US Virus Updates: 3 White House Virus Task Force to Quarantine; Obama Bashes Trump

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.

Here are the symptoms of the virus compared with the common flu. One of the best ways to prevent spread of the virus is washing your hands with soap and water. The U.S.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends first washing with warm or cold water and then lathering soap for 20 seconds to get it on the backs of hands, between fingers and under fingernails before rinsing off. You should wash your phone, too. Here’s how. Coronavirus cases show no sign of slowing down.

As of Saturday afternoon, the death toll in the U.S. is over 78,000 and there are more than 1.3 million confirmed cases, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis in the U.S.:


3 Members of White House Virus Task Force in Quarantine

Three members of the White House coronavirus task force, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, placed themselves in quarantine after contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, another stark reminder that not even one of the nation’s most secure buildings is immune from the virus.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a leading member of the task force, has become nationally known for his simple and direct explanations to the public about the coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease it causes. Also quarantining are Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, Stephen Hahn.

Fauci’s institute said that he has tested negative for COVID-19 and will continue to be tested regularly. It added that he is considered at “relatively low risk” based on the degree of his exposure, and that he would be “taking appropriate precautions” to mitigate the risk to personal contacts while still carrying out his duties. While he will stay at home and telework, Fauci will go to the White House if called and take every precaution, the institute said.

Redfield will be “teleworking for the next two weeks” after it was determined he had a “low risk exposure” to a person at the White House, the CDC said in a statement Saturday evening. The statement said he felt fine and has no symptoms. Just a few hours earlier, the Food and Drug Administration confirmed that Hahn had come in contact with someone who tested positive and was in self-quarantine for the next two weeks.

He tested negative for the virus. All three men are scheduled to testify before a Senate committee on Tuesday. Sen.

Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., the chairman of the panel, said the White House will allow Redfield and Hahn to testify by videoconference, a one-time exception to the administration’s policies on hearing testimony. The statement was issued before Fauci’s quarantine was announced.


Obama Bashes Trump for Virus Response

Former President Barack Obama, meanwhile, harshly criticized President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic as an “absolute chaotic disaster,” while U.S. states began gradually reopening, even as health officials are anxiously watching for a second wave of infections. During a conversation with ex-members of his administration, Obama said combating the virus would have been bad even for the best of governments, but it’s been “an absolute chaotic disaster” when the mindset of “what’s in it for me” infiltrates government, according to a recording obtained by Yahoo News.

The United States has suffered nearly 80,000 deaths from COVID-19, the most of any nation.


Trails, Golf Courses Reopen in Hard-Hit LA

Hiking to the Hollywood sign and hitting the links is being allowed Saturday as the California county hardest hit by the coronavirus cautiously reopened some sites to recreation-starved stay-at-homers. Los Angeles County permitted the reopening of trails and golf courses, but with social distancing restrictions. For those interested in retail therapy, there was even better news as Gov.

Gavin Newsom on Friday allowed tens of thousands of stores to reopen, including florist shops, just in time for Mother’s Day. The city of Los Angeles announced it also was reopening some public spaces, including sprawling Griffith Park, which includes popular paths to the Hollywood sign. But mounted police and park rangers would be keeping hikers to small, distant groups wearing face coverings.

Mayor Eric Garcetti urged “good judgment” and said the city would rely on education and encouragement rather than heavy-handed enforcement. It was “not our vision to make this like a junior high school dance with people standing too close to each other,” he said. County beaches could reopen next week with restrictions designed to keep people from thronging the shore and possibly spreading COVID-19.


Airline Trade Group OK With Temperature Checks

A trade group representing major airlines says its members support having the government do temperature checks of passengers as long as necessary during the coronavirus crisis.

Airlines for America said Saturday that the checks will add a layer of protection for passengers as well as airline and airport employees. Airline workers who come in contact with the public also would be checked. The association said passenger screening is the responsibility of the Transportation Security Administration. “Having temperature checks performed by the TSA will ensure that procedures are standardized, providing consistency across airports so that travelers can plan appropriately.”

Last week, the group announced that airlines would require customer-facing employees and passengers to wear cloth face masks from check-in through the end of the trip.


3 NY Youths Die From Syndrome Possibly Linked to COVID-19

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says two young children and a teenager in the state have now died from a possible complication from the coronavirus involving swollen blood vessels and heart problems. At least 73 children in New York have been diagnosed with symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease — a rare inflammatory condition — and toxic shock syndrome.

Cuomo announced two more deaths on Saturday, a day after discussing the death of a 5-year-old boy at a New York City hospital. There is no proof that the virus causes the mysterious syndrome. At least 64 children in New York have been diagnosed with what is being called Pediatric Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome.


Colorado Reaches 967 Deaths, More Than 19,300 Confirmed Cases

Colorado has reached 967 deaths from the coronavirus, and more than 19,300 people have tested positive for the illness, state health officials said.

The state Department of Public Health and Environment said Saturday more than 100,000 have been tested for COVID-19. State data show more than 3,600 have been hospitalized since the outbreak. Fewer than 600 people were in Colorado hospitals with symptoms of the illness as of Friday.

On Saturday, a host of Denver businesses — from clothing stores to hair salons — opened their doors for the first time in nearly two months as Mayor Michael Hancock’s stay-at-home order expired, The Denver Post reported. Business owners who have been hard hit financially say it’s the only way to stay afloat as they try to recoup lost sales while giving their employees a much-needed paycheck. But despite the go-ahead from city leaders, many business owners are choosing to keep their stores shut for now. Those who have made the choice not to resume walk-in business say there is simply not enough evidence yet that bringing workers and customers back into their spaces is safe and won’t contribute to the spread of COVID-19.


New Mexico Officials Want Health Orders Reviewed

New Mexico Republicans and sheriffs are asking U.S.

Attorney General William Barr to look into Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s health orders aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19. State Republican Party Chairman Steve Pearce and New Mexico Sheriffs’ Association President Tony Mace each sent letters to Barr last week seeking a review into the health orders that have shuttered some businesses since late March.

They say the orders, which have closed several small businesses, violate residents’ civil rights. “We want to express our fears and frustrations regarding New Mexico Gov. Lujan Grisham’s public health order, a policy many in our state believe to be a blatant violation of peoples’ civil rights, liberties and their right to conduct free commerce,” Pearce wrote. “The situation in New Mexico is one that is unjust and inequitable.”

Mace, the Cibola County sheriff and a frequent critic of fellow Democrat Lujan Grisham, said the health order was unfairly hurting residents. “The governor has been discriminatory in her policies, keeping big box corporate giants open — draining New Mexico dollars out of state — while shutting down mom and pop locally owned establishments,” Mase wrote. “This is not only preferential treatment for the big box stores but a violation of the civil rights of our small business owners whose livelihoods are now in free fall.” In an interview with The Associated Press, Pearce said he wanted Barr to look at New Mexico to see if the U.S.

Constitution “is being respected” during the health order. A spokeswoman for Lujan Grisham declined to comment.


Nevada Businesses Able to Reopen Saturday

Restaurants, hair salons and other Nevada businesses that closed or had their operations reduced under state-imposed restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus were able to reopen Saturday and allow customers inside their establishments. Gov.

Steve Sisolak on Thursday had said restaurants, salons and other nonessential businesses could reopen Saturday with limited capacity. He said hospitalization rates and positive tests had stabilized. Sisolak ordered the closures on March 17.

The state reported over 300 deaths from the coronavirus outbreak as of Saturday, with over 6,000 cases of COVID-19.


US Approves New Coronavirus Antigen Test With Fast Results

U.S. regulators have approved a new type of coronavirus test that administration officials have promoted as a key to opening the country. The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday announced emergency authorization for antigen tests developed by Quidel Corp. of San Diego. The test can rapidly detect fragments of virus proteins in samples collected from swabs swiped inside the nasal cavity, the FDA said in a statement.

The antigen test is the third type of test to be authorized by the FDA. Antigen tests can diagnose active infections by detecting the earliest toxic traces of the virus rather than the genetic code of the virus itself. Currently, the only way to diagnose active COVID-19 is to test a patient’s nasal swab for the genetic material of the virus.

While considered highly accurate, the tests can take hours and require expensive, specialized equipment mainly found at commercial labs, hospitals or universities.


Drug Remdesivir Being Shipped to Six More States

The federal government is sending supplies of the first drug that appears to help speed the recovery of some COVID-19 patients to six states, where it will be distributed by health departments. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Saturday that it is delivering 140 cases of the drug remdesivir to Illinois, 110 cases to New Jersey, 40 cases to Michigan, 30 cases each to Connecticut and Maryland and 10 cases to Iowa.

Each case contains 40 vials of the drug, the department said in a statement. “State and local health departments have the greatest insights into community-level needs in the COVID-19 response,” the statement said. Earlier this week the government sent 565 cases to New York, 117 to Massachusetts, 94 to New Jersey, 38 to Indiana, 33 to Virginia, 30 to Rhode Island, and seven to Tennessee.

The company that makes the antiviral drug, California-based Gilead Sciences, has said it is donating its entire current stockpile to help in the U.S. pandemic response. Remdesivir was cleared for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration last week. The department says the doses have to go to more critical patients including those on ventilators or in need of supplemental oxygen.


FDA Head in Self-Quarantine, Has Tested Negative for Virus

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, is in self-quarantine for the next two weeks after coming in contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Stephanie Caccomo, a spokeswoman for the Food and Drug Administration, says Hahn tested negative for the virus after he learned of the contact. He wrote a note to staff on Friday to alert them to the contact. Hahn was scheduled to testify before a Senate panel on Tuesday, along with infectious disease expert Dr.

Anthony Fauci and CDC Director Robert Redfield.

The administration is not confirming the person Hahn had contact with that tested positive for the virus.

But the news follows the confirmation that two people who work in the White House complex are known to have tested positive for the virus this week.

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