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Supreme Court Hands Federal Worker Partial Win In Age-Discrimination Case
In a separate case, the court upheld a warrantless traffic stop by a sheriff's deputy in Kansas.
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npr.org
Giants’ Joe Judge introduction comes through remote playbook
Nearly one year ago, Eli Manning returned to the Giants facility for the start of the offseason workout program. “You come in, had a good offseason, worked hard, excited to be back with the team and the coaches,’’ Manning said at the time. “Going into that second year you always have an advantage, you know...
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nypost.com
Coronavirus Live Updates: Hospitals Run Low on Supplies as the U.S. Death Toll Nears 10,000
A government report found medical facilities stretched to capacity and in need of everything from ventilators to thermometers. Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain was in the hospital. Japan will declare a state of emergency.
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nytimes.com
Florida couple relives nightmare on coronavirus-infected Costa Luminosa cruise ship
After being stuck on a coronavirus-infected ship and enduring a harrowing journey home, an elderly couple feels like "prisoners" in their home.        
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usatoday.com
Is it ethical to hire babysitters, delivery services, and cleaners right now?
Getty Images Many service employees are still at work. If you need help, maintaining their safety and yours is tricky, but this is what experts and workers’ rights representatives suggest. Individuals may be doing the best they can to follow the rules of social distancing, but if anything has become clear a few weeks into quarantine, it’s just how many gray areas exist. After all, it’s impossible to completely limit interactions with front-line workers such as grocery store employees or delivery people. And the ethical implications of using services have also become increasingly clear in recent weeks. Tensions and safety concerns among gig and front-line workers are rising; in recent days, strikes by employees of Amazon, Instacart, and Whole Foods over working conditions are leading consumers to question whether it’s ethical to even use such services. “Doctors and nurses have a moral obligation to show up to work, even with the understanding they may get exposed to a virus. But grocery store clerks or delivery people have never bargained for this. If they don’t show up, they get fired or don’t get paid,” says Leonard Fleck, a medical ethicist and the acting director of the Center for Ethics at the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University. So, what personal services can— or should — you use right now? Here’s what six infectious disease specialists and workers’ representatives suggest for making safe and moral choices as you weigh interacting with concierge staff in a high-rise building, using delivery services, or hiring babysitting or pet care support so you can keep up with your job. I can’t concentrate and need child care to help me effectively work from home. Can I get a babysitter? “In general, I would say, don’t have the babysitter come over,” says David Cennimo, a physician and assistant professor of medicine specializing in pediatric infectious diseases at Rutgers University. “But that said, I am working with many wonderful parents in health care who are juggling their family and work responsibilities.” If you do need a sitter, think of it as “expanding the circle.” This, Cennimo says, means considering your babysitter and their family part of your family — even if you live in separate homes. This means you may ask that he or she does not see other clients (and pay extra for that privilege) and that you make sure to keep each other apprised of symptoms or risk factors for coronavirus. For example, does your sitter’s son drive for a ride-sharing service? That increases your risk of exposure. Bottom line: You need to know each other’s comings and goings, which may mean having conversations about each family’s routines, habits, and social distancing efforts, says Cennimo. If your child is old enough, consider having them Zoom during your important conference calls “We don’t have formal guidelines or recommendations, since the job is so personal,” says Laura Schroeder, co-president of the International Nanny Association. “What we are advocating is that our nannies have conversations with their employers about their situation, their health, and make sure that any what-if scenarios are covered.” For example, would a babysitter or nanny consider sheltering in place with a family? Will a nanny still get paid even if she is ill or has been in contact with someone who has Covid-19 and can no longer work while quarantined? Is it possible for the family to provide a ride or rental car to minimize the nanny using public transportation? “We’re advising people to pay their nannies, even if they’re not coming in, if they can,” adds Schroeder. One workaround: If you already have a babysitter and your child is old enough to pay sustained attention to a video chat for 30 minutes, consider having them Zoom for short periods during your important conference calls or meetings so your child can be entertained and occupied playing cards, coloring, or playing games with their sitter, says Schroeder. How do I interact with doormen and delivery people? If you live in a major city, you’re going to have more interactions than if you were in a small town, says Laila Woc-Colburn, medical director of the infectious disease section at Baylor College of Medicine. “Follow the general rules: Maintain a 6-foot distance. Wear a mask, make sure they’re wearing a mask, get your package yourself rather than have someone else touch it and deliver it.” If that protocol isn’t being followed, it may be worth reaching out to your building management and asking about their policy for worker protection and, Woc-Colburn says, request an alternative way of receiving packages. If packages are stored in a room where the concierge must retrieve it for you, ask whether it’s possible to enter the room yourself or have the delivery person drop items directly outside your door. Waiting three days to open it is the ultimate safety measure after you receive a package, but if that’s not possible, Woc-Colburn recommends thoroughly washing your hands before and after handling a package, and keeping package opening to one area of your house, such as the entryway, which you then make a point to sanitize each day. As for delivery workers, economic consequences may mean that they may show up even if they feel ill. While this issue demands societal change, in the interim, you can help protect yourself and workers by using services that allow for sick leave. Retailers such as Safeway, Kroger, and Walmart now offer sick leave for employees with a confirmed Covid-19 diagnosis (which watchdog groups say is not adequate, given the dearth of tests available); but local businesses may offer a more all-encompassing umbrella policy for sick leave to protect workers. Companies should also provide adequate personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves. Due to public pressure and the possibility of strikes, for example, Instacart now provides face masks, hand sanitizer, and thermometers to workers. Unions have different rules and guidelines regarding employees and the coronavirus. For example, 32BJ-SEIU, the largest property services union in the country (representing doormen, cleaners, and airport employees, among others), makes it clear that union members can’t refuse to work if they are asked to clean a space where someone with a confirmed case of Covid-19 has been, although their employers are required to provide personal protective equipment. But familiarizing yourself with workers’ conditions — asking about sick leave policies, protective supplies, and proactive actions companies are taking on behalf of workers — may be helpful as you assess the services you will need to use, says Fleck. And if you can tip workers — concierges, delivery people — generously during this time, that’s helpful as well, says Fleck. After all, they’re out there so you don’t have to be. Can I hire a personal trainer? At first glance, training outside, 6 feet apart, seems like a smart way to practice social distancing, provide continuous employment for a trainer, and get a much-needed mental and physical break. But experts say sticking to virtual sessions is smarter, especially when many trainers and boutique studios are offering them. (Some to consider: Orangetheory’s 30-minute workouts, Barry’s Bootcamp free live IGTV workouts, and Rumble’s live boxing workouts; there is also a slew of apps offering at-home exercise plans.) “People have difficulty with keeping distance while interacting. They may touch things they don’t realize, and doing a workout isn’t a time when we are regularly washing our hands or focusing on cleanliness,” says Matthew Fox, a professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Global Health at Boston University. “And for many of us — at least this is true for me — sweating is a time when we touch our faces a fair bit, even if just to push sweat out of our eyes or deal with itching.” The other issue, says Fox, is a mental one. “If you convince yourself it’s okay for the trainer, you are likely to say it’s okay for a friend and so on. Minimize the risk to what is essential.” What about employing a contractor or mover? A toilet overflows. The roof is leaking. Your lease is up. But epidemiologists are clear: The less you interact with people, the better. “The good rule of thumb right now is to assume everyone has Covid-19 right now. With that in mind, it’s best practice to have nothing unnecessary going in or coming out of [your] residence,” says Emily Ricotta, a research fellow in the epidemiology unit at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health. “It’s best practice to have nothing unnecessary going in or coming out of [your] residence” If a service call is truly urgent, limit interaction with workers and be specific about which work surfaces will be touched. “Anything that is touched by someone who is infected could contain the virus,” says Fox, while a debate continues about whether the virus may be carried in the air. If you can, sanitize the room that needs work, then avoid the room for a minimum of 24 hours. After the work is done, avoid contact with the room for 72 hours if you can — at least one study has suggested that the novel coronavirus can live on plastic and stainless steel surfaces for up to three days — and then wipe down surfaces. If you’re using a mover, call around and ask about the company’s sick leave and personal protective equipment policies, suggests Fleck. Pack as much as you can yourself (or use a service, like a pod, that minimizes person-to-person contact); try to be outside the residence while the movers pack the rest. Use new boxes instead of recycled ones. Once the move is complete, wait several days if possible before unpacking, and sanitize as you unpack, suggests Woc-Coburn. Can I book a cleaning service? Hygiene has created a paradox during the coronavirus crisis: While it’s critical to keep spaces as sanitized as possible, commercial and residential clients are laying off cleaners. Right now, a petition with nearly 100,000 signatures from the American House Cleaners Association is asking local and national leaders, as well as the CDC, for clarity regarding the role of house cleaners and requesting clarification of commercial and residential cleaning as an essential trade in all 50 states. But many epidemiologists Vox spoke with say that professional cleaning of a personal residence is not an essential service. “If you can delay a service, you should,” says Ricotta. But if cleaning is essential — for example, if you’re allowing a health care worker to stay in a second home, or there’s one in your household — then it’s smart to let the house cleaner in the home without anyone else inside and encourage them to wear gloves and a mask, and use products already in the home, to avoid spreading the virus via a supply caddy, says Ricotta. Once the cleaning is done, the space should ideally be left unoccupied for a few days. But even if you cancel a cleaning service, make a point to pay your cleaner if you are in a position to do so. Can I continue using my dog walker? It seems contact-free, but epidemiologists say there are risks involved in hiring a dog-walker. For example, the virus could potentially spread through surfaces, including the leash, collar, or your dog’s fur, says Woc-Coburn. The circle of clients your dog walker interacts with regularly may also be a source of concern, especially if clients may be ill even if they’re not showing any symptoms of Covid-19. (Per the CDC, there is no current evidence that pets themselves can contract or spread Covid-19.) Okay, I’ll minimize professional services. But can a friend help me out? It doesn’t come down to whether your friend is sick or not, says Ricotta. It’s all about who your friend has come into contact with. Let’s say you live with four people. So does your friend. Add that together, and suddenly, instead of being exposed to four people — and whatever they may have picked up on their run or at the grocery store — you’re exposed to eight people. You’re also potentially bringing those eight people’s germs with you when you go out. “But I also think it’s important to place importance on your mental health, too,” says Ricotta. “If you live alone, that can be really hard. But your risk goes up if you add other people to your group, and it’s not recommended. While it’s probably okay to have limited contact with a person you trust, and with safety routines in place, it still elevates personal and community risk.” In other words, having a coronavirus buddy (who could double as a babysitter, hairstylist, or general contractor in a pinch) can be safe. But that’s provided you’re both following protocol, keeping a line of communication open, and minimizing contact with the greater outside world. The hard truth is that, if you’re questioning whether or not it’s okay, it’s probably not. “We all have to play the same game,” says Ricotta. “It sucks and we’re bored and frustrated, but if we relax too early, then everything we’ve done so far is for nothing.”
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vox.com
Cuomo sees "possible flattening of the curve" in New York
Governor Cuomo said New York may be seeing a glimmer of hope that the spread of COVID-19 is slowing.
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cbsnews.com
Kyle Turley advocates cannabis as 'cure' for COVID-19, even after warnings from feds
Former NFL player Kyle Turley is stepping away from his cannabis-related companies so he can privately advocate the products as a coronavirus cure.
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latimes.com
Dr. Saphier on whether you should avoid going to the supermarket to slow the spread of coronavirus
Fox News medical contributor Dr. Nicole Saphier on Monday provided tips to stay safe while going to the grocery store during the coronavirus pandemic.
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foxnews.com
RIP Honor Blackman: Twitter Reacts to Losing Pussy Galore, The Ultimate Bond Girl
Before becoming a Bond girl, actress Honor Blackman played the leather-clad crimefighter, Cathy Gale, in the TV show, "The Avengers."
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newsweek.com
China sold nearly 4 billion masks to other countries over past month
China has sold nearly four billion masks to foreign countries in the past month and is ramping up production, even as some nations have questioned the quality of the medical supplies, according to a report. After a lull during the coronavirus outbreak, the Communist Party has called on factories to increase production as the number...
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nypost.com
This Passover is not like other Passovers
The coronavirus pandemic will drastically reshape the holiday that, by definition, is about families coming together. https://www.eater.com/2020/4/6/21207369/virtual-passover-seder-trend-2020-coronavirus-covid19-zoom-dinner
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vox.com
Andrew Cuomo raises fine for not social distancing to $1,000
ALBANY — New Yorkers must maintain social-distancing discipline until the coronavirus is defeated, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday — or face a fine now doubled to $1,000. “Frankly, there has been a laxness on social-distancing, especially over this past weekend,” said Cuomo told reporters during his daily press briefing at the state Capitol. “That is...
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nypost.com
Bulls disaster somehow gets worse with ‘unhappy’ Lauri Markkanen
The Bulls’ ongoing dysfunction may soon cost them one of their few bright spots. Lauri Markkanen wants out of Chicago if the Bulls don’t pull themselves out of the mud, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The third-year Finnish forward was “one unhappy camper” before the NBA suspended its season because of the coronavirus outbreak, the...
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nypost.com
Brooklyn woman burned outside home in possible acid attack
A Brooklyn woman suffered severe burns across her body when someone snuck up on her outside her home and splashed her with what appeared to be acid, cops said. The 39-year-old woman was taking the garbage out just before 11 p.m. Sunday in front of her Borough Park home when an unidentified man doused her...
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nypost.com
Coronavirus: Italy's Death Toll Exceeds 16,000
Italy's overall death toll from the Chinese coronavirus exceeded 16,000 on Monday, as another 636 died from the disease in 24 hours.
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breitbart.com
How FEMA Missed the Chance to Be Better Prepared for the Coronavirus Pandemic
FEMA was "fighting the last war"—worrying about Russia-—even as COVID-19 became a national emergency.
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newsweek.com
Russia’s growing coronavirus outbreak and its challenge to Vladimir Putin, explained
An activist carries bags of food and essentials in Moscow as part of a drive to support homeless people during the Covid-19 pandemic. | Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS via Getty Images If many people get infected in Moscow, Russia’s showpiece capital, it could ruin the myth of Putin as the country’s protector. The coronavirus has yet to hit Russia hard. But when it does, as many experts soon expect, it could prove a huge challenge to Russian President Vladimir Putin during a fragile time for his rule. Putin markets himself as Russia’s hero, the only man who can restore the former Soviet Union’s greatness and bring stability to his country. Anything that messes with that image, whether it’s large-scale protests, a prominent opposition leader, or questions about his leadership, ruins the myth he and his allies have cultivated for decades. A significant Covid-19 outbreak in Russia, and particularly in the densely populated capital of Moscow, would be devastating to the dictator. If tens of thousands get sick and die, it would puncture the narrative armor Putin has around himself. That high death toll is distinctly possible, as medical resources outside Russia’s major cities are scarce and the country’s older population is at high risk. Mikhail Klimentyev/TASS via Getty Images President Putin meets with his Far East and Arctic Development Minister Alexander Kozlov on April 6. The looming crisis couldn’t come at a worse time for Russia. Oil prices, the lifeblood of its economy, have tanked. A transition plan to keep Putin in power until 2036 is delayed. And early data this year shows Russians are contracting “pneumonia” at higher rates than in the past; some critics say that it’s actually Covid-19, and that the government is manipulating statistics to make it seem like the spread isn’t that bad. Put together, this is a “perfect storm of problems for the Kremlin,” said Alina Polyakova, a Russia expert and president of the Center for European Policy Analysis in Washington. It doesn’t help that despite some early aggressive measures like closing its borders, including the 2,600-mile one with China, experts say the Russian government response was not enough. Doctors have conducted few tests for the virus, blinding authorities to just how widespread the outbreak might be. Concerns have risen to the point that Moscow’s mayor, a Putin ally, has continuously and openly asserted the situation is surely worse than it appears. The stream of bad news had Putin hiding in the shadows, not wanting to take the fall for the deadly mishaps. But now that the number of cases continues to rise — and quickly — Putin has visibly taken command of the response. After all, he, more than anyone, is aware of the precarious moment in his leadership. Yet a top Russian doctor who shook hands with Putin during a recent hospital tour tested positive for the coronavirus last week — underscoring how perilous the situation is. “It’s a big challenge,” Tatiana Stanovaya, a Russia expert at the Carnegie Moscow Center, told me. And there’s a chance Putin can’t withstand it. Russia is headed for a US-sized crisis No one can accuse the Russian government of standing by as the coronavirus swept across the globe. On January 30, the government closed its large, far-eastern border with China and suspended the issue of electronic visas to Chinese people. Days later, it evacuated Russians in China on military airplanes and threatened to deport foreigners who tested positive for the disease. That same month, passengers flying into Moscow from China, Iran, and South Korea — the coronavirus epicenters at the time — had to undergo tests once they stepped off the plane. Meanwhile, citizens returning from Europe would have their temperatures checked and be ordered to quarantine for 14 days at home. Experts note these measures, while tough, at best limited the number of infected people in the country and perhaps prevented a larger outbreak. On their own, though, they weren’t enough — and that’s where Russia went wrong. Covid-19 tests had to be conducted with a locally made device many viewed as faulty. All completed tests had to be sent to a single lab in Siberia for results, causing a massive backlog at the facility. This allowed Russians to continue living their normal lives without knowing if they carried the disease or not, and blinded the Kremlin from tracking the spread. Weeks went by before Russia took additive measures. It wasn’t until mid-March that Russia chose to close schools and certain businesses, limit air travel, and consider a large economic stimulus package to alleviate financial strain on the people. But by then, it was all but assured that the small number of cases Russia had early on would grow. Peter Kovalev\TASS via Getty Image A sanitary worker disinfects a playground in Murino, outside St Petersburg on April 5. Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty Images A deserted Red Square in Moscow on April 6. It’s not that Russia responded slowly, said Dr. Vasiliy Vlassov, an epidemiologist at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, it’s that “the response from the beginning was not adequate.” It hasn’t gotten much better. Last week, Putin announced a week-long vacation for the entire country, hoping that would compel Russians to stay home and socially distance from one another. Instead, thousands in Moscow and around the nation went outside to enjoy the nice weather and time off. It forced the Kremlin two days later to reiterate that the government wanted everyone to stay inside, not go out for joy rides. And as major regional governments imposed shelter-in-place rules last week, people continued to ignore the orders. even as police drove around to remind everyone to head back inside. That’s a quintessentially Russian trait, according to experts. “The people were not forced from the beginning” to stay inside, Vlassov told me. “That’s because they actually adapted to be forced from the Soviet time. If no one is forced, then it can’t be that serious.” Trying to make people take the orders more seriously, the Kremlin passed a measure that could see those found violating the lockdown measures imprisoned for up to seven years. More video footage of the strict Moscow region curfew from 8pm-8am being enforced by police cars with loudspeakers and adhered to. pic.twitter.com/z3XqYOGh6g— Jason Corcoran (@jason_corcoran) March 29, 2020 Those heavy-handed measures may do some good, experts say, but it probably still isn’t enough. “It’s my fear that it’s too little, too late,” Judy Twigg, an expert on health care in Russia at Virginia Commonwealth University, told me. What comes next could be catastrophic. Russia is “probably in the early stage of the same epidemic which is going on in the United States now,” Michael Favorov, who led the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Eastern European and Central Asian programs, told me. “They are facing significant increases of cases within the next month” in the capital and beyond, “and a significant increase in the number of deaths.” The question, then, is why Putin and his allies failed to impose all necessary measures early on when they likely could have done the most good. The answer is that Putin prioritized politics over public health. Putin’s precarious political position In a way, Putin brought this dire predicament upon himself. Back in January, Russia’s entire government resigned as part of a major constitutional reform to give Putin more power and extend his rule 12 years beyond his current end date in 2024. As Vox’s Jen Kirby explained at the time: Putin’s proposed constitutional reforms broadly seek to limit the power of the presidency and give more responsibilities to the Parliament, including the job of choosing the country’s prime minister. He also intends to give more power to the State Council, an advisory body to the head of state that doesn’t have a ton of authority right now... The problem is that Putin’s constitutional changes intend to limit the power of a president who is not him, thus ensuring his successor is far weaker than he has been. The referendum vote to give him that authority — which he was widely expected win — was scheduled for April 22. But due to the outbreak, the Russian leader last week postponed the vote, saying medical professionals will tell him when the time is right to schedule it again. “You know that this is a very serious matter for me. Of course, I will ask you to go to the polling stations to express your opinion on this issue of fundamental and crucial importance to the country and society,” Putin said in his March 25 address to the nation. “Our absolute priority is the health, life and safety of the people. This is why I believe the vote should be postponed.” In the meantime, Putin doesn’t want to make millions of Russian lives miserable ahead of the vote, or at a minimum give them more reason to question his bid for power. Draconian measures would make it look like his government doesn’t have the situation under control, and the Center for European Analysis’s Polyakova said stability is central to Putin’s pitch. Politically speaking, “this crisis comes at the worst moment for him,” she told me. He also made a big miscalculation. In early March, members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), a cartel of 15 countries of oil-producing nations, met at OPEC’s headquarters in Vienna to discuss what to do as the disease’s impact has lowered global demand for oil. Russia is not part of the bloc, but Russian officials were invited to the meeting. That’s because three years ago Russia made a deal to coordinate its production levels with the group, in a pact known as OPEC+. At the meeting, Saudi Arabia, the cartel’s leader, suggested the participants collectively cut their oil production by about 1 million barrels per day, with Russia making the most dramatic cut of around 500,000 barrels a day. Doing so would have kept oil prices higher, which would bring in more revenue for nations in the bloc whose economies are heavily dependent on crude exports. Saudi Arabia considered the move necessary because demand from Asia, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus, plummeted. The Russians, long wary of such a move, opted against the plan. It’s still unclear exactly why, but some said Putin wanted prices to stay low to hurt the American shale oil industry or was gearing up to seize a bigger sliver of Asian and global oil demand for Russia. Saudi Arabia didn’t take too kindly to the Kremlin’s decision and responded by slashing its export prices that weekend to start a price war with Russia. That brought the price per barrel down by about $11 to $35 a barrel — the biggest one-day drop since 1991. As of April 6, oil stands around $30 a barrel, and that’s disastrous from Russia’s point of view. The country heavily depends on oil revenues to fill the government’s coffers. Without a large, reliable amount of money coming in, Putin will have fewer funds to spend on his nation, let alone deal with a growing health crisis at home. For Putin to mess with the oil market as Covid-19 cases grew around the world, Polyakova says, shows he sometimes lets short-term thinking drive his long-lasting, impactful decision-making. And now that the coronavirus crisis is growing in Russia, Putin will surely wish he could take that blunder back. Russia’s health care system is fairly well prepared, but the coronavirus will likely overwhelm it Favorov, the former CDC official, told me that the current Russian health care system was built in the Soviet era, with its focus primarily on preventing large-scale disasters. In 1919, for example, Vladimir Lenin issued a nationwide decree that everyone should get a smallpox vaccination. Those who didn’t follow the order at best were jailed, and at worst killed. To this day, a focus on preventing public health crises remains, Favorov said. “The system is highly sensitive to any diseases which might be a threat to public health.” Dr. Melita Vujnovic, the World Health Organization’s representative to Russia, told me the country is fairly well prepared for an outbreak. It has “a massive public health information campaign to raise awareness and preventive measures,” she said, with around 70,000 hospital beds and 40,000 ventilators. But, she made sure to note, “it is human behavior that determines the outcome of outbreaks and that is why public health information [is] of highest importance to address any health challenge.” Donat Sorokin/TASS via Getty Images UOMZ Ural Optical and Mechanical Plant has delivered a batch of anesthesia and respiratory devices to hospitals during the pandemic. Russia’s health care system isn’t in poor shape. In fact, Russian propaganda continues to claim that the country is better prepared than the United States for what’s coming, even noting how Putin offered President Donald Trump assistance. In fact, a Russian plane with medical equipment was dispatched to the US already. There’s no doubt Russia can handle a major outbreak better than many nations, if and when it gets really bad, because it has the means. But there are still major problems that will affect care in the country. VCU’s Twigg said that a lot of the equipment Russian hospitals have, including ventilators, break down with alarming frequency. Russia is having more produced, but it’s unclear if those who need them will have them in time, especially as the rich hoard them. Further, Russia is short of the equipment that goes with ventilators, like oxygen or anesthetic sedatives. And, Twigg says, it’s unclear if the country has enough well-trained 24/7 intensive care nurses to staff patients on ventilators. That’s not all: According to Vlassov, the epidemiologist in Moscow, Russia increased salaries for physicians in recent years. While that helped attract top talent, it lowered the amount of funds available to buy top-of-the-line materials for medical care. What’s more, the government’s focus in spending more on the health care sector was on building new hospitals, not investing in protective equipment for doctors. Beyond that, the system may have failed in a greater sense. According to the Russian government’s own official statistics, Moscow saw 6,921 pneumonia cases in January, compared to 5,058 during the same period the year before. That’s a 37 percent increase, and those figures come from physicians who report them to the government. It’s possible that Russia had a spike of pneumonia cases, experts tell me, and some pneumonia cases have gone undiagnosed as Covid-19 cases in other countries. Some, though, have alleged that the statistics may have been manipulated to make it seem like the outbreak wasn’t so bad. “While the whole world is facing an outbreak of a new coronavirus, Russia is facing an outbreak of a community-acquired pneumonia. And as usual, we’re facing the lie of the authorities,” Anastasia Vasilyeva, president of the Doctors’ Alliance trade union and an ally of a top Putin opponent, said in a YouTube video last month. She was detained on April 3 by Russian authorities. It may sound like a conspiracy theory, but there’s precedent for this view. In 2015, Putin said he wanted to lower the death rate caused by cardiovascular disease in Russia. Almost immediately, hospitals began to report that fewer people were dying from heart conditions. What made that more suspicious is that there was a rise — at about the same rate — of deaths from other causes. The only thing that could assure Russia can deal with what’s coming, then, is massive interest and involvement from Putin. Despite many earlier stumbles, he may have just started to take the crisis very seriously. Can Putin be Russia’s coronavirus hero? Putin doesn’t like to be the bearer of bad news. When things look to be headed the wrong way, he usually asks a loyalist to be the face of the government response in case it fails. “There’s a big joke in Russia that the person who gets the finance portfolio will be the person everyone’s going to hate,” CEPA’s Polyakova told me, chuckling. Putin followed that playbook with Russia’s initial response to the coronavirus. He had a loyalist, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, take charge, allowing Putin to remain in the shadows. The appointment had a veneer of legitimacy, as Moscow was the epicenter of the country’s outbreak, but experts agree Putin aimed to distance himself from the situation. That position soon became untenable, especially once Sobyanin continued to make clear that the problem likely was worse than it seemed. “Nobody knows the real picture,” the mayor openly told Putin last week, alluding to the lack of widespread testing. “In reality, there are far more people who are infected.” It’s why few are surprised that Putin has become a much more visible figure in recent days. He was seen sporting a yellow hazmat suit while visiting a coronavirus hospital in Moscow. Incidentally, the top doctor at that hospital who was pictured shaking hands with Putin tested positive this week for Covid-19, causing Putin to work remotely for the time being. Alexey Druzhinin/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Denis Protsenko, the head of Kommunarka hospital in Moscow, on March 24. Protsenko later tested positive for Covid-19. And in a recent videoconference with government members, Putin told them to start getting serious and tell him truthful information when he needs it. “The results of our work should correspond to what is happening at present,” he said. That, for VCU’s Twigg, was surprising. “It was an implicit admission that what’s been going on until now was everybody lying to each other,” she told me. Putin, then, is on the case — but he still faces serious hurdles to get the response right. The most important will be quashing the expected major outbreak in Moscow. Many experts told me the disease spread there could end up being worse than the one in New York City, partly because of how densely populated the Russian capital is. That’d be extremely damaging for Putin: If he can’t keep people in the showpiece capital safe, it would hurt his image as the country’s protector. That has many worried Putin will zero in on Moscow at the expense of other parts of the country. It could pose serious problems, as the many Russians who defied orders to stay inside may have traveled to nearby vacation spots of their hometowns. If they brought the disease with them, an outbreak could pop up across the country’s 11 time zones while Putin solely tackles the Moscow challenge. Russia is already using surveillance tools on phones to track people during the outbreak. Hospitals outside the major cities aren’t well-equipped, experts told me, with some estimates saying they’ve cumulatively lost about 50 percent of their capacity over the last decade. If they’re outside Putin’s interests, they will struggle to care for patients. “For big cities, the situation may be rather manageable,” Carnegie’s Stanovaya told me, “but in the countryside, it will be difficult.” But another problem arises if the Moscow outbreak gets significantly worse. If the number of positive cases and deaths tick upward, there will be immense pressure on Putin to take drastic measures to stop the spread. That could mean sending out law enforcement on the streets, experts say, forcing people inside. It’d be a very visible symbol of just how out of control the situation had become. Oleg Nikishin/Getty Images The Russian government declared April as a no-work month and introduced mandatory self-quarantine for its citizens. Vlassov, the epidemiologist in Moscow, relayed a broader worry he has. Every apartment building in the capital has an electronic system to get inside, as well as cameras at the entrance. If the Kremlin decides the people can’t be trusted to stay in their homes, he says many in the city fear the government will lock the doors on the millions of inhabitants. After all, those locks are part of a city-wide, state-approved system. “People discuss it in the context of an epidemic, but also in the context of a public uprising against the government,” he said. It’s unclear what Putin plans to do next, or if his newfound vigor in dealing with the health crisis will keep Russia from ruin. Most agree, though, that Putin will take whatever steps he must to ensure the crisis doesn’t bring his country to a breaking point. “It all depends on the magnitude of the outbreak,” said Favorov, the former CDC official. But, he added, as soon as the Kremlin needs to ramp up its efforts, “they will do it in the old Soviet style.”
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vox.com
Coronavirus limits bring new religious freedom tension
NEW YORK — Despite state and local limits on public gatherings, some faith leaders have persisted in holding in-person services — a matter of religious freedom, they say, as the nation approached its fourth Sunday battling the coronavirus pandemic. The most high-profile clash over in-person worship – and crowd limits designed to stop the virus’...
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nypost.com
This Couple Made Fine Art For Their Gerbil, How's Your Quarantine Going?
The Louvre may be closed, but now you can see the "Mousa Lisa."
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newsweek.com
Boris Johnson ‘in good spirits’ after coronavirus hospitalization: UK official
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was resting comfortably in the hospital Monday, the day after he was admitted for stubborn coronavirus symptoms, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Monday. “This was a precautionary step. The prime minister continues to have persistent symptoms. He had a comfortable night in hospital, and is in good spirits. He continues...
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nypost.com
Wartime Theme in Queen's Speech Came After Coronavirus Lockdown Triggered Memories of Evacuation, Royal Author Says
Queen Elizabeth II is shut away in Windsor during the pandemic for the first time since her "formative" World War II years, a royal author tells Newsweek.
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newsweek.com
21 new and classic books to keep you in touch with the natural world
Here are books on the natural world to read while avoiding the coronavirus, classics by John McPhee and Annie Dillard as well as the upcoming "Book of Eels."
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latimes.com
Supreme Court turns away dispute over D.C. transit authority's religious ad ban
The dispute dates back to 2017, when the Archdiocese of Washington sought to advertise its Christmas-themed campaign on the side of public buses operated by the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority.
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cbsnews.com
Trump says the federal coronavirus effort has been “incredible.” His own government disagrees.
An ambulance is disinfected outside Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City on April 4. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images A new HHS inspector general report details “severe shortages” facing hospitals dealing with the pandemic. A report released Monday by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) inspector general details the “severe shortages” of testing supplies and medical gear experienced by hospitals, and alludes to the disorganized nature of the federal response. The government report stands in contrast to the rhetoric coming from the government’s top elected official. President Donald Trump wants you to believe that officials who have criticized his administration’s coronavirus response are part of a plot to take him down, and despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary, he insists federal agencies have done “an unbelievable” an “incredible” job procuring supplies for states. Now, however, even his own government is acknowledging those talking points are at odds with the reality experienced by health care providers at hospitals that are struggling to contain the coronavirus outbreak while keeping workers safe. The report, which is based a random sample of administrators from 323 hospitals across the country conducted between March 23-27 — a period of time before the worst of the coronavirus pandemic hit the US — makes clear the notion hospitals don’t have enough masks for health care workers and ventilators for patients does not stem from some sort of conspiracy to take down Trump. It is coming directly from hospitals’ experience treating patients. But Trump still seems unwilling to do more. “We are meant to be the backup,” he reiterated on Sunday. “We are throwing all of our PPE best practices out the window” The IG report paints a picture of hospitals that don’t have all the resources they need and are struggling to get by with what they have. It indicates that even when federal help has been forthcoming, supplies sent from the federal stockpile have been insufficient or damaged. One administrator told HHS that “the supplies the hospital received ‘won’t even last a day.’” The following passage highlights these problems: Hospital administrators expressed uncertainty about availability of PPE from Federal and State sources. Some hospitals noted that at the time of our interview they had not received supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile, or that the supplies that they had received were not sufficient in quantity or quality. ... One health system reported that it received 1,000 masks from the Federal and State governments, but it had been expecting a larger resupply. Further, 500 of the masks were for children and therefore unusable for the health system’s adult staff. One hospital reported receiving a shipment of 2,300 N95 masks from a State strategic reserve, but the masks were not useable because the elastic bands had dry-rotted. Another hospital reported that the last two shipments it had received from a Federal agency contained PPE that expired in 2010. The shipment contained construction masks that looked different than traditional masks and did not contain a true N95 seal. To make do, the report details how hospitals are jerry-rigging ventilators from other equipment. “Our staff had figured out that we could transition some anesthesia machines using t-connectors and viral filters to turn them into ventilators. You jerry-rig the anesthesia machine by using a t-connector, you can support four patients off one of these,” one administrator said. Trump has repeatedly insisted that it’s up to the states to obtain their own ventilators and other supplies. State officials have pointed out that the problem with this approach is that resource-strapped states end up driving up prices by not only bidding against each other, but also in some cases having to compete with the federal government. The IG report indicates that hospitals are struggling with this same problem too. As one hospital administrator noted, “We are all competing for the same items and there are only so many people on the other end of the supply chain.” Another administrator reported being concerned about poor quality products despite high-prices and “…wonder[ing] if you get what you paid for.” “We are throwing all of our PPE best practices out the window,” the report quotes one administrator as saying. In addition to supply problems, the report notes that hospitals “reported instances of receiving conflicting guidance from different Federal, State, and local authorities.” “[The inconsistency] makes everyone nervous. It would have been better if there was coordination and consistency in guidance among the different levels of government.” one administrator said, with another adding: “It’s difficult when a doctor or nurse shows you legitimate information from legitimate sources and they’re contradictory.” Trump will try and blame everyone but himself Trump is famously sensitive to any and all criticism, and to the extent he notices the latest IG report, it’s unlikely he’ll respond well to it. The HHS report comes two days after Trump fired intelligence community Inspector General Michael Atkinson for not doing his political bidding with a whistleblower’s complaint about his dealings with Ukraine — one that resulted in his impeachment. And it comes just a day after the Associated Press broke news that the federal government waited until mid-March to try and replenish the national stockpile of medical gear. By that time, “hospitals in several states were treating thousands of infected patients without adequate equipment and were pleading for shipments from the Strategic National Stockpile,” the AP reported. An exchange from Sunday’s White House coronavirus task force briefing illustrates how Trump responds to criticisms of the sort the HHS inspector general is now making. When a reporter tried to ask him about the AP report, Trump cut him off and went on the attack. “Are you ready? ... the people that you’re looking at — FEMA, the military — what they’ve done is a miracle. What they’ve done for states is incredible, and you should be thanking them for what they’ve done and not always asking wise guy questions,” Trump said, before abruptly ending the briefing. "You should be thanking them for what they have done, not always asking wise guy questions" -- Trump ends the press briefing by berating an Associated Press reporter who dared to ask him about the government's slow response to coronavirus pic.twitter.com/EUq6SG42aN— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 6, 2020 Trump’s subtext was that states and hospitals should just be happy for any federal help they can get. But the new IG report reveals the myriad ways in which what they’re getting isn’t enough. The news moves fast. To stay updated, follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter, and read more of Vox’s policy and politics coverage.
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vox.com
Indoor humidity may slow coronavirus spread, Yale scientists say
Researchers at Yale say that we may get some respite from the coronavirus pandemic as we move into spring, although this depends on how indoor environments adapt.
1m
foxnews.com
Today in MMA History: Conor McGregor quickly takes out Marcus Brimage in stellar UFC debut
Before he went on to become simultaneous two-division champion, Conor McGregor's UFC career kicked off with an impressive first-round KO.        Related StoriesWalk-off knockouts and guillotine chokes: Relive Jessica Andrade's top UFC finishesDespite quick UFC rise, Ciryl Gane in no rush to the top: 'I just started my career in MMA'Aljamain Sterling explains where Henry Cejudo is going wrong en route to GOAT status 
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usatoday.com
Dr. Oz says New York coronavirus cases could hit be at 'top of the mountain'
Fox News medical contributor Dr. Mehmet Oz said on Monday that New York coronavirus cases have reached a “plateau,” indicating slight progress in combating the outbreak there.
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foxnews.com
DOT tells airlines to refund canceled flights, but don't count on cash just yet
The Department of Transportation has said it will give airlines a chance to comply with its refund requests "before taking further action."
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latimes.com
Chris Pratt spends Sunday Funday washing his classic VW Beetle
In these trying times, even celebrities have to do their own maintenance.
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nypost.com
Amazon faces another Staten Island warehouse strike as 25 have coronavirus
Amazon is facing its second labor strike at a Staten Island warehouse where workers fear more than two dozen people have come down with COVID-19.
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nypost.com
‘It Takes My Mind Off This Crazy World.’ A Quarantined World Is Here for Rex Chapman’s Twitter Feed
"It helps me stay out of my head a little bit," says Chapman of his feel-good Twitter account
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time.com
MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski wonders if Trump has a ‘financial tie’ to hydroxychloroquine
Mika Brzezinski accused President Trump of having a “financial tie” to hydroxychloroquine on Monday because he has suggested the drug could be an effective treatment for coronavirus. 
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foxnews.com
Hilton: 'Virus Is Deadly But So Is This Shutdown -- You Just Won't See Its Victims in a Neat Little Box on Cable News'
Sunday during his Fox News Channel program, Steve Hilton argued the measures to slow the spread warranted attention but if done so to speed up the shutdown, which he said was an important element of the suffering from the coronavirus breakout that is missed.
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breitbart.com
Lawmakers fight for a piece of coronavirus ‘9/11 commission’
Four proposals are circulating in the House to establish a commission that investigates the government's response.
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politico.com
IndyCar's latest schedule change: three races added, including one at IMS; Detroit canceled
The IndyCar schedule has undergone another massive change, but this time, the series has managed to add a race back onto the slate.        
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usatoday.com
Join Jennifer Senior to chat about Trump’s personality in a time of crisis
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nytimes.com
Need good news? Watch 'Hamilton' cast surprise Florida girl with reunion on John Krasinski show
The original 'Hamilton' cast performed for a 9-year-old girl who missed seeing the play after it was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.        
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usatoday.com
What we know about the tiger with Covid-19 — and how the disease affects other animals
A tiger at the Bronx Zoo, before the coronavirus pandemic began. | James Devaney/WireImage/Getty Images A tiger at the Bronx Zoo has tested positive for the coronavirus — joining a number of other animals around the world with Covid-19. A tiger at New York City’s Bronx Zoo has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, officials at the US Department of Agriculture said Sunday, raising new questions about how the virus that causes Covid-19 spreads in animals, and whether other animals are at risk of becoming infected with the virus. The Bronx Zoo’s tiger — a 4-year-old Malayan tiger named Nadia — is the first animal in the US and the first non-domesticated animal globally to have a confirmed Covid-19 case. At least two pets, a cat and a dog, were infected in Hong Kong; and a cat in Belgium is also believed to have had the virus. All of the pets were owned by people with confirmed Covid-19 cases. Zoo officials believe the cat — as well as her sister, two Amur tigers (also known as Siberian tigers), and three African lions that are all exhibiting similar symptoms — may have been infected by a caretaker who has the virus but is asymptomatic, given that the zoo has been closed to the public since March 16. “It’s the first time, to our knowledge, that a [wild] animal has gotten sick from Covid-19 from a person,” Paul Calle, chief veterinarian for the Bronx Zoo, said Sunday. Calle added that his team took samples from Nadia that were sent to scientists and veterinarians at Cornell University, the University of Illinois, and the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory. All samples tested positive. Animal testing for Covid-19 requires a specialized protocol that differs from the testing done in humans. For example, testing a tiger includes placing the big cat under anesthesia; the complexity of the procedure led zoo officials to decide only one cat should be tested. The new confirmed case is a reminder that although scientists have worked rapidly to understand the new coronavirus there is still much that isn’t known about how the virus can and cannot spread between species — and how it spreads among animals that aren’t human. Here’s what we know — and don’t — about Nadia, and how Covid-19 spreads in animals. What we know The Bronx Zoo announced a 4-year-old Malayan tiger, Nadia, tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday Six other animals at the zoo — all large cats — are believed to have the coronavirus as well All seven animals have exhibited a dry cough and decreased appetites None of the animals exhibited other symptoms seen in humans, including fever or shortness of breath Other than the two symptoms, the zoo said Nadia and the other cats believed to be infected are “bright, alert, and interactive with their keepers” Neither of the dogs that tested positive in Hong Kong — a Pomeranian and a German Shepherd — exhibited any symptoms The infected cat in Belgium, like the zoo’s cats, did exhibit symptoms, including diarrhea, vomiting, and respiratory issues The Belgian cat’s case was confirmed using samples from its feces For her test, Nadia was sedated with general anesthesia; samples were taken from the back of her throat, nasal cavities, and trachea. Molecular testing confirmed she has Covid-19. The dogs and cat lived with owners with Covid-19 and are believed to have been infected by their owners Similarly, Nadia is believed to have been infected by a caretaker who was asymptomatic, or who cared for the cats before exhibiting symptoms Animals are thought to be able to infect humans with the coronavirus in some cases; as SARS expert Jonathan Epstein told Vox’s Brian Resnick, experts believe the coronavirus may have originated in an animal market in China and could have first appeared in bats A study from Chinese researchers at the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute in China — that has received some praise from scientists but that was done under conditions that did not approximate those of the real world, had a small sample size, and has not yet been peer reviewed — found there is community spread among cat populations The same study found the same is not true of dogs There have, however, been no confirmed cases of a pet or animal in captivity infecting a human Because of this, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recommended coronavirus testing be done on a limited basis in animals Nevertheless, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requests those who deal with pets and other animals wash their hands after interacting with them and that pet owners and caretakers ensure their animals maintain proper hygiene What we don’t know Why one Amur tiger that lived with the Bronx Zoo’s other four infected tigers has not exhibited any symptoms — it is not clear whether this tiger is asymptomatic or does not have the coronavirus Why the Bronx Zoo’s other large cats have not exhibited symptoms Whether infected cats exhibit symptoms and dogs do not Whether cats really are more easily infected than dogs (as the Harbin study suggests) and if this is why a mixed-breed dog that lived with the German Shepherd tested negative for the virus Scientists like Linda Saif have noted other coronaviruses, like bovine CoV, can infect various species. But whether the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 can move from animal species to animal species (for instance, if it could move from a lion to an elephant) is not yet understood. It also is not yet clear whether transmission in animals must occur from humans — that is, whether the Bronx Zoo’s cats gave it to one another or if all exhibiting symptoms were infected by their caretaker Whether Covid-19 infections among animals make it more likely this coronavirus will become a seasonal one or whether animals might serve as carriers that could lead to a resurgence of the virus; this is something scientists are investigating Experts currently do not believe pets can transmit the virus to humans — but whether this is the case is currently poorly understood
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vox.com
Coronavirus social distancing around the world
Scenes of coronavirus social distancing around the world.
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latimes.com
'James Bond' star Honor Blackman, who played Pussy Galore, dead at 94
Honor Blackman, the actress best known as Pussy Galore in the 1964 James Bond film “Goldfinger” has died at age 94. 
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foxnews.com
Kaine blasts Navy leader's 'completely inappropriate' comments on fired captain
A transcript, as well as the audio of Thomas Modly's remarks to the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, were leaked today.
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politico.com
Gabrielle Union shows off her natural hair with daughter Kaavia Wade
"Mama's got hair like yours!!"
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nypost.com
Pink says she ‘cried’ and ‘prayed’ during coronavirus ordeal with son, 3: ‘It got really, really scary’
Pink got candid about her horrific experience with the devastating coronavirus pandemic.
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foxnews.com
50 Migrants Force Way Over Morocco-Spain Border, Five Injured
Some 50 migrants on Monday forced their way into Spain's Melilla city over the fence that separates the European enclave in northern Africa.
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breitbart.com
CNN's Brooke Baldwin provides update after testing positive for coronavirus: 'I’m very healthy'
CNN host Brooke Baldwin provided an update to her fans after testing positive for coronavirus, saying she is “very healthy” and feels “like on of the lucky ones” while urging everyone to stay at home. 
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foxnews.com
Coronavirus pandemic causing massive increase in hungry families
The growing coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a significant rise in demand from the charitable food system in America, as the nation faces rising unemployment, school closures and rising poverty due to quarantine and stay-at-home orders. Feeding America is trying to make sure that nobody goes hungry during the crisis. Feeding America, the nation’s largest...
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nypost.com
Louisiana newborn dies after coronavirus-positive mom goes into preterm labor
The infant, who has not tested positive, was born at just under 22 weeks gestation after the child's mother was admitted to the hospital with COVID-19-related issues.
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foxnews.com
Andrew Cuomo: 'We Don't Need Any Additional Ventilators Right Now'
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he was comfortable with the number of ventilators in his state during a Monday press conference on the coronavirus pandemic.
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breitbart.com