President Trump on Sunday extended the social distancing guidance until the end of April. He agreed “right away” to the extension after his task force presented him with data that showed the coronavirus could cause between 100,000 and 200,000 U.S. deaths even with the current guidelines in place, according to Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert.
More than 1,000 people have died in New York alone, the state said Sunday, with the number of confirmed cases climbing above 6,000. Howard A. Zucker, the New York health commissioner, said the state's known death rate is hovering around 1 percent. The actual rate could be lower because health officials don't know how many people have the virus — testing priority is given to those who are health-comprised or exhibiting obvious symptoms.
Trump seemed to embrace the projections he once downplayed, saying between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths would represent a victory. On March 13, Trump criticized the Obama administration's response to the 2009 swine flu, which killed 14,000 people in the United States. The model the White House is now using to predict the virus's spread assumes guidelines for social distancing will stay in effect until the end of May.
The FDA authorized widespread use of malaria drugs to treat the coronavirus, though they remain unproven. Millions of doses of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine will be distributed to hospitals across the country. Cardiac death is a possible risk in taking the drug, doctors say. The FDA's approval does not include long-term use to prevent an infection.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and D.C. mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) all issued stay-at-home orders Monday that prohibit people from leaving except for essential trips such as venturing out for groceries or medicine. The number of known coronavirus cases in the District, Maryland and Virginia exploded to just under 3,000 on Monday, up from around 1,300 on Thursday.
Officials in Virginia and Maryland have criticized the federal response to the outbreak, which Virginia Finance Secretary Aubrey Layne called “abysmal.” Senate Republicans shortchanged the District in the stimulus bill by treating it like a territory instead of a state, which Congress normally does with such appropriations. Because of that, the District will get $491 million instead of a minimum of $1.25 billion granted to states.
In an op-ed, Hogan and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) outlined what they believe states need to battle the virus.
A new piece from The Washington Post's Fact Checker team explains what went wrong in U.S. testing. Missteps were ignored by leaders at the highest level of government, they write, which allowed cases to go undetected and contributed to the virus's spread.
A Vincent van Gogh painting was stolen from a Dutch museum. In the pre-dawn hours on Monday, van Gogh’s birthday, thieves broke into the Singer Laren, which has been closed due to the outbreak. The alarm went off when they smashed the glass, but they got away before police arrived. The stolen painting, “The Spring Garden,” had been loaned to the Singer Laren for a temporary exhibit.
Macy’s furloughed most of its 125,000 employees because of virus-related store closures. It shuttered its 775 Macy’s, Bloomingdales and Blue Mercury locations on March 18. Meanwhile, retail workers in their 60s, 70s and 80s say they’re worried about contracting covid-19, but they continue to work because they need the money.
The Justice Department is investigating stock trades made by at least one member of Congress – Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) – during the early days of the global outbreak. As the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Burr received frequent briefings and reports on the threat. In mid-February, Burr sold 33 stocks that were estimated to be worth between $628,033 and $1.7 million.