Trump says he will issue an executive order suspending immigration.
President Trump said on Monday that he intended to close the United States to people trying to immigrate into the country to live and work, a drastic move that he said would protect American workers from foreign competition once the nation’s economy began to recover from the shutdown caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
“In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter, “I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!”
In recent weeks, the Trump administration has said health concerns justified moving swiftly to bar asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants from entering the country, alarming immigration advocates who have said that Mr. Trump and his advisers were using a global pandemic to further hard-line immigration policies.
But the president’s late-night announcement on Monday signals his most wide-ranging attempt yet to seal the country off from the rest of the world. A formal order temporarily barring the provision of new green cards and work visas could come as early as the next few days, according to several people familiar with the plan.
Under such an executive order, the Trump administration would no longer approve any applications from foreigners to live and work in the United States for an undetermined period of time, effectively shutting down the legal immigration system in the same way the president has long advocated closing the borders to illegal immigration.
It was not immediately clear what legal basis Mr. Trump would claim to justify shutting down most immigration.
Workers who have for years received visas to perform specialized jobs in the United States would also be denied permission to arrive, though some workers in some industries deemed critical could be exempted from the ban, the people familiar with the president’s discussion said.
The number of visas issued to foreigners abroad looking to immigrate to the United States has declined by about 25 percent, to 462,422 in the 2019 fiscal year from 617,752 in 2016.
Several states in the South are moving to reopen businesses.
South Carolina allowed retail shops ranging from department stores to flea markets to reopen Monday afternoon, shortly after its governor, Henry McMaster, signed an executive order reversing some of the closings he ordered earlier this month.
On Friday, residents of Georgia will be allowed to return to the gym and get haircuts, pedicures, massages and tattoos, Gov. Brian Kemp said. Next Monday, they can dine in restaurants and go to the movies. Tennessee’s stay-at-home order will expire April 30, allowing most businesses there to reopen on May 1, Gov. Bill Lee said.
The moves by three Republican governors of Southern states to let some businesses reopen came as the outbreak continued to spread in parts of the nation, and as some other governors and public health experts have warned in recent days that testing remained inadequate to quickly identify and contain new outbreaks.
Massachusetts has been particularly hard hit recently, and at the White House briefing on Monday evening, Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the coronavirus response coordinator, noted that “we still have a significant number of cases, both in the Boston area and across Massachusetts and Chicago.”
Even in areas where the number of new cases is beginning to flatten, it is doing so at a very high level: New York, which reported its fewest new cases in a month and its lowest one-day death toll in more than two weeks, still reported 4,726 new cases and had 478 new deaths on Sunday.
President Trump, who has made no secret of his desire for businesses to reopen swiftly, outlined nonbinding guidelines last week for states that want to ease the restrictions they imposed to combat the virus.
South Carolina moved to let its retail stores reopen Monday at 5 p.m., but said that they must adhere to social distancing requirements, calling for them to operate at 20 percent occupancy or at five customers per 1,000 square feet, whichever is less. It also said that businesses should not allow customers to congregate within six feet of one another. The state planned to reopen public beach access points, piers, docks, and wharves at noon on Tuesday.
In Georgia, Mr. Kemp said at a news conference on Monday that the state would allow the reopening of gyms, bowling alleys and salons on Friday. He also said his decision would be “the operational standard in all jurisdictions.”
“This means local action cannot be taken that is more or less restrictive,” he said.
He added that theaters, private social clubs and dine-in restaurants would be allowed to open on April 27, but bars, nightclubs and live performance venues would remain closed.
In Tennessee, Mr. Lee said that some businesses could reopen as soon as next Monday.
Trump defends nation’s testing capacity, even as some states scramble for supplies.
President Trump mounted a lengthy defense of the country’s coronavirus testing capacity during his daily briefing on Monday, even as governors in several states scrambled to access testing materials.
Mr. Trump and members of the White House coronavirus task force said they had shared information with state officials about where to find machines to process test samples, and Vice President Mike Pence again said there was “enough testing capacity for every state in America” to make decisions about lifting restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the virus.
But officials at the briefing — including Mr. Trump, who brandished a thick binder that he said listed about 5,000 testing facilities — emphasized lab capacity over another issue that state officials have underscored recently: an insufficient supply of materials needed to conduct the tests. Pressed about the disconnect, Mr. Trump reacted dismissively to several governors.
“Some states have far more capacity than they actually understand,” he said. “That is a complex subject, but some of the governors did not understand it.” He named Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois, a Democrat, and Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland, a Republican.
Mr. Trump also framed the debates around testing in political terms, saying that Democrats who weeks ago pressed the administration to procure ventilators now were asking for testing “because they want to be able to criticize.”
At the news conference, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, shared slides illustrating the locations of laboratories and machines where tests could be processed.
The slides were not specific about shortages of key materials needed to run on-site tests, and at the same briefing Admiral Brett P. Giroir, the assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services, who is in charge of the administration’s Covid-19 testing response, said the federal government was encouraging companies to increase production of supplies, including nasal swabs and collection tubes.
“We have focused on every piece of the supply chain that relates to testing,” he said.
On Sunday, multiple governors said on talk shows that a shortage of tests and supplies was among the most significant hurdles to lifting restrictions in their states.
“We have been asked as governors to fight that war without the supplies we need,” Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia, a Democrat, said on CNN.
In Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, also a Democrat, said the state could perform “double or triple” the number of tests it is doing now “if we had the swabs or reagents.”
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, a Democrat, also pointed to the lack of chemical reagents. “With the machines we bought, we could actually be doing more if they would give us the reagents,” he said. “That’s the logjam that we are in.”
There are typically about 150,000 diagnostic tests conducted each day, according to the Covid Tracking Project. Researchers at Harvard estimated last week that to ease restrictions, the nation needed to at least triple that pace of testing.
ICE is ordered to release immigrants at risk of the virus.
A federal judge has ordered Immigration and Customs Enforcement to identify for release all immigrants in its custody whose age or health conditions place them at risk of contracting the coronavirus as long as the pandemic persists.
In a scathing rebuke of the government’s stated efforts to mitigate the virus’s spread, Judge Jesus Bernal of the United States District Court in Los Angeles said there was evidence of “system-wide inaction’’ on the government’s part that could put vulnerable immigrants at risk.
The government has said that many of the 31,000 detainees it holds must be locked up to ensure that they show up for hearings in immigration court. But the judge noted, “Participation in immigration proceedings is not possible for those who are sick or dying, and is impossible for those who are dead.”
A total of 220 detainees had tested positive for Covid-19 as of Monday, according to official ICE data.
In a preliminary injunction issued late Monday, Judge Bernal said that immigration officials have not been as proactive in setting standards for protecting detainees as has the federal Bureau of Prisons, which he said “issued a decisive and urgent call to action.”
The injunction gives the immigration agency 10 days to determine whether any immigrant has underlying health issues that warrant release. Similar reviews must be conducted for new detainees within five days of their arrival.
Detained immigrants have begun hunger strikes in recent weeks amid fears that the virus could sweep through packed detention facilities, and several courts have ordered the release of individual detainees.
Ohio officials said Sunday that at least 1,828 inmates — almost three-quarters of the prison population — had tested positive at the Marion Correctional Institution, a minimum- and medium-security prison about an hour’s drive north of Columbus. That’s more than the number of known cases at a meatpacking plant in South Dakota and an aircraft carrier docked in Guam.
About one out of five confirmed virus cases in Ohio is now connected with the state’s prison system, according to statewide figures. The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said that as of Sunday, at least 2,400 inmates in the system had tested positive, and seven had died of either confirmed or suspected Covid-19 infections.
No deaths have been reported among the prisoners in Marion, but one staff member at the facility has died, and 103 employees have tested positive. The prison announced its first positive case, of an employee, on March 29.
Despite warnings from health officials and attempts to release some inmates to avoid outbreaks, jails, prisons and detention centers have emerged as major coronavirus spreaders. As of Monday, four of the 10 largest-known sources of infection in the United States were correctional facilities, according to Times tracking data.
And even those numbers are most likely a vast undercount, because some state and local agencies have not released information about cases behind bars, and others, including the federal Bureau of Prisons, are not testing everyone who falls ill. In contrast, the Ohio corrections department said it was testing aggressively inside prisons where the virus has been confirmed, extending tests even to prisoners who were not showing symptoms.
Collateral damage includes people whose other illnesses go untreated.
The coronavirus may be killing people who are not infected by depriving them of desperately needed treatment, said Dr. Bruce Lowell, an internist in Great Neck, N.Y.
“People are still having heart attacks, people are still having strokes,” he said. “I feel as if there is no awareness of anything other than Covid.”
The virus has sickened hundreds of thousands of Americans, killed tens of thousands of them and forced millions into unemployment. But the pandemic has also shaken every aspect of health care, including cancer treatments, organ transplants and even brain surgery.
Beds, blood, doctors, nurses and ventilators are in short supply; operating rooms are being turned into intensive care units; surgeons have been redeployed to treat people who cannot breathe. Even if there is room for other patients, medical centers hesitate to bring them in unless necessary, for fear of infecting them — or of health workers being infected by them.
Early on, as the coronavirus loomed, many hospitals halted elective surgery. Knee replacements, face lifts and most hernias could wait. So could checkups and routine mammograms.
But some conditions fall into a gray zone of medical risk. While they may not be emergencies, many illnesses could become life threatening or leave patients with permanent disabilities if they are not quickly treated.
Nearly one in four cancer patients reported delays in their care, for example, including access to in-person appointments, imaging, surgery and other services, according to a recent survey by the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network.
Oil prices plummet as storage capacity runs low.
Oil prices tumbled on Monday as the economic crisis set off by the pandemic continued to destroy demand for energy and as concerns grew that storage tanks in the United States were near capacity and unable to hold all the unused crude.
Oil that is scheduled to be delivered in June fell 12 percent Monday to about $22 a barrel, but at the same time a benchmark to be delivered next month was essentially deemed worthless. Owing largely to a quirk in the way that oil prices are set, the May benchmark actually fell into negative territory, suggesting people who had oil to sell were willing to pay to have it taken off their hands.
The problem is that the United States is running out of places to store its oil, which is already being stockpiled on barges at sea and in any nook and cranny companies can find in their facilities. Traders are now worrying that even this space is running out. Under futures contracts, West Texas Intermediate — the American benchmark for oil prices — is delivered to Cushing, Okla., but investors are worried that there will be no place there to put it.
Broader worries are also growing that the deal reached on April 12 between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other producers would not be sufficient to prevent the oil markets from being overwhelmed with a record surplus resulting from collapsing demand because of lockdowns around the world.
The numbers explain why investors are worried. Under the terms of the arrangement brokered by Mr. Trump, Saudi Arabia, Russia and other countries will cut 9.7 million barrels a day beginning in May. Analysts forecast that oil consumption in April will fall by about three times that.
Oil companies will either have to turn the taps off or see storage rise to tank-busting levels. David Fyfe, the chief economist at Argus Media, a commodities pricing firm, said he expected tank farms around the globe to fill to the brim by mid-May.
Stocks on Wall Street tumbled on Monday, with the S&P 500 falling about 1.8 percent as shares of energy producers followed the price of crude oil lower. Oil producers were among the worst performing shares in the index. Exxon and Chevron both fell more than 4 percent. United Airlines and American Airlines also fell more than 4 percent, after the former said that it had lost almost $2 billion in the first three months of the year.
Abortion is effectively banned in Texas after an appeals court ruling.
Abortion access narrowed again in Texas on Monday, when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit vacated a lower court’s judgment in favor of abortion clinics. The ruling effectively bans nearly all abortion in Texas, but it remains unclear how long that ban would last as the state begins to lift restrictions on elective procedures.
Last week, the same appeals court ruled that medication abortion, which involves taking pills early in pregnancy, could proceed in Texas. A spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood said lawyers for the clinics had not decided whether they would go back to the Supreme Court to ask for relief.
At least seven states have included abortions on a list of medical procedures that were not essential and needed to be postponed during the coronavirus pandemic. State officials have argued that their decisions were necessary to preserve medical and protective equipment.
On Friday, the authorities in Texas relaxed some restrictions on elective surgery, and the order requiring the postponement of all nonessential operations is set to expire on Tuesday night.
Cuomo says 478 more people died in New York, the lowest single-day toll in two weeks.
On Monday, the state started an ambitious effort to test for antibodies among a sample of 3,000 people who had been randomly selected. This and more testing, Mr. Cuomo said, was required to give New York a full picture of the extent of the virus and would help inform decisions about easing restrictions.
Without mentioning the president by name, Mr. Cuomo made another appeal for federal funding to help with the testing needed to guide the gradual lifting of restrictions in certain areas, echoing a plea from Republican and Democratic governors across the country. Mr. Cuomo expressed frustration that the legislation currently under consideration in Washington did not include a funding pipeline to assist states with tests. Mr. Trump said at his briefing on Monday evening that Mr. Cuomo would visit the White House on Tuesday.
As for easing some of the measures put in place to stem the spread of the virus, Mr. Cuomo said it would not be immediate, though he acknowledged the nice weather luring out New Yorkers who had been staying in their homes for weeks.
As more people leave their homes, the infection rate is likely to go up, he said.
“When activity increases, infection rate spreads,” Mr. Cuomo warned on Monday, adding that smart decisions now would lead to good outcomes in two weeks.
Gathering at schools, parades and concerts, he said, would be “madness.”
Small demonstrations continue to protest stay-at-home orders, despite health warnings.
Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Pennsylvania Capitol in Harrisburg on Monday to call for the loosening of stay-at-home orders so people could return to work. A protest planned in Annapolis, Md., on Monday drew only a handful of demonstrators.
In recent days, Mr. Trump has helped foment the protests in various state capitals, attacking Democratic governors and taking up the slogans of protesters who claim to want to “liberate” their states. And he has defended protesters who have rebelled against state restrictions, threatening to undermine the efforts of his own administration’s public health experts.
At the Pennsylvania rally, there were calls to end “government tyranny,” Trump 2020 flags were flying, and some people embraced conspiracies about vaccines and Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder.
Facebook said on Monday that it had removed some posts on the social network promoting protests calling for the easing of restrictions, after determining that the posts violated state guidelines on social distancing efforts in California, New Jersey and Nebraska. But it said it would continue to allow others.
“Unless government prohibits the event during this time, we allow it to be organized on Facebook,” said Andy Stone, a Facebook spokesman. “For this same reason, events that defy government’s guidance on social distancing aren’t allowed on Facebook.”
While public health experts have said large gatherings like the protest in Pennsylvania are likely to spread the virus, State Senator Doug Mastriano played down those risks. “A quarantine is normally for the sick,” he said, “but what the heck is going on here? I’m not sick.”
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll taken last week found that 58 percent of American voters said they were more concerned that relaxing stay-at-home restrictions would lead to more deaths than they were that keeping the restrictions would hurt the economy.
Congress and administration near agreement on small-business aid, but testing remains a sticking point.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi told House Democrats privately on Monday afternoon that negotiations between the Trump administration and Democrats to reach a final deal could yield an agreement later before the night was out. Senate leaders scheduled a session for 4 p.m. on Tuesday, signaling optimism that they could resolve the issue and quickly approve the measure without a formal vote that would require senators to return to Washington.
But negotiators were still haggling over a demand by Democrats that the agreement, which is likely to include $25 billion for testing, include a requirement that the government establish a national testing strategy.
Democrats have said that a national testing strategy is crucial to combating the further spread of the coronavirus and allowing states to plan for eventual reopening. Republicans, wary of placing the onus on the administration to devise and carry out such a strategy, have argued that states should set their own plans.
Mr. Trump appeared to reject the Democrats’ proposal on Monday, saying that they were “playing a very dangerous political game” by focusing on testing. “States, not the Federal Government, should be doing the Testing,” the president wrote on Twitter.
Negotiators were also still debating the terms of the $300 billion in new aid for small businesses under the Paycheck Protection Program, which is designed to allow companies that keep paying their employees to receive forgivable loans underwritten by the federal government.
Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, on Monday accused Democrats of “prolonging their discussions with the administration” and delaying final agreement. “It is past time to get this done for the country,” he said.
Lawmakers appeared to be coalescing around providing $310 billion to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program and reserving $60 billion for smaller financial institutions; adding $60 billion for the Small Business Administration’s disaster relief fund; and devoting an additional $75 billion to hospitals and $25 billion to testing.
Senate leaders are hoping to approve any deal during a procedural session as early as this week in order to avoid having lawmakers back in Washington before their scheduled May 4 return — a maneuver that would require agreement from all 100 senators.
Even as Congress raced to provide more money for businesses and hospitals, the administration was moving to ensure that individuals would receive the aid included in the stimulus law. The Treasury Department was evaluating whether it had the legal authority to stop banks from garnishing stimulus payments that are deposited into bank accounts with negative balances, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The Trump administration came under fire this month after some banks began withholding economic relief money that was meant to help struggling Americans weather the coronavirus crisis. The Treasury Department started sending stimulus checks by direct deposit to millions of Americans last week.
Banks can legally withhold funds that go into accounts that have negative balances, and no specific provision in the $2.2 trillion relief package prevented them from taking customers’ stimulus money to cover debts. The law does prohibit the garnishing of stimulus money for state or federal debts, except for court-mandated child support.
Some banks have halted the policy amid public backlash.
Shake Shack is giving back its $10 million stimulus loan.
Shake Shack said on Sunday that it was returning a $10 million loan from a federal program to help small businesses amid mounting criticism that large chains had been favored over smaller operators in the program’s rollout to the restaurant industry.
The $349 billion stimulus effort, which was distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, was exhausted in just two weeks, with many loans favoring larger companies that were better able to navigate the application process. Major chains like Potbelly and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse were able to secure tens of millions of dollars in loans while other owners were left scrambling to survive the deepening financial crisis.
Shake Shack, with 189 outlets and nearly 8,000 employees in the United States, said that it would return the funds after securing additional capital through an equity transaction on Friday.
The National Restaurant Association on Monday asked congressional leaders to create a recovery fund for the industry. In a letter, the trade association said that 8 million restaurant employees had been laid off or furloughed and that the industry had lost $30 billion since March, with another $50 billion expected to disappear by the end of April.
“The restaurant industry has been the hardest hit by the coronavirus mandates — suffering more sales and job losses than any other industry in the country,” the letter said.
The Federal Reserve could offer more help to state and local governments.
Fed officials said on April 9 that they would use their emergency lending powers to begin purchasing municipal bonds, pledging to buy up to $500 billion from states and the biggest cities and counties. While the central bank has yet to announce a start date, its plans have met with both hope and criticism.
New Jersey is already gearing up to tap the program. Some lawmakers — including Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, a Democrat and the minority leader, and Senator Mike Crapo, Republican of Idaho — and analysts have questioned it, saying it does not go far enough.
The Fed made clear from the outset that it could do more, saying that it would continue to monitor markets and that it would “evaluate whether additional measures are needed to support the flow of credit and liquidity to state and local governments.”
Snapping up municipal debt is a new frontier for the Fed, which has spent decades treating municipal bond-buying as a bright line that should not be crossed. Purchasing state and local debt amounts to bankrolling local political decisions, a move that could open officials up to criticism if the money is poorly deployed.
But as the economy continues its steep downturn, causing growth to plummet in a way unseen since the Great Depression, the Fed chair, Jerome H. Powell, and his colleagues have been breaking all of their own rules — taking a “move fast and save the economy” approach, despite the consequences that might follow.
A W.H.O. director warns of hurdles to a vaccine.
The executive director of the World Health Organization’s emergencies program warned on Monday that even if a vaccine were quickly developed, manufacturing and distributing it could prove extraordinarily difficult.
There is no approved treatment or vaccine against infection from the coronavirus. More than two dozen companies have announced vaccine programs, and at least three candidates are in human trials.
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has warned that a vaccine is at least 18 months away. Other experts say even that timeline is optimistic.
Manufacturers must begin planning to scale up capacities to meet global demand when a successful vaccine is developed, said Dr. Michael Ryan, the executive director of the W.H.O.’s emergencies program.
Billions of people around the globe may eventually need vaccination. Modern vaccines, made with DNA and RNA, require specialized facilities; it is not clear who could make them.
And it will be important that vaccines go where they are most needed, not simply to the countries that can afford them. The W.H.O. is working with government leaders and nonprofits like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations to ensure that methods for equitable vaccine distribution will be in place, Dr. Ryan said.
“We’ve worked for over 20 years trying to ensure that products like vaccines are distributed in emergencies on the basis of epidemiological need,” Dr. Ryan said at a news briefing. “We intend to do exactly the same here.”
The organization has a long history of distributing vaccines, including those for meningitis, yellow fever, cholera and polio. Yet mass vaccination campaigns are still logistically difficult and often are met with resistance.
“As a global health architecture, we’re not very good at delivering vaccines in people other than children — in adults,” Dr. Ryan said. “If this is to work, it will require one of the greatest scientific, one of the greatest political, one of the greatest financial, one of the greatest public health operations in a generation.”
Maryland received thousands of tests from South Korea.
When Mr. Trump told governors that they needed to step up their efforts to secure medical supplies, Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland, a Republican, took the entreaty seriously and negotiated with suppliers in South Korea to obtain coronavirus test kits.
“The No. 1 problem facing us is lack of testing,” said Mr. Hogan, who has been among the many critics of the Trump administration’s repeated claims that states have adequate testing provided by the federal government. “We can’t open up our states without ramping up testing.”
He added: “Luckily we had a very strong relationship with Korea. But it should not have been this difficult.”
In recent days, his wife, Yumi Hogan, a Korean immigrant who speaks fluent Korean, had been on the phone in the middle of the night helping to secure the final deal with two labs to sell Maryland the tests.
On Saturday, the first Korean Air flight to touchdown at Baltimore-Washington International Airport arrived carrying 5,000 test kits — for which the Food and Drug Administration and other agencies gave their seal of approval as the plane was landing.
“I was frosted because my team was saying that the F.D.A. approval was going to hold it up,” Mr. Hogan said in a telephone interview. “I didn’t care and was going to get the tests anyway.”
So far, Maryland has conducted 71,577 tests, while 516 people in the state have died from the virus and infections, at nearly 14,000, continue to rise. The new test kits will give the state the capability to make 500,000 new tests, state officials said.
On Saturday, Mr. Hogan, his wife and a group of other state officials greeted the flight to receive the kits. The new tests, once they have passed muster in local labs, will be distributed to the testing centers the state has set up in sporting fields, repurposed vehicle emissions testing centers and other locations.
The virus has swept through the Detroit police, from the chief on down.
But few departments have been hit worse than Detroit’s. Out of about 2,800 uniformed officers and civilians who work for the department, at least 180 had tested positive for the virus by late last week, with more than 1,000 quarantined at some point. Chief James Craig tested positive on March 27 and stayed isolated at home until Thursday.
“Officers were going out left and right,” said a veteran with more than 20 years of experience, who asked that his name be withheld because he was not authorized to speak to reporters. “There were a few days that it became overwhelming.”
The head of the homicide department died. So did a 911 operator and a volunteer police chaplain. As recently as Thursday, nine people from the department remained hospitalized.
Officers patrolling the streets and investigating crimes said that the virus had ratcheted up stress and disrupted all the standard rhythms of police work. Instead of roll call, officers get temperature checks and an envelope with the day’s orders. They give arrested people masks and wipe down patrol cars after every encounter.
“I have to come into work concerned about whether I’m going to be the next victim or not,” said Officer Marc Perez, fresh out of the police academy, after a recent patrol shift through Northwest Detroit. “There’s only so much an officer can do to prevent himself from coming into contact with that actual virus. Every day is stressful for me.”
Civil rights leaders see virus fight as another front in long struggle.
Activists are focusing on the newest front in the country’s civil rights struggle: the disproportionate impact the coronavirus is having on communities of color.
The racial disparity in infections and deaths is viewed as the latest chapter of historical injustices, generational poverty and a flawed health care system. The epidemic has hit African-Americans and Hispanics especially hard, including in New York, where the virus is twice as deadly for those populations.
But with rallies and marches out in the midst of widespread quarantines, civil rights activists are organizing broad, loosely stitched campaigns at home from their laptops and cellphones, creating online platforms and starting petitions to help shape relief and recovery plans.
Collectively, the goal is targeted legislation, financial investments and government and corporate accountability.
“It’s really hard to overstate the critical moment we are in as a people, given how this virus has ripped through our community,” said Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization with 1.7 million members. “We know the pain will not be shared equally.”
Inside a troubled N.J. nursing home, 70 died and body bags piled up.
By Sunday, at least 70 Andover residents had died and dozens of the 420 remaining residents and staff members had either tested positive for the virus or were sick with fevers, coughs or both, according to county officials.
Amid the high death toll, the Medicaid and Medicare administrator, Seema Verma, announced on Sunday night that nursing homes would now be required to notify residents and their families when there is a positive test. They must also alert the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, she said.
In New Jersey, The Times interviewed current and former workers, administrators and relatives of residents, and reviewed property records, financial filings and inspection reports in an effort to understand what went wrong. The workers said they were devoted to the residents but were ill prepared for the outbreak, with little training and even less protective gear. They said they felt all but abandoned by the home’s management and state and federal officials.
U.S. condemns Hong Kong’s crackdown on democracy activists.
Attorney General William P. Barr conflated the arrests of the 14 Hong Kong democracy advocates — the biggest roundup since antigovernment protests began last year — with what he called “industrial espionage” by the Chinese Communist Party against the United States.
“I condemn the latest assault on the rule of law and the liberty of the people of Hong Kong,” Mr. Barr said in a statement. “These events show how antithetical the values of the Chinese Communist Party are to those we share in Western liberal democracies. These actions — along with its malign influence activity and industrial espionage here in the United States — demonstrate once again that the Chinese Communist Party cannot be trusted.”
Mr. Barr’s remarks echoed a statement by Mike Pompeo, the U.S. secretary of state, who said that Beijing had violated the agreements instituted in 1997 when the former British colony was returned to Chinese control with the promise that the city would continue to “enjoy a high degree of autonomy.”
The arrests were made as Hong Kong battles to contain the coronavirus, which has helped quell huge street protests but fueled further distrust of the authorities. The virus has halted protests around the world, forcing people to stay home and giving the authorities new powers to limit public gatherings and detain people with less fear of public blowback.
Where can the coronavirus live? Here is the most current guidance.
We asked experts to answer questions about places where coronavirus lurks (or doesn’t).
Reporting was contributed by Davey Alba, Pam Belluck, Alan Blinder, Jonah Engel Bromwich, Emily Cochrane, Michael Cooper, Scott Dodd, John Eligon, Nicholas Fandos, Jacey Fortin, Trip Gabriel, Christina Goldbaum, Russell Goldman, Denise Grady, Winnie Hu, Miriam Jordan, Neil MacFarquhar, Sarah Mervosh, Austin Ramzy, Alan Rappeport, Stanley Reed, Katie Rogers, Rick Rojas, Marc Santora, Michael D. Shear, Knvul Sheikh, Jeanna Smialek, Jennifer Steinhauer, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Eileen Sullivan, Vanessa Swales, Ana Swanson, Sabrina Tavernise, Katie Thomas, Timothy Williams and David Yaffe-Bellany.