Coronavirus headlines: Trump administration rejects CDC guidance on reopening US amid pandemic

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WJW — As of Thursday, the U.S. has recorded over 70,000 deaths and 1.2 million confirmed infections, while Europe has reported over 140,000 dead.

Globally, there have been 3,772,367 confirmed cases and 264,189 deaths.

In Ohio, there have been 21,576 confirmed cases and 1,225 deaths.

10 p.m. update:

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Trump administration shelved a set of detailed documents created by the nation’s top disease investigators and meant to give step-by-step advice to local leaders deciding when and how to reopen public places during the coronavirus pandemic. Those public places include mass transit, day care centers, restaurants and bars. The report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was supposed to be published last Friday. A CDC employee tells The Associated Press that agency officials were told the report “would never see the light of day.” The administration has been closely controlling the CDC’s release of information during the coronavirus pandemic.

8:30 p.m. update:

(AP) — Some governors across the U.S. are disregarding or creatively interpreting White House guidelines in easing their states’ lockdowns and letting businesses reopen. An Associated Press analysis has found that 17 states do not appear to meet one of the key benchmarks set by the White House for loosening up — a 14-day downward trajectory in new cases or positive test rates. And yet many of those states have begun to reopen or are about to do so. Among them: Alabama, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Utah.

6:30 p.m. update:

(AP)– A new study finds no evidence of benefit from a malaria drug widely promoted as a treatment for coronavirus infection. Hydroxychloroquine did not lower the risk of dying or needing a breathing tube in a comparison that involved nearly 1,400 patients at Columbia University in New York. The New England Journal of Medicine published the report on Thursday. Although the study is observational rather than a rigorous experiment, an editorial in the journal says it gives valuable information for a decision that hundreds of thousands of coronavirus patients have already had to make without clear evidence about the drug’s risks and benefits.

3:15 p.m. update

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. officials say fewer illegal immigrants are trying to enter the country from Mexico amid new enforcement rules imposed in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Acting U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan says agents are encountering about half the number of migrants along the southwest border than in the month before President Donald Trump authorized the rapid expulsion of migrants under a March 21 public health order.

Total encounters in April were about 16,700.

The public health order was initially renewed for 30 days and is scheduled to expire this month. But Morgan and Deputy Commissioner Robert Perez suggested Thursday that the public health restrictions may have to stay in place longer even as the U.S. starts to ease quarantine restrictions.

Morgan also said border agents have encountered their first two migrants with confirmed cases of COVID-19. The first was from India and was captured near Calexico, California, on April 23. The second was a man from Mexico captured this week as he tried to enter the U.S. to seek medical attention for his illness.

1:30 p.m. update

(CNN) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made clear on Thursday that she wants to see an increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits as Democrats look to provide further relief amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“The food banks are overwhelmed, and we have to have a significant increase in SNAP,” Pelosi said at her weekly press conference while discussing Democratic priorities for future aid legislation to respond to the Covid 19 outbreak and its economic fallout.

“In addition to putting money in people’s pockets, direct payments, unemployment insurance, some other tax credits, etc, we really also need to put food on the table,” Pelosi said.

The comments come as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle outline what they hope to see in a future relief bill as the United States grapples with the devastating impact of the pandemic, which has taken a steep toll on public health and safety, as well as the American economy.

Pelosi said that she is not actively negotiating with the Trump administration for another round of coronavirus relief, even as Democrats are working to finalize an ambitious package with hundreds of billions of dollars for states and local governments.

Democrats would need Republican agreement to advance legislation through the GOP-held Senate and to the President’s desk. The previous relief bills were passed after bipartisan negotiations.

11 a.m. update

  • (CNN) — A member of the US Navy who serves as one of President Donald Trump’s personal valets has tested positive for coronavirus, CNN has learned Thursday, raising concerns about the President’s possible exposure to the virus.
  • ROME (AP) — After an outcry from the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops, Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte says he has signed an accord with church officials to allow resumption of public Masses during the pandemic.

10:30 a.m. update

(AP/NEXSTAR MEDIA WIRE) — The Trump administration has shelved a set of detailed documents created by the nation’s top disease investigators meant to give step-by-step advice to local leaders deciding when and how to reopen public places during the still-raging pandemic.

Those public places include mass transit, day care centers, restaurants and bars.

The report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was supposed to be published last Friday.

A CDC employee tells The Associated Press that agency officials were told the report “would never see the light of day.”

The Trump administration has been closely controlling the CDC’s release of information during the coronavirus pandemic.

8:45 a.m. update

  • (CNN) — Another 3.2 million Americans filed first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week, after factoring in seasonal adjustments, the Department of Labor reported Thursday.
  • (CNN) — In an advisory to health care providers, state officials said 64 children in New York have been hospitalized with a condition doctors described as “pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome.”
  • Frontier Airlines is dropping plans to charge passengers extra to sit next to an empty middle seat after congressional Democrats accused the airline of trying to profit from fear over the new coronavirus.

7:30 a.m. update

WASHINGTON (AP) — As Europe and the U.S. loosen their lockdowns against the coronavirus, health experts are expressing growing dread over what they say is an all-but-certain second wave of deaths and infections that could force governments to clamp back down.

**For more on reopening plans in Ohio, watch the video above**

“We’re risking a backslide that will be intolerable,” said Dr. Ian Lipkin of Columbia University’s Center for Infection and Immunity.

Elsewhere around the world, German authorities began drawing up plans in case of a resurgence of the virus. Experts in Italy urged intensified efforts to identify new victims and trace their contacts. And France, which hasn’t yet eased its lockdown, has already worked up a “reconfinement plan” in the event of a new wave.

“There will be a second wave, but the problem is to which extent. Is it a small wave or a big wave? It’s too early to say,” said Olivier Schwartz, head of the virus unit at France’s Pasteur Institute.

In the U.S., with about half of the states easing their shutdowns to get their economies restarted and cellphone data showing that people are becoming restless and increasingly leaving home, public health authorities are worried.

Many states have not put in place the robust testing that experts believe is necessary to detect and contain new outbreaks. And many governors have pressed ahead before their states met one of the key benchmarks in the Trump administration’s guidelines for reopening — a 14-day downward trajectory in new illnesses and infections.

“If we relax these measures without having the proper public health safeguards in place, we can expect many more cases and, unfortunately, more deaths,” said Josh Michaud, associate director of global health policy with the Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington.

Cases have continued to rise steadily in places such as Iowa and Missouri since the governors began reopening, while new infections have yo-yoed in Georgia, Tennessee and Texas.

Lipkin said he is most worried about two things: the reopening of bars, where people crowd together and lose their inhibitions, and large gatherings such as sporting events, concerts and plays. Preventing outbreaks will require aggressive contact tracing powered by armies of public health workers hundreds of thousands of people strong, which the U.S. doesn’t yet have, Lipkin said.

Worldwide the virus has infected more than 3.6 million people and killed over a quarter-million, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University that experts agree understates the dimensions of the disaster because of limited testing, differences in counting the dead and concealment by some governments.

Continuing coverage on the coronavirus pandemic, here, including the latest news from Ohio.

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