Latest Updates & U.S. Response

  1. Defense

    Sick sailors recovering on Guam will fly home rather than rejoin USS Theodore Roosevelt

    A Navy spokesperson said the sailors who do not meet the criteria to return to the ship will remain in isolation on Naval Base Guam.

    Some sailors assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt who are still sick with Covid-19 after remaining behind in Guam will be flown home once they recover instead of returning to the ship for its deployment, a Navy spokesperson told POLITICO.

    The Roosevelt got underway on May 20 after nearly two months in Guam battling an outbreak of the coronavirus. The ship carried a scaled-back crew of about 3,000 sailors, leaving roughly 1,800 crew on shore who are still quarantining — including at least 13 sailors who had recovered from the virus and tested positive again.

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  2. health care

    Vague testing guidance hinders business reopenings

    Companies can require diagnostic coronavirus tests and temperature checks but the Trump administration hasn't said when or how often to test.

    Gaps in federal guidelines and ongoing fears about contaminated workplaces are keeping businesses from reopening the way the White House envisioned a month ago, when it shifted its pandemic message to an economic revival.

    The Trump administration has said businesses can make diagnostic coronavirus tests and temperature checks a condition for returning to work. But it hasn't answered key questions like when or how often to test workers or whether there should be a blanket testing policy for job seekers.

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  3. coronavirus

    China’s slow reporting of coronavirus data vexed WHO

    Controls on information and competition policies within China’s public health system were to blame, documents show.

    The World Health Organization has been frustrated with China over slow reporting of coronavirus data gathered in the country, according to an investigation conducted by the Associated Press.

    Even while it was praising Beijing in public, the WHO was pressing China behind the scenes over a weeklong delay in publishing the genetic sequence of the virus, which had been decoded by three government labs, according to the report.

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  4. agriculture

    As meatpacking plants reopen, workers terrified of coronavirus risk

    Infection rates are still rising at many plants, prompting lawmakers and unions to call for more enforcement.

    The number of meatpacking workers dying from the coronavirus is still rising, and employees across the country are scared to come to work.

    The latest Agriculture Department figures show that U.S. meat production is returning to nearly last year's capacity, accomplishing the White House's goal of keeping the food supply steady during the pandemic.

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  5. 2020 elections

    Biden cranks up contrast with Trump

    The former veep is getting out of his Wilmington basement and attempting to project a ‘stable and steady’ approach.

    Donald Trump told governors they could look like weak “jerks” if they don’t “dominate” protesters, and called for “retribution.”

    Joe Biden held an event with big-city mayors grappling with violent unrest to talk about their needs and pledged police reforms.

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  6. coronavirus

    Mass protests could undo hard-won progress in pandemic

    Testing sites shut down as violence grips cities, risking spread of virus.

    Mass protests over police brutality have shuttered coronavirus testing sites, complicated efforts to track people who have been exposed and set off fears among local officials that the unrest could spark fresh waves of virus infection.

    Testing sites in Pennsylvania, Florida, California and Illinois closed after violence broke out over the weekend, limiting cities’ ability to track the virus just as thousands of people participate in crowded demonstrations across the country.

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  7. elections

    'The scar is apparent': Biden links coronavirus pandemic to push for racial justice

    “I think that the blinders have sort of been taken off the American people in this pandemic, and now what they’re seeing as the consequence of the flat killing of George Floyd,” Biden said.

    Former Vice President Joe Biden asserted Monday that Americans are “ready in ways they didn’t realize before” for systemic change to address racial inequities in America, suggesting that the coronavirus pandemic and the death of a black man in police custody in Minnesota has exposed those schisms to a new wave of people.

    “I think that the blinders have sort of been taken off the American people in this pandemic, and now what they’re seeing as the consequence of the flat killing of George Floyd,” Biden said during a virtual roundtable with the mayors of St. Paul, Chicago, Atlanta and Los Angeles — four cities wracked by protests over the death of Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who had been detained by Minneapolis police.

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  8. Health

    Surgeon general: 'You understand the anger'

    Jerome Adams said he fears the consequences of racism and also of mass protests.


    There will likely be a new rash of coronavirus cases following widespread protests this weekend over racism and the death of George Floyd — but people’s concerns need to be heard, Surgeon General Jerome Adams said in an interview.

    “I remain concerned about the public health consequences both of individual and institutional racism [and] people out protesting in a way that is harmful to themselves and to their communities,” Adams said in a phone call.

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  9. Europe

    A wet, hot Greek summer

    The Balkan nation prepares to welcome back tourists. But does anyone want to go?

    ATHENS — Greeks are desperate for a holiday. Your holiday.

    The country is gambling that Europeans will still want sun and sea after being in coronavirus lockdown for months and it wants people to know that it's about to reopen for business. But the big question is: Will anyone come?

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  10. Analysis

    Why Politics Keeps Tanking a Bailout Idea That Works

    Nobody in Congress likes to give other politicians money. But the track record shows that writing checks directly to states could keep the recession from becoming way worse.

    The last time the American economy tanked and Washington debated how to revive it, White House economists pushed one option that had never been tried in a big way: Send truckloads of federal dollars to the states.

    When President Barack Obama took office in January 2009 during the throes of the Great Recession, tax revenues were collapsing and state budgets were hemorrhaging. The Obama team was terrified that without a massive infusion of cash from Congress, governors would tip the recession into a full-blown depression by laying off employees and cutting needed services. So the president proposed an unprecedented $200 billion in direct aid to states, a desperate effort to stop the bleeding that amounted to one-fourth of his entire stimulus request.

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  11. coronavirus

    States brace for disasters as pandemic collides with hurricane season

    Emergency management officials fear a terrible combination of natural disasters could lead to a fresh spread of the coronavirus.

    Officials from Florida to Missouri are hurriedly rewriting their disaster plans, worried that crowding large groups of evacuees in shelters could spread coronavirus during what’s expected to be a busy hurricane and tornado season.

    Firefighters in Colorado are working social distancing into their strategy for tackling long-duration wildfires. And New York City is spending $55 million on air conditioners for low-income seniors in public housing, to keep them away from cooling centers that draw hundreds during heat waves.

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  12. Transportation

    Alitalia: Too Italian to fail

    The airline’s hallowed status has turned into a drag on the nation.

    Italy just can’t break up with Alitalia.

    And it's an expensive relationship. After at least six failed rescue plans over the past 12 years, the Italian government has once again stepped in to prop up its flag carrier, now bludgeoned by the coronavirus crisis. Rome has decided to renationalize it with more than €3 billion of public money.

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  13. white house

    Trump’s national security adviser attacks World Health Organization

    Robert O’Brien echoes the president’s claims about China and the coronavirus.


    White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien repeatedly slammed the World Health Organization as “corrupt” on Sunday after the U.S. withdrew from the agency late last week.

    O’Brien stressed in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the United States would continue to spend the same amount on public health but was opting to divert the funds to organizations that would better use them.

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  14. Trade

    As Australia clashes with China, the European Union lays low

    A trade war with Beijing is no fun for anyone, but it’s especially problematic for Canberra.

    SYDNEY — Australia has stuck its neck out just as China is in a head-chopping mood. So where’s the EU when Canberra needs it?

    With the world teetering on the edge of a pandemic-induced economic meltdown, Australia, the world’s 13th-largest economy already on the ropes after years of drought and a horrific fire season, now finds itself squaring off against the world’s No. 2 super-power.

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  15. Congress

    McConnell and Pelosi's next battle: How to help the 40 million unemployed

    The divide over jobless benefits will dominate the fight over a new coronavirus aid package.

    The debate over whether Congress will approve a new round of pandemic aid is over. Now it’s just a question of what’s in the package.

    After brushing off Democrats’ demands for more relief, Senate Republicans now say the next major coronavirus package is likely to move in the coming weeks. And a key conflict ahead will be over how to help the 40 million Americans out of work.

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  16. optics

    The ’Non-Essential’ Business Owners Who Went Underground

    Photos of Los Angeles' new black market in the era of Covid-19.

    LOS ANGELES, California—When one Los Angeles nail salon owner was told she would have to close her business because of Covid-19, she feared it would be an economic death sentence. She had just climbed out of bankruptcy following the recession a decade ago and didn’t see how her business could weather another recession, let alone shutting down completely. So, she decided to break the law. Instead of closing shop, she’s been operating in secret for the past three months, painting nails in a darkened room and asking customers to park on adjacent streets so as not to draw attention.

    Her salon is just one of many small businesses in Los Angeles that refused to close after the county's mid-March “Safer at Home“ order directed all “non-essential” business to shut down in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The owners of these nonessential businesses—from personal trainers to dog groomers to tattooists—faced a tough choice: Abide by the order and face serious, if not irreparable, financial challenges to their livelihoods; or go underground, keep working and face potential fines and even criminal charges. So far, more than 1,000 complaints have been filed against nonessential businesses operating when they should be closed, and the L.A. city attorney announced 60 new charges against businesses operating secretly as recently as May 12.

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  17. New York

    New York budget crisis takes de Blasio back to the ’70s

    Democratic mayor wants to borrow big to dig city out of budget mess — just like it did four decades ago. Fiscal watchdogs say it’s the wrong move.

    A version of this story ran for New York subscribers on Wednesday.

    NEW YORK — In 1975, New York City’s budget was such a disaster it prompted the infamous tabloid headline “Ford to City: Drop dead,” with the White House closing the door on the city’s last hope for a federal lifeline.

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  18. white house

    Trump exults in rocket launch as chaos unfolds around the country

    “When you see a sight like that, it’s incredible,” Trump said of the SpaceX launch, after alluding to the protests over the killing of George Floyd.


    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — On a day of chaos across the country, President Donald Trump and his top aides orchestrated a brief escape from their problems on the ground.

    Eager to recapture the nation’s attention with the momentous launch of NASA’s SpaceX capsule — the first attempt to send American astronauts into space from U.S. soil in almost a decade — Trump made his second trip to the Kennedy Space Center this week, after the initial launch was postponed Wednesday because of inclement weather. The historic feat offered Trump the patriotic backdrop he’s been yearning for — on the heels of troubling developments this week surrounding the deadly coronavirus outbreak and the killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American who died in the custody of police in Minneapolis.

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  19. Legal

    Roberts joins court's liberals to deny California church's lockdown challenge

    The chief justice warns against 'second-guessing' state officials amid pandemic.


    A sharply divided Supreme Court late Friday turned aside a church's urgent plea that California's coronavirus lockdown orders are putting an unconstitutional burden on religious freedom.

    Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the court's liberals in rejecting a San Diego church's request for relief from Gov. Gavin Newsom's most recent directive limiting churches to 25% of their normal maximum capacity, with an absolute maximum of 100 people at any service.

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  20. Coronavirus

    The MAGA Masks Bringing Americans Together

    They may be getting everyone on board with a collective social distancing tool.

    “You’re going to find this very strange, but I’m more of an anti-mask person,” Laura Howard told me last week, recounting the success of her business selling “Trump 2020” masks on an Etsy store called “isewformygrandkids.” The 63-year-old grandmother of eight, a retired Walmart assistant manager from Stanton, Michigan, grumbles about Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s strict stay-at-home guidelines. She invited her kids and grandkids over on Mother's Day, telling them masks and social distancing were optional.

    But most retail stores around her require customers to wear masks. And so, since the start of the crisis, Howard had been sewing masks and giving them to friends, relatives and hospital workers. When Etsy, an online marketplace for handmade products, put out a call for masks in early April to meet growing demand, Howard complied. She turned her own boutique on the website, filled at the time with suncatchers and boho-chic clothing, into a mask operation, and poured her political sentiments into the project. She sourced red fabric from a woman in Amish country who had stayed open during the shutdown, used a desktop cutting machine to create iron-on vinyl patches, and set a price of $12 apiece, with free shipping.

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