UNITED NATIONS — China said this is a time for solidarity and cooperation, not “finger-pointing” and “politicization” as its top diplomats in New York officially handed over a donation of medical supplies to hard-hit New York City to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
Consul-General Huang Ping recalled at Tuesday’s online ceremony that China’s President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump “called for anti-epidemic cooperation between our two nations and the world” in their last phone call on March 17.
After weeks of elaborate praise of president Xi’s performance in the pandemic, Trump has turned to blaming China and halting U.S. contributions to the World Health Organization, accusing it of parroting misinformation from Beijing.
Huang said the American people helped China “without hesitation” when it was in great difficulty, and its consulate and U.N. mission have donated 25,000 N95 masks, 2,000 protective suits, and 75,000 pairs of medical gloves, which reached New York last weekend.
According to incomplete estimates, Huang said, China has also donated 1,000 ventilators, 6,550,000 masks, 310,000 pairs of surgical gloves, 150,000 goggles and 32,000 protective suits to the United States, much of it to New York.
Inslee doesn’t expect restrictions to end soon
OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee says the state won’t be able to lift many of the stay-at-home restrictions implemented to fight the coronavirus by May 4, when the current directive is set to expire.
But he hopes health modeling in the coming days will allow the resumption of some activities such as elective surgeries and outdoor recreation.
In a televised address Tuesday evening, Inslee also announced a plan to have about 1,500 workers focused solely on contact tracing in place by the second week of May. The effort would involve state employees from the Department of Health, local health jurisdictions, members of the Washington National Guard and volunteer health care providers.
The Seattle area saw the nation’s first large COVID-19 outbreak, and so far Washington state has more than 12,280 confirmed cases and at least 682 deaths.
Call to prayer to be broadcast in Minneapolis neighborhood during Ramadan
MINNEAPOLIS — Muslims in south Minneapolis will be able to maintain safe physical distance during the call to prayer throughout the holy month of Ramadan.
The call to prayer will be broadcast by speaker five times each day to allow neighborhood residents to pray together.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey facilitated the noise permit after the community requested the service. The Council on American-Islamic Relations paid for the audio equipment for the broadcasts from a mosque.
The broadcasts are expected to reach thousands of residents while allowing them to maintain safe physical distance for prayer during the coronavirus pandemic.
Ramadan starts Thursday and ends May 23.
Czech National Ballet dancers return to work in face masks
Rehearsals resumed in Prague after a month of coronavirus isolation. “It’s much harder with the mask, because you can’t really breathe in as you need,” said one of the dancers.
Trump’s immigration ban raises plenty of questions. Here’s what we know.
WASHINGTON — In a late-night tweet on Monday, President Donald Trump declared he would “be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States.”
Trump said his order would “pause” issuing green cards — a mandatory stepping-stone to citizenship — for 60 days, and then revisit the policy depending on economic conditions. He told reporters Tuesday it “will not apply to those entering on a temporary basis” and insisted his goal was to protect Americans from international competition for jobs.
The announcement came as a surprise, even to many Trump allies, and the sweeping language in his tweet raised questions about who it would affect. But without the order or any formal guidance from the administration, it’s not clear whether the order will ultimately be a far-reaching policy change or simply formalize what is already a de facto pause on immigration during the coronavirus pandemic.
Coronavirus survivor meets plasma donor who may have saved his life
Doctors at Orlando health aimed to save 52-year-old Kevin Rathel by trying an emergency treatment known as convalescent plasma — injecting a survivor’s antibodies to fight off the virus. Rathel recovered and later met the man who he believes saved his life.
Georgia governor’s decision to start reopening state draws mixed reactions from business owners
The reaction among Georgia business owners and public officials to Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision to reopen some businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic has been decidedly mixed.
Some business owners welcomed the opportunity to reopen their doors, grateful to be able to avoid layoffs, while others question the parameters outlined by the state and whether they’re enough to protect customers and staff.
Sabra Dupree, owner of Kids Kuts Salon in Marietta, where she lives, said her business will operate quite differently when it reopens Friday.
Fact check: Trump claims the U.S. is testing ‘more people than anybody anywhere’
President Donald Trump, during Tuesday’s press briefing, reiterated a claim he’s made for weeks about the U.S. and testing for coronavirus.
“And we have tested more people than anybody anywhere in the world by far. By very far,” Trump said at the White House.
Later, he reiterated the point: “Again, I’ll say it for the fifth time: We have tested more than any country in the world, and some of the countries are very big, ok? More than any country in the world.”
We’ve fact checked this statement repeatedly. It’s still true that the U.S. has run the highest number of raw tests, but not the most per capita. Italy has run 1.45 million tests in a country with 60 million people. That’s one test for every 41 Italians. The U.S., with an estimated population of 328 million people, has run 4.1 million tests — one test for every 80 people, approximately.
The U.S. has caught up to some other countries; we’d previously used South Korea as an example of a country testing at a higher rate per capita, but as of April 21, they’d run approximately one test for every 89 citizens.
Doctor moves into backyard treehouse to protect family from coronavirus
A Texas emergency room doctor is sleeping in his family’s backyard treehouse to protect his wife and children from possible coronavirus exposure. KRIS’ Ashley Portillo reports.
Trump says Harvard, other large companies will pay back PPP loans
Harvard University, which reportedly netted nearly $9 million in aid through the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program, will have to give that money back, President Donald Trump said Tuesday.
“Harvard’s going to pay back the money, they shouldn’t be taking it,” Trump said. “They have one of the largest endowments anywhere in the country, maybe the world I guess, and they’re going to pay back that money.”
He added that large companies, which he did not name, would also pay back funds obtained through the government loan program established to help small businesses to pay their employees during the pandemic. The Ivy League university has an endowment worth more than $40 billion.
However, Harvard University spokesperson Jason Newton denied the institution received any small business funds from the program in a statement to NBC News on Tuesday.
He added that the school, however, the school did receive funds as part of the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund in which all money will be used to “provide direct assistance to students facing urgent financial needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The burger chain Shake Shack, which received $10 million from the PPP, has already said it will return the money. The New York-based burger company is among more than a dozen companies with annual revenues in the hundreds of millions that are reported to have received PPP money.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Tuesday at the daily White House coronavirus briefing that he is giving these companies the “benefit of the doubt” and will clarify guidelines for companies hoping to access loans.