Gatherings Should Be Limited to 10 People, Trump Says



‘Every One of Us Has a Critical Role’: Trump Releases New Coronavirus Guidelines

President Trump and leading health officials are now recommending closing more schools, avoiding groups of more than 10, discretionary travel, bars and restaurants.

This afternoon we’re announcing new guidelines for every American to follow over the next 15 days as we combat the virus. Each and every one of us has a critical role to play in stopping the spread and transmission of the virus. We did this today, and this was done by a lot of very talented people, some of whom are standing with me. And that’s available. And Dr. Birx will be speaking about that in just a few minutes. It’s important for the young and healthy people to understand that while they may experience milder symptoms, they can easily spread this virus and they will spread it, indeed, putting countless others in harm’s way. We especially worry about our senior citizens. We’ve made the decision to further toughen the guidelines and blunt the infection now. We’d much rather be ahead of the curve than behind it. And that’s what we are. Therefore, my administration is recommending that all Americans, including the young and healthy, work to engage in schooling from home when possible, avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people, avoid discretionary travel, and avoid eating and drinking at bars, restaurants and public food courts. If everyone makes this change or these critical changes and sacrifices now we will rally together as one nation, and we will defeat the virus. And we’re going to have a big celebration all together. With several weeks of focused action, we can turn the corner and turn it quickly. A lot of progress has been made. I’m also pleased to report today that a vaccine candidate has begun the Phase 1 clinical trial. This is one of the fastest vaccine development launches in history. Not even close. We’re also racing to develop antiviral therapies, and other treatments, and we’ve had some promising results — early results, but promising — to reduce the severity and the duration of the symptoms. And I have to say that our government is prepared to do whatever it takes, whatever it takes we’re doing.

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President Trump and leading health officials are now recommending closing more schools, avoiding groups of more than 10, discretionary travel, bars and restaurants.CreditCredit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

The Trump administration released new guidelines on Monday to slow the spread of the coronavirus, including closing schools and avoiding groups of more than 10 people, discretionary travel, bars, restaurants and food courts.

Mr. Trump, flanked by task force members including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the guidelines would apply for 15 days.

“It seems to me if we do a really good job, we’ll not only hold the death down to a level that’s much lower than the other way had we not done a good job, but people are talking about July, August,” Mr. Trump said about the duration of the crisis.

The new measures reflected the increasing gravity of global attempts to contain the virus as governments around the world, from Canada to Hungary, moved to close their borders to foreign travelers. They left unanswered the question of precisely what individuals and local governments should do, or how business owners and workers might survive financially, at a time when vast sections of the economy were ceasing to function.

“If everyone makes this change or these critical changes and sacrifices now,” Mr. Trump said, “we will rally together as one nation and we will defeat the virus and we’re going to have a big celebration all together.”

Hours earlier, Mr. Trump told a group of governors they should not wait for the federal government to fill the growing demand for respirators needed to help people diagnosed with coronavirus.

“Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment — try getting it yourselves,” Mr. Trump told the governors during the conference call, a recording of which was shared with The New York Times.


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President Trump held a call with governors on Monday about the response to the coronavirus, discussing work on a vaccine, the impact on the economy and more.CreditCredit…Erin Scott for The New York Times

The suggestion surprised some of the governors, who have been scrambling to contain the outbreak and looking to the federal government for help with equipment, personnel and financial aid.

At the briefing with the president, Dr. Fauci said the first phase of testing of a possible vaccine had begun on Monday. He stressed that some of the White House guidelines were inconvenient, but that they would help stop the spread of the virus and were not an overreaction.

“When you’re dealing with an emerging infectious diseases outbreak,” he said, “you are always behind where you think you are.”

Credit…Kyle Grillot for The New York Times

It was clear on Monday that most of the American economy was grinding to a halt, and would remain that way for months, because of the coronavirus outbreak and the sweeping steps being taken to try to halt it.

On Wall Street, brokers and analysts were acting as if an economic collapse were inevitable, despite the Federal Reserve’s emergency moves on Sunday night to stoke economic growth through an aggressive bond-buying program. The S&P 500 fell nearly 12 percent on Monday and global oil prices slid below $30 a barrel, a four-year low.

“We’re calling the recession,” said Gregory Daco, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics. “We have the three elements to make that call — a profound, pervasive and persistent contraction in economic activity.”

Business groups, local and state leaders and a growing chorus of lawmakers and economists begged the federal government to spend trillions of dollars to pay workers to stay home and funnel money to companies struggling with an abrupt end to consumer activity.

The administration floated several ideas for helping industry without conveying a clear plan. After the main trade group for airlines suggested a $50 billion bailout, Mr. Trump’s chief economist, Larry Kudlow, said, “We don’t see the airlines failing, but if they get into a cash crunch we’re going to try to help them.”

Employers and employees are torn between fears of being exposed to the virus and fears of running out of money to pay for food and electricity. And government officials are left with the unhappy task of shutting down businesses that provide wages for large swaths of their communities, while wondering what steps their neighbors are taking.

On Monday, Senator Mitt Romney of Utah called for the government to cut a $1,000 check, immediately, to every American.

“People don’t have reserves, they live hand-to mouth,” said Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel-winning economist. “People won’t be able to pay their rents, landlords won’t be able to pay their oil bills, the whole system could break down.”

The consequences of China’s harsh measures to halt the virus — restricting the movement of about 700 million people at one point — became apparent on Monday when the government released economic data showing industrial output falling to its lowest level in decades and unemployment rising at its highest rate ever in February.



‘Our Lives Are at Stake’: U.S. Residents Scramble to Find Coronavirus Testing

Since March 3, the Trump administration has said coronavirus testing is available to all. But people across the country told us that’s not the case.

“It started for me with a pretty severe sore throat.” “I started to feel symptomatic five days after traveling.” “It’s different than the bronchitis that I’ve gotten before.” “Everything had kind of settled in my lungs. And I was just coughing a ton.” “I had a headache and felt feverish.” “It felt like I had a bowling ball on my chest. Nobody’s willing to see me, and nobody has the test kit and even C.D.C. is refusing to test me.” “I traced back, you know, my wife, she works at Amazon. They had a confirmed case.” “Four different planes in four different airports. So I don’t know who sat next to me or who I was in contact with.” “It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.” “We’re going down, not up. We’re going very substantially down. Not up.” “Anybody that needs a test, gets a test. They’re there. They have the tests. And the tests are beautiful.” “We have a president saying anyone who wants tests can get a test. And I’m thinking, That is so not true.” “It was just interesting, because there was this kind of gray area for a while of people who felt like they were really sick and should have been tested just as, even as a rule out. And the state of Washington just did not have the capacity to do that, because the government had not supported us at that point essentially.” “I got through to public health after about an hour, and they told me that I did not meet the criteria for being tested.” “They said, ‘There’s no way to get tested. We don’t have tests right now. There’s nothing set up in Delaware.’” “I looked at the C.D.C. website and it said, call your doctor if you have the symptoms. So I called the doctor’s office and they told me to go to an urgent care facility. I called an urgent care facility and they said that there’s nothing that they can do. And they don’t have the tests. And they told me to go to the E.R. And I called a hospital, and they told me that they don’t have the test either.” “I just felt like I was getting the run-around. It was clearly obvious that they just are under capacity, and they’re not able to test.” “I eventually just gave up because, at that point, the testing criteria was so strict. It was, you travel to China or have you been in contact with someone known diagnosed Covid. And I didn’t meet any of that.” “As a nurse in an E.R., it’s pretty vital if I have an infectious disease that I know what it is because I could be spreading it to people who are really vulnerable.” “I actually work in a building that’s a fairly public place. There’s people of every generation coming in there. There’s a private school there. There’s a senior center.” “Southwest Florida is full of elders. There is a lot of snowbirds coming here. They’re all in their 70s and 80s. I cannot get myself, like I cannot convince my conscience to leave the house just thinking about that, Hey you went grocery shopping and now like five people died. So I just self quarantined myself and basically started working from home.” “We stocked up on food items as much as possible. I bought a 25 pound bag of rice. We bought beans. We got ready basically just to hunker down for those two weeks. At this point, I’m telling people like make — if you have a decision to make, think about survival and make the decision based on survival for yourself, your family and your community.” “We knew this was coming. The federal government is just completely bungling this, and our lives are at stake. I feel like they’re just leaving us here to die in Seattle.” “The most overwhelming feeling was you are on your own.” “I’m just really concerned for those that this is going to affect the hardest. And I think we pretty much failed at early testing, early containment. We had more time than other governments.”

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Since March 3, the Trump administration has said coronavirus testing is available to all. But people across the country told us that’s not the case.

For the first time since World War II, the Kentucky Derby will not take place on the first Saturday in May.

The Derby, the first jewel of horse racing’s Triple Crown, became the latest marquee sporting event forced to postpone because of the deepening coronavirus pandemic.

Churchill Downs will hold a conference call on Tuesday morning to announce a makeup date for the race, which is expected to be Sept. 5. The Courier-Journal newspaper in Louisville, Ky., where the race is held, had earlier reported the postponement.

The race, which touts itself as the “most exciting two minutes in sports,” regularly draws more than 150,000 spectators to the famed racetrack with its twin spires.

The coronavirus has transformed the sporting landscape. The N.B.A., the N.H.L. and Major League Baseball have all suspended play, and the N.C.A.A. canceled all of its championships.

Racetracks across the country have been shuttered to the public, but races are still being run and bets are still being welcomed. According to The Courier-Journal, the Derby and the weeks of celebration that surround it infuse the region with about $400 million yearly.

In 1945, the Kentucky Derby was held on June 9, about a month after the government lifted a ban on horse racing that it put in place because of World War II. The only other year the race did not take place on the first Saturday in May was in 1901.

Stringent measures were imposed over the weekend in several Latin American nations, where the outbreak has generally arrived later than in Europe or North America.

In Venezuela, President Nicolás Maduro — an authoritarian leader whose government is considered illegitimate by the United States and about 60 other nations — seized on the upheaval caused by the pandemic to present himself as a responsible guardian of public health.

On Monday night, in an announcement made on state TV, Mr. Maduro said a nationwide quarantine would take effect Tuesday at 5 a.m. local time. The country is now at 33 cases, according to Mr. Maduro, who called the move “a drastic and necessary measure.”

Earlier in the day, he responded to 17 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country by ordering a lockdown of the capital, Caracas, and six other states on Monday. “We either go into quarantine, or the pandemic could brutally and tragically bring down our country,” he said in a terse televised speech on Sunday that was a departure from his typically rambling addresses. He called on the United States to loosen sanctions against his government.

Other Latin American countries have also responded to dozens of confirmed cases. Ecuador and Peru announced countrywide lockdowns. President Iván Duque of Colombia shut the borders to nonresidents. In Costa Rica, the government decreed a state of emergency that included closing its borders.

In contrast, President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil encouraged mass demonstrations by his supporters against his opponents in Congress on Sunday. Though Mr. Bolsonaro has been close to people who tested positive for the virus, he shook hands and posed for photos with supporters.

Scientists tracking the spread of the coronavirus reported Monday that, for every confirmed case, there are most likely another five to 10 people in the community with undetected infections. On average these people are about half as infectious as confirmed ones, but they are responsible for transmitting the virus in nearly 80 percent of new cases, according to the report, which was based on data from China.

The researchers modeled the virus’s natural spread in China before the government instituted a travel ban and an aggressive testing policy. During that time, from December 2019 through late January, about 85 percent of cases went undetected. That situation is analogous to the current state of affairs in the United States and other Western countries, where tests are not widely available, the researchers said.

“If we have 3,500 confirmed cases in the U.S., you might be looking at 35,000 in reality,” said Jeffrey Shaman, an epidemiologist at Columbia University and the senior author of the new report, which was posted by the journal Science.

The report is among the first to address two pressing questions: How many people are walking around with unrecognized infections, and how infectious are they? American policymakers have begun taking more aggressive measures to slow transmission, like canceling events and closing restaurants, but access to tests has been difficult or nonexistent in much of the country.

The top official of the European Union said on Monday that she was proposing a shutdown of all nonessential travel into the bloc. President Emmanuel Macron of France said national leaders would approve the plan on Tuesday.

“We propose to introduce a temporary restriction to non-essential travel to the European Union,” said Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, after a teleconference with G7 leaders. “Of course there will be exemptions for E.U. citizens coming back home, health care workers, doctors and nurses.”

The restriction would last for 30 days, and would not interfere with travel from one European Union country to another. But some of the member states have already taken steps in that direction.

Ten of the 26 countries that make up the passport-free Schengen Area have reintroduced border controls, partly or fully suspending the rules of the flagship European Union program, a spokesman for the European Commission said.

Infighting, turf wars and a president more concerned with the stock market and media coverage than policy have defined the Trump White House. They have also defined how it has handled a pandemic.

The White House culture that President Trump has fostered and abided by for more than three years has shaped his administration’s response to a deadly pandemic that is upending his presidency and the rest of the country, with dramatic changes to how Americans live their daily lives.

It all explains how Mr. Trump could announce he was dismissing his acting chief of staff as the crisis grew more severe, creating even less clarity in an already fractured chain of command. And it was a major factor in the president’s reluctance to even acknowledge a looming crisis, for fear of rattling the financial markets that serve as his political weather vane.

Mr. Trump has refused repeated warnings to rely on experts, or to neutralize some of the power held by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, in favor of a traditional staff structure. He has rarely fully empowered people in the jobs they hold.

“Part of this is President Trump being Donald J. Trump, the same guy he’s always been, and part of it is a government he has now molded in his image, rather than having a government as it has traditionally been, to serve the chief executive, and to serve the job of governing the country,” said David Lapan, a former spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security and the Pentagon, and a former aide of Mr. Kelly.

Six counties in Northern California have ordered all residents to “shelter in place” in an effort to stop the coronavirus from surging.

The order, which takes effect Tuesday, is expected to disrupt life for millions of residents in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties. The city of Berkeley also issued the same order.

That means staying at home except for the most essential reasons. Officials said people would be allowed to leave the house for essential work, to go to a grocery store, pick up medication, or even walk the dog. But they urged everyone to practice social distancing while outside. “It is now time to do your part,” Dr. Scott Morrow, the San Mateo health officer, said in a statement.

“It’s asking people to go home with their families and to stay there until they are told otherwise,” said Mayor Joe Goethals of San Mateo, adding that only “essential” businesses like hospitals, grocery stores and pharmacies would remain open.

“I don’t expect anyone to get arrested,” said Mr. Goethals, who said people will still be allowed to go outside for limited activities, like buying food and getting fresh air. “But it’s not optional. This is mandatory for all of us.”

The number of coronavirus cases in the United States crossed the 4,000 mark on Monday, with more than 70 deaths, including the first deaths in Indiana, Nevada and South Carolina.

A growing number of cities and states have taken significant actions to slow the coronavirus, shutting down schools, restaurants, bars, movie theaters and gyms. The restrictions stretched from the now-empty sidewalks of New York City, where officials had made the wrenching decision to shut down public schools, to the fields and urban centers of Ohio. Millions of Americans are now hunkered down at home for the foreseeable future.

Declaring “we are at war,” President Emmanuel Macron of France prohibited public gatherings of any size, postponed municipal elections and told people to stay in their homes except for essential needs.

His order, which goes into effect on Tuesday, is one of the most stringent anywhere in Europe. Officials said that going out for a walk to get some fresh our would be allowed, but meeting a friend on a street or in a park would be punishable with a fine.

Christophe Castaner, the interior minister, said anyone on a public outing would need to carry a document justifying it, even if only a sworn statement written by that person. He said that 100,000 law enforcement officers would be deployed to enforce the order.

Olivier Véran, France’s health minister, said that the government was asking each French person to limit human contact to a maximum of five people a day. France, with more than 6,600 coronavirus cases and 148 deaths by Monday, had already ordered all “non-indispensable” businesses closed.

“We will be able to end the confinement,” Mr. Véran said in a post on Twitter. “But without confinement, we will not be able to end the epidemic.”

Spain, with almost 10,000 cases and more than 300 deaths by Monday, also ordered residents to mostly stay at home, though it is still allowing most people to go to work and has not announced any punitive measures. Schools, restaurants and bars were ordered to close.

The pace of new coronavirus infections reported in Europe accelerates daily — roughly 6,000 on Thursday, 7,000 on Friday, 8,000 on Saturday, 9,000 on Sunday and 10,000 on Monday, bringing the total to about 62,000. France and Spain warned that their health care systems could be overwhelmed.

And in Italy, still the hardest-hit country in Europe and the first to impose nationwide restrictions on movement, the government announced $28 billion in emergency aid to individuals, businesses and the health care system to stave off chaos and financial ruin.

Italy had almost 28,000 infections and more than 1,800 deaths as of Monday.

The government’s aid package delays mortgage, loan and tax payments, and offers extended parental leave, sick leave for people in quarantine, babysitting vouchers, and grants for self-employed and seasonal workers.

“We never considered fighting a flood with buckets,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said. “We are trying to build a dam to protect businesses, families and workers.”

Ohio’s governor on Monday night said he and top state heath officials would ignore a court ruling and postpone Ohio’s presidential primary by declaring a public health emergency because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The governor, Mike DeWine, said that the state’s health director, Dr. Amy Acton, had issued the order based on concerns that the coronavirus outbreak placed both voters and poll workers in potential danger.

His announcement came just hours after Judge Richard A. Frye of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas rejected the state’s request to push back voting to June 2.

Ohio was one of four states scheduled to vote on Tuesday. The other three — Arizona, Illinois and Florida — said that they planned to proceed with their elections while taking additional health precautions.

Kentucky also announced that it was delaying its primary.

The lobbying group for America’s biggest airlines called on the government on Monday to provide more than $50 billion in grants, loan guarantees and tax relief. The group, Airlines for America, warned that the current situation was not sustainable for the industry and that there was no end in sight to the crisis.

“This is a today problem, not a tomorrow problem,” said Nicholas E. Calio, chief executive of Airlines for America. “It requires urgent action.”

The industry group said that flight cancellations are outpacing new bookings and that the decline in demand is getting worse by the day. The request included $25 billion in grants for passenger carriers, $4 billion in grants for cargo, $25 billion in loan guarantees.

On Sunday, United Airlines executives said they were in talks with union leaders about reducing payroll costs. The moves being considered include furloughs, pay cuts and reducing minimum hours.

United’s corporate officers will be taking a 50 percent pay cut, Oscar Munoz, the chief executive, and Scott Kirby, the president, said in a letter. Both have already said they would forgo their base salaries through June.

In a sharp reversal, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday that everyone should avoid unnecessary travel and contact with others, should work at home and should stop going to places like bars, restaurants and theaters.

Mr. Johnson called the measures “very draconian,” but he stopped well short of the kinds of steps taken by some harder-hit European countries. He did not order schools or businesses closed, did not tell people to stay in their homes, and said the steps were not mandatory, but rather “giving very strong advice.”

Mr. Johnson and his government had faced harsh criticism for its laissez-faire approach to the pandemic. They had spoken hopefully of “herd immunity” — in which many people would be infected, recover and then, it is hoped, be immune — while it was inevitable that many people would take ill and die.

But at a news conference on Monday with top medical officials, he said: “Now is the time for everyone to stop nonessential contact with others and to stop all unnecessary travel.”

In particular, people over 70 and those with serious illnesses should avoid contact with others, Mr. Johnson said, suggesting that as a result, people should not visit nursing and retirement homes.

The English actor Idris Elba, who was in the HBO series “The Wire,” announced on Monday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, sharing the news with fans in a video that he posted on Twitter.

“Transparency is probably the best thing for this right now,” said Mr. Elba, 47. “If you’re feeling ill or you feel like you should be tested or you’ve been exposed, then do something about it. It’s really important.”

Reporting was contributed by Michael Powell, Elisabetta Povoledo, Tim Arango, Thomas Fuller, John Eligon, Maya Salam, Conor Dougherty, Jim Tankersley, Niraj Chokshi, Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Ian Austen, Catie Edmondson, Peter Baker, Katie Robertson, Jonathan Martin, Michael Cooper, Karen Weise, Reid J. Epstein, Katie Glueck, Shane Goldmacher, Jeanna Smialek, Alissa J. Rubin, Sarah Mervosh, Neil Irwin, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Safak Timur, Emmet Lindner, Marc Santora, Megan Specia, Aurelien Breeden, Raphael Minder, Melissa Eddy, Tiffany May, Matt Stevens, Nick Corasaniti, Elian Peltier, Constant Méheut, Josh Katz, Margot Sanger-Katz, Kevin Quealy, Adeel Hassan, Aimee Ortiz and Neil Vigdor.

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