Photo: Mandel Ngan / AFP Via Getty Images
Image 1 20
The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.
TOP OF THE HOUR:
—President Trump heads to Phoenix to tour Honeywell plant.
—French President Macron criticized for opening schools next week.
—Britain’s official coronavirus death toll becomes highest in Europe.
LONDON — A leading epidemiologist whose work heavily influenced Britain’s lockdown measures has resigned from his position as a government adviser after a newspaper revealed he broke social distancing rules.
Professor Neil Ferguson says he “made an error of judgment” and regrets “any undermining of the clear messages around the continued need for social distancing.”
His statement came after the Telegraph reported he had allowed his married lover to visit him at home during the lockdown.
Ferguson leads a team at Imperial College London who modeled the spread and impact of the coronavirus in data that was instrumental in prompting Prime Minister Boris Johnson to impose lockdown measures.
MEXICO CITY — A survey of private economic analysts by Mexico’s central bank shows they expect the country’s economy to experience a whopping 14.1% contraction in the second quarter, a grimmer outlook than the same poll showed just a month ago. The median projection in the same survey in March had been for a 7.5% contraction in the second quarter.
On average, the 38 analysts surveyed expect a net drop in GDP of 7.27% for the year as a whole, as compared to the 4% drop they expected when asked a month earlier. They predicted that job losses in 2020 would amount to 693,000, and that unemployment would rise to 5.75%. Projections for a recovery in 2021 rose only slightly, from 1.9% to 2.5%.
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. — California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration has approved plans by Huntington Beach and two smaller cities to reopen beaches that fell under his order shutting down the entire Orange County coast after a heat wave drew large crowds to the shore.
Huntington Beach, the world famous surfing mecca, and the cities of Dana Point and Seal Beach submitted plans consistent with the governor’s orders in response to the coronavirus pandemic and include measures to avoid overcrowding and enable physical distancing, the state Natural Resources Agency said.
The governor announced April 30 he was ordering all Orange County beaches to shut down after spring heat spell prompted thousands of people to head to the coast, primarily at Huntington Beach and adjacent Newport Beach.
WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence says the White House coronavirus task force could wind down its work by early June.
Pence tells reporters at a White House briefing that the U.S. could be “in a very different place” by late May and early June. Pence says the administration is beginning to eye the Memorial Day to early June window as the appropriate time to have federal agencies manage the pandemic response in a more traditional way.
Pence’s comments came as an Associated Press analysis found infection rates rising even as states start to lift their lockdowns.
The vice president characterized the discussions as preliminary.
Dr. Deborah Birx, the task force coordinator, says the federal government will still keep a close eye on the data when if the task force disbands.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee officials have reported the first death of a state inmate who tested positive for the coronavirus — a man who was among the nearly 1,300 inmates who tested positive from one prison.
The state Department of Correction says the 67-year-old man was an inmate at Trousdale Turner Correctional Center, which is privately run by CoreCivic. The inmate was taken to the hospital April 25, tested positive there and died Monday, the department said.
The department says the exact cause of death is awaiting the medical examiner’s determination. The department and Tennessee-based CoreCivic both declined to release the inmate’s name.
Officials say six Tennessee inmates who tested positive are hospitalized, including one in serious condition. In recent mass testing, the Trousdale facility saw nearly 1,300 inmates and 50 staffers test positive, mostly without symptoms.
After the state saw about half of Trousdale’s inmates test positive, Republican Gov. Bill Lee’s administration last week announced plans to begin testing all inmates and staff across the state prison system.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Gov. Gina Raimondo says almost everyone in an indoor or outdoor public place in Rhode Island will be required to wear a face mask starting Friday to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The Democratic governor says she intends to sign an executive order requiring masks, with exceptions for small children, the developmentally disabled and people with certain medical conditions.
She said she wants people to think of masks like they do a wallet, car keys or phone — “Don’t leave home without it.”
CASS LAKE, Minn. — The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe is asking nonresidents to avoid traveling to or through the Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The reservation is near the headwaters of the Mississippi River and shares territory with Chippewa National Forest.
Leech Lake Chairman Faron Jackson says the band is “taking every precaution to ensure that the health and well-being of our communities is protected.”
In a statement, the Leech Lake band points out that American Indians have higher incidences of underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and respiratory illnesses that make individuals vulnerable to the coronavirus.
WASHINGTON — Two U.S. senators are proposing to amend federal legislation to temporarily assume that first responders who contracted the coronavirus within 45 days of their last shift were infected during work and are eligible for death benefits.
The federal Public Safety Officers Benefits Program provides death benefits to the survivors who die in the line of duty or as a result of a work-related incident. The program now requires evidence that shows the death was caused by an infectious disease related to work — a difficult determination with the coronavirus amid a pandemic.
The legislation was proposed by senators Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, and Cory Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey.
Federal death benefits include a one-time payment of $359,316 and/or education assistance of $1,224 a month to survivors.
DOVER, Del. — Democratic Gov. John Carney says he will allow small businesses in Delaware to resume limited operations starting Friday.
The announcement is aimed at gradually lifting restrictions that Carney imposed on individuals and businesses more than seven weeks ago in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Retailers such as department stores, tobacco shops, book stores and thrift stores will be allowed to do business using curbside pickup as long as social distancing can be maintained. Jewelry stores will be allowed to conduct business by appointment only.
LONDON — Britain’s foreign secretary has warned about “hostile states” and criminal gangs exploiting the coronavirus crisis for fraud and espionage, saying there is evidence they are targeting organizations trying to tackle the pandemic.
Dominic Raab says officials have “identified campaigns targeting health care bodies, pharmaceutical companies, research organizations and various different arms of local government.”
Most of the attacks aim to steal personal data and intellectual property, he added.
He says Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre and the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency have issued a joint warning over the concerns.
CHARLESTON, W. Va. — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told West Virginia officials that respirator masks distributed to 50,000 first responders might be counterfeit, but officials decided to leave them in use, according to a report.
After the warning, the state’s top public safety official issued a report to first responders that said the masks are “authentic,” the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.
MEXICO CITY — Mexico has received a shipment of 211 medical ventilators from the United States as part of aid that U.S. President Donald Trump promised his Mexican counterpart.
“We want to very fully thank the government of the United States, especially President Trump,” said Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard. “As the saying goes, when there are hard times is when you know who your friends are.”
Mexican President Andés Manuel López Obrador said last month that Trump had promised aid when he called and asked for help in obtaining 1,000 ventilators and other equipment for intensive care units.
Ebrard said the shipment includes equipment made by Swiss-based Hamilton Medical at prices ranging from $16,000 to $24,000.
He said they would be sent to government hospitals.
As of midday Tuesday, Mexico had reported 24,905 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 2.271 deaths, though officials acknowledge that actual infections are a multiple of the tested figure.
LONDON — Britain’s official coronavirus death total has passed Italy’s number to become the highest in Europe.
The U.K. government says 29,427 people with COVID-19 have died in hospitals, nursing homes and other settings, an increase of 693 on the figure announced a day earlier. In Italy, 29,315 people confirmed to have the virus have died.
The toll is the second-highest in the world behind the United States.
Both the British and Italian tallies are probably underestimates because they do not included suspected cases. In the U.K. there have been 32,375 deaths in which COVID-19 was either confirmed or suspected.
ROME — Italy has reported its lowest daily number of new COVID-19 cases since its lockdown began in early March.
The Italian health ministry registered 1,075 new cases, running the overall number of confirmed infections nationwide to 213,013, although experts note that many persons with no or mild symptoms never get tested. All but two of Italy’s 20 regions had 100 or fewer new cases in the 24-hour period ending Tuesday evening.
While the lower number of daily new cases is heartening, epidemiologists have warned that the daily numbers will be especially critical to watch in about two weeks, when it will be clearer if partially lifted lockdown rules, which went into effect on Monday, might see an uptick in infections.
The death toll rose to 29,315, with 236 more deaths of infected persons registered on Tuesday.
NEW DELHI, India — Health officials in India are rushing to contain the spread of the virus in the southern Indian city of Chennai in Tamil Nadu after a large cluster was discovered in one of the country’s largest markets for fruits, vegetables and flowers.
J. Radhakrishnan, the nodal officer for COVID-19 in Chennai, tells The Associated Press that some 7,000 people connected to the busy Koyambedu market that remained open through India’s nationwide lockdown were being traced and quarantined. Many of these people had returned to their homes in different districts in the region, he says.
The market is spread over 250 acres and has around 500 shops. It was shut on Monday after the viral cluster was detected.
Chennai now has 2,008 cases, with 545 cases detected in the past two days, and the city now accounts for half of the state’s total 4,058 cases.
ATHENS, Greece — Greek authorities have issued a public warning to coffee-bar owners who dodge lockdown restrictions by selling takeaway alcoholic drinks to customers who gather outside to drink them as the establishments play loud music.
Civil Protection Agency chief Nikos Hardalias says the practice is forbidden and police will be on the lookout for offenders. Coffee shops can only sell takeaway coffee under current regulations.
Greece has recorded 10 new coronavirus cases and no deaths. A total of 2,642 infections have been recorded and 146 deaths.
But the health ministry’s spokesman for coronavirus matters, infectious diseases specialist Sotiris Tsiodras, noted Greece might have over-reported its own coronavirus deaths. Answering a question during his daily briefing, Tsiodras said Greece’s death toll includes anyone who died and tested positive for the virus, regardless of whether their death might have been due to other, unrelated causes.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says Americans should think of themselves as “warriors” in the fight against the new coronavirus.
Trump spoke to reporters Tuesday before boarding Air Force One for a trip to Phoenix to tour a Honeywell plant that’s making N95 respirator masks.
Trump’s trip is designed to give the appearance of a return to normalcy as states begin to reopen after shutting down in a bid to slow the spread of the virus.
The president has stayed close to the White House since mid-March, when he declared a national emergency over the outbreak. He traveled to Virginia at the end of March to see a Navy hospital shift off to New York, and he spent this past weekend at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland.
Trump says: “The people of our country should think of themselves as warriors. Our country has to open.”
PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed plans to gradually reopen schools next week amid concerns from mayors, teachers and parents about the timing.
Macron, wearing a mask, visited a primary school in a suburb west of Paris on Tuesday that has remained open for children of health workers.
More than 300 mayors in the capital region, including Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, urged Macron in an open letter to delay the reopening of primary schools scheduled for next week.
They denounced an “untenable and unrealistic timetable” to meet the sanitary and safety conditions required by the state, including class sizes capped to a maximum of 15. The majority of French children attend public schools.
Many parents say they won’t send their children back to school as France is one of the world’s hardest-hit countries by the coronavirus.
France starts lifting confinement measures on May 11, with businesses to resume activity and parents to return to work.
Follow AP news coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.