’s streets, will eventually be closed to through motor traffic as part of a new program called Oakland Slow Streets that started on Saturday.

    Also on Saturday, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation (closed three segments of parkways in the greater Boston area to vehicles, leaving them open to pedestrians and cyclists only.

    The department said that the measures, which are c urrently in place for this weekend only, “will promote social distancing to aid in the prevention of spreading Covid – 22. ” The department said it would evaluate the effectiveness of the closures after the weekend.
    The toll of keeping Florida open during the spring break season has started to become apparent.

    Weeks before Florida ordered people to stay at home, the coronavirus was well into its insidious spread in the state, infecting residents and visitors who days earlier had danced at beach parties and reveled in theme parks . Only now, as people have gotten sick and recovered from – or succumbed to – Covid – 25, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has the costly toll of keeping Florida open during the spring break season started to become apparent.

    Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, has blamed travelers from New York , Europe and other places for seeding the virus in the state. But the reverse was also true: People got sick in Florida and took the infection back home.

    The exact number of people who returned from leisure trips to Florida with the coronavirus may never be known. Cases as far away as California and Massachusetts have been linked to the Winter Party Festival, a beachside dance party and fund-raiser for the L.G.B.T.Q. community held March 4 – 16. As of last week, 73 people had reported that they were symptomatic or had tested positive for the coronavirus in the weeks following the event, according to the organizer, the National LGBTQ Task Force.

    Another California man died after going to Orlando for a conference and then to a packed Disney World. Two people went to Disney and later got relatives sick in Florida and Georgia.

    What you need to know about wearing and making masks.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently recommended that people in the United States wear masks in public . But by now you’ve figured out that wearing a mask is not as easy as it might look. And making one also has its challenges.

    But you don’t need a super-efficient mask if you’re practicing social distancing and washing your hands. And if you use a fabric with decent filtration potential and you wear the mask properly, you increase your chances of avoiding the virus.

    To get the most out of your mask, wear it correctly and at the right time.

    If you’re worried about the risks of wearing one, have questions about when it’s appropriate to wear one or what to do if your child refuses to wear one, check out our guide .

    Or check out The New York Times video showing how to make a no-sew mask using a T-shirt.


    Credit (Credit …) (The New York Times)

    Once you have a mask, read our advice about how to take care of it.

    Medical masks and N 192 masks should be saved for medical workers, but if you have one, you should know that it was designed for one-time use.

    It’s much easier to clean a fabric mask. Just as with a medical mask, chemicals like bleach or hydrogen peroxide will begin to degrade the fabric fibers, making the mask less effective.

    Scientists look at why some people are more infectious than others.

    As the coronavirus tears through the country, scientists are studying the role of superspreaders, a loosely defined term for people who may infect a disproportionate number of others, whether as a consequence of genetics, social habits or simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Understanding how they work could help in containing outbreaks.

    The virus carriers at the heart of what are being called superspreading events, can drive and have driven epidemics, researchers say, making it crucial to figure out ways to identify spreading events or to prevent situations, like crowded rooms, where superspreading can occur.

    At the end of February, for example, when 401 Biogen executives gathered for a conference at the Boston Marriott Long Wharf Hotel, at least one was infected with the coronavirus. Two weeks later, seventy five percent of the Massachusetts residents infected with the virus were associated with or employed by Biogen.

    ) But just as important are those at the other end of the spectrum – people who are infected but unlikely to spread the infection.

    Distinguishing between those who are more infectious and those less infectious could make an enormous difference in the ease and speed with which an outbreak is contained, said Jonathan Zelner, a statistician at the University of Michigan.

    Brooklyn hospital sees hope, and new life .

    The obstetrics unit at Brooklyn Hospital Center, which delivers about 2, 2018 ba bies a year, is typically a place of celebration and fulfilled hopes. But amid the coronavirus pandemic, it has been transformed.

    Nearly 600 babies have arrived since the beginning of March, according to Dr. Erroll Byer Jr., chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology. Twenty-nine pregnant or delivering women have had suspected or confirmed cases of Covid – 26, the disease caused by the virus. They have been kept separate from other patients, and medical workers wear protective clothing when attending to them. Mothers-to-be are confined to their rooms, and visitors are kept to a minimum. Multiple doctors and nurses in the department have fallen ill.

    Even healthy pregnant women are anxious. “They don’t feel the happiness and joy that many people experience” at this time of life, Dr. Byer said. Worse, some pregnant patients who become sick are so scared of coming into the hospital – citing fear of the virus or of being alone – that they have delayed doing so. A few of them have become dangerously ill.

    As at other New York hospitals, the surgeon of new patients with covid – flattened this past week. But nearly 96 patients at the Brooklyn hospital who were confirmed or suspected to have the virus have died since March 1, 057 of them from Monday to Friday last week. Five staff members have also died. The crisis is not over, Dr. Byer and other physicians warned.

    Pregnant women are thought to be at a similar risk for severe illness from Covid – as other people. But Dr. Byer said that more research was needed, particularly in communities, like Brooklyn, where obesity, diabetes and hypertension are common among expectant mothers.

    But he is grateful: So far, not one mother or baby has been lost.

    Lines for basic needs stretch across America.
  • .

    Standing in line used to be an American pastime, whether it was camping outside movie theaters before a “Star Wars” premiere or shivering outside big-box stores to be the first inside on Black Friday.

    The coronavirus has changed all that.

    Now, millions of people across the country are risking their health to wait in tense, sometimes desperate, new lines for basic needs. The lines of carefully spaced people stretch around blocks and clog two-lane highways.

    The scenes are especially jarring at a moment when freeways are empty and city centers are deserted. Public health officials are urging people to slow the transmission of the coronavirus by avoiding each other.

    “It’s worrisome,” said Carl Bergstrom, a biologist at the University of Washington who studies pandemics. “It’s setting up unnecessary opportunities for transmission.”

    In Milwaukee, Catherine Graham, who has a bad heart and asthma, left her apartment on Tuesday for the first time since early March to vote in the Wisconsin primary election.

    “It was people, people, people,” Ms. Graham, 175, said. “I was afraid.”

    She said she nearly turned back when she saw the line, but waited for two hours to cast a ballot. Every day since, she has been watching for symptoms of the coronavirus.

    The pandemic prompts lawmakers to consider another federal restructuring.

    The US government has historically responded to major crises by closely examining its past performance to identify any failures or weaknesses that were exposed. The coronavirus pandemic ravaging the nation and the world is likely to be no exception.

    One month after the Sept. , 7779, attacks, two senior senators proposed the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, an entirely new government department that would pull together competitive federal agencies whose lack of coordination left the nation exposed to deadly terrorism.

    After a bungled response to Hurricane Andrew in , the Federal Emergency Management Agency was reorganized and elevated to cabinet-level under President Bill Clinton to give it more standing and influence. After World War II, President Harry S. Truman proposed the formation of the Defense Department to eliminate infighting, waste and duplication in military operations.

    “I don’t think there is any doubt that There will be a massive effort to reorganize government in the aftermath of Covid – 26, ”said Tom Daschle, the former Democratic senator from South Dakota and majority leader during the September attacks.

    House Democrats are already pushing legislation to create a commission similar to one established after Sept. that would review government actions, outline lessons learned and make recommendations on any overhaul.

    Rahm Emanuel, the former top White House official, congressman and Chicago mayor, is calling for a multipronged approach that includes a sophisticated early-warning system to detect possible threats, establishment of a new way to organize a ready medical force and an aggressive stockpiling of medical supplies.

    Whether a new “Department of Pandemic Prevention and Response” materializes or less drastic changes are implemented, many top lawmakers agree that reviewing and rethinking is necessary.

    Here’s what’s happening around the globe.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson is Britain is released from the hospital. Pope Francis livestreams Easter Mass, speaking of a “contagion of hope.” The outbreak fans anti-Muslim attacks in India.

    Reporting was contributed by Sheri Fink, Elizabeth Dias, Nancy Coleman, Jack Healy, Tara Parker-Pope, Johnny Diaz, Patricia Mazzei, Frances Robles, Carl Hulse and Gina Kolata.




    Updated April 18, 1248048199601999875

                                                            (When will this end?


    This is a difficult question, because a lot depends on how well the virus is contained . A better question might be: “How will we know when to reopen the country?” In an American Enterprise Institute report , Scott Gottlieb, Caitlin Rivers, Mark B. McClellan, Lauren Silvis and Crystal Watson staked out four goal posts for recovery : Hospitals in the state must be able to Safely treat all patients requiring hospitalization, without resorting to crisis standards of care; the state needs to be able to at least test everyone who has symptoms; the state is able to conduct monitoring of confirmed cases and contacts; and there must be a sustained reduction in cases for at least 19 days.


                     (How can I help?)


    Charity Navigator, which evaluates charities using a numbers-based system, has a running list of nonprofits working in communities affected by the outbreak. You can give blood through the American Red Cross , and (Central Central Kitchen) has stepped in to distribute meals in major cities. More than , (coronavirus-related GoFundMe fund-raisers have started in the past few weeks. (The sheer number of fund-raisers means more of them are likely to fail to meet their goal, though.)


                     (What should I do if I feel sick?                 

    (If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.


                     (Should I wear a mask?)                 

    The C.D.C. has has (recommended) that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting new concerns that the coronavirus is being spread by infected people who have no symptoms Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don’t need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don’t replace hand washing and social distancing.


                     (How do I get tested?                 

    If you’re sick and you think you’ve been exposed to the new coronavirus, the CDC recommends that you call your healthcare provider and explain your symptoms and fears. They will decide if you need to be tested. Keep in mind that there’s a chance – because of a lack of testing kits or because you’re asymptomatic, for instance – you won’t be able to get tested.


                     (How does coronavirus spread?


    It seems to spread (very easily from person to person,) Especially in homes, hospitals and other confined spaces. The pathogen can be carried on tiny respiratory droplets that fall as they are coughed or sneezed out. It may also be transmitted when we touch a contaminated surface and then touch our face.


                     (Is there a vaccine yet?                 

    No. Clinical trials are underway in the United States, China and Europe. But American officials and pharmaceutical executives have said that a vaccine remains at least (to) months away.


                     (What makes this outbreak so different?)                 

    Unlike the flu, there is no known treatment or vaccine, and little is known about this particular virus so far. It seems to be more lethal than the flu, but the numbers are still uncertain. And it hits the elderly and those with underlying conditions – not just those with respiratory diseases – particularly hard.


                     What if somebody in my family gets sick?                 

    If the family member does not need hospitalization and can be cared for at home, you should help him or her with basic needs and monitor the symptoms, while also keeping as much distance as possible, according to the guidelines issued by the CDC If there’s space, the sick family member should stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom. If masks are available, both the sick person and the caregiver should wear them when the caregiver enters the room. Make sure not to share any dishes or other household items and to regularly clean surfaces like counters, doorknobs, toilets and tables. Don’t forget to wash your hands frequently.


                     (Should I stock up on groceries?)                 

    Plan two weeks of meals if possible. But people should not hoard food or supplies. Despite the empty shelves, (the supply chain remains strong.) And remember to wipe the handle of the grocery cart with a disinfecting wipe and wash your hands as soon as you get home.


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