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HeadlinesApril 14, 2020

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New York Says Coronavirus Cases May Be Stabilizing But Hospitals Still Overwhelmed

Apr 14, 2020

The global death toll from the coronavirus has topped 120,000, with over 1.9 million confirmed cases. The United States represents by far the largest percentage of known cases, with over 587,000, and also leads in the death toll, which is nearing 24,000.

Here in New York, the statewide death toll has topped 10,000, as total confirmed cases near 200,000 — over half of these in New York City. Latinx people represent 34% of those who have died of coronavirus in New York City, the highest death toll in the city, while black residents account for 28% of deaths.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said that despite the rising death toll and the high number of current hospitalizations — around 19,000 — other indicators of the outbreak’s progress, such as daily death toll and new hospitalized patients, appeared to be leveling off. Cuomo warned the trend could easily start to reverse if New Yorkers ease up on social distancing and quarantining measures. Despite the glimmers of hope, New York City hospitals say they continue to be stretched to their limits. The news outlet The City reports nurses at the public Bellevue Hospital have been told to sign forms falsely stating they are trained in certain types of care, in order to compensate for staff and equipment shortages.

50 NYC Education Employees, Including At Least 21 School Teachers, Have Died of COVID-19

Apr 14, 2020

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.

New Jersey Grapples with Surge in Cases as Deaths Mount in Veterans’ and Nursing Homes

Apr 14, 2020

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.

Deceased COVID-19 Patients Were Piled into Vacant Rooms as Detroit Hospital Overwhelmed with Cases

Apr 14, 2020

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.

Virginia Pastor Who Held Packed Services, Defying Order to “Stay at Home,” Dies of COVID-19

Apr 14, 2020

In Virginia, an evangelical pastor who defied stay-at-home orders to hold packed services died of COVID-19. Bishop Gerald Glenn told his congregation on March 22, “I firmly believe that God is larger than this dreaded virus. You can quote me on that.”

Sailor from Coronavirus-Stricken USS Theodore Roosevelt Dies of COVID-19

Apr 14, 2020

In Guam, a sailor from the coronavirus-stricken USS Theodore Roosevelt died Monday of COVID-19-related complications. It’s the first death from COVID-19 among the ship’s crew. The vessel’s captain, Brett Crozier, was removed from his post after he wrote a memo pleading for help as his crew started testing positive for the coronavirus. Nearly 600 sailors from the ship have tested positive since evacuating.

At Least 19 Immigrant Children Infected with COVID-19 at Chicago Facility

Apr 14, 2020

In Chicago, ProPublica reports at least 19 children and two staff have tested positive for COVID-19 at a Heartland Alliance facility for immigrant youth, making it the largest coronavirus outbreak inside a facility for unaccompanied minors in the U.S.

Demolition of Chicago Power Plant Releases Plumes of Dust, Stoking Fears for Health of Residents

Apr 14, 2020

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.

Trump Declares “Ultimate Authority” After Governors Announce Plan to Work Together on Reopening States

Apr 14, 2020

A group of Northeastern states — New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Rhode Island — said Monday they are developing a coordinated plan to end coronavirus lockdowns and reopen schools and businesses. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker became the first Republican to join the effort when he announced later on Monday he had joined the discussions. On the West Coast, California, Washington and Oregon said they would create a similar framework. Trump lashed out following the announcement and declared he has the power to override governors.

President Donald Trump: “The president of the United States calls the shots. If we weren’t here for the states, you would have had a problem in this country like you’ve never seen before.”

Steve Holland: “There’s a debate over what authority you have to order the country reopened. What authority do you have?”

President Donald Trump: “Well, I have the ultimate authority.”
Trump also said Monday he would reopen the country “based on a lot of facts and a lot of instincts.”

At the start of his Monday coronavirus press briefing, Trump showed a campaign-style video defending his response to the pandemic — an apparent response to recent reporting he gravely mishandled the early days of the crisis. Trump clashed with CBS reporter Paula Reid when questioned about reports of his early inaction.

Paula Reid: “You bought yourself some time, and you didn’t use it to prepare hospitals. You didn’t use it to ramp up testing.”

President Donald Trump: “You’re so — you’re so” —

Paula Reid: “Right now nearly 20 million people are unemployed.”

President Donald Trump: “You’re so disgraceful.”

Paula Reid: “Unemployed. Tens of thousands” —

President Donald Trump: “It’s so disgraceful the way you say that.”

Paula Reid: “Well, what did you do with the time that you bought?”

President Donald Trump: “Look, look, you know you’re a fake. You know that. Your whole network, the way you cover it is fake.”

Meanwhile, Trump is expected to formally announce his council to “reopen America.” On Monday, Fox News reported members include Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Ivanka Trump, son-in-law Jared Kushner, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, economic adviser Larry Kudlow, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, none of whom are experts in medicine, science or public health. Wilbur Ross previously said the pandemic would boost the U.S. job market. Last month, Larry Kudlow declared the coronavirus was “contained” shortly before states around the country started to shut down.

Bernie Sanders Endorses Joe Biden, Says Their Campaigns Will Work Together

Apr 14, 2020

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.

Joe Biden and Liberal Judge Jill Karofsky Win Wisconsin Election Marred by Coronavirus Threat

Apr 14, 2020

Joe Biden has won the Wisconsin primary. The results came in nearly a week after voters risked their health amid the coronavirus outbreak to cast their ballots, after state Republicans and the right-leaning Wisconsin Supreme Court quashed efforts by Democratic Governor Tony Evers to delay in-person voting. Thousands of voters won’t even have their votes counted, as the state was unable to cope with the influx of demand for mail-in ballots and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to extend the absentee deadline.

In another highly anticipated race, liberal Judge Jill Karofsky defeated Republican-backed incumbent Daniel Kelly for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Kelly was appointed by former Governor Scott Walker. Karofsky’s win means the state’s highest court will now have a 4-3 conservative lean. Observers say the Wisconsin justices refused to delay last week’s race in hopes that a lower turnout would favor the conservative candidate.

France Extends Coronavirus Lockdown, Acknowledges Missteps in Response

Apr 14, 2020

France is extending its coronavirus lockdown another four weeks until May 11. President Emmanuel Macron announced the extension in a televised address.

President Emmanuel Macron: “Were we ready for this crisis? Clearly not ready enough. But we have faced up to it. In France, as everywhere, we had to, because of the emergency, take decisions which were difficult. Based on fragmentary information which often changed, we had to adapt constantly.”

France has reported over 136,000 cases and close to 15,000 coronavirus deaths. Britain is also expected to extend its lockdown into May.

Turkey Prepares to Release 10,000s of Prisoners

Apr 14, 2020

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.

Calls Mount for Release of Afro-Bolivian Coca Union Leader Elena Flores

Apr 14, 2020

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.

Kashmir Tensions on the Rise as Residents Face New Lockdown Challenges from COVID-19

Apr 14, 2020

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.

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SCOTUS to Hear Arguments Via Teleconference for First Time

Apr 14, 2020

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.

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