As the U.S. death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic nears 92,000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released detailed guidance to states on how to reopen their economies during the pandemic. The CDC’s 60-page planning document comes a week after the White House shelved a 68-page version of the plan, and after nearly every state has at least partially reopened. The newly released document provides guidance for transit agencies, schools, restaurants and other gathering places. Excluded from the document is advice to religious groups. The previous draft included recommendations including replacing church choirs with solo singers, not passing the collection plate and limiting the sharing of religious books.
At the Justice Department, Attorney General Bill Barr on Tuesday threatened California with legal action over its plan for a phased reopening, claiming it’s biased against religious groups. This comes after the CDC published a case study that found 35 of the 92 people who attended services at a rural church in Arkansas in March tested positive for the coronavirus, leading to three deaths.
Here in New York, protesters marched through the Bronx Tuesday demanding that Governor Andrew Cuomo create a relief fund and cancel rent payments for laid-off workers during the lockdown.
In New Orleans, activists are demanding that city officials expand a program to provide hotel rooms to unhoused people during the pandemic. This is community organizer Cole Williams.
Cole Williams: “This week, we’re going to be at Duncan Plaza every morning at 8 a.m. demonstrating with the homeless in front of City Hall.”
Protester 1: “What do we want?”
Protester 1: “What do we want?”
Protester 2: “Wade in the water / Wade in the water, children.”
Cole Williams: “There’s a deep lack of concern for the houseless, and there’s a deep lack of concern about, like, what’s happening to Black people during this pandemic.”
A federal judge in Texas has ruled all voters in the state will be allowed to vote by mail during the pandemic. The Republican attorney general of Texas has announced plans to appeal the ruling, which came in a case brought by the Texas Democratic Party. Judge Fred Biery wrote, “One’s right to vote should not be elusively based on the whims of nature. Citizens should have the option to choose voting by letter carrier versus voting with disease carriers.”
The White House on Tuesday supported President Trump’s claim he’s been taking the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine to protect himself against the coronavirus, despite warnings from the Food and Drug Administration of its potentially serious and even deadly side effects. Trump defended his use of the drug Tuesday while speaking to reporters at the White House.
President Donald Trump: “I think it gives you an additional level of safety. But you can ask — many doctors are in favor of it. Many frontline workers won’t go there unless they have the hydroxy.”
Multiple studies have concluded that hydroxychloroquine is not an effective treatment for COVID-19.
In Brazil, far-right President Jair Bolsonaro plans to expand the country’s use of chloroquine for treating the coronavirus. Brazil’s Health Ministry is expected to issue the new guidelines today. This comes as Brazil is reporting a record 17,400 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours and over 1,100 new deaths. The country now has the third-highest number of infections of any country in the world. Despite the outbreak, Brazilian police are continuing to conduct raids inside the favelas, or slums, of Rio de Janeiro, terrifying residents who are on lockdown. One police operation on Friday killed at least 13 people; another raid on Monday killed a 14-year-old boy named João Pedro, who was playing inside his house with his cousins.
In Mexico City, an Associated Press investigation uncovered more than 4,500 death certificates that listed COVID-19 as a possible factor — suggesting the city’s death toll from coronavirus may be three times higher than official government figures.
This comes as workers at U.S.-owned factories in the northern Mexican border city of Ciudad Juárez continue to resist orders to return to work, citing shortages of personal protective equipment and unsafe conditions. This is a factory worker speaking at a socially distanced protest march in Juárez on Monday.
Maria: “They prefer economic gains to keeping human beings alive and healthy. They prefer to sell things rather than acting according to the health needs of all of us who live here.”
The woman at the center of the landmark 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade case ruling legalizing abortion has revealed she was later paid by the anti-abortion movement to become a prominent Christian anti-choice activist. The late Norma McCorvey is seen in a new documentary making what she describes as a deathbed confession. She says, “I was the big fish. I think it was a mutual thing. I took their money, and they’d put me out in front of the cameras and tell me what to say. That’s what I’d say. It was all an act. I did it well, too. I am a good actress.” The film ”AKA Jane Roe” reveals McCorvey received at least $450,000 in gifts from the anti-abortion movement.
Johnson & Johnson says it has stopped selling its brand of talcum powder in the United States and Canada. In 2018, a Reuters investigation found the pharmaceutical giant knew as early as 1971 that some of its talcum powder contained dangerous levels of asbestos, but covered up its findings about the deadly carcinogen. It has faced tens of thousands of lawsuits.
In Hungary, lawmakers approved a new law Tuesday ending the legal recognition of transgender and gender nonconforming people, instead basing gender on people’s genetic makeup. In a statement, Amnesty International wrote, “This decision pushes Hungary back towards the dark ages and tramples the rights of transgender and intersex people.”
In Afghanistan, gunmen stormed a mosque in Parwan province Tuesday evening, killing seven people and wounding 12 others. Elsewhere, Afghanistan’s Air Force bombed a medical clinic in the northern city of Kunduz, injuring patients and healthcare workers. The airstrike came as Afghan troops fought off a major Taliban assault on Kunduz. On Tuesday, the United Nations blamed all warring parties, including U.S.-backed Afghan forces, for killing and injuring hundreds of civilians last month. Meanwhile, Afghanistan recorded its largest one-day jump in coronavirus infections Tuesday, with 581 new cases detected despite extremely limited testing capacity.
Authorities in eastern India and Bangladesh struggled to evacuate hundreds of thousands of people as Supercyclone Amphan hammers the region. Evacuation efforts have been hampered by social distancing and other rules aimed at preventing the further spread of the coronavirus. Meanwhile, thousands of migrant workers are still on the roads trying to get home after India’s nationwide coronavirus lockdown left them jobless.
In Michigan, two days of heavy rains led a pair of dams to breach Tuesday, forcing thousands of residents to pack into shelters despite statewide remain-at-home orders during the pandemic. Flooding from the breach left much of the city of Midland, home to more than 40,000 people, under several feet of floodwater.