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As Europe Locks Down, Sweden Takes A Liberal Approach To Coronavirus

Topline: Sweden is taking a more liberal strategy to combat coronavirus than its European neighbors. As confirmed cases and deaths spike, some Swedes are calling for the government to rethink the country’s strategy.

  • Unlike the rest of the continent, people in Sweden as of Friday were still permitted to visit restaurants for sit-down meals, get a haircut and even send children under the age of 16 to school.
  • It’s all part of Sweden’s plan that focuses on self-responsibility as the government turns its attention to isolating and treating confirmed coronavirus patients, instead of widespread shelter-in-place orders.
  • Sweden’s Chief Epidemiologist Anders Tegnell has expressed skepticism about enforcing a sustained period of lockdown. While bans have been placed on gatherings of 50 or more people and Swedes have been told to avoid unnecessary travel, these are relatively laidback restrictions when compared to other European countries that are shutting down schools and restricting everyday movement.
  • The government instead has emphasized a set of guidelines, like encouraging increased hand washing, social distancing and limiting contact with vulnerable people, like those over age 70.
  • Recent numbers show Swedes appear to be following social distancing guidelines even when they’re not required by law. Passenger numbers on public transportation in the capital have fallen by half, and polls indicate that half of residents there are working from home.
  • However, some critics say people need more stringent guidelines to follow as both deaths and new cases have risen in the past week. Last month, more than 2,000 academics signed an open letter in March to demand tougher measures from the government

Crucial quote: “It is important to have a policy that can be sustained over a longer period, meaning staying home if you are sick, which is our message,” Tegnell said. “Locking people up at home won’t work in the longer term. Sooner or later people are going to go out anyway.”

Key background: The Swedish Health Agency reported 612 new cases on Friday alone, bringing the countrywide total to about 6,000. The same day, the death toll hit 333. Between 25 to 30 people have died each day. Stockholm has seen the most coronavirus cases, accounting for more than half of the whole country’s fatalities, according to Reuters CRI .

What to watch for: Whether coronavirus cases increase in Sweden in the coming weeks. According to The Daily Mail, one statistician in Sweden said half the population could become infected in April.

Interesting fact: According to YouGov data, Sweden is the country least afraid of the coronavirus pandemic, with only 31% of Swedes say they are “very” or “somewhat” scared that they will contract the virus.

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I am a Texas native covering breaking news out of New York City. Previously, I was a Forbes intern in London. I am an alum of City, University of London and Texas State University.

Source: As Europe Locks Down, Sweden Takes A Liberal Approach To Coronavirus

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What to Know About Coronavirus Immunity and Chances of Reinfection

Troubling headlines have been cropping up across Asia: Some patients in China, Japan and South Korea who were diagnosed with COVID-19 and seemingly recovered have been readmitted to the hospital after testing positive for the virus again.

Because SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, was only discovered a few months ago, scientists are still trying to answer many big questions related to the virus and the disease it causes. Among them is whether patients can be reinfected by the virus after they seem to recover from the symptoms.

With other coronavirus strains, experts say the antibodies that patients produce during infection give them immunity to the specific virus for months or even years, but researchers are still figuring out if and how that works with COVID-19.

The answer has huge implications for the spread of the disease, since researchers believe it will continue to crash across the world in waves, hitting the same country multiple times.

Can you get re-infected after recovering from COVID-19?

There remains a lot of uncertainty, but experts TIME spoke with say that it’s likely the reports of patients who seemed to have recovered but then tested positive again were not examples of re-infection, but were cases where lingering infection was not detected by tests for a period of time.

Experts say the body’s antibody response, triggered by the onset of a virus, means it is unlikely that patients who have recovered from COVID-19 can get re-infected so soon after contracting the virus. Antibodies are normally produced in a patient’s body around seven to 10 days after the initial onset of a virus, says Vineet Menachery, a virologist at the University of Texas Medical Branch.

Instead, testing positive after recovery could just mean the tests resulted in a false negative and that the patient is still infected. “It may be because of the quality of the specimen that they took and may be because the test was not so sensitive,” explains David Hui, a respiratory medicine expert at the Chinese University of Hong Kong who also studied the 2002-2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which is caused by a coronavirus in the same family as SARS-CoV-2.

A positive test after recovery could also be detecting the residual viral RNA that has remained in the body, but not in high enough amounts to cause disease, says Menachery. “Viral RNA can last a long time even after the actual virus has been stopped.”

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Where have patients tested positive for COVID-19 after seeming to have recovered?

A study on recovered COVID-19 patients in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen found that 38 out of 262, or almost 15% of the patients, tested positive after they were discharged. They were confirmed via PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests, currently the gold standard for coronavirus testing. The study has yet to be peer reviewed, but offers some early insight into the potential for re-infection. The 38 patients were mostly young (below the age of 14) and displayed mild symptoms during their period of infection. The patients generally were not symptomatic at the time of their second positive test.

In Wuhan, China, where the pandemic began, researchers looked at a case study of four medical workers who had three consecutive positive PCR tests after having seemingly recovered. Similar to the study in Shenzhen, the patients were asymptomatic and their family members were not infected.

Outside of China, at least two such cases have also been reported in Japan (including one Diamond Princess cruise passenger) and one case was reported in South Korea. All three of them reportedly showed symptoms of infection after an initial recovery, and then re-tested as positive.

Does recovering from COVID-19 make you immune?

There hasn’t been enough time to research COVID-19 in order to determine whether patients who recover from COVID-19 are immune to the disease—and if so, how long the immunity will last. However, preliminary studies provide some clues. For example, one study conducted by Chinese researchers (which has not yet been peer-reviewed) found that antibodies in rhesus monkeys kept primates that had recovered from COVID-19 from becoming infected again upon exposure to the virus.

In the absence of more information, researchers have been looking at what is known about other members of the coronavirus family. “We are only three and a half months into the pandemic,” Hsu Li Yang, an associate professor and infectious disease expert at the National University of Singapore, says. “The comments we’re making are based on previous knowledge of other human coronavirus and SARS. But whether they extrapolate across COVID-19, we’re not so sure at present.”

One study conducted by Taiwanese researchers found that survivors of the SARS outbreak in 2003 had antibodies that lasted for up to three years—suggesting immunity. Hui notes that survivors of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS, which is also caused by a virus related to the one that causes COVID-19) were found to last just around a year.

Menachery estimates that COVID-19 antibodies will remain in a patient’s system for “two to three years,” based on what’s known about other coronaviruses, but he says it’s too early to know for certain. The degree of immunity could also differ from person to person depending on the strength of the patient’s antibody response. Younger, healthier people will likely generate a more robust antibody response, giving them more protection against the virus in future.

“We would expect that if you have antibodies that neutralize the virus, you will have immunity,” Menachery says. “How long the antibodies last is still in question.”

By Hillary Leung April 3, 2020

Source: What to Know About Coronavirus Immunity and Chances of Reinfection

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26 States Shut Down And Counting: State-By-State Travel Restrictions

This story was updated at 10:00 a.m. on March 29, 2020.

On March 16, the Trump administration issued COVID-19 travel guidelines asking Americans to cut all non-essential travel, avoid gatherings of 10 or more people and maintain social distancing.

So far, the federal government has showed no inclination to issue a nationwide travel ban. But as of today, more than half of the 50 U.S. governors have issued statewide stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders. In states where governors have not issued such mandates, counties and cities have often issued their own lockdown orders.

Today President Trump floated the idea of a mandatory enforced two-week quarantine and travel ban for New York, New Jersey, and parts of Connecticut, which have been hotspots for COVID-19.

In the meantime, many governors around the country have stepped up with their own restrictions to keep residents at home. At the other end of the spectrum, other governors have shown a reluctance to even shut down restaurants and bars. The result is a patchwork of policies, often with neighboring states having very different degrees of restriction.

Sometimes, state health officials are taking a leadership role when governors will not. The Tennessee Medical Association is pushing the state’s county leaders and mayors to issue stay-at-home orders despite Governor Bill Lee’s refusal to do so. Likewise, there is no mandate in Alabama but the East Alabama Medical Clinic is asking locals to stay at home after five patients died who tested positive for COVID-19.

Governors cannot stop travelers from crossing state lines, but several have taken steps to discourage it. Yesterday, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear went so far as to tell Kentuckians not to travel to Tennessee unless absolutely necessary. The governors of Alaska, Hawaii, New Hampshire and Massachusetts have mandated that travelers arriving from out of state must self-quarantine for two weeks upon arrival. Other states, including South Carolina, Texas, Florida and Rhode Island, are targeting their own self-quarantine mandates to visitors who arrive from highly affected areas.

Here’s a state-by-state rundown of the patchwork of current travel restrictions.

Alabama: No additional travel restrictions. No nonwork-related gatherings of 25 or more people; no nonwork gatherings of any size where people cannot maintain a six-foot distance from each other. Restaurants, bars and breweries are limited to takeout or delivery. All public and private beaches are closed. Birmingham is under a shelter-in-place order.

Alaska: All travelers arriving in Alaska must self-quarantine for 14 days, going directly from the airport to a self-quarantined location. All residents have been ordered to shelter in place. Restaurants and bars are closed for dine-in services.

Arizona: No additional travel restrictions. In counties with a confirmed case of COVID-19, restaurants can only provide takeout options and bars must close. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez has issued a stay-at-home order for tribal members.

Arkansas: No additional travel restrictions. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery options.

California: All residents are under a stay-at-home order. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery options. Essential services — gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores, banks, etc. — will remain open.

Colorado: All residents are under a stay-at-home mandate. Essential businesses (including cannabis and liquor stores) remain open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Connecticut: All residents are under a “stay safe, stay home” order. Essential businesses remain open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Delaware: All residents have been ordered to shelter in place. Essential business remain open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Florida: Travelers arriving from Connecticut, New Jersey, New York or Louisiana must self-isolate for 14 days. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery services. The Florida Keys are closed to visitors. Many cities are under stay-at-home orders, including Aventura, Boca Raton, Coral Gables, Coral Springs, Dania Beach, Delray Beach, Doral, Gainesville, Golden Beach, Hollywood, Miami, Miami Beach, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee and Tampa.

Georgia: No additional travel restrictions. Bars are closed. Gatherings of 10 or more people are banned. Multiple cities, including Atlanta, Savannah, Dunwoody, Chamblee and Forest Park are all under stay-at-home orders.

Hawaii: Travelers entering the state must self-quarantine for 14 days. All residents are under a stay-at-home mandate. Essential business remain open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Idaho: All residents are under a stay-at-home order. Residents must work from home; essential businesses are exempt. Restaurants are limited to takeout and delivery options. Bars are closed.

Illinois: All residents are under a stay-at-home order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants are limited to takeout and delivery.

Indiana: All residents are under a stay-at-home order. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery service.

Iowa: No additional travel restrictions. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Kansas: All residents are under a stay-at-home order. No public gatherings of 10 or more people. Bars and restaurants can stay open if they preserve a 6-foot distance between customers.

Kentucky: No additional travel restrictions but Governor Andy Beshear has warned residents against unnecessary travel to neighboring Tennessee. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Louisiana: All residents are under a stay-at-home order. Essential businesses remain open. Restaurants are limited to takeout and delivery options.

Maine: No additional travel restrictions. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery services. Portland is under a stay-at-home order.

Maryland: No additional travel restrictions. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Massachusetts: Travelers entering the state must self-quarantine for 14 days. All residents are under a stay-at-home order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Michigan: All residents are under a “stay home, stay safe” executive order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Minnesota: All residents are under a stay-at-home order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Mississippi: No additional travel restrictions. Restaurants and bars must limit dine-in services to no more than 10 people at once. The cities of Tupelo and Oxford have implemented stay-at-home orders.

Missouri: No additional travel restrictions. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery. Many counties and multiple cities have mandated stay-at-home orders, including Kansas City and St. Louis.

Montana: All residents are under a stay-at-home order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Nebraska: No additional travel restrictions but Governor Pete Ricketts has asked residents who have traveled to the Kansas City area to self-quarantine for two weeks. No gathering in groups of more than 10, except in grocery stores. Restaurants and bars are open.

Nevada: No additional travel restrictions. Essential businesses are open. Casinos are closed. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

New Hampshire: Arriving out-of-state visitors are asked to self-quarantine for two weeks. All residents are under a stay-at-home order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

New Jersey: All residents are under a stay-at-home order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

New Mexico: All residents are under a shelter-in-place order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery. No gatherings of five or more people.

New York: All residents are under a stay-at-home order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

North Carolina: All residents are under a stay-at-home order beginning March 30. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

North Dakota: No additional travel restrictions. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Ohio: All residents are under a stay-at-home order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Oklahoma: No additional statewide travel restrictions. The cities of Tulsa, Norman and Oklahoma City have issued shelter-in-place orders.

Oregon: All residents are under a stay-at-home order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Pennsylvania: Residents in much of the state (19 counties) are under a stay-at-home order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Rhode Island: Travelers arriving from New York must self-isolate for 14 days. All residents are under a stay-at-home order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

South Carolina: Travelers arriving from “virus hotspots”, including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New Orleans must self-isolate for 14 days. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery. The cities of Charleston and Columbia have issued stay-at-home orders for residents.

South Dakota: No additional travel restrictions. Most businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are open.

Tennessee: No additional travel restrictions. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery. The cities of Nashville and Memphis have told residents to stay at home.

Texas: Air travelers arriving from Connecticut, New Jersey, New York or the city of New Orleans must self-isolate for 14 days. More than half a dozen Texas cities, including Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, Austin, Fort Worth, El Paso, McKinney and Hudson, are under shelter-in-place orders. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Utah: All residents are under a “stay home, stay safe” directive, which falls short of a shelter-in-place order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery. Summit County, which includes Park City, is under a stay-at-home order.

Vermont: All residents are under a “stay home, stay safe” executive order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Virginia: No additional travel restrictions but Governor Ralph Northam has asked Virginia residents to stay at home when possible. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Washington: All residents are under a “stay home, stay safe” executive order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

West Virginia: All residents are under a stay-at-home order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Wisconsin: All residents are under a “safer at home” executive order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Wyoming: No additional travel restrictions. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery. The cities of Jackson and Cheyenne have issued shelter-in-place orders for residents.

READ MORE

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I’m always looking for new ways to travel better, smarter, deeper and cheaper, so I spend a lot of time watching trends at the intersection of travel and technology. As a longtime freelance travel writer, I’ve contributed hundreds of articles to Conde Nast Traveler, CNN Travel, Travel Leisure, Afar, Reader’s Digest, TripSavvy, Parade, NBCNews.com, Good Housekeeping, Parents, Parenting, Esquire, Newsweek, The Boston Globe and scores of other outlets. Over the years, I’ve run an authoritative family vacation-planning site; interviewed Michelin-starred chefs, ship captains, taxi drivers and dog mushers; reviewed hundreds of places to stay, from stately castles and windswept lighthouses to rustic cabins and kitschy motels; ridden the iconic Orient Express; basked in the glory of Machu Picchu; and much more. Follow me on Instagram (@suzannekelleher), Pinterest (@suzannerowankelleher) and Flipboard (@SRKelleher).

Source: Update: 26 States Shut Down And Counting: State-By-State Travel Restrictions

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Critics: USCIS Policies Make Immigration Difficult And Dangerous

In the age of coronavirus, policies imposed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) are making it difficult for businesses, high-skilled professionals and others to file applications and meet deadlines. Attorneys say that although USCIS has made one positive accommodation their clients deserve policies that better take into account the new health and safety realities of doing business under social distancing, remote work and USCIS office closures.

In general, USCIS policies are years behind and have not adapted to the modern work environment, which has become more evident in the face of worldwide concerns about coronavirus. A glaring example, attorneys say, is USCIS still does not permit electronic filing for the most commonly used employment-based forms.

While USCIS service centers continue to operate, many businesses are following the recommendations of health experts and have moved to remote work. Paper-based applications and hard copy checks to pay filing fees are still required for most employment-based petitions. Vic Goel, managing partner of Goel & Anderson, said USCIS has not indicated it will relax or grant leniency on required filing dates and Requests for Evidence (RFE) response dates.

“Employers and law firms are straining to maintain paper-based processes while working remotely,” said Goel in an interview. “Particularly in areas where people have been told to temporarily close, as in California, New York, Illinois and Pennsylvania, it has become difficult to comply with USCIS requirements and meet filing deadlines.”

On March 20, 2020, USCIS made an accommodation welcomed by attorneys and employers by relaxing the requirement to obtain “wet” signatures on forms. “For forms that require an original ‘wet’ signature, per form instructions, USCIS will accept electronically reproduced original signatures for the duration of the National Emergency,” USCIS said in a statement. “This temporary change only applies to signatures. All other form instructions should be followed when completing a form.”

“The relaxation of the signature requirement helps but USCIS has not addressed the fact that applications are still paper-based or that the agency requires hard copy checks,” said Goel.

A practical solution would be for USCIS to allow filing fees to be charged on a credit card for all form types using Form G-1450, which is now permitted only for applications processed at a USCIS lockbox and, therefore, excludes the major employment-based applications filed at USCIS service centers. Goel notes USCIS also could issue an interim final rule to allow ACH payments direct from a bank using Form G-1450. Applications (or petitions) filed at service centers include H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, H-3, L-1, O-1, TN and a few others.

While the annual H-1B lottery garners most of the media attention, USCIS adjudicates more than twice as many H-1B petitions each year for continuing employment. (These are extensions for existing H-1B visa holders.) In addition, employers often need to file amendments for H-1B employees, including when they must work in a new metropolitan statistical area (MSA). There are also many applications for L-1 visa holders and employment-based immigrants that need processing.

Goel and other attorneys note current USCIS practices go against Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for controlling coronavirus. The process of gathering documents, forms and checks means Goel’s law firm has been forced to circulate employees in and out of the firm’s offices rather than permit everyone to work from home.

USCIS is not the only government agency whose policies have been questioned. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been criticized for requiring attorneys to provide their own protective gear to visit clients in detention. “ICE/ERO [Enforcement and Removal Operations] now requires all legal visitors, CODELs, and STAFFDELs to provide and wear personal protective equipment (PPE) (disposable vinyl gloves, N-95 or surgical masks, and eye protection) while visiting any detention facility,” according to ICE guidelines. Attorneys point out there is currently a shortage of such equipment.

Many foreign nationals are facing crucial deadlines and, unlike in a number of other countries, USCIS has not relaxed immigration deadlines. France has extended all expiring residence permits for 90 days, according to the Fragomen law firm, while Ireland has provided a “blanket two-month automatic renewal of immigration status for all foreign nationals whose status is due to expire March 29 to May 20, 2020.”

USCIS offices are closed at least until April 1, 2020. However, a new government directive discourages people gathering in federal offices. Combined with other concerns, the directive could delay reopening USCIS offices to the public.

The problem, Jeffrey Gorsky, a senior counsel with Berry Appleman & Leiden, said in an interview is many applications require in-person interviews or access to a USCIS office. For example, USCIS requires interviews as part of the process to obtain family-based and employment-based adjustment of status (to obtain a green card inside the United States). The same is true for naturalization. For several other immigration applications, biometrics collection (photos and fingerprints) must be done at USCIS offices.

The spouses of H-1B visa holders and individuals with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), among others, are likely to miss deadlines to renew Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) if USCIS office closures continue, note attorneys. Without an EAD many individuals cannot work legally in the United States. “USCIS remote work agreements, office closures and staff reductions portend more and more interview cancellations, appointment reschedulings, adjudication delays and backlog buildups that will likely become worse over time,” according to  the Seyfarth law firm.

“If the effects of the virus severely disrupt USCIS’s operations, the agency will likely not be able to decide requests to extend or renew work visa status or temporary employment authorization (for persons in the employment-based green card queue filing for adjustment of status) within an acceptable turnaround time,” writes Seyfarth. “Current regulations allowing interim employment authorization while an extension or renewal request is pending – up to 240 days to extend status for most work-visa holders and 180 days for adjustment of status applicants under current regulations – could thus prove to be insufficient.”

Seyfarth concludes: “Unless USCIS takes action to prolong and expand interim grants of employment authorization for pending immigration benefits requests, or otherwise excuse status violations, the situation for employers and their noncitizen temporary workers (and families) will become dire.”

In a March 16, 2020, statement, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers (ABIL) urged U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the State Department and other federal agencies to “announce the immediate suspension of all immigration compliance deadlines in order to help minimize harms to public safety and business continuity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In sum, critics say USCIS can adapt its policies to the new realities of coronavirus – or it can continue its old ways that have made life more difficult and dangerous for attorneys, employers and immigrants.

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I am the executive director of the National Foundation for American Policy, a non-partisan public policy research organization focusing on trade, immigration and related issues based in Arlington, Virginia. From August 2001 to January 2003, I served as Executive Associate Commissioner for Policy and Planning and Counselor to the Commissioner at the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Before that I spent four and a half years on Capitol Hill on the Senate Immigration Subcommittee, first for Senator Spencer Abraham and then as Staff Director of the subcommittee for Senator Sam Brownback. I have published articles in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and other publications. I am the author of a non-fiction book called Immigration.

Source: Critics: USCIS Policies Make Immigration Difficult And Dangerous

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New York City 10 Days Away From ‘Widespread Shortages’ Of Medical Supplies, Mayor Says

Topline: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a Sunday CNN appearance that “if we don’t get more ventilators in the next 10 days, people will die who don’t have to die” as the city—now the epicenter of the U.S. coronavirus epidemic—faces a possible shortage of medical supplies.

  • “We’re about 10 days from seeing widespread shortages,” de Blasio said, adding, “We have seen next to nothing from the federal government at this point.”
  • De Blasio also said that the military hasn’t been mobilized by the Trump administration, and that the Defense Production Act, which the president invoked by executive order Wednesday, has not been put into motion.
  • “It feels like we’re on our own at this point,” de Blasio said, adding that April would be worse for New York City than March has been, and he fears May could be even worse.
  • CNN also reported Sunday that Federal Emergency Management Agency head Peter Gaynor could not provide a number of how many medical masks were in the federal stockpile or how many have been shipped to state and local governments.
  • In a sign of demand on medical supplies, a Friday letter from a New York-Presbyterian Hospital department head said each employee would only be given one N95 mask (when it typically uses 4,000 per day).

Big number: 300 million. That’s how many masks could be needed for healthcare workers versus the current stockpile of 30 million, as testified to Congress by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar at the end of February.

Key background: The Defense Production Act is intended to be used by Trump to obtain “health and medical resources needed to respond to the spread of Covid-19, including personal protective equipment and ventilators.” Trump faced questions Thursday around his reticence to use the Defense Production Act to compel companies to produce healthcare items to combat the coronavirus, one day after he said he’d be invoking its powers. The New York Times reported Thursday that both the U.S. and countries abroad are facing a shortage of ventilators, with manufacturers saying that they can’t increase production to meet the demand.

Tangent: Tesla CEO Elon Musk volunteered his company’s factories to manufacture ventilators, but it’s unclear whether that will move forward.

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Source: New York City 10 Days Away From ‘Widespread Shortages’ Of Medical Supplies, Mayor Says

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Hospitals are sounding the alarm that they need more equipment as the coronavirus outbreak grows. Greg Cergol reports.

U.S. Stocks Claw Back Some Losses As Oil Prices Rebound

Topline: U.S. stocks recovered some losses on Thursday and oil prices soared, though the modest gains were not enough to offset the damage done by a weeks-long sell-off.

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.8%, or 170 points. The S&P 500 gained 0.3% while the Nasdaq gained 2.3%.
  • Tech stocks led the way on Thursday, with Amazon up 2.8% and Microsoft up 1.6%.
  • At a press conference on Thursday afternoon, President Trump said he would consider for companies who receive bailouts under his administration’s proposed $1 trillion stimulus plan.
  • Central banks are also continuing to act in order to cushion the economic blow of the coronavirus outbreak: yesterday, the European Central Bank announced an $818 billion bond-buying program and the Federal Reserve said it will act to shore up prime money market funds.

Crucial quote: “Central banks, particularly the Fed, really are playing whack-a-mole with the financial system,” Eric Winograd, senior economist at AllianceBernstein, told CNBC. “Every day, a new area of distress pops up and every day, they’re coming up with a new program or rebooting an old program.” The Federal Reserve is taking extraordinary steps to stabilize the U.S. economy: it has cut interest rates to almost zero, said it’s prepared to inject trillions of dollars into the overnight repo market, slashed bank reserve requirements and agreed to buy short term debt from companies with good credit ratings.

Big number: The price of oil bounced 24% on Thursday, gaining back about half of its losses from Wednesday, when it reached a multi-decade low. According to reporting in the Wall Street Journal citing people familiar with the matter, the Trump administration is considering intervening in the ongoing oil-price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Key background: The Dow dropped 6.3% yesterday, nearly 2,000 points, while the S&P 500 was down 5.2% and the Nasdaq slid 4.7%. It was the eighth consecutive day where the S&P 500 swung more than 4% in either direction—that level of volatility is far worse than the previous record of six days during the Great Depression, according to LPL Financial. Last night, President Donald Trump signed a coronavirus relief bill into law. The bill includes free coronavirus testing and paid sick leave, among other measures. The Trump administration is also pushing for a $1 trillion economic stimulus package.

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I’m an assistant editor on Forbes’ Money team, covering markets, fintech, and blockchain. I recently completed my master’s degree in business and economic reporting at New York University. Before becoming a journalist, I worked as a paralegal specializing in corporate compliance and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Source: U.S. Stocks Claw Back Some Losses As Oil Prices Rebound

U.S. stocks plunged amid anxieties of a free-fall in oil prices and escalating spread of the COVID-19, with all three major indexes declining more than seven percent.  Trading was halted for 15 minutes after the S&P 500 fell by seven percent, and resumed at 9:49 local time (1349 GMT). Subscribe to us on YouTube: https://goo.gl/lP12gA Download our APP on Apple Store (iOS): https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cctvn… Download our APP on Google Play (Android): https://play.google.com/store/apps/de… Follow us on: Website: https://www.cgtn.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChinaGlobalT… Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cgtn/?hl=zh-cn Twitter: https://twitter.com/CGTNOfficial Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/CGTNOfficial/ Tumblr: http://cctvnews.tumblr.com/ Weibo: http://weibo.com/cctvnewsbeijing Douyin: http://v.douyin.com/aBbmNQ/

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