Generally
General
1399
unread news
unread news
Medicaid fight takes central stage in Albany budget battle
ALBANY — With New York’s budget due at midnight, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers are at loggerheads over his proposed restructuring of the state’s Medicaid program, which critics charge would cut hospitals as coronavirus rages and cost New York City at least $1.6 billion. “It is still one of the things that’s being discussed at...
1m
nypost.com
Man accused of ordering hit on dad in McDonald’s can’t have corona-pass: judge
The man charged with plotting the murder of his dad in a McDonalds drive-thru can’t get out of federal lockup to avoid catching the coronavirus, a federal judge ruled. Anthony Zottola Sr., who is accused of paying $200,000 to have his Bonanno-linked father bumped off, had asked that he be allowed to stay under house...
1m
nypost.com
Trump gives harsh warning about next two weeks
President Donald Trump, Dr. Deborah Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci warn of what the next two weeks will look like during a White House coronavirus task force meeting.
1m
edition.cnn.com
Trump and top health officials urge Americans to social distance
President Trump and top health officials are urging Americans to stay away from each other because it could be the difference between life and death. The president announced tougher guidelines aimed at flattening the curve of coronavirus cases. Weijia Jiang reports.
1m
cbsnews.com
Opinion: Efficient, widespread testing for coronavirus could be key to holding 2020 NFL season on time
If the NFL season is to begin uninterrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, widespread testing will be needed to ensure safe environments.        
1m
usatoday.com
Birx: This begins and ends with community
During a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, Dr. Deborah Birx explains how social distancing will help lower the number of deaths from the coronavirus.
1m
edition.cnn.com
March mercifully ends with sports, world unrecognizable
On March 1, there were two stories that dominated much of the news cycle. There was much buzz attached to Joe Biden’s stunning political resurrection after winning the South Carolina primary. There was hope surrounding an agreement signed between the U.S. and the Taliban to end America’s longest war, which on that Sunday had lasted...
1m
nypost.com
Emily Ratajkowski poses nearly nude while hanging out with her dog: 'He's so sick of the snuggles'
Emily Ratajkowski is spending her time self-isolating by hanging out with her beloved pup. 
1m
foxnews.com
Curbside pickup is growing due to coronavirus: Best Buy, Dick's Sporting Goods, Michaels add option
Social distancing from the coronavirus has made curbside pickup more popular with Best Buy, Dick's Sporting Goods, GameStop adding the option.       
1m
usatoday.com
White House Projects 100,000 to 240,000 U.S. Deaths From Coronavirus
It was an abrupt reversal for Trump, who said he wanted to see Americans “pack the pews” for Easter Sunday services
1m
time.com
Private Labs Are Fueling a New Coronavirus Testing Crisis
Editor’s Note: The Atlantic is making vital coverage of the coronavirus available to all readers. Find the collection here. On the surface, the American COVID-19 testing regime has finally hit its stride. Over the past five days, the states have reported a daily average of 104,000 people tested, according to data assembled by The COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer collaboration incubated at The Atlantic. Today, the U.S. reported that 1 million people have been tested for the coronavirus—a milestone that the White House once promised it would hit the first week of March.But things are not going as smoothly as the top-line numbers might suggest. Our reporting has unearthed a new coronavirus-testing crisis. Its main cause is not the federal government, nor state public-health labs, but the private companies that now dominate the country’s testing capacity. Testing backlogs have ballooned, slowing efficient patient care and delivering a heavily lagged view of the outbreak to decision makers.Though the problem is national in scope, California is its known epicenter. Over the past week, the most populous state in the union—where the country’s first case of community transmission was identified, in late February—has managed to complete an average of only 2,136 tests each day, far fewer than other similarly populous states, according to our tracking data. Yet California also reports that more than 57,400 people have pending test results. Tens of thousands of Californians have been swabbed for the virus, but their samples have not yet been examined in a lab.That is actually an improvement over the state of affairs this weekend, when California reported that more than 64,000 people had pending results. That number turned out to be incorrect, the result of an “inadvertent over-reporting error” at a private lab, the state said yesterday. But even with that downward adjustment—and even assuming that labs keep finding ways to test more samples per day—the numbers suggest California will take weeks to work through the backlog.[Read: How Los Angeles is preparing for a worst-case scenario]In the meantime, California has completed fewer tests per capita than the country’s next five largest states—and fewer tests per capita than any of the 34 states that regularly report their full testing data. New York has tested 13 times more people, on a per capita basis.The overreporting error, the lackluster testing rate, and that persistently huge number of pending tests suggest something is rotten in the Golden State’s testing regime. Even more troublingly, they raise the possibility that all across the country, huge numbers of results are stuck in purgatory.Within the clinical-testing world, it is an open secret that Quest Diagnostics—one of the industry’s two big players, along with Labcorp—has struggled to scale up its operations in California. And yet, Quest has continued to accept specimens from across the country, leading to a huge backlog of tests at the company’s facility in San Juan Capistrano.This failure accounts for at least some of the tens of thousands of pending tests reflected in the state’s reported numbers. According to experts, it isn’t Quest’s fault that the company has so far been unable to meet the technical challenge of testing thousands of people every day. Setting up such “high throughput” operations is difficult. But Quest failed to come to terms with its ongoing problems, and it continued to accept specimens—and generate revenue—when other laboratories could have done some of the tests faster.Dina Greene encountered the problem firsthand. She is the regional laboratory director for Kaiser Permanente in Washington State. At first, she had Kaiser facilities send their suspected COVID-19 specimens to the University of Washington’s virology lab, an academic clinic that has become a major tester for the Seattle area. But then Quest came knocking, promising that it could deliver results within 24 to 48 hours.She did a trial run with the company, but “we quickly realized that it was a no-go and we needed to stick with UW,” she told us. “Quest has overpromised to prestigious institutions and medical centers around the country, and people are used to relying on Quest for quick and cheap results, but those time and time again have proven not to have the best quality. And in this situation, it has been disastrous to patient care.” (Greene is also an associate professor at the UW School of Medicine.)Testing isn’t important only because it helps track the pandemic. For hospitals, coronavirus tests are a crucial tool in managing scarce resources. If a patient comes in with COVID-19-like symptoms, doctors and nurses must act as if the patient has the virus. They must don personal protective equipment, or PPE, every time they interact with the patient until he or she tests negative for the coronavirus. Because the vast majority of tests still come back negative in most places, hospitals wind up burning through their supply of PPE while taking care of patients who do not actually have the coronavirus. There is a national shortage of PPE, and some places in California, including Los Angeles County, have already used up their emergency supply.“Lab turnaround time is PPE,” says Geoff Baird, a professor and the acting laboratory-medicine chair at the University of Washington. “More than a day is a tragedy. Three to five is okay for outpatients if they can sit at home, but it doesn’t address the problem in a hospital.”One physician at a community hospital in California, who requested anonymity to protect her job, echoed the sentiment that waiting on negative results hurts her ability to provide care. “Time to negative result for a mildly ill patient is maybe the most worrisome thing right now,” she told us, because it is creating “the bottleneck which will result in denial of care to patients we can save.”At the same time, patients who do have COVID-19 also suffer from testing delays, because they cannot access all possible treatments, Greene said. “If you’re intubated, in critical care, and even your spouse has tested positive, if you don’t have a positive result, they can’t give you the experimental drugs,” she said.A Quest spokesperson, Wendy Bost, told us that the company’s initial effort in California had been overwhelmed by demand. “There was a tremendous demand because we only had the one laboratory [in San Juan Capistrano] for about a week or more, and all the demand was being funneled into that laboratory,” she said. She claimed the situation has improved for current testing. “The average turnaround time nationally is four to five days, from the time where we collect the specimen to when we report the results out,” Bost said. “However, there have been cases that have been several days longer than that.”Quest did not disclose how many pending tests it has at the San Juan Capistrano facility or in California or in the nation.Quest faces two major problems in dealing with its backlog, whatever its size. First, on March 9, Quest started using a labor-intensive, laboratory-developed test, Bost said. Then, some time after March 13, it switched to using a highly automated, high-throughput test created by the German manufacturer Roche. The problem is that specimens collected for the first type of test cannot be used in the new machinery—and many of the early samples were meant for the laboratory-developed test. It does not matter how many high-speed Roche machines Quest is using now: They cannot be brought to bear on those other samples. This could be one reason for the existing backlog, though Bost told us she could not say so for sure.The second problem is that the federal government has asked that certain tests—such as those for hospitalized people and frontline health workers—be prioritized. But those early samples probably do not have the metadata attached to them that would allow Quest to move them higher up in the queue. So samples meant for the slower test must simply be run on a first in, first out basis.Both of these problems were, to some degree, foreseeable. Quest must have known that it was building an enormous backlog, yet it did not turn down the revenue that came with accepting more testing specimens. Bost said that her company was trying to “support the public-health response” in continuing to take specimens.By contrast, when the Utah-based nonprofit ARUP Laboratories realized that it could not fulfill any more COVID-19 tests, it refused to take more specimens. In mid-March, the University of Washington hit a similar wall, and stopped taking specimens for a time. The Mayo Clinic laboratory in Minnesota, which often tests samples from across the county, has slowly opened up its capacity to avoid running a backlog.“It may be that Quest has mountains and mountains of specimens that they can’t get to,” said a clinical-laboratory director who requested anonymity for fear of damaging their relationship with Quest. “And if so, they should tell someone.”And though we know about the backlog in California, the problem may—and probably does—extend beyond the state, and for that matter beyond Quest too, based on our conversations with laboratory-testing experts, public statements by governors, and the accounts of patients and physicians.Unlike the country’s first testing crisis, which was defined by a needless struggle between federal agencies and a pattern of blundering from the White House, fault for the new testing problem resides largely in the private sector.But the Trump administration did play a role in the present crisis. Early this month, the White House Coronavirus Task Force realized that most of the country’s testing capacity existed in commercial laboratories. In particular, those labs specialized in the logistics of testing, the raw expertise needed in actually getting specimens in and results out. So the administration leaned into what Vice President Mike Pence called “not just a whole-of-government approach, but a whole-of-America approach.”[Read: The president is trapped]On Wednesday, March 4, the vice president stood next to lab-testing executives in the White House and made solemn assurances to the American people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had abruptly stopped reporting the number of Americans tested for the coronavirus, but Pence promised that materials for “1.5 million tests are arriving at hospitals around the country.” Alex Azar, the Health and Human Services secretary, went even further, thanking his colleagues for “unbelievably fast work that is leading to 1 million tests being available by the end of the week.”Two days later, speaking alongside President Trump at CDC headquarters in Atlanta, Azar claimed there would be “up to 4 million tests available in the United States by the end of next week.” Then the president said: “Anybody that wants a test can get a test. That’s what the bottom line is.” That was not true then, and it is not true now.The net effect of these announcements was to raise hopes and, with them, demand for tests. Americans got the impression that hundreds of thousands of tests were actually available or would be soon. They were not. And this put all of the nation’s laboratories in an impossible position.On the day of Trump’s CDC briefing, the country had conducted perhaps 2,000 tests total, according to our investigation for The Atlantic. Twenty-six days have elapsed since Azar first promised that “1 million tests” would soon come online, and 17 days have passed since his deadline for “up to 4 million tests” becoming available. Yet just today id the US cumulative test 1 million people for the coronavirus. It is a major accomplishment and a testament to the thousands of labs and their workers across the country. But it is far short of the timeline that officials promised.And while testing has ramped up in absolute volume—the country is now doing roughly 100,000 tests a day—the United States still lags behind other hard-hit countries in per capita testing. In Italy and South Korea, roughly 800 of every 100,000 people have been tested for the virus. But in the United States, only about 320 of every 100,000 have been tested. Testing is also wildly uneven among states. While New York, Washington, and Massachusetts have experienced large outbreaks, they’ve also tested extensively. But in large states like Georgia and Texas (and of course California), the number of tests that have been completed remains troublingly small. The public-private partnership can work. In New York, the company BioReference Laboratories made the decision to bring up all available COVID-19 test assays, regardless of manufacturer, in the last week of February. “It was pretty clear at that time that the chance of this breaking open was pretty much certain,” Jon Cohen, executive chairman of BioReference, told us. “It was just a matter of when and how big it was gonna be.” The company brought five different platforms for testing online, including Roche’s.As BioReference scaled up, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo brokered a deal for it to provide testing capacity to the state. “To his credit, [he] actually reached out,” Cohen said. (The two men had a pre-existing relationship.) Working with Northwell Health, the largest New York health-care provider, BioReference committed much of its processing capacity to the state. “The result of that is that we ended up being the lab that is doing all the drive-throughs of all of New York State, including New Rochelle,” Cohen said. He said his company’s turnaround times are 24-to-48 hours for outpatient testing and “within 24 hours” for hospitals.[Read: A New York doctor's warning]Through BioReference and other commercial companies, as well as its own laboratories, New York now has almost 20 percent of all the completed tests in the United States. As a consequence, the number of confirmed cases has skyrocketed, but at least New York knows the severity of its outbreak.If New York is on one end of the spectrum, California is on the other. What’s unclear is how common California’s and Quest’s situations are. No other state reports that it has such a huge backlog of tests stuck in private laboratories, but California’s reporting idiosyncrasy likely reflects reality better than other states’ reporting. For example Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker tweeted yesterday that private-lab results in his state are taking “4-7 days and sometimes even up to 10 days.”In the best-case scenario, new capacity rises to meet stabilizing demand for tests. Quest’s Bost said that “in recent days our capacity, which now exceeds 30,000 tests a day, has been at or above the level of demand.” So perhaps the backlogs are no longer growing.One month ago today, the CDC still claimed that only 15 Americans were sick with the coronavirus. Community transmission of the virus seemed like a fluke, limited to the West Coast or perhaps just Northern California.It’s now clear that this was an illusion: The virus was already everywhere. Even rudimentary models suggest that roughly 10,000 Americans may have been infected by March 1. Looking back with barely any hindsight at all, February already seems like a lost month, a different era in American history. In the past several weeks, much of the country has moved swiftly to confront the coronavirus, which has today infected at least 184,000 Americans and killed more than 3,746 . A month from now, the backlog in California may seem just as naive as the CDC’s minuscule count from February seems to us today. California is the flare alerting the nation to systemic problems in our testing regime. Will we heed it?
1m
theatlantic.com
David Fales returns to compete for Jets’ backup job
The Jets agreed to bring back Sam Darnold’s backup from last year on Tuesday. The team and quarterback David Fales agreed to a one-year deal, according to a source. Fales was signed last September after Trevor Siemian broke his ankle against the Browns in Week 2. Fales, 29, backed up Luke Falk for two games,...
1m
nypost.com
Coronavirus Lockdown Sends Migrant Workers On A Long And Risky Trip Home
In the aftermath of a 21-day lockdown to help control the spread of coronavirus, millions of workers in India's cities have no income, no food — and so are heading back to their villages.
1m
npr.org
Ohio prison in quarantine as governor mulls coronavirus policies
Nearly 2,500 inmates at Marion Correctional Institution are in quarantine after a staffer tested positive for COVID-19.
1m
foxnews.com
Coronavirus takes deadly toll as hospitals become overwhelmed
As the coronavirus continues to surge across the U.S., health care workers are pleading for resources used to help save patients and to save themselves. Makeshift morgues and hospitals have become common protocol. Mola Lenghi has the latest.
1m
cbsnews.com
Senators slam 'reckless' House over surveillance debacle
Senators were livid after House lawmakers left D.C. without temporarily extending FISA provisions.
1m
politico.com
At Least the Pandemic Will Kill Corporate April Fools’ Jokes
Don’t even think about it, marketing departments.
1m
slate.com
Mining the Deepest Ocean for Rare Earth Metals Could Push Worms Living in the Abyss to Extinction, Study Warns
As terrestrial sources dwindle, contractors are looking to the ocean for the elements needed to make smartphones and electric car batteries.
1m
newsweek.com
Rush Limbaugh Suggests Coronavirus Hospitalization Rates Are Being Overstated: 'Sounds Like a Small Number to Me'
"You have been led to believe that every hospital is overflowing," Rush Limbaugh told his radio audience.
1m
newsweek.com
How to Boil Water: Chicken cutlets
Breading and shallow-frying chicken cutlets is a quick way to bring restaurant-style cooking to your kitchen.
1m
latimes.com
The best TV shows and movies to stream in April 2020, from James Bond to 'Parasite'
From "Parasite" to "Onward" to "Nailed It!", Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Disney Plus have great offerings to stream in April. 2020        
1m
usatoday.com
Americans are drinking a crazy amount of alcohol during coronavirus lockdown
Americans are concocting cocktails to cope with the coronavirus — and lots of them. US sales of alcoholic beverages have risen 55 percent in the week ending March 21, according to Nielsen data. Hard alcohol, such as gin, tequila and premixed cocktails, is on the top of the pour list, and spirits have seen the...
1m
nypost.com
NFL plans to start season on time with filled stadiums, expanded playoff
While the country’s other professional sports have been postponed indefinitely by the coronavirus pandemic, the NFL still intends to begin the 2020 season on time. “That’s my expectation,” NFL executive vice president and general counsel Jeff Pash said Tuesday on a conference call. “Am I certain? I’m not certain I will be here tomorrow. But...
1m
nypost.com
Exercise while social distancing: How some are getting it done
As people are social distancing to fight the spread coronavirus, they are finding innovate ways to exercise and adjust their fitness workouts.       
1m
usatoday.com
‘Star Wars’ Actor Andrew Jack Dies of Coronavirus at 76 in Britain
The actor, who also worked as a dialect coach, died in a hospital in Surrey on Tuesday
1m
time.com
NYC mommy blogger gets heat for cross-country RV trip amid coronavirus
She’s a mom on the run! Manhattan-based mother of five and influencer Naomi Davis has sparked outrage by quitting New York City in the midst of a pandemic to embark on a cross-country road trip with her hubby and kids in an RV, according to BuzzFeed News. Davis, a blogger at her Love Taza site...
1m
nypost.com
Pompeo: Americans abroad should try to get home 'immediately'
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Americans living abroad to return home as soon as possible, or they may lose the ability to do so. 
1m
foxnews.com
MLB players union discusses opening season in empty stadiums, Angels' Andrew Heaney says
Angels pitcher and union representative Andrew Heaney said the players union has discussed beginning the season by playing games without fans in ballparks.
1m
latimes.com
Jon Jones pleads guilty to DWI, avoids jail time after reaching deal with prosecutors
UFC champion Jon Jones again has managed to avoid jail time for his latest brush with the law.       Related StoriesJohn McCarthy sounds off on 'straight-out f***up' Jon Jones after latest arrestSpinning Back Clique: What is going on with Jon Jones? And UFC 249, what is even happening?Kamaru Usman wanted everyone to hear Jorge Masvidal 'squeal like a pig' in an empty arena fight 
1m
usatoday.com
'By September, the world is going to need football,' Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley says
Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley is hopeful that the college football season will go on if people take the coronavirus pandemic seriously right now.       
1m
usatoday.com
"CBS Evening News" headlines for Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Here's a look at the top stories making headlines on the "CBS Evening News with Norah O'Donnell."
1m
cbsnews.com
Quarantine love story goes viral: How these New Yorkers are dating during the pandemic
Coronavirus is forcing some people to get creative when it comes to dating. These New Yorkers met via drone and took a walk with an inflatable bubble.       
1m
usatoday.com
Alec Baldwin suggests Trump is the 'virus in the US': 'Vaccine arrives in November'
Alec Baldwin on Tuesday suggested that President Trump is the "virus" in the United States, alluding to the coronavirus that has sickened and killed thousands worldwide. 
1m
foxnews.com
Bay Area hospital desperately needs coronavirus supplies: 'I see a disaster on the brink of happening'
A Bay Area hospital desperately need supplies, including masks
1m
latimes.com
Trump Says U.S. Government's 'Holding Back' 10,000 Ventilators for 'Surge' in Coronavirus Infections
"We have to hold them back because the surge is coming and it's coming pretty strong," Trump said Tuesday.
1m
newsweek.com
Subway franchisees fret as corporation says it won’t offer new break on fees
Subway franchisees whose business has been crippled by the coronavirus got a break two weeks ago on the fees they pay to their corporate parent — and now the break is over. The fast-food giant on Monday abruptly announced that it will stop forgiving half of the 8 percent royalty fees it collects from franchisees...
1m
nypost.com
Defense Secretary discusses military's fight against coronavirus
Defense Secretary Mark Esper spoke with "CBS Evening News" to discuss the U.S. military's fight against coronavirus.
1m
cbsnews.com
'Biggest Loser' host Bob Harper shares the one workout he's eager to try during quarantine
“The Biggest Loser” will unveil a winner during its emotional season finale airing Tuesday night, but Bob Harper’s work isn’t done yet.
1m
foxnews.com
Trump: America faces ‘rough two weeks’ in coronavirus battle
President Trump issued a grim warning to Americans on Tuesday that the country would face a spike in deaths from the coronavirus pandemic in coming weeks before the situation started to improve. “This is going to be a rough two weeks. As a nation, we face a difficult few weeks as we approach that really...
1m
nypost.com
Governors Fight Back Against Coronavirus Chaos: ‘It’s Like Being on eBay With 50 Other States’
A chorus of governors from across the political spectrum is challenging the Trump administration’s assertion that the United States is well-stocked to test and care for coronavirus patients.
1m
nytimes.com
Trump says federal government is holding back almost 10,000 ventilators
1m
edition.cnn.com
In effort to tackle coronavirus, Northwestern Medicine launches antiviral drug trial
The first participants have been enrolled by Illinois-based Northwestern Medicine in a new clinical drug trial that aims to tackle coronavirus.
1m
foxnews.com
Testing blindspots will make it harder to slow the spread of disease
The next coronavirus hotspots are in states like Georgia, Oklahoma and Michigan, that aren’t testing enough.
1m
politico.com
Jim Sturgess dishes on new Apple show ‘Home Before Dark’
Apple’s new series “Home Before Dark” is a crime drama with child reporters. It’s based on the true story of Hilde Lysiak (played by Brooklynn Prince), a 9-year-old journalist who broke a local murder story in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, in 2016. (Her name in the series is Hilde Lisko.) Jim Sturgess, who stars as her father,...
1m
nypost.com
28 Texas Spring Breakers Test Positive for Coronavirus After Group Vacation to Mexico
The group of approximately 70 spring breakers in their 20s headed to Mexico in a chartered plane about a week and a half ago.
1m
newsweek.com
A week before primary, Wisconsin faces poll worker shortage
Jurisdictions say they're short almost 7,000 poll workers.
1m
cbsnews.com
Bears WR Allen Robinson on mission to feed hungry kids affected by coronavirus pandemic
Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson is on a mission to feed children in struggling communities who have been affected the coronavirus pandemic.
1m
foxnews.com
Coronavirus ending outdoor hoops
What I'm Hearing: Local basketball courts are being locked down due to coronavirus.        
1m
usatoday.com