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On Monday, President Trump boasted that 1 million people in the U.S. have been tested for coronavirus — weeks after he vowed to hit that number within days. In a conference call with governors, Trump suggested there was no longer a problem with a lack of test kits despite repeated calls for more tests around the country. Montana Governor Steve Bullock said his state was one day away from running out of tests. Other governors, including J.B. Pritzker of Illinois and Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan, have called out the administration’s handling of the crisis and the severe shortages in medical equipment and personal protective equipment. Trump has also boasted about the government’s ability to produce ventilators, and said the U.S. would be able to send a surplus to other nations in need.
During an interview on “Fox & Friends” Monday, President Trump celebrated the fact that the $2.2 trillion stimulus package left out provisions by Democrats in earlier versions of the bill that would have expanded voting access.
President Donald Trump: “If you look at before and after, the things they had in there were crazy. They had things, levels of voting, that if you ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”
In New Jersey, a nursing home in Wanaque is on lockdown after a COVID-19 outbreak killed at least eight people and infected many others. Last week, nearly 100 residents at a nursing home in Woodbridge, New Jersey, were evacuated from the facility after two dozen people tested positive for the coronavirus — and all residents were presumed to be infected. Clusters of coronavirus cases have been observed at nursing homes around the country, including in Maryland, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
In New York City, public transit passengers are calling out dangerously crowded subways and buses, as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has reduced service in response to a drop in ridership during the coronavirus outbreak. The MTA announced over the past week that seven employees have died due to complications from COVID-19. Over 300 cases of coronavirus infection have been confirmed among MTA employees.
Labor rights advocates are condemning Amazon for firing a warehouse worker who organized a strike at its Staten Island facility Monday. The fired worker, Chris Smalls, and dozens of other employees walked out to demand more protective measures and that Amazon close and sanitize the warehouse after multiple co-workers tested positive for COVID-19. This is an Amazon worker speaking Monday from the walkout.
Amazon worker: “And I’m doing this because of my health and my fellow workers’ health, as well. It should be closed down, it should be cleaned properly, and we shouldn’t be working in that environment. We can’t even get gloves from the machine.”
Grocery store delivery app Instacart also staged a protest Monday to demand better worker protections and hazard pay.
In other New York City news, beloved transgender advocate Lorena Borjas has died after contracting COVID-19 at the age of 59. Originally from Mexico, Borjas has been called the mother of the transgender Latinx community in New York and fought tirelessly for the rights and well-being of LGBTQ people, immigrant communities and sex workers. Lorena Borjas started a mutual aid fund for members of the transgender community who were suffering financial hardship during the coronavirus crisis.
Also in New York, world-renowned neurosurgeon Dr. James Goodrich has died from complications of COVID-19. Dr. Goodrich treated countless children with neurological diseases and was well known for his surgical work on conjoined twins. Tributes poured in Monday from colleagues at the Montefiore Medical Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where he taught.
In Philadelphia, at least 100 protesters shut down traffic and parked their cars in the middle of city streets surrounding City Hall and other government buildings to demand the city release nonviolent prisoners and immigrant prisoners in light of the coronavirus crisis.
In New Jersey, families with loved ones imprisoned at the Bergen County Jail held a demonstration Friday outside the jail to demand Governor Phil Murphy free all immigrants in detention.
In Michigan, Ford Motor Company and General Electric will produce 50,000 ventilators over the next 100 days to help fulfill the dire need for the life-saving device at hospitals across the country. The companies say they can produce 30,000 units per month as long as hospitals need them.
The announcement came as GE workers in Massachusetts staged a protest to demand the facility where they work — which normally manufactures jet engines — start producing ventilators and rehire thousands of recently laid-off workers. GE announced last week it was firing 10% of its domestic aviation workforce due to staggering losses experienced by the airline industry because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In Florida, the pastor of a megachurch in Tampa Bay was arrested for refusing to cancel massive church services, in violation of emergency orders against public gatherings. The Hillsborough County sheriff said that Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne demonstrated a “reckless disregard for human life.”
Federal judges have struck down recent abortion bans that Texas and Ohio enacted as part of their response to the coronavirus outbreak by claiming abortions are “non-essential” procedures. Judge Lee Yeakel said, “Regarding a woman’s right to a pre-fetal-viability abortion, the Supreme Court has spoken clearly. There can be no outright ban on such a procedure.”
All 7,300 Peace Corps volunteers who were fired without notice amid the pandemic are now facing steep challenges, including unemployment, the loss of a regular stipend, as well as housing and healthcare benefits. This is the first time in the agency’s 60-year history that it suspended all operations.
The Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission have launched a joint investigation after several lawmakers sold off stocks after they received privileged briefings about the coronavirus pandemic’s threat to the economy. The FBI has also contacted Republican Senator Richard Burr for information about the transactions.
In other news from Capitol Hill, Mark Meadows resigned as a North Carolina congressmember Monday to officially start his new position today as Trump’s chief of staff.
Spain reported over 800 new deaths Monday, as authorities called for a period of nationwide “hibernation.” Spain has now surpassed China in cases, reaching nearly 88,000. This includes over 12,000 healthcare workers. The director of emergency health services has also tested positive.
Anti-fascist activist and former political prisoner José María Galante — known as “Chato” Galante — has died from coronavirus. Chato Galante fought against the dictatorship of Francisco Franco and belonged to the Revolutionary Communist League. He was arrested and tortured multiple times during Franco’s regime. Galante was featured in the acclaimed 2018 documentary “The Silence of Others.”
In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is entering into quarantine after an aide tested positive for COVID-19. Netanyahu is expected to agree on an emergency unity government with rival Benny Gantz amid the coronavirus crisis, in a blow to many who hoped to see Netanyahu lose political power after failing to win recent elections.
In India, footage has surfaced of health workers hosing migrant workers with disinfectant as they try to make their way home following a nationwide lockdown announced last week. Many migrants have reported harrowing journeys home following the order, including several reports of deaths along the way.
Across Asia, places that have successfully stabilized coronavirus outbreaks — such as China, Hong Kong and Singapore — now fear tourists who begin traveling back to these places will trigger a second wave of outbreaks. China, Hong Kong and Singapore have all barred foreign travelers from entering to stem the spread of coronavirus.
In South Africa, a police officer was arrested for allegedly killing a man who violated recently enacted lockdown measures. The man was reportedly shot to death on Sunday after a group of police officers followed him home from a bar.
Zimbabwe has embarked on a 21-day coronavirus lockdown. This is a Harare resident.
Steven Chatora: “Our issue is that the people were not given enough time to prepare, because the majority of these people survive from hand to mouth, so when it was announced, most people did not have enough money. So, in the meantime, people will not have food to eat, and we are so afraid as to how we will survive by the time 21 days have passed.”
As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, a number of states have quietly passed laws to criminalize protests against the fossil fuel industry. Kentucky, South Dakota and West Virginia recently approved new laws imposing harsh penalties, including jail time, on protest actions that damage or block so-called critical infrastructure — such as pipelines — that are used for the production and transport of fossil fuels.
In Idaho, Republican Governor Brad Little signed into law two bills attacking the rights of transgender people. One measure prohibits transgender people from amending their birth certificates to reflect their gender identity; the other bars trans women and girls from playing on sports teams aligned with their gender identity. The anti-trans bills were signed on the eve of the International Transgender Day of Visibility, which is today. Rights groups have vowed to challenge the legislation.
The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe said it will fight back after the Trump administration announced its reservation would be “disestablished” and it would lose its land trust status. Trump’s move will halt plans to build a casino which would have competed with nearby casinos in Rhode Island that have well-established ties to Trump.