Coronavirus Live Updates: State and City Leaders Clamor for Medical Supplies as U.S. Cases Top 135,000


New York City has a one-week supply of medical supplies to care for any New Yorker who is sick, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Sunday, as the number of cases in the city crossed 33,700, which was more than half the total in the state.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo extended his order for all nonessential workers to stay home until April 15.

As of Sunday afternoon, at least 135,738 people across every state, plus Washington D.C., and four U.S. territories, have tested positive for the virus, according to a New York Times database. At least 2,391 patients with the virus have died. At least 20 states now have more than 1,000 known cases within their borders.

New York remains by far the hardest hit. On Sunday, Mr. Cuomo said the total number of cases in New York was 59,513, an increase of nearly 7,200 confirmed from the day before. More than half of the cases, or 33,768, are in New York City.

The number of deaths in the state was 965, up 237 from the day before — the largest one-day increase in deaths since the outbreak began.

About 8,500 people are currently hospitalized, an increase of 16 percent from Saturday to Sunday. Of those, 2,037 are in intensive care units, which are equipped with ventilators.

“We have enough supplies to get to a week from today, with the exception of ventilators, we’re going to need at least several hundred more ventilators very quickly,” Mr. de Blasio said in an appearance Sunday morning on CNN. “We are going to need a reinforcement.’’

As Mr. de Blasio spoke, a plane carrying gloves, masks, gowns and other medical supplies from China was on its way to a landing at Kennedy International Airport in New York, the first shipment arranged by a public-private partnership organized by Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and adviser.

The need for supplies was emphasized on Sunday morning news programs by governors of several states who said they feared hospitals would soon be overwhelmed with patients sick with Covid-19. Several of the governors chose not to criticize the Trump administration, whose help they need.

Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington, a Democrat who has frequently fought with the president, said he did not think his strained relationship with Mr. Trump was affecting his state’s ability to fight the virus.

“We certainly have a great working relationship with the Army, we have good open lines of communication with FEMA,” Mr. Inslee said on CNN. “We’re not distracted by some of the noise out of the White House. And we’re continuing to work as a team.”

In New York, the 911 system is overwhelmed, hospitals are deluged with new coronavirus cases and medical staff have clamored for personal protective equipment.

Mr. de Blasio said he was also concerned about a shortage of medical personnel and said he had made a direct request to Mr. Trump to send more military and civilian doctors and nurses from around the country.

“Our front-line health care workers,” Mr. de Blasio said, “are giving their all, they’re in harm’s way. And, you know, we need to get them relief. We need to get them support and protection, but also relief. They can’t keep up at this pace.”

A commercial aircraft carrying gloves, masks, gowns and other medical supplies from Shanghai touched down at Kennedy International Airport in New York on Sunday morning, the first in a series of roughly 20 flights that White House officials say will funnel much-needed goods to the United States by early April.

The plane carried 130,000 N-95 masks, nearly 1.8 million surgical masks and gowns, tens of thousand of gloves and more than 70,000 thermometers. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will provide the majority of the supplies to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, with the rest going to nursing homes in the area and other high-risk areas across the country, a White House spokesman said.

The pandemic has sparked a race among foreign governments, American governors and mayors, good Samaritans and opportunists to acquire protective gear, ventilators and other goods from China, the source of more than one-third of medical supplies in the United States in 2019. While China’s own coronavirus epidemic has subsided since February, newly built factory lines in the country are beginning to churn out masks, gowns and gloves.

The flights are the product of a public-private partnership — led by Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and a White House senior adviser — in which the administration is looking to health care distributors like McKesson Corporation, Cardinal, Owens & Minor, Medline and Henry Schein. Representatives of those companies were expected to attend a meeting with Mr. Trump at the White House on Sunday.

The White House will arrange for air transport to help expedite the shipping of medical supplies purchased by these companies overseas into the United States, the spokesman said. Both FEMA and the State Department are helping to support the effort, according to the White House.

“At President Trump’s direction, we formed an unprecedented public-private partnership to ensure that massive amounts of masks, gear and other PPE will be brought to the United States immediately to better equip our health care workers on the front lines and to better serve the American people,” Mr. Kushner said in a statement.

“We must not then suddenly revert to our normal way of living,” Ms. Harries told reporters. “That would be quite dangerous. If we stop, then all of our efforts will be wasted and we could potentially see a second peak.”

“We need to keep that lid on and then gradually we will be able to, hopefully, adjust some of the social-distancing measures and gradually get us all back to normal.” Her timeline, she said, was “three weeks for review, two or three months to see whether we’ve really quashed it, but three to six months ideally, and lots of uncertainty in that.”

The remarks came as the country’s National Health Service mourned the loss of a surgeon who died after contracting the coronavirus. The surgeon, Adil El Tayar, 63, a native of Sudan, was an organ transplant specialist who had been serving as a volunteer in a British hospital to help fight the pandemic.

Britain’s ambassador to Sudan, Irfan Siddiq, paid tribute to the surgeon on Twitter, adding: “Health workers around the world have shown extraordinary courage. We cannot thank them enough.”

Thousands of retired doctors and nurses in Britain have agreed to go back to work to reinforce the ranks of the health service as the country struggles with a growing outbreak. The more than 400,000 people who have stepped forward also include volunteers who are helping older people quarantined in their homes.

Police in Britain have arrested people who deliberately spit on or coughed at others. In one case, a 14-year-old boy was charged with assault after he coughed and shouted “Coronavirus” at a woman, Greater Manchester Police said in a statement on Sunday.

At least 31,971 people have died in 171 countries around the world, and public officials continued to struggle with the pandemic.

  • In Russia, Moscow declared a lockdown starting Monday. People must not leave home except in an emergency or to go to the nearest grocery store or walk their dogs, going no further than 100 meters. People will still be able to enter and leave the city. Russia has reported 1,534 confirmed cases of coronavirus, far fewer than many Western countries, but the numbers have risen rapidly in recent days — particularly in Moscow, which accounts for most of the cases.

  • The police in South Africa had set up roadblocks and were checking vehicles on Sunday to ensure that people across the country complied with the regulations of the 21-day lockdown, the force wrote on Twitter.

  • Italy reported more than 97,689 cases of the coronavirus, an increase of more than 5,200 from Saturday. The number of deaths totaled 10,779, an increase of 756 from Saturday.

  • France reported 40,174 cases, an increase of 2,599 from the day before. The country reported 2,606 deaths, an increase of 292 from Saturday. But there has been a decline in the percentage increase in new deaths reported on each of the last three days, to 13 percent Sunday from 27 percent on Thursday. Two high-speed trains started carrying patients from eastern France, one of the more affected regions, to hospitals along France’s western coast, where the outbreak has been limited so far.

On Sunday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi put the blame for the nation’s flawed response to the pandemic squarely on President Trump.

“His denial at the beginning was deadly,” Ms. Pelosi, a California Democrat, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “Now I think the best thing would be to do is to prevent more loss of life.”

“We really want to work in a unified way to get the job done here,” she added, “but we cannot continue to allow him to continue to make these underestimates of what is actually happening here.”

“Don’t fiddle while people die, Mr. President,” Ms. Pelosi said.

Hours later, a White House spokesman lashed out at Ms. Pelosi’s comments, alleging that it was the speaker and the media who had initially refused to acknowledge the severity of the outbreak, and using hyperbolic language to attack her negotiating position on the $2 trillion aid bill Mr. Trump signed on Friday.

“When she was faced with offering immediate relief to real Americans who are struggling, she blew up negotiations on the coronavirus relief bill with a shameful political attempt to tack radical leftist programs on to the bill,” said Hogan Gidley, the spokesman.

Democrats did hold up economic stimulus legislation for three days last week while Ms. Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader, insisted on changes to secure the support of their caucuses, including increased oversight for a bailout fund for distressed businesses.

As reports of the coronavirus’s spread in China began to trickle out, Congress was dealing with Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial, but also hosted multiple briefings with administration officials to update lawmakers on the outbreak.

Mr. Trump, for his part, has played down the spread of the virus until recently, and has repeatedly touted unproven treatments while contradicting his administration’s scientific experts on how lethal the virus is and how quickly it may be contained in the United States.

Some officials who were involved in the negotiations over the earlier bills, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, have cautioned that they may need to see how those laws are implemented before solidifying the components of new legislations. Still, the fourth package could include additional direct payments to taxpayers, as well as more funds for hospitals, states and local governments.

“If, for whatever reason, this takes longer than we think, we will go back to Congress and get more support for the American economy,” Mr. Mnuchin said on “Face the Nation” on CBS, adding that he hoped such a step was not needed.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican majority leader, has instructed the senators “to stay nimble,” acknowledging that they may have to return sooner than the chamber’s next scheduled session on April 20.

He also questioned the logistical challenges, as well as the message, that such an order would present. “If you start walling off areas all across the country, it would just be totally bizarre, counterproductive, anti-American, antisocial,” he said.

The specter of a federal quarantine followed a wave of governors who, fearful about the virus spreading further through their states, ordered people who had traveled from New York to isolate themselves for two weeks after their arrivals.

Texas, Florida, Maryland and South Carolina are among the states that have ordered people arriving from New York to self-quarantine. In Texas, the authorities said on Friday that Department of Public Safety agents would make surprise visits to see whether travelers were adhering to the state’s mandate, and they warned that violators could be fined $1,000 and jailed for 180 days.

Mr. Lamont, the Connecticut governor, last week urged all travelers from New York City to self-quarantine for two weeks upon entering the state, but he stopped short of issuing an order requiring it.

Late Saturday, the governor of Rhode Island, Gina Raimondo, a Democrat, said she would repeal an earlier executive order that had singled out New York residents for self-quarantine, after an outcry and threats of a lawsuit from Mr. Cuomo. A new order from Ms. Raimondo asked that all out-of-state visitors to Rhode Island self-quarantine for 14 days.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said Sunday that all states “should be beginning to plan” for the possibility of conducting their elections by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic, and suggested there was a chance the general election this fall would need to be conducted by mail-in ballots.

“I don’t want to go that far ahead, but that is possible,” Mr. Biden, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I think we should be looking into all-mail ballots across the board to begin with, because it’s an easier way for people to vote, but whether or not that’s required across the board in all 50 states and territories, I’m not sure yet.”

Mr. Biden also said that if he were president, he would be using the Defense Production Act more aggressively to secure needed items like masks and ventilators, suggesting that President Trump was not doing all he could to help doctors, nurses and emergency responders.

“Why are we waiting?” he asked. “We know they’re needed. They’re going to be increasingly needed.”

Mr. Biden did not criticize Mr. Trump directly but suggested that, as president, he would be more aggressive in seeking even more money to help businesses and struggling workers. He said the $2 trillion relief bill, which the president signed into law on Friday, would not be sufficient to save the nation’s economy in the wake of the virus. “That’s not going to be enough to get us all the way through this.”

Mr. Biden also shrugged off poll numbers that show that Mr. Trump’s approval rating has improved in recent weeks. “I think that’s a typical American response. In every single crisis we’ve had that I’ve been around, going back to Jimmy Carter and the hostages, all the way through to this moment, presidents’ ratings have always gone up in a crisis,” he said. “But you know the old expression, the proof, you know, is going to be in the pudding.”

Without naming Mr. Trump directly, Mr. Biden added: “Let’s get away from the childishness of this and focus on the problem.”

“We need to do something to get ahead of this,” he said. “And the community is being left in the dark.”

The Bureau of Prisons website currently lists five inmates and no staff members at the Oakdale prison as having tested positive for the virus. The bureau did not respond to an email about the death. In the federal system, at least 27 inmates and prison workers across the country have tested positive for the virus, according to the bureau’s website.

As of Sunday morning, deaths in the United States had surpassed 2,100, including at least 50 in Illinois. More than 3,500 cases of the virus have been identified in Illinois.

Many plans would prioritize patients who were most likely to survive their immediate illness, and who also had a better chance of long-term survival. Some assign patients a score based on calculations of their level of illness, with decisions between patients who have the same score made by random selection. Some plans instruct hospitals not to offer mechanical ventilators to people above a certain age or with particular health conditions.

“Our civil rights laws protect the equal dignity of every human life from ruthless utilitarianism,” Roger Severino, the office’s director, said in a statement this weekend. People with disabilities, those with limited English skills and older people “should not be put at the end of the line for health care during emergencies,” he said.

He said his office had heard from “a broad spectrum of civil rights groups, pro-life groups, disability rights groups, from prominent members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, from ordinary people who are concerned about their civil rights in this time of crisis.”

“The threat of irreparable injury to their health and safety is palpable,” the plaintiffs’ lawyers said in their petition, which called for migrant children across the country to be released to outside sponsors within seven days unless they represent a flight risk.

Around the United States, about 3,600 children are in shelters operated under license by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement, and about 3,300 more at three detention facilities for migrant children held in custody with their parents, operated by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi apologized to the country for imposing the nationwide lockdown, which was announced with just four hours’ notice on Tuesday.

“I would firstly like to seek forgiveness from all my countrymen,” he said in a radio address. “Possibly many would be angry at me for being locked in their homes,” he added, saying that there was no other way “to wage a war against corona.”

So far, 980 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in India, with 24 dead, according to officials.

India already had one of the world’s largest homeless populations, and the lockdown may have tripled it overnight, workers for nongovernmental organizations say. A 2011 government census put the number of homeless at 1.7 million, almost certainly a vast underestimate in the country of 1.3 billion.

The lockdown, which includes a ban on interstate travel, left India’s enormous migrant population stranded in big cities, where jobs have lured them in vast numbers from the countryside.

As the coronavirus spread across the United States between late January and early March, large-scale testing of people who might have been infected did not happen because of technical flaws, regulatory hurdles, business-as-usual bureaucracies and lack of leadership at multiple levels.

The three federal health ag​​​encies responsible for detecting and combating ​pandemic threats failed to prepare quickly enough, a Times investigation found. Even as scientists looked at China and sounded alarms, none of the agencies’ directors conveyed the urgency required to spur a no-holds-barred defense, according to interviews with more than 50 current and former public health officials, administration officials, senior scientists and company executives.

Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, trusted the agency’s veteran scientists to develop a test for the coronavirus. But when the test turned out to have a flaw, it took the C.D.C. much of February to settle on a solution. In the meantime, the virus was spreading undetected.

Dr. Stephen Hahn​, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, was supposed to help build national testing capacity by approving diagnostic tests developed by the private sector. Yet he enforced regulations that paradoxically made it tougher for hospitals and laboratories to deploy ​such tests in an emergency.

Alex ​M. ​Azar​ II​, ​the health and human services secretary, oversaw the ​two other agencies and coordinated the government’s public health response to the pandemic. ​Yet he ​did not manage to push the C​.​D​.​C​.​ or F​.​D​.​A​.​ to speed up or change course.

Together, the challenges resulted in a lost month, when the United States squandered its best chance of containing the coronavirus’s spread. Instead, Americans were left largely blind to the scale of a looming public health catastrophe.

Stuck at home? You don’t need access to a gym to stay active. You can (and should) go outside for a walk or run (or do push-ups and squats).

Reporting and research were contributed by Neil MacFarquhar, Alan Blinder, Michael D. Shear, Jesse McKinley, Abby Goodnough, Sheila Kaplan, Sheri Fink, Katie Thomas, Noah Weiland, Ali Watkins, Katie Van Syckle, Ana Swanson, Anton Troianovksi, Maria Abi-Habib, Austin Ramzy, Tess Felder, Yonette Joseph, Raphael Minder, Iliana Magra, Katie Glueck, Elisabetta Povoledo, Emily Cochrane and Constant Méheut.


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