Biden says Democrats may have to hold virtual convention
Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden said Sunday the Democratic National Convention may not be held in person due to the coronavirus.
“We may have to do a virtual convention,” Biden said on ABC’s “This Week.” “I think we should be thinking about that right now. The idea of holding the convention is going to be necessary, but we may not be able to put 10, 20, 30,000 people in one place, and that’s very possible.”
The convention was delayed a month, from mid-July to mid-August, last week because of the coronavirus, and convention organizers said they were exploring changes to its format, size and schedule.
Biden also said he intends to wear a mask in public, as the Centers for Disease Control has begun recommending people do voluntarily.
“I think it’s important to follow the science, listen to the experts, do what they tell you,” Biden said.
Mr. Trump said Friday he does not plan to wear a mask.
Millions hold vigils across India to dispel coronavirus “darkness”
Millions of people across India switched off electric lights in their homes and lit candles and oil lamps on their balconies on Sunday night in a show of solidarity against the coronavirus.
The vigil started at 9 p.m. local time and lasted 9 minutes. It came at the urging of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who asked Indians in a video message on Friday to “dispel the darkness spread by the coronavirus crisis.”
People lit diyas, traditional oil lamps made of earthen pots, and candles outside their houses, and on balconies. Some also set off firecrackers, blew conches and clapped amidst chants of “long live India” in Hindi.
The vigil comes after more than a week of people clapping, ringing bells and banging utensils on their balconies and outside their homes for 5 minutes at 5 p.m. to show appreciation for health care workers and those in other essential industries, again at the urging of Modi.
There are more than 3,500 cases of COVID-19 across India and more than 80 people have died. The country of 1.3 billion people instituted a 21-day lockdown on March 25 to fight the spread of the viral disease. Experts have warned that India could see hundreds of thousands of cases.
— Arshad R. Zargar
Cuomo says New York may be hitting apex as hospitalizations dip
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Sunday that the number of deaths in the state has been decreasing over the past few days. Although he said it’s too early to tell whether the pattern will hold, he said “we could be very near the apex, or the apex could be a plateau, and we’re on it right now.”
At his daily press briefing, Cuomo noted an “interesting blip” in the data: the total number of new hospitalizations over the past 24 hours stood at 574, which was “obviously much lower than previous numbers.”
More than 302,280 people in the state have been tested for the coronavirus and at least 122,031 were positive, Cuomo said. There are 16,479 patients currently hospitalized and 4,376 people in intensive care. At least 12,187 patients have been discharged.
Cuomo warned that while the state has opened up facilities and has more beds, additional staffing and ventilators are still needed.
As the number of cases in New York City has decreased, new cases have shifted east to Long Island. Upstate New York has remained flat, he said. On Saturday, the governor said it was impossible to tell if the increase in cases on Long Island is the result of New York City residents leaving the city for second homes or rental properties.
Head of New York’s largest health care provider says state is “well-prepared”
Michael Dowling, the president and CEO of Northwell Health, the largest health care provider in New York state, said Sunday he believes the state is prepared as it approaches the projected peak in coronavirus cases.
“We are well-prepared at the moment, and we will be well-prepared no matter when that apex comes,” Dowling said on “Face the Nation.”
New York is currently the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, and Governor Andrew Cuomo tasked Dowling with boosting hospital capacity statewide.
While Dowling said New York is “as prepared as we can possibly be,” he said the state would welcome additional help from the federal government.
“If another resource comes in from the federal government, that is great, as long as it is a resource that can help us,” he said.
Gottlieb says “aggressive surveillance” needed to track future outbreaks
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration FDA), said Sunday that a return to normalcy in the United States once the spread of the coronavirus slows would need to be accompanied by “aggressive surveillance” that allows for case-based intervention if there are future outbreaks.
“Nothing is a home run here, but we don’t need a home run,” Gottlieb said on “Face the Nation.” “What we need is a better toolbox, a good medicine cabinet coupled with very aggressive surveillance. That could be enough to really change the contours of the risk in the fall and allow people to feel comfortable going back out again.”
Gottlieb, who led the FDA under President Trump until 2019, said a “massive surveillance system” would allow infections to be detected quickly and said the country should have such a system in place.
“We’ll be able to identify cases when there are small outbreaks in the fall and use case-based intervention,” he said. “It’s basically isolating people with the infection and their close contacts.”
Read more here.
Fauci: U.S. deaths will keep rising as number of new cases stabilizes
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned Sunday that the coming week is going to be “bad” as the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic continues to rise in the U.S., even as the number of new cases is beginning to stabilize in certain areas.
“Even though you’re getting really improvement in that the number of new cases are starting to flatten, the deaths will lag by one or two weeks or more, so we need to be prepared that even though it’s clear that mitigation is working, we’re still going to see that tail-off of deaths,” Fauci said on “Face the Nation.” “So the first thing we want to look for is to see on a daily basis are the number of new cases starting to stabilize?”
Fauci said that the number of new cases has begun to stabilize in Italy and said “hopefully” New York, currently the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., will follow.
“We haven’t yet reached that peak and when you do, you’ll start to see a bit of a flattening and come down,” he said. “Where we are right now is really approaching that apex, and that’s why what [Governor Andrew Cuomo] and what we’re saying is that this next week is going to look bad because we’re still not yet at that apex.”
Surgeon general: Coming week will be a “Pearl Harbor moment”
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams urged governors of states that have yet to issue stay-at-home orders to take steps to ensure the U.S. health care system is not overwhelmed, saying the coming days are going to be a “Pearl Harbor moment.”
“The next week is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment. It’s going to be our 9/11 moment. It’s going to be the hardest moment for many Americans in their entire lives, and we really need to understand that if we want to flatten that curve and get through to the other side, everyone needs to do their part,” Adams said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Just eight governors have yet to issue stay-at-home orders for residents as the nation works to curtail the spread of the coronavirus. Adams said the vast majority of Americans are “doing their part,” even those who live in states without stay-at-home orders.
“If you can’t give us 30 days, governors, give us, give us a week, give us what you can, so that we don’t overwhelm our health care systems over this next week,” he said. “And then let’s reassess at that point. We want everyone to understand you’ve got to be Rosie The Riveter. You’ve got to do your part.”
Understanding the record jobless numbers
The economic casualties from the pandemic are starting to add up.
The March jobs report was a disaster. In the last full week of that month, more than 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits. That’s on top of more than 3 million the week before. Keep in mind the previous high was in 1982, when just under 700,000 people filed.
“The numbers are just shocking,” said Kenneth Rogoff, an economics professor at Harvard, who has written about the last eight centuries of economic crises, “This Time Is Different: “Eight Centuries of Financial Folly.”
“We’ve been hit by what is almost an alien invasion. It’s a natural catastrophe,” he said.
Read more here.
New Jersey governor: “We’re going through hell together”
New Jersey reported more than 200 new coronavirus deaths Saturday, bringing the state’s total to at least 846.
“Let me put this in a proper, yet very sobering context: We have now lost nearly 100 more of our fellow New Jerseyans to COVID-19 than did on the September 11 attacks,” Governor Phil Murphy said during his daily coronavirus press briefing.
“We’re going through hell together,” Murphy added.
New Jersey has more than 34,000 confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University. In the U.S., it is second only to New York in terms of both number of confirmed cases and death toll.