At least 50 Department of Education employees have died from the coronavirus in New York City, including 21 public school teachers. Over the weekend, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said schools will remain closed until the fall, but was quickly undercut by Governor Cuomo, who said the decision was not yet made, leaving millions of students, teachers and parents in the country’s largest school district in the dark about their situation.
In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy warned cases were still surging and the state faced a severe shortage of tests. Nearly 2,500 COVID-19 deaths and 65,000 infections have been reported in New Jersey. The National Guard has been deployed to a veterans’ home in Paramus, New Jersey, where 37 deaths in recent weeks are believed to be caused by COVID-19. A state-run nursing home in Menlo Park, New Jersey, has reported at least 14 deaths.
Hospitals at coronavirus hot spots around the country are reporting dire conditions as they deal with a surge in critically sick patients. In Detroit, photos obtained by CNN from an emergency room worker at Sinai-Grace Hospital show bodies of people who have died of COVID-19 being stored in vacant hospital rooms and piled on top of each other inside refrigerated holding units in the parking lot. The photos are from early April, when hospital staff say they were treating between 100 and 130 patients at a time.
In Chicago, residents of the predominantly Mexican and Latinx neighborhood Little Village may file a lawsuit after a city-ordered implosion at a closed power plant this weekend filled the entire neighborhood with thick dust, as local officials try to combat the coronavirus outbreak. The dust then settled on homes, vehicles and other structures, with residents fearing this could worsen the health of people with respiratory illnesses, including residents who may have contracted coronavirus.
Senator Bernie Sanders has endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden for president. Senator Sanders made the announcement in a joint video stream with Biden Monday, five days after he suspended his own campaign.
Sen. Bernie Sanders: “Today, I am asking all Americans — I’m asking every Democrat, I’m asking every independent. I’m asking a lot of Republicans — to come together in this campaign to support your candidacy, which I endorse, to make certain that we defeat somebody who I believe — and I’m speaking just for myself now — is the most dangerous president in the modern history of this country.”
The pair said they were creating joint task forces on key issues including healthcare, the economy and climate change.
In other news about Joe Biden, executive editor of The New York Times Dean Baquet defended the paper’s decision to wait over two weeks to report on Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegation against then-Senator Biden, saying reporters needed time to investigate the story. The story was published Sunday, just days after Bernie Sanders dropped out of the Democratic primary. Baquet also said The New York Times deleted a key phrase in the piece referencing past instances of sexual misconduct by Biden, after his campaign objected to it. Click here to see Democracy Now!’s interview with Tara Reade.
Turkey could soon release tens of thousands of prisoners as part of measures to reduce overcrowding and curb the spread of the coronavirus. Critics of authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called out the move for excluding journalists and political opponents who are in prison as part of Erdogan’s crackdown on opposition. Turkey has reported 61,000 cases and 1,300 deaths from the coronavirus.
In Bolivia, activists are calling for the release of Afro-Bolivian union leader Elena Flores, who has been behind bars for over a month. Supporters say Flores, the first woman and first Afro-Bolivian leader of the local coca leaf growers union, was targeted as part of a crackdown on social movements and indigenous groups by the government of right-wing interim President Jeanine Áñez, who took power after the ouster last year of President Evo Morales. A letter signed by over 160 organizations, academics, trade unions and activists around the world is also calling for the release of María Eugenia Choque Quispe, the president of the Supreme Electoral Board, who is accused by the Áñez regime of committing fraud, and Patricia Hermosa, an indigenous woman and the lawyer of former President Morales.
Tensions are flaring in the disputed region of Kashmir as Indian and Pakistani troops traded fire in recent days, killing at least three civilians Sunday. Indian police say Pakistani shelling killed them, while the Pakistani military accused Indian forces of wounding at least six people the day before. Human rights groups warn that the coronavirus lockdown in Kashmir — imposed just weeks after a months-long security lockdown started to be scaled back — risks further violating civil liberties in the region.
In legal news, the Supreme Court will begin hearing oral arguments via teleconference next month for the first time in the court’s history. Justices will hear cases that were postponed in March and April due to the coronavirus outbreak, including arguments around Trump’s attempts to shield his tax returns and financial documents from lawmakers and a New York prosecutor.