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Jamie Dupree's Washington Insider

    The White House on Sunday added Brazil to the list of nations where foreign nationals are not allowed entry into the United States, in another bid to use travel restrictions to slow the spread of the Coronavirus. 'As of May 23, 2020, Brazil had 310,087 confirmed cases of COVID-19, which is the third highest number of confirmed cases in the world,' said White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany in a statement.  'Today’s action will help ensure foreign nationals who have been in Brazil do not become a source of additional infections in our country,' she added. The new rules apply not only to Brazilians, but also any other non-U.S. citizen who has been in the South American nation. The changes will take place late this week. The decision comes as the virus outbreak has been spreading in Brazil, which is now seen as the third worst in the world, behind the U.S. and Russia. Last week, President Trump had hinted at such a move. 'I don't want people coming in here and infecting our people,' the President told reporters when asked about a possible move to slow travel with Brazil. 'Brazil is having some trouble. No question about it,' Mr. Trump added on May 19. The designation of Brazil adds that nation to a list of travel restrictions because of the Coronavirus which includes the United Kingdom, most countries in mainland Europe, and China.
  • Pressing states to swiftly drop their restrictions related to the Coronavirus, President Donald Trump on Friday declared that houses of worship were 'essential' to communities, calling on governors to immediately allow religious gatherings this weekend, ending weeks of restrictions due to the threat of the Coronavirus. In a hastily called statement in the White House Briefing Room, the President said religious services are needed to 'help hold our society together.' 'Many millions of Americans embrace worship as an essential part of life,' President Trump told reporters.  'We want our places of faith, our synagogues, we want them open,' Mr. Trump declared. “Today I am identifying houses of worship - churches, synagogues and mosques - as essential places that provide essential services,” the President told reporters. “Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential, but have left out churches and other houses of worship,” Mr. Trump added. GOP lawmakers in Congress praised the President's call. 'This is the correct decision,' said Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX), 'churches and other houses of worship are an important part of the fabric of American life.' 'Churches and other houses of worship are an essential part of any free and healthy democracy,' said Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA). But churches and religious meetings have been a stubborn source of Coronavirus infections all across the nation, prompting states to bar such gatherings. Earlier this month on Mother's Day, a church in northern California defied authorities and held a gathering for 180 people.  The next day, one attendee tested positive for the virus. In another California case, several people came down with the virus, after working as part of skeleton crew to live stream Mother's Day church services.
  • Pushing on states to loosen Coronavirus limits on business, schools, and restaurants, President Donald Trump on Thursday escalated warnings from his administration about re-opening churches, accusing Democratic Governors of standing in the way of religious liberty. 'One of the other things I want to do is get the churches open,' the President told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House before going to Michigan. 'The churches are not being treated with respect by a lot of Democrat Governors,' President Trump said. 'I want to get our churches open.' The President's remarks amplified growing calls among Republicans for virus restrictions to be dropped on churches, part of a broader GOP argument against Democrats over how the Coronavirus has been dealt with. Mr. Trump's comments also come as the Centers for Disease has yet to issue guidelines about how churches should deal with the Coronavirus re-opening, amid press reports that the White House has rejected the idea of limits on church activities. The President's statement to reporters came two days after the Justice Department warned the state of California its Coronavirus rules might be discriminating against churches. 'Simply put, there is no pandemic exception to the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights,' read part of a three page letter from the head of the Justice Department's civil rights division. But even with highly restricted church operations in California, there have been Coronavirus infections. In northern California, a Mother's Day church service earlier this month - live streamed to parishioners by a skeleton crew at a church - resulted in three people being infected by the Coronavirus. And in another Mother's Day church service - this time a gathering of some 180 people north of Sacramento - one person who attended tested positive for the virus the next day. Earlier this week, the CDC issued a review of a Coronavirus cluster outbreak at a church in Arkansas, where the pastor and his wife seemingly spurred dozens of cases, which also spread to the larger community. Of the 92 people who attended church events with those two, at least 35 were infected, and three ended up dying. 'Churches should open when it is safe to do so,' wrote Father James Martin, a Jesuit priest, and editor of America Magazine. 'Churches should open when public health officials, who know more about epidemiology than church leaders do, conclude that it is safe to do so,' Martin wrote, responding to President Trump's remarks on Thursday.
  • While NASA officials have urged the public not to mass near the Kennedy Space Center for next week's manned test flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft because of Coronavirus concerns, President Donald Trump indicated Thursday he may be ready for a VIP visit. 'I'm thinking about going, that will be next week, to the rocket launch,' the President told reporters before leaving for a day trip to Michigan. The test flight, which would be the first manned space flight launched from the U.S. in almost nine years, is set for May 27. Mr. Trump playfully jabbed at reporters about a possible visit to the launch. 'I hope you're all going to join me. I'd like to put you on the rocket, get rid of you for a while,' the President said. A possible trip to Florida next week comes as President Trump presses states to drop their Coronavirus restrictions, and allow shuttered businesses to re-open. Mr. Trump has been traveling more frequently in recent weeks, going to Michigan on Thursday, Pennsylvania last week, and Arizona earlier this month. The White House has indicated Mr. Trump will go to Fort McHenry in Baltimore on Monday to celebrate Memorial Day. But that does not mean local political dignitaries will be on hand. President Trump also indicated on Thursday that the meeting of the G7 nations would be held next month despite the virus, possibly split between Washington and Camp David.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court edged closer to possible oral arguments on whether secret grand jury materials gathered during the Russia investigation should be shared with committees in Congress, putting on hold an order from lower courts for the feds to turn over those materials. In an order issued Wednesday afternoon, the Justices invited the feds to ask the High Court to accept the case for review, giving the Justice Department a June 1 deadline to submit a writ of certiorari. If the Justices were to accept the case, arguments would not take place until the fall, possibly right around the November elections. In March, a three judge panel of the D.C. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Democrats in Congress, saying lawmakers have the right to go through the materials gathered by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his investigators. 'Because the Department of Justice is simply the custodian of the grand jury materials at issue however, the instant case is unlike inter-branch disputes where Congress issued subpoenas and directed Executive Branch officials to testify and produce their relevant documents,' wrote Judge Judith Rogers in the 2-1 decision.
  • President Donald Trump on Wednesday attacked the swing state of Michigan for sending out mail-in ballot applications for elections in 2020, ignoring a series of Republican states which have done the exact same thing to help people vote during the Coronavirus outbreak. 'Trump is spreading lies about voting (again),' said Marc Elias, a top Democratic Party election lawyer. “Donald Trump is exploiting a pandemic to suppress Americans' votes in November,” said Sen. Ron  Wyden (D-OR), whose state votes entirely by mail. On Twitter, the President first incorrectly accused the state of Michigan of sending out mail-in ballots to all registered voters; instead, the state has sent absentee ballot applications, just like a series of other GOP states. Michigan Secretary of State went on Twitter to respond to the President's criticism, saying she's following the lead of others in sending out applications for mail-in ballots. 'Just like my GOP colleagues in Iowa, Georgia, Nebraska and West Virginia,' Jocelyn Benson said. '@RealDonaldTrump 's revenge politics is petty & pathetic,' said Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI). In his Twitter shots at Michigan and Nevada, the President threatened to withhold federal funding for those states, if they went ahead with their mail-in balloting plans. 'State of Nevada “thinks” that they can send out illegal vote by mail ballots, creating a great Voter Fraud scenario for the State and the U.S.,' the President tweeted 'They can’t! If they do, “I think” I can hold up funds to the State.' While Nevada has a Democratic Governor, the Republican Secretary of State opted for a full mail-in ballot primary election. The President made no threats on Wednesday to withhold federal funding from Republican-controlled states which have send out absentee ballot applications to all registered voters, like Iowa, Georgia, Nebraska, and West Virginia. The attacks on mail-in ballots are part of the President's broader accusation that mail-in voting is rife with fraud, a charge which is not backed up by evidence from states which conduct mail-in elections. Mr. Trump voted in Florida's primary this year by using a mail-in absentee ballot. 'Trump is falsely calling vote by mail fraud - even though he votes by mail,' said Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA). The President's criticism of Nevada drew an especially sharp response from two Democratic lawmakers in Congress. “Trump is threatening to harm Nevadans because our Republican Secretary of State is making it easier for them to vote,” said Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV).  “He'll do anything to distract the public from his incompetent COVID-19 response.”
  • President Donald Trump on Tuesday said it was a 'badge of honor' that the United States leads the world in the number of Coronavirus cases, as he said the main reason is the growing testing capability nationwide for the virus. 'I view it as a badge of honor,' the President told reporters during a White House Cabinet meeting. 'It's a great tribute to the testing, and all of the work that a lot of professionals have done.' 'If we were testing a million people instead of 14 million people, we would have far fewer cases,' Mr. Trump added. The President's comments came as the number of U.S. virus cases topped 1.5 million on Tuesday, with the death toll moving over 90,000 Americans in just three months. The President's comments came as he again defended his decision to take the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, in an effort to ward off the Coronavirus. After a meeting with GOP Senators on Capitol Hill, the President was asked why he would take a drug which his own Food and Drug Administration had urged Americans to avoid taking for the virus. 'Well, I've worked with doctors,' President Trump answered, as he denounced a study which raised questions about the use of the drug, a 'Trump-enemy statement.' The President offered no evidence to back up his claim on the study. Mr. Trump also claimed Tuesday that meat packing plants - which have featured a number of Coronavirus infection hot spots - are almost fully cured of the virus, though reporting in multiple states about positive cases at those plants shows otherwise. 'That's going away. The plants are very, very clean now,' as the President claimed the plants were 'cleaner than they've ever been.' Democrats disputed the President's rosy assertion about meat packing facilities. 'I have repeatedly called on this Administration to issue mandatory protections to keep workers safe and healthy, but Trump is again failing to get the job done,' said Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). The issue could come up at the White House on Wednesday, when the Governor of Kansas visits. That state has seen some 1,800 infections at a series of meat packing plants, but only a handful of deaths.
  • As states relax their restrictions imposed in March because of the Coronavirus outbreak, schools at all levels are now trying to figure out the best road ahead in the fall, with deep uncertainty about how the virus outbreak will impact kids from pre-school to college. In recent days, two major universities have announced they would scrap a standard fall break for students, worried the travel from school to home - and then back to school - could further spread the virus. 'Two major changes will stand out as you review the following schedule,' wrote University of South Carolina President Bob Caslen. 'First, there will be no Fall Break and second, we will conclude face-to-face instruction at Thanksgiving Break.' At the University of Notre Dame, classes will start on August 10, two weeks earlier than normal, with no fall break in October, and an end to classes by Thanksgiving. 'Bringing our students back is in effect assembling a small city of people from many parts of the nation and the world, who may bring with them pathogens to which they have been exposed,' said Rev. John I. Jenkins, Notre Dame's President. At Purdue University, the school calendar is being compressed as well, with no day off for Labor Day, and an end to classes by late November. 'Please note that the campus will not close after Thanksgiving break, the residence halls will be open, etc. — we simply will not have face-to-face instruction after Thanksgiving,' wrote Purdue Provost Jay Akridge. At this point, most colleges have not spelled out the details of their plans for the fall, for example the University of Florida will have task forces report back on various options by June 1. While the schedules for colleges and universities might have a higher profile, there are also many parents wondering whether their kids will have regular instruction in elementary, middle, and high schools nationwide. 'We can't count on a vaccine or a dramatic treatment success,' said former CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden. 'Schools are important. Keeping them closed will cause health, educational, economic, and societal harms.' Some jurisdictions have already floated the idea of having more in-person teaching for elementary school students, while junior and senior high schools would focus more energy on online learning. But much of that is still to be determined by hundreds of school districts around the country. When it comes to colleges, one unknown is whether there will be sports this fall - especially football. Back in 1918, both World War I and the flu outbreak in the United States caused havoc with the college football schedule. For example, the University of Nebraska and Notre Dame had to set three different dates for a football clash, before finally holding their game late in November of 1918.
  • Despite warnings from the Food and Drug Administration about the use of a malaria drug to ward off the Coronavirus, President Donald Trump told reporters on Monday that he is taking hydroxycholorquine, saying that he started using the malaria drug several weeks ago. 'You'd be surprised how many people are taking it,' the President said to reporters during a round table with restaurant industry leaders at the White House. 'I happen to be taking it,' Mr. Trump said, drawing immediate questions in the White House State Dining Room. 'I'm taking it. Hydroxychloroquine. Right now, yeah,' Mr. Trump added. “I'm not going to get hurt by it,” the President said, telling reporters that he's been taking the drug for several weeks. “It's been around for 40 years, for malaria, for lupus.  I'd take it,” Mr. Trump added. The disclosure by the President comes several weeks after the FDA issued a public warning against the use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19, because of the risk of heart troubles. 'The FDA is aware of reports of serious heart rhythm problems in patients with COVID-19 treated with hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, often in combination with azithromycin and other QT prolonging medicines,” the FDA stated. “Patients who also have other health issues such as heart and kidney disease are likely to be at increased risk of these heart problems when receiving these medicines,” the FDA added. The President said he decided to take the drug - which was approved by the White House doctor - in part because of letters from doctors saying it was helping their patients. “I would have told you three, four days ago,” the President said to reporters, “but you never asked me the question.” The surprise disclosure by the President continued his public defiance of health experts over the malaria drug, as he continues to press it as a way to help people to ward off the virus. But that has not swayed some at one of his favorite news networks. “This will kill you,” said Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto soon after the President's announcement. 'Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have not been shown to be safe and effective for treating or preventing COVID-19,' the FDA stated on April 24. Democrats in Congress were incredulous. 'As with injecting bleach, please do not listen to the President,' said Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI). 'Listen to your doctor instead.' Along with possible heart issues, past studies by the National Institutes of Health have found psychiatric issues as well. “Hydroxychloroquine can induce adverse effects on the central nervous system, from irritability, nervousness, and emotional changes to true psychoses,” one NIH study reported in 2017.
  • The number of deaths in the U.S. from the Coronavirus dropped to its lowest level last week since the start of April, as health experts say a continued decline in cases from New York - and no new major outbreaks in other urban areas - has slowed the spread of the virus. 'In most states the number of cases are either declining or flat,' said Scott Gottlieb, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration, as he said the data shows 'evidence of an epidemic that slowed dramatically.' The death toll remains substantial. There were 9,260 reported deaths in the U.S. last week, well off the high of nearly 15,000 in the final full week of April. But even with the slowing number of deaths, federal health officials expect the U.S. will reach 100,000 deaths by the end of this month. The Centers for Disease Control reported in recent days that visits to doctors and emergency rooms which are likely related to the Coronavirus are also declining, 'likely in part a result of widespread efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.' But while those numbers are declining, medical experts are also wondering what might be next, especially as businesses re-open, and states relax their virus restrictions. 'This is an interesting question with no straightforward answer,' wrote Dr. Bertha Hidalgo of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, School of Public Health. 'In some cases, states are reopening where we are starting to see a decrease in rates of infection. In other cases, states are reopening and case and death counts continue to increase,' Hidalgo said. One of the states seeing higher case numbers in recent days was Texas, but it's too early to tell whether that is just a function of more people being tested, or if there is an actual surge of new cases. On Saturday, Texas had its highest day of new virus cases yet, at 1,801 - but about one-third of those came from a meatpacking plant outbreak in Amarillo.

The Latest News Headlines

  • More than 5.4 million people worldwide – including at least 1.6 million in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. While efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak continue, states have begun to shift their focus toward reopening their economies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here. Live updates for Monday, May 25, continue below: ‘Person of interest’ identified in bias crimes against Asians in Seattle Update 3 a.m. EDT May 25: Police in Seattle are investigating a growing number of crimes targeting Asians during the outbreak. Seattle officers said the attacks started late Saturday afternoon in the heart of Ballard and moved to Golden Gardens Park. They believe one man is responsible for all the incidents. A victim at Golden Gardens Park said the man spat in his face. The workers at Thai Thani Restaurant said the man threw things at them while demanding to know if they are Chinese. “I hear some noise, and I see some guy angry, yelling,' Umboom Moore told Seattle’s KIRO-TV. That was the first time she knew something unusual was happening Saturday night at the restaurant where she works. “Just like some crazy guy,” she said. “So I just started taking pictures.” Her co-worker, Natthiya Chumdee, said he was yelling at her. “Right over there, he smashed the window,” she said. When he asked if she is Chinese, she told him everyone there is Thai. He asked her to kneel and swear to it. “Well, I’m not going to do that,” she said. “He’s starting [to] lose control. And he comes here, and he says, ‘You know, I’m going to slam the door, this table to you.’” The night before, Tonya McCabe got the brunt of his anger. “He said, ‘Are you Chinese?’” she said. “And I said, ‘No, we’re not.’ And he still kept yelling at us. And I said, ‘If you’re not going to leave, I’m going to call 911.’ And then he said, ‘Better [expletive] call 911.’” Just last week, a man was captured on camera shoving an Asian couple as they walked by. They told Seattle police he spat on them, too. The man in these latest attacks is described as white, 5 feet, 10 inches tall, in his mid-20s to mid-30s and is of a muscular build. He was wearing a white shirt and shorts. It is the same suspect description in two attacks at Golden Gardens Park on Saturday night. “I stand back there, and ... yell to him, ‘Get out, leave!’” said McCabe. It has McCabe and the others working at this restaurant finding a different way to get around this city that is now their home. “I’m afraid to like walk on the street or take a bus,” said McCabe. They told KIRO that the man also approached other Asian-owned businesses in the area before apparently heading to Golden Gardens Park. Anyone who recognizes him is asked to call Seattle police. 17-year-old Georgia boy becomes youngest in state to die from COVID-19 Update 2:24 a.m. EDT May 25: The Georgia Department of Public Health said Sunday that a 17-year-old boy has died of the coronavirus, marking the youngest fatality and first pediatric death in the state. Nancy Nydam with the department confirmed the information to Atlanta’s WSB-TV on Sunday. The teen was from Fulton County and had an underlying condition, according to officials. His identity has not been released. More than 1,800 people have died of COVID-19 in Georgia since the outbreak began, with the median age of deaths at 73.6 years old, according to the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cases of COVID-19 in children have typically been less severe, though there has been growing concern and a new warning about a rare condition recently seen in dozens of children nationwide. A spokesperson for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta confirmed that a team of infectious disease and cardiology experts are evaluating several cases in metro Atlanta of children who exhibited Kawasaki-like symptoms and inflammation. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta physician specialists stressed that it appears to be a rare finding with a low rate in Georgia. New York health officials have already issued a warning about a rare inflammatory syndrome that has infected at least 64 children in that state. A spokesperson for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta said they have experts for treating the symptoms regardless of a potential link to COVID-19. Families should contact their doctor or visit an emergency room if their child develops signs of illness such as high fever, rash, red eyes, abdominal pain and swelling of the face, hands or feet. US coronavirus cases top 1.6M, deaths near 98K Published 12:43 a.m. EDT May 25: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States surged past 1.6 million early Monday across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, there are at least 1,643,238 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 97,720 deaths. The hardest-hit states remain New York, with 361,515 cases and 29,141 deaths, and New Jersey, with 154,154 cases and 11,138 deaths. Massachusetts, with 92,675 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 6,372, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 110,304. Only 16 states and territories have confirmed fewer than 5,000 cases each. Seven other states have now confirmed at least 42,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 94,020 cases, resulting in 3,754 deaths • Pennsylvania: 71,563 cases, resulting in 5,136 deaths • Texas: 55,861 cases, resulting in 1,528 deaths • Michigan: 54,679 cases, resulting in 5,228 deaths • Florida: 50,867 cases, resulting in 2,237 deaths • Maryland: 46,313 cases, resulting in 2,277 deaths • Georgia: 42,902 cases, resulting in 1,827 deaths Meanwhile, Connecticut has confirmed at least 40,468 cases; Louisiana, Virginia, Ohio and Indiana each has confirmed at least 31,000 cases; Colorado, North Carolina, Minnesota and Tennessee each has confirmed more than 20,000 cases; Washington, Iowa, Arizona and Wisconsin each has confirmed at least 15,000 cases; Alabama and Rhode Island each has confirmed more than 14,000 cases; Mississippi, Missouri and Nebraska each has confirmed at least 12,000 cases; South Carolina has confirmed at least 10,000 cases; Kansas, Delaware, Kentucky, Utah and the District of Columbia each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases, followed by Nevada with more than 7,000; New Mexico and Oklahoma each has confirmed at least 6,000 cases, followed by Arkansas with more than 5,000; South Dakota and New Hampshire each has confirmed at least 4,000 cases; and Oregon and Puerto Rico each has confirmed at least 3,000 cases. Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown.
  • The Republican National Committee and other conservative groups filed a lawsuit Sunday to stop California from mailing ballots to all voters ahead of the November general election. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced earlier this month that the state would mail all registered voters a ballot, while in-person voting would still remain an option, CNN reported. 'Democrats continue to use this pandemic as a ploy to implement their partisan election agenda, and Gov. Newsom's executive order is the latest direct assault on the integrity of our elections,' RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement, CNN reported. The lawsuit, filed by the RNC, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the California Republican Party challenges the expansion of absentee voting. '(It) violates eligible citizens' right to vote,' the lawsuit claims. '(And) invites fraud, coercion, theft, and otherwise illegitimate voting.' State officials stand by the move. “California will not force voters to choose between protecting their health and exercising their right to vote,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. “We are meeting our obligation to provide an accessible, secure and safe election this November. Sending every registered voter a ballot by mail is smart policy and absolutely the right thing to do during this COVID-19 pandemic.” The lawsuit is one of nearly a dozen across the country challenging Democrat-led vote-by-mail expansion. The RNC has pored $20 million into the nationwide legal effort, CNN reported. Some states, including Republican-heavy Utah, already conduct their elections completely by mail. There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud linked to voting-by-mail, CNN reported.
  • Thousands of convicted felons will be eligible to vote in Florida after a federal court ruled that a law that created wealth-based hurdles to voting is unconstitutional. The law, SB 7066, required people with past convictions to pay all outstanding legal fees, costs, fines and restitution before regaining their right to vote. The law undermined Floridians’ 2018 passage of Amendment 4, which restored voting rights to more than a million people who completed the terms of their sentence, including parole or probation. U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle found that conditioning voting on payment of legal financial obligations a person is unable to pay violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment by discriminating on the basis of wealth. He said that requiring the payment of costs and fees violates the 24th Amendment, which prohibits poll taxes and violates the National Voter Registration Act. “This is a historic win for voting rights. Judge Hinkle told the state of Florida what the rest of America already knows. You can’t make wealth a prerequisite for voting. This ruling opens the way for hundreds of thousands of Floridians to exercise their fundamental right to vote this November, and our democracy will be stronger for their participation,' said Sean Morales-Doyle, senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice.
  • A temporary field hospital built for $21 million as the coronavirus outbreak threatened to overrun medical facilities in New York has closed without ever seeing a patient. Plans to transform the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal into a temporary 670-bed hospital were announced March 31, a day after the USNS Comfort hospital ship arrived to help coronavirus patients. Officials also announced a tennis center in Queens would be converted into a 350-bed facility. At that time, there were about 8,400 patients in hospitals citywide being treated for the coronavirus, The City reported. The tennis center opened as a medical facility April 11 when there were 12,184 patients in hospital beds being treated across the city. It cost $19.8 million to renovate and revert the tennis center. It closed earlier this month after taking in 79 patients. The Brooklyn hospital, built by SLSCO, a Texas-based construction company, was supposed to open in April but was not ready for patients until May 4, The City reported. By then, hospital use had been sliced in half, to about 6,000 patients. It closed last week without ever having a patient. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is expected to pay the costs for both hospitals. The two field hospitals were not the only emergency medical facilities in New York that saw limited use. The Comfort left New York after about a month and treating 182 patients, of which about 70% had the coronavirus. Several other field hospitals were built across New York for nearly $350 million. They closed in April without seeing any patients, The Associated Press reported. Built for worst-case scenarios, some of the unused facilities will be kept on stand by for a possible second wave. “As part of our hospital surge, we expanded capacity at a breakneck speed, ensuring our hospital infrastructure would be prepared to handle the very worst. We did so only with a single-minded focus: saving lives,” city spokesperson Avery Cohen told The New York Post. 'Over the past few months, social distancing, face coverings, and other precautionary measures have flattened the curve drastically, and we remain squarely focused on taking that progress even further.” The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Two hairstylists who tested positive for COVID-19 may have exposed 140 customers to the virus. The stylists worked at the same Great Clips salon location in Springfield, Missouri. One COVID-positive stylist continued going to work despite experiencing symptoms of the virus for eight days, exposing 84 clients and seven colleagues, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department announced Friday. A second COVID-positive stylist at the salon “potentially directly exposed” 56 more clients after working for five days while “experiencing very mild symptoms,' health department officials said. The business was legally open in accordance with Missouri’s reopening guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic. The stylists and their clients were wearing face coverings, a policy that was enforced by the Great Clips staff. A team of contact tracers are working to contact anyone else the stylists might have come in close contact with. According to the county health department, the stylist who first tested positive for the virus also visited a local Dairy Queen, a Walmart and a gym. “This scenario is well within our capacity of our staff to contact trace and hopefully contain,” Clay Goddard, Springfield-Greene County Health Department director, said in a news conference. “But I’m going to be honest with you, we can’t have many more of these. We can’t make this a regular habit or our capability as a community will be strained and we will have to reevaluate what things look like going forward.” The salon closed temporarily for a deep cleaning.

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