Global Coronavirus Cases Pass 2 Million Mark: Virus Update

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Countries across the globe weighed the timing for when it would be safe to ease restrictions, as regions from New York to Spain showed an easing in the rate of infections.

States on both U.S. coasts formed coalitions to plan for coordinated reopenings of their economies. President Donald Trump insisted that healone has the authority to restart the country.

France extended the nation’s lockdown to May 11 as the health ministry said the country is currently in a ‘high plateau’ phase.

The World Health Organization said it has a “very good” relationship with Trump, who has threatened to cut off funding to the group.

Key Developments

  • BREAKING: Cases pass 2 million mark: Johns Hopkins
  • Coronavirus Tracker: Global cases reach 1.91 million; deaths top 118,000
  • Governors team up onreopening, rebuffing Trump
  • Macron says France wasunderprepared
  • Spainreports smallest number of new infections since March 20
  • Doctors comeunder attack in India as coronavirus stigma grows

Mnuchin Says 80 Million to Get Virus Aid by Wednesday (7:22 a.m. HK)

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchinsaid 80 million taxpayers should receive coronavirus relief payments by Wednesday and that the government is accelerating assistance to businesses as well.

The Treasury secretary announced the payments at a White House news conference, along with progress the Small Business Administration has made in processing loans from the $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program. Both relief programs were created in the $2.2 trillion stimulus President Donald Trump signed last month.

Trump Hopes to Reopen Country ‘Ahead of Schedule’ (7:20 a.m. HK)

U.S. President Donald Trumpsaid his administration will issue guidance within days for governors who want to begin relaxing social-distancing practices to curb the coronavirus outbreak, and said he hopes to reopen the country “ahead of schedule.”

Australia Many Weeks Away From Relaxing Rules (6:17 a.m. HK)

Australia is looking to parts of industry that can be restarted without creating greater health risks as the National Cabinet prepares to meet Thursday to discuss restrictions.

“It’s a real trade-off, getting the best value of the restrictions that you can lift and at same time not put the health situation at greater risk,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Channel Seven’s Sunrise program, pointing to agribusiness and manufacturing as examples. He said he hoped to move to less-restrictive measures, but said the nation was still many weeks away.

U.S. Census Delayed at Least Three Months (5:30 p.m. NY)

The once-per-decade U.S. census will be delayed by at least three months as the coronavirus pandemic hinders in-person data collection from households. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced field operations will be delayed until June 1, and that in turn would delay completion of the count until Oct. 31. He asked Congress Monday to grant his department a 120-day extension of statutory deadlines as a result of the outbreak.

Massachusetts Joins Northeastern Reopening Plan: Cuomo (5:12 p.m. NY)

Massachusetts has joined an effort by northeastern U.S. states to coordinate on a plan to reopen their economies, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a tweet. New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Rhode Island are also part of the initiative.

U.S. Confirmed Cases Rise 5.6% (4 p.m. NY)

U.S. cases rose 5.6% from the day before to 572,169 by Monday afternoon, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. That was lower than the 7.4% average daily increase over the past week but slightly higher than the 5.4% increase on Sunday. Deaths rose 7.3% to 23,070. New York’s cases rose about 3.3%, but the rate was about half of what it was a week ago.

Washington, California, Oregon Join Forces (3:22 p.m. NY)

The governors of California, Washington, and Oregon announced a regional framework for bringing the states’ economies back on line.

“We will be driven by facts, we will be driven by evidence, we will be driven by science, we will be driven by our public health advisers,” California Governor Gavin Newsom said during his daily coronavirusbriefing Monday.

The move came within minutes of a similar plan being announced by the governors of six states in the Northeast, including New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

France Extends Lockdown to May 11 (2:12 p.m. NY)

France reported an increase in new coronavirus deaths Monday as President Emmanuel Macron extended the lockdown to May 11.

While deaths linked to the virus rose by 574 to 14,967, the number of intensive-care patients dropped for a fifth day to the lowest level since April 3, the health ministry said in an emailed statement. New recorded cases rose by 4,188 to 136,779 and the rise in the daily death toll was the first in four days.

“The dynamic observed in recent days thus seem to be confirmed: the impact of the epidemic is major and France is currently in a ‘high plateau’ phase,” according to the ministry.

Northeast Governors to Coordinate Reopening: Cuomo (12:55 p.m. NY)

A coalition of Northeast governors will announce a plan on Monday afternoon for how they will coordinate the reopening of schools and businesses after the coronavirus outbreak subsides, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

Any regional plan by the governors could set up a clash with President Donald Trump, whosaid earlier that he alone had the authority to decide when states would return to normal.

“The optimum is a geographically coordinated plan,” Cuomo said, adding that “This virus doesn’t understand governmental boundaries.”

WHO Has ‘Very Good’ Relationship with U.S. (12:30 p.m. NY)

The head of the World Health Organization said he hopes funding from the U.S., the group’s biggest donor, will continue and that the two have a “very good” relationship. President Donald Trump suggested Friday he might suspend on contributions this week. The men last spoke two weeks ago, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing in Geneva.

“We are going to have to change our behavior for the foreseeable future,” said Mike Ryan, the head of the WHO’s health emergencies program. Countries should lift lockdowns slowly and only when they have enough capacity to track the disease, WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove said, warning it would be a mistake for Europe to lift them all at once.

“While Covid-19 accelerates very fast, it decelerates much more slowly,” Tedros said. “The way down is much slower than the way up.”

NYC Needs Widespread Testing: Mayor (10:30 a.m. NY)

New York City may be close to seeing a decline in new coronavirus infections after having hit a peak, but Mayor Bill de Blasio says a lack of universal testing means it could be summer or fall before the city can start returning to normal.

“What we need is much more widespread testing,” de Blasio said Monday at his daily virus briefing. “This is the crucial need if we’re going to transcend to the next level.”

The city has a shortage of testing swabs, the mayor said. New York can’t sustain a level of low transmission without a federal commitment to supply millions of testing kits, he said.

U.K.’s Daily Death Toll Eases (9:45 a.m. NY)

A further717 people have died from the coronavirus in U.K. hospitals, a slight drop in the number of new deaths from the 737 reported Sunday.

Some 88,621 people have been diagnosed with the virus, up from 84,279 the day before. Total deaths are now above 11,300.

U.S. Outbreak Stable, CDC Director Says (8:10 a.m. NY)

Coronavirus has stabilized across the U.S. and is expected to show declines in days ahead, CDC Director Robert Redfield told Fox News. The U.S. will reopen slowly and in a prudent way, he said, without providing a timeline.

“We are nearing the peak right now,” Redfield said in another interview, with NBC. “I think sometime, hopefully this week, we will be able to say — you’ll know when you’re at the peak when the next day is actually less than the day before.”

— With assistance by Kara Wetzel

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