Live Coronavirus News: Paul Manafort Is Released Over Virus Concerns


The Fed chair says ‘policies will need to be ready’ to aid damaged economy.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell said more government support might be needed to restore economic prosperity as a downturn “without modern precedent” strikes the United States.

“The recovery may take some time to gather momentum, and the passage of time can turn liquidity problems into solvency problems,” Mr. Powell said, according to prepared remarks set for delivery at a Peterson Institute for International Economics virtual event.

Mr. Powell signaled that Congress may need to provide more money for households and businesses in order to avoid a painful recession that could leave people jobless and saddled with debt.

“Additional fiscal support could be costly, but worth it if it helps avoid long-term economic damage and leaves us with a stronger recovery.”

Mr. Powell characterized the Fed’s ability to help as a “bridge across temporary interruptions to liquidity.” But he suggested that more than a bridge may be needed as huge uncertainties continue to confront the economy, from the speed of reopening to the scope of testing and timing of a vaccine.

“While the economic response has been both timely and appropriately large, it may not be the final chapter, given that the path ahead is both highly uncertain and subject to significant downside risks,” he said. “Since the answers are currently unknowable, policies will need to be ready to address a range of possible outcomes.”

“There is a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you may not be able to control,” Dr. Fauci warned.

That could result not only in “some suffering and death that could be avoided,” he said, “but could even set you back on the road to trying to get economic recovery.”

The success of social-distancing measures has always been largely dependent on individual behavior. But the public is also wrestling with a barrage of conflicting messages.

But after weeks largely confined to their homes, people in nearly every part of the country were showing signs of restlessness.

From March 20, when states began telling people to stay home, to April 30, when many states eased those restrictions, 43.8 percent of U.S. residents — about 144 million people — stayed home.

Last week, the share of people staying home was 36.1 percent, on average, or about 119 million people. That’s a drop of 7.7 percentage points from the average during the peak period for sheltering in place.

Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman, was released from prison on Wednesday and granted confinement in his home in Northern Virginia because of concerns over the virus, one of his lawyers, Todd Blanche, said.

Mr. Cohen is serving three years for violating campaign finance laws in part because of a hush money scheme to silence two women who said they had affairs with Mr. Trump. The president has denied the affairs.

Both changes, which are expected to win approval on Friday, would be firsts for a tradition-bound body that has been loath to alter its rules, even with the advent of new digital technologies. After weeks of debate, they reflect the leaders’ conclusion that there may be no other way for Congress to fully function in the months to come as Covid-19 continues to spread in the capital and around the country.

“There is no substitute for personally meeting — coming together in a committee room or the House floor and members interfacing with one another,” Representative Steny H. Hoyer, Democrat of Maryland and the majority leader, said in an interview.

“However, if that can’t be done, this rule is providing that the Congress will nevertheless be able to work, will nevertheless be able to respond to the issue of the day.”

The new rules would allow any member who was unable or unwilling to travel to the Capitol because of the pandemic to designate another lawmaker to cast votes on their behalf on the House floor.

Mr. Hoyer said he was disappointed Republicans were not backing the move, adding that several of their ideas had been included in the final proposal. Friday’s vote will authorize the House to study the feasibility of using technology for members to fully cast votes remotely, rather than using an in-person proxy.

The Republican attorney general in Texas has heightened tensions with three of the state’s largest Democratic-led cities, warning officials in Dallas, Austin and San Antonio that their local mask-wearing requirements and other restrictions, all more strict than Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive orders, were unlawful.

When Mr. Abbott ended his stay-at-home order and set the stage for the state’s partial reopening this month, he angered many local officials by contending that his reopening policies supersede any conflicting orders issued by cities or counties.

The office of the Texas attorney general, Ken Paxton, issued letters to leaders in Dallas, Austin and San Antonio and threatened legal action over several local restrictions, including extensions of stay-at-home orders, protocols for houses of worship and requirements for face masks.

“We trust you will act quickly to correct mistakes like these to avoid further confusion and litigation challenging the county’s and city’s unconstitutional and unlawful restrictions,” a deputy attorney general wrote in a letter to the mayor of Austin and the county judge of Travis County, which includes Austin.

Officials elsewhere received similar missives as part of the latest skirmish in the long-running battle between the conservative state leaders and politicians in more liberal major cities. Republican state officials have clashed with Democratic local officials over homelessness, public schools, crime and other issues in recent years.

The elected officials who received the new warnings disputed the state’s reading of their local orders. “We intentionally modeled the public health guidelines based on the governor’s recommendations, never imagining he did not want his own guidelines followed,” the top elected official in Dallas County, County Judge Clay Jenkins, said in a statement.

New York State health officials are investigating more than 100 cases of a rare and dangerous inflammatory syndrome that afflicts children and appears to be connected to the virus, officials said.

More than half of the state’s pediatric inflammatory syndrome cases — 57 percent — involved children ages 5 to 14.

“This is a truly disturbing situation,” Mr. Cuomo said at his Tuesday news briefing. “And I know parents around the state and around the country are very concerned about this, and they should be.”

The date of the general election is set by federal law and has been fixed since 1845. It would take a change in federal law to move that date. That would mean legislation enacted by Congress, signed by the president and subject to challenge in the courts.

But Mr. Kushner’s comment raised alarms both because of the expansive power that Mr. Trump has conferred on members of his family who serve in his administration and because it played into the worst anxieties of Mr. Trump’s detractors — that the president would begin to question the validity of the election if he feared he was going to lose.

Doubts about a smooth voting process in November have increased as states have canceled or postponed presidential primary elections to avoid the spread of the virus.

Mr. Kushner’s remarks also undercut the president’s own publicly stated position on the issue.

“The general election will happen on Nov. 3,” Mr. Trump said last month at a news conference when asked about Mr. Biden’s comment. But he also appeared to raise the specter of election fraud, noting that “I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting.” He added, “It should be, you go to a booth and you proudly display yourself.”

The Los Angeles County public health director, Barbara Ferrer, told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that it was likely that the stay-at-home orders would last into July and that she did not see the timeline shortening without “dramatic change to the virus and tools at hand.”

“Our hope is that by using the data, we’d be able to slowly lift restrictions over the next three months,” she said.

Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, sought to ease some of the anxiety that followed her comments, saying that there would be a gradual easing of restrictions.

“Go slow, don’t go fast and get it right,” he said in an appearance on CNN. “She is saying we are not going to fully reopen in the next three months.”

“We are not moving past Covid-19, we are learning to live with it,” he said. But that does not mean, he added, that you “freeze life where it is.”

The senators and witnesses who participated in the hearing on Tuesday of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions did so from dens, offices and a mostly empty committee room. But while their homes — and even their dogs — created an unusual backdrop for the proceedings, the hearing produced the customary array of partisan talking points, dire warnings and even the occasional flash of anger.

  • TESTING: The committee chairman, Lamar Alexander, described a future vaccine or treatment as the “ultimate solution,” but he said “until we have them, all roads back to work and school go through testing.” Brett P. Giroir, the assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services, who is overseeing the government’s testing response, testified that the country would have the ability to conduct 40 million to 50 million tests per month by September. But his remarks drew skepticism from Democratic senators, including Senator Patty Murray of Washington, who said, “This administration has had a record of bringing us broken promises that more supplies and testing are coming, and they don’t.”

  • VACCINES: Scientists hope to know by late fall or early winter whether they have at least one possible effective vaccine, Dr. Fauci told the senators. But he cautioned, “Even at the top speed we’re going, we don’t see a vaccine playing in the ability of individuals to get back to school this term.” Dr. Fauci emphasized the importance of having “multiple winners,” meaning more than one vaccine available, to provide “global availability.” He repeated his cautious optimism that an effective vaccine would be developed but said there was no guarantee that would happen.

  • SCHOOL REOPENINGS: The closing of schools and universities has represented one of the biggest upheavals in the outbreak, and Dr. Fauci and others said that the answer might be that schools would reopen differently throughout the country, depending on the state of the local outbreak.

    Balancing the decision of whether to keep schools closed for safety reasons or to reopen them to allow parents to return to work — a major factor in any economic recovery — is a difficult question.

    “If we keep kids out of school for another year, what’s going to happen is the poor and underprivileged kids who don’t have a parent that’s able to teach them at home will not get to learn for a full year,” said Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky.

    Dr. Fauci pushed back, saying that the virus’s effect on children was still not well understood, and that recent cases of children who had tested positive and developed a serious inflammatory syndrome was worrisome. “We really better be very careful, particularly when it comes to children,” he said.

Everson Kalman, 40, of Oneonta, N.Y., said that living alone was a lot like being in jail. “Nebulous fear and constant dread. The sense that a lot is going on beyond the surrounding walls, though nothing changes much from day to day.”

Bette Ferber, 90, of Los Angeles, recalled simple pleasures, like holding hands. I wait for the day when this quarantine is over and I can go back out into the world. And most importantly, I live for the day when I can hold the hands of those I love.”

Julie Lunde, 26, of Tucson, Ariz., learned to chop onions. Because my apartment is a studio, the stink of onions has permeated my living area. The only onion-free zone is the bathroom, which happens to be disproportionately large and well lit, so I’m spending an increasing amount of time in there. It’s true that chopping raw onions can induce tears, which I view as a benefit; crying over cut onions is the best kind of crying I do these days.”

Jack Dorsey, the chief executive of Twitter, has told employees that they would not be expected to return to the company’s offices and could work from home forever if they wanted.

Twitter sent its employees home in early March to help stop the spread of the virus, but Mr. Dorsey had previously said that he wanted Twitter’s work force to be more diversified around the world and that he welcomed remote work.

But many companies are now wondering whether it’s worth continuing to spend as much money on Manhattan’s exorbitant commercial rents. They are also mindful that public health considerations might make the packed workplaces of the recent past less viable.

“Is it really necessary?” said Diane M. Ramirez, the chief executive of Halstead, the real estate company that has more than a thousand agents in the New York region. “I’m thinking long and hard about it. Looking forward, are people going to want to crowd into offices?”

When her company, and dozens of others, make that call after the pandemic, New York City real estate could face a reckoning.

Two distinct sounds have been competing in New York City’s streets during the pandemic: the wail of sirens and the songs of ice cream trucks.

In New York, ice cream trucks are considered essential businesses, the same as any other food delivery service. This month, a video team from The Times spent a day with Godfrey Robinson, the co-founder of FunTime Frostee, a Brooklyn-based franchise. For 26 years, Mr. Robinson has delivered ice cream along the same route, a loop through East New York, Crown Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant and part of Queens.

Though his business is down by more than half, Mr. Robinson stays out on the streets, he says, out of obligation. His customers seemed happy to see him.

“I’m glad I heard the ice cream truck,” one said, “‘cause it’s better than hearing the sirens of the fire truck and ambulance.”

We answer your rent and neighborhood questions.

The pandemic has created many quandaries, such as how to talk to your neighbors about social distancing, how to break a lease you can no longer afford and what you can do as a landlord who is having trouble collecting rent. We have some help and advice.

In some areas, fairs have been pared back with the elimination of midway rides and games. A few still hold out hope they will carry on.

But for rural children in local 4-H and National FFA Organization clubs, the fair cancellations are a particularly painful blow. They have been tending their animals for months to prepare them for their turns in the ring at livestock shows.

Leaders of local farm clubs are trying to make up for the losses by hosting online livestock shows, asking children to submit photos and videos of themselves displaying their cows, sheep and goats. Judges are left scrutinize the animals and their features through a computer screen.

Deaths from all causes doubled in Lima, Peru, and tripled in Manaus, Brazil. In Guayaquil, Ecuador, deaths reached five times the usual number for the time of year.

Brazilian cities are burying rows of stacked coffins in mass graves. Hundreds of Ecuadoreans are searching for the bodies of family members who went to hospitals and never returned.

Reporting was contributed by Eileen Sullivan, Alan Blinder, Jeanna Smialek, Manny Fernandez, Katie Thomas, Denise Grady, Michael Mason, Sheila Kaplan, Michael Gold, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Annie Karni, Maggie Haberman, Marc Santora, Alexandra Alter, Karen Barrow, Gabriel J.X. Dance, Lazaro Gamio, Matthew Haag, Shawn Hubler, Dionne Searcey, Daisuke Wakabayashi and Sharon LaFraniere.





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