Trump under fire for pushing arbitrary coronavirus deadline
Economists, health experts and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have criticized President Trump for saying he would like to reopen thousands of businesses closed in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus by Easter.
Mr. Trump’s own top medical experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, have warned against arbitrary deadlines for resuming normal activities.
Mr. Trump, however, is accusing the media of wanting to keep the country shut down to hurt his re-election chances. Watch the video above for Paula Reid’s full report on the discord within the White House.
Restaurant workers already living “tip to mouth” face more hardship in shutdown
Restaurant servers who rely on customers’ tips to make ends meet have seen their livelihoods vanish virtually overnight. The restaurant industry is reeling from the financial impact of coronavirus shutdowns, and so are the workers who kept it running.
Click here for the full report, part of the new CBSN Originals documentary series REVERB. Watch the latest episode, “Surviving an Unlivable Wage,” in the video player above. It premieres on CBSN Sunday, March 29, at 8 p.m. ET.
For 1st time since WWII, France uses specially-equipped train to move critically ill
For the first time since World War II, hospital patients have been transported across France by train.
Twenty critically-ill COVID-19 patients, all on life support, were boarded onto a specially-kitted out high-speed TGV train in Strasbourg, eastern France early Thursday destined for hospitals in the Loire region and Brittany in the west.
Thirty doctors accompanied them. Some 200 rail workers were mobilized to help adapt the five cars, and to assist with embarking and disembarking the patients.
Eastern France was one of the first areas hit by the new coronavirus. It was the site of the first major cluster, after people who attended a Lenten religious service caught the virus and spread it through the community before the alarm was raised.
Almost half of the more than 1,300 people who have died in the pandemic in France were in the Greater East region.
India announces $22.6 billion to help the poor survive world’s biggest COVID-19 lockdown
India’s government has announced a $22.6 billion plan to help the country’s poor get through a 21-day lockdown ordered to try to curb the spread of the COVID-19 disease. The lockdown in the nation of 1.3 billion is the biggest in the world prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, and it presents a particular challenge for the impoverished.
The financial aid will provide direct cash transfers and food subsidies. It’s expected to give much needed relief to millions of daily wage earners and migrant workers who have been put out of work by the lockdown.
“No one will go hungry,” India’s finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said while announcing the relief.
Thursday is the second day of the three-week lockdown. Most businesses and transport links are shut down across the country. Police have set up check points on major streets to look for any rule breakers.
There are more than 650 confirmed COVID-19 cases in India and 13 deaths, but there are fears those numbers could be set to rise sharply. In spite of the lockdown, at least one wholesale vegetable market was densely packed with buyers in Delhi Thursday morning.
– Arshad R. Zargar
U.S. Navy vet freed from Iranian prison with coronavirus symptoms wants to come home
A Navy veteran released from an Iranian prison last week on a medical furlough says he’s sick with coronavirus symptoms and is requesting a humanitarian evacuation to the United States for medical treatment.
Michael White was hospitalized Wednesday in a ward for coronavirus patients in Iran and has experienced fever, fatigue, a cough and shortness of breath since his furlough last week, according to a statement from Jon Franks, a family spokesman.
White, of Imperial Beach, California, “is an immunocompromised cancer patient and his situation is urgent,” Franks said. White has been tested for the coronavirus but the results haven’t come back.
Va. governor asks Liberty University President Jerry Falwell to reconsider welcoming students back
Virginia’s governor is asking Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. to reconsider his decision to welcome students back to the Lynchburg campus this week after their spring break.
Governor Ralph Northam criticized Liberty at a news conference Wednesday in Richmond. He said Liberty was sending “mixed messages” about the COVID-19 disease. Liberty told students they’re “welcome” to return to campus after last week’s spring break. The school is among the nation’s largest and most prominent evangelical colleges.
Many colleges nationwide have announced campus closures, but Liberty initially planned to continue on-campus instruction. Last week, after Northam restricted gatherings of more than 100, Liberty said it would transition most classes online from Monday.
However, residential students were told they were “welcome” to return to campus, according to an email sent to students. The move was at odds with many other institutions of higher education, including the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, which has said only students who have “no other options” can remain on campus, and William & Mary, which closed its residence halls.
Desperate American woman finally gets flight out of Peru amid pandemic
A 33-year-old American woman running out of her life-saving medication to treat her auto-immune disease finally boarded a flight home Wednesday after being stuck in Peru for about 10 days, but hundreds of other U.S. citizens remained stranded after the South American nation closed its borders due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I could not be happier,” Anna, who requested that her last name not be made public due to privacy concerns related to her medical condition, said after getting on the plane in Cusco.
At the same time, it was bittersweet. On the way to the airport, Anna and her husband saw a long line of Americans hoping to get on the flight. Her husband told The Associated Press that some people have been “sitting outside the airport for a week.”
– Associated Press
Marine becomes first person stationed at the Pentagon to test positive
A U.S. Marine stationed at the Pentagon tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday, the Department of Defense said in a Wednesday statement. The patient, who is now in isolation, last visited the Pentagon on March 13.
“The Marine followed U.S. Centers for Disease Control guidelines and DoD directives by isolating himself when an immediate family member began to show symptoms,” the Pentagon said in a statement. “Once he became ill, he contacted his assigned medical facility.”
The statement added that the marine’s workspace has been cleaned by a Pentagon response team, and that a contact investigation is ongoing.
Atlanta hospitals overwhelmed by coronavirus patients
At Atlanta’s Grady Hospital, all 100 beds in the intensive care unit were full. Then COVID-19 hit. Patients are now quarantined wherever the hospital finds space.
“The stress is not just capacity,” Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Jansen told CBS News. “It’s not just stress of supplies, but on the individuals taking care of the patients. Because so much is not known.”
At all of Atlanta’s four major hospitals, every ICU bed is taken. At one rural hospital in Georgia, 12 COVID-19 patients have died. The hospital is overwhelmed.
“They’ve asked for help, but we can’t give it,” Jansen said.
Read more here.
Mnuchin says Senate stimulus package will keep economy running for 3 months
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says he anticipates the Senate stimulus package will keep the economy afloat for about three months, as the nation deals with the catastrophic economic fallout from the novel coronavirus. Senate leaders of both parties have agreed on a sweeping $2 trillion financial relief package to help American workers, businesses and the strained health care system survive the virus outbreak, although some senators are threatening to delay the bill.
Mnuchin told reporters at the Coronavirus Task Force briefing Wednesday that small business retention loans would cover roughly 50% of private payroll, making loans that would supply eight weeks of salaries, as long as they keep workers employed, and overhead. The loans would be forgiven at the end of the eight-week period if the businesses keep their employees.
President Trump said he will sign the bill “immediately” after it reaches his desk. But it’s not yet completely clear when those payments to Americans will reach their wallets.
Read more here.