A number of other states ― Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island ― along with U.S. territory Puerto Rico have pushed back their primaries due to the coronavirus crisis. Alaska, Hawaii and Wyoming are holding their April elections by mail only, and Wisconsin is planning a similar measure.
― Sara Boboltz
Trump Approves Michigan Disaster Declaration, PPE Shipment Received ― 3/28/20, 12:20 p.m. ET
President Donald Trump approved Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) emergency declaration request on Friday, amid his repeated criticisms on Twitter and Sean Hannity’s Fox News program. The emergency declaration makes federal aid available to the state, which currently has 3,657 confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to Johns Hopkins data.
Whitmer announced Saturday morning that Michigan had received 112,800 N95 masks from the national stockpile, with 8,000 more masks on their way.
“We’ll keep working hard along with FEMA and the White House to get more of the PPE we need to keep Michiganders safe,” she said.
Earlier in the week, the governor had made a plea for personal protective equipment, which has been in short supply nationally, saying that it appeared the federal government had been blocking the supplies from reaching her state. Trump characteristically lashed out in response, tweeting late Friday that Whitmer “doesn’t have a clue.”
Trump revealed Friday at a press conference that Vice President Mike Pence has been quietly calling governors who criticize the federal response to the coronavirus crisis. Referring to Whitmer as “the woman in Michigan,” Trump said he told Pence, “If they don’t treat you right, don’t call.”
― Sara Boboltz
Spain Deaths Hit New Daily Record — 3/28/20, 7:20 a.m. ET
Spain’s coronavirus death toll rose by 832 cases overnight to 5,690, the health ministry said on Saturday, marking a new high in the daily rise in fatalities. The total number of those infected rose to 72,248 from 64,059 on Friday.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley Tests Negative For COVID-19 — 3/27/20, 4:40 p.m. ET
Democratic Rep. Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) announced that she has tested negative for coronavirus after experiencing flu-like symptoms.
“As an asthmatic and as someone who had been in contact with a colleague who tested positive for COVID-19, it was determined that I fell into a high risk category,” the congresswoman said in a statement. “I am, however still recovering from the flu, but feeling much better and continuing to work remotely with my team on COVID-19 response.”
Several members of Congress have tested positive for the virus, including Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.) earlier Friday. Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) said Friday that she had tested negative. Dozens more lawmakers are self-isolating due to possible exposure.
The House voted Friday to pass an economic stimulus package to help Americans survive the broad economic shutdown meant to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.
— Sarah Ruiz-Grossman
California Suspends Evictions Statewide — 3/27/20, 4:06 p.m. ET
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) issued a statewide moratorium on evictions Friday, barring landlords from removing tenants who can’t pay their rent during the coronavirus crisis. The moratorium, issued via executive order, will be in effect through May 31.
“Many Californians are experiencing or will experience substantial losses of income as a result of business closures, the loss of hours or wages, or layoffs related to COVID-19, hindering their ability to keep up with their rent, and leaving them vulnerable to eviction,” reads the order. “Minimizing evictions during this period is critical to reducing the spread of COVID-19 in vulnerable populations by allowing all residents to stay home.”
Previously, Newsom had authorized local governments to temporarily stop evictions in their cities and/or counties. While many of the state’s major cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, did stop evictions, the policy will now protect all California renters.
— Mollie Reilly
Democratic Congressman Tests Positive — 3/27/20, 3:10 p.m. ET
Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.) announced Friday that he had tested positive for COVID-19 after entering self-quarantine on March 19 due to contact with another infected member of Congress.
“While I otherwise feel fine, since March 17 I have been unable to smell or taste, which I learned this week is a potential symptom of COVID-19,” Cunningham said in a statement. He sought testing on Thursday on advice from a doctor. “I was set to come out of quarantine tonight at midnight, and potentially go to DC tomorrow to vote for the stimulus bill,” he said in a video posted to Twitter.
Cunningham will now remain in quarantine until next week. “If anyone has any more recommendations besides ‘Tiger King’ on Netflix, send them my way,” added the congressman.
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) became the first member of Congress to test positive for the virus on March 18, followed by Rep. Ben McAdams (D-Utah) later that day and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on March 22.
— Sara Boboltz
Italy Deaths Hit New Record, But Peak Still Yet To Come — 3/27/20, 1:20 p.m. ET
Infections in Italy have yet to reach their peak, officials said on Friday, as Italians were warned that lockdown restrictions would have to be extended beyond April 3. The death toll today surged by 919 to 9,134, easily the highest daily tally since the coronavirus epidemic emerged on Feb. 21.
Prior to Friday’s figure, Italy’s largest daily toll was registered on March 21, when 793 people died. The country now has 86,498 cases, surpassing China to record the grim distinction of having the second-most infections in the world (behind the U.S.), with the latest data showing no let-up in new infections and stifling hopes of a possible turnaround.
“We haven’t reached the peak and we haven’t passed it,” the chief of the Superior Health Institute, Silvio Brusaferro, told reporters, adding that there were, however, “signs of a slowdown” in the numbers of people becoming infected. “When the descent begins, how steep it is will depend on our behaviour,” Brusaferro said.
Italy was the first Western country to introduce restrictions on movement after uncovering the outbreak five weeks ago. It has progressively tightened the curbs, banning all nonessential activities until at least next Friday.
— James Martin
Cuomo Responds To Trump: ‘I Don’t Operate On Opinion, I Operate On Facts’ — 3/27/20, 12:27 p.m. ET
After President Donald Trump suggested New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) was lying about the number of ventilators the state needs to combat a pending wave of hospitalizations as the coronavirus pandemic worsens, Cuomo responded by saying the numbers were based on facts.
“I don’t operate on opinion. I operate on facts, data, projections,” Cuomo said at his daily press conference, explaining that the numbers are based on projections from public health experts. “All the projections say you could have an apex of 40,000 ventilators. Make the decisions based on the data and the science.”
“I hope we don’t need the 30,000 ventilators,” Cuomo added, saying he hoped for “some natural weather change” that could potentially wipe out the virus, appearing to refer to Trump’s spurious suggestion last month that the virus would simply disappear as the weather gets warmer.
“But that’s my hope. That’s my emotion,” Cuomo said. “The numbers say you may need 30,000.”
Trump said Thursday night that he had “a feeling” the numbers were wrong and didn’t “believe” them.
“I have a feeling that a lot of the numbers that are being said in some areas are just bigger than they’re going to be,” he told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You know, you go into major hospitals sometimes, they’ll have two ventilators. And now all of a sudden, they’re saying can we order 30,000 ventilators?”
— Marina Fang
Rep. Katie Porter Says She Tested Negative, Will Continue To Self-Quarantine — 3/27/20, 10:42 a.m. ET
U.S. Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) is the latest member of Congress to report the results of a COVID-19 test, saying she tested negative after experiencing possible symptoms beginning last week.