The United States accounts for about a third of all coronavirus cases that have been confirmed around the world.
The global total of confirmed coronavirus cases stands at 3,083,467, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The US has confirmed 1,002,498 cases.
The US has confirmed far more cases than any other country in the world. Spain has confirmed 232,128 cases, and Italy has confirmed 201,505 cases. No other country has confirmed more than 200,000 cases.
US confirmed coronavirus cases pass one million mark
The US has reached the milestone of one million confirmed coronavirus cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The US death toll is now over 57,000.
Judges press Trump admin over subpoena fight involving Don McGahn
US appeals court judges earlier today appeared skeptical about broad arguments made by the Trump administration that the House of Representatives cannot sue to enforce a subpoena demanding testimony of a former senior White House official.
Holding arguments by phone because of the coronavirus pandemic, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit considered whether a House committee can sue in an effort to obtain testimony from former White House Counsel Donald McGahn, Reuters writes.
The nine judges heard the case alongside another dispute between the House and the Trump administration over Donald Trump’s announcement that he would spend $8.1 billion for a wall on the US-Mexico border despite the fact Congress had appropriated only $1.375 billion.
Although the panel appeared generally sympathetic to the House’s arguments, some judges seemed concerned about opening the door to the House suing over all manner of issues, including policy disputes and military conflicts.
Judge Judith Rogers appeared skeptical of the notion that courts cannot intervene when the executive branch and Congress are at odds. “Are you of the view there can be no role for the courts in terms of preserving the separation of powers?” she asked Hashim Mooppan, a Justice Department lawyer arguing for the Trump administration.
Judge David Tatel, referencing separate cases now at the Supreme Court concerning the House’s effort to obtain Trump’s financial records, questioned whether the Justice Department’s arguments are consistent.
The Justice Department has said Trump can sue to block a subpoena but the House cannot sue to enforce one.
A divided three-judge panel of the court ruled for Trump in February, saying the court had no place in settling the closely watched dispute between the executive and legislative branches of the US government.
The House judiciary committee had sought testimony from McGahn, who left his post in October 2018, about Trump’s efforts to impede former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation that documented Russian interference in the 2016 US election.
McGahn declined to testify before the committee after the Trump administration advised him to defy the subpoena.
Today so far
Here’s where the day stands so far:
- Trump is expected to sign an exectuvie order on keeping meat plants open. The executive order comes as a number of plants have had to close because workers have tested positive for coronavirus, which has raised concerns about a potential meat shortage.
- The president dodged a question about whether he received repeated warnings about the threat of coronavirus starting in January. Trump was asked about a Washington Post report that his Presidential Daily Briefing included multiple warnings on the virus in January and February. The president responded by saying he “would have to check” the dates of the warnings he received.
- Hillary Clinton is expected to endorse Joe Biden later today. Clinton confirmed she would appear as a special guest for Biden’s virtual town hall later today, and the endorsement was widely expected considering Biden has won the endorsement of virtually every other prominent Democrat.
The blog will have more coming up, so stay tuned.
Cuomo briefing summary
The Guardian’s Kenya Evelyn reports on New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s daily coronavirus briefing:
Governor Cuomo confirmed that while the number of new cases in the state dropped to under 1,000, an additional 335 New Yorkers died from the coronavirus Monday.
“This number is basically reducing, but not at a tremendous rate,” he said. “The only thing that is tremendous is the number of New Yorkers that pass away.”
The governor announced the formation of an advisory board of business leaders and health experts who are working with state officials to develop a repening plan. Cuomo unveiled a set of data points the state is using to guide its efforts.
“If a hospital system in an area exceeds 70% capacity or the rate of transmission of the virus hits 1.1, those are danger signs,” he said, likening upstate New York to states in the Midwest and West.
As protests to reopen the economy gain traction, the governor cautioned against getting “pushed politically into a situation” because “there are protesters in front of the capitol.”
“No, we’re not going to do that,” he said. “That’s not how we make decisions.”
Cuomo then pleaded for reopening measures to be based on facts, insisting “emotions can’t drive a reopening process.”
“Separate the emotion from the logic,” he said. “We want to reopen, but we want to do it without infecting more people or overwhelming the hospital system.”
“I know how much we want this to be over. But this is not over,” he added.
The briefing took a turn, however, when Cuomo went on to chastise national and global organizations for what he called a delayed response to a virus that first appeared in December.
The governor specifically took aim at the US intelligence community and global health organizations and NGOs, as well as the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.
“Where was everyone? Who was supposed to blow the bugle and didn’t?” he asked. However, Cuomo told Axios last night that he regretted not raising the alarm sooner himself.
On tracking and testing Covid-19 cases, Cuomo said the state needs at least 30 tracers for every 100,000 residents. The need, he said, exposed “fundamental issues” in governmental institutions that will require long-term, structural change.
“We need better systems,” he said. “We have to do a better job at our basic public health system.”
Joe Biden confirmed Hillary Clinton would appear at his virtual event later today, which was originally supposed to focus on the impact of coronavirus on women.
Clinton is expected to endorse Biden, an unsurprising development considering Biden has won the endorsement of nearly every other prominent Democrat since becoming the presumptive nominee.
But Clinton remains a favorite target for the president and his allies, and Trump’s reelection campaign has already put out a statement bashing the former Democratic presidential nominee.
“There is no greater concentration of Democrat establishment than Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton together,” said Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale. “President Trump beat her once and now he’ll beat her chosen candidate.”
Trump to sign executive order to keep meat plants open
Trump’s planned executive order on the US food supply will order meat processing plants to stay open, according to a Bloomberg News reporter.
The president announced during his Oval Office pool spray with Florida governor Ron DeSantis that he would sign a new executive order today regarding the country’s food supply chain.
The expected order comes as a number of meat processing plants have been forced to close after workers began testing positive for coronavirus. At least 13 meat and food-processing workers have already died of the virus.
The chairman of Tyson Foods warned Sunday that the country could face a meat shortage because of the closures.
“There will be limited supply of our products available in grocery stores until we are able to reopen our facilities that are currently closed,” John Tyson said. “In addition to meat shortages, this is a serious food waste issue. Farmers across the nation simply will not have anywhere to sell their livestock to be processed, when they could have fed the nation.”
Clinton to reportedly endorse Biden
Hillary Clinton reportedly intends to announce her endorsement of Joe Biden’s presidential campaign during a virtual event this afternoon.
The endorsement would be far from surprising, considering Biden has secured the endorsements of many prominent Democrats since becoming the party’s presumptive nominee earlier this month.
But the expected endorsement is still noteworthy, considering Clinton lost to Trump in 2016 and is still a favorite target for the president and his fans.
Clinton previewed her appearance for Biden in a tweet:
Trump told governors yesterday that they should “seriously consider” reopening schools, according to an audio recording of a teleconference call obtained by CNN.
“Some of you might start thinking about school openings, because a lot of people are wanting to have school openings. It’s not a big subject, young children have done very well in this disaster that we’ve all gone through,” Trump can be heard saying in the recording.
“So a lot of people are thinking about the school openings. And I think it’s something … they can seriously consider and maybe get going on it.”
A number of states have already announced that schools will not reopen for the remainder of the academic year, and public health experts have warned against relaxing social distancing restrictions too quickly, even as the president pushes for reopening the country.
Alabama governor Kay Ivey said the state would relax some social distancing restrictions starting Thursday, as several states look to start the process of reopening their economies.
Ivey said the state’s stay-at-home order would be allowed to expire Thursday and would be replaced with a “safer-at-home” order that includes slightly relaxed restrictions, which will be in effect until at least May 15.
Retail stores will be allowed to reopen starting Thursday, although the businesses must follow sanitization guidelines and enforce a 50% occupancy limit.
Beaches will also be allowed to reopen, but people will still need to maintain six feet of physical distance and avoid gathering in groups.
Restaurants, bars and breweries will remain limited to takeout and delivery, and churches will not yet be allowed to reopen.
Trump declined to answer a question about the health status of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, which remains a matter of intense public speculation.
“I just don’t want to comment on that,” Trump said of Kim during an Oval Office pool spray with Florida governor Ron DeSantis. “I just wish him well.”
But yesterday, Trump was more than willing to indicate that he knew the health status of Kim, even as he declined to share details on what he knows.
“Kim Jong-un? I can’t tell you exactly,” Trump said at his press conference yesterday. “Yes, I do have a very good idea, but I can’t talk about it now. … You will probably be hearing in the not-too-distant future.”