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Trump calls for national unity against coronavirus

first_imgUS President Donald Trump on Tuesday called for a unified national response to the coronavirus threat, after coming under fire for downplaying the pandemic and allowing states to go their own way.Trump’s call came as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the White House was presenting a massive economic stimulus plan to Congress and was looking at sending direct payments to all Americans, as well as aid to embattled airlines.Bringing home that nobody is immune to catching the virus, one of the world’s most high-profile athletes, National Basketball Association star Kevin Durant, reportedly confirmed he tested positive. In a White House appearance that was striking for its mostly measured and sober tone, Trump praised the Democratic governors of New York and California — whom he has frequently tangled with — and excoriated states that were not adhering to strict new guidelines on social distancing.”We are looking to save the maximum number of lives. Everything else is going to come back, but a life is not going to come back,” Trump said.The number of US cases has surged to almost 6,400, according to a tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University, with 100 deaths according to an AFP tally.The outbreak has spread to all 50 US states after West Virginia confirmed its first case Tuesday. Topics :center_img Those figures seemed to be driving a sense of urgency as schools close their doors, businesses shift to teleworking and hospitals prepare to meet a wave of expected patients.Trump has been repeatedly accused of underplaying the pandemic, particularly in its early stages, in order to avoid spooking the markets.But he no longer appeared to be using that playbook and hailed a markedly improved feeling of bipartisanship.”It’s been a great thing to see… getting along with Democrats, getting along with Republicans,” said Trump. “There’s been a lot of spirit with things happening that I haven’t seen in almost three and a half years.”A coronavirus drive-thru testing site is up and running at the Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center on March 17, 2020 at Jones Beach State Park, New York. It is the first drive thru coronavirus testing site on Long Island. The World Health Organization declared coronavirus (COVID-19) a global pandemic on March 11th. (AFP/Getty Images/Al Bello)Most cases in New York The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday issued new guidelines to be followed for up to two weeks, advising against gatherings of more than 10 people and urging against visiting public spaces like restaurants or gyms.That led to criticism of public officials who had just days earlier called for people to go about their daily lives — including Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt and Californian congressman Devin Nunes, both Republicans.Democratic presidential primaries nevertheless went ahead Tuesday in three states — Florida, Illinois and Arizona.A top coronavirus task force official, Deborah Birx, said: “We believe that every mayor and every governor should implement these guidelines that came from the White House and the President of the United States.”The US epidemic had been centered on northwest Washington state, but new figures give New York state the highest number of cases with almost 1,400.Asked his views on when the national epidemic was set to peak, Anthony Fauci, the head of infectious diseases at the National Institutes of Health, told reporters at the White House that 45 days “is not unreasonable.”He said the taskforce would evaluate if even more draconian measures were required in the next two weeks.And he called for young people to play their part by remaining at home even if they themselves were not particularly vulnerable to the illness.A member of the press has their temperature taken during a COVID-19 pandemic briefing at the White House March 17, 2020, in Washington, DC. – The coronavirus outbreak has transformed the US virtually overnight from a place of boundless consumerism to one suddenly constrained by nesting and social distancing.The crisis tests all retailers, leading to temporary store closures at companies like Apple and Nike, manic buying of food staples at supermarkets and big-box stores like Walmart even as many stores remain open for business — albeit in a weirdly anemic consumer environment. ( AFP/Brendan Smialowski)’Very accurate’ Trump’s administration is drawing up a massive emergency spending package while the Federal Reserve has opened the floodgates of financing to contain the growing economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic.Twice on Tuesday it announced new credit facilities. The latest will provide funding for up to 90 days to major financial institutions known as primary dealers, the Fed said.Earlier Tuesday it unveiled a facility to help households and businesses stay afloat.The president called for bipartisan support for rushing out immediate cash payments to American families.Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the emergency spending measures could surpass $1 trillion, in addition to $300 billion in deferred tax payments — far greater than during the global financial meltdown that began in 2008.While Tuesday’s appearance by the president signaled a shift in rhetoric — there was one area where he remained particularly combative, still referring to the pathogen as the “Chinese virus” despite objections from Beijing.”It did come from China, so I think it’s very accurate,” he said, indicating it was payback for a Chinese disinformation campaign that called the virus a US bioweapon.Durant, of the Brooklyn Nets, is reportedly one of four players from the team who tested positive.”We’re going to get through this,” The Athletic website quoted him as saying.last_img read more


57 Injured In Fire Aboard Ship At Naval Base San Diego

first_imgSAN DIEGO (AP) — Firefighters were still battling a blaze Monday on a Navy combat ship that injured at least 57 people and sent smoke billowing over San Diego.The fire began Sunday morning aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard, apparently in a vehicle storage area as the ship was in a berth undergoing maintenance, according to Rear Adm. Philip Sobeck.Initially, 17 sailors and four civilians were reported injured but by early Monday the number had grown to 57 and five remained hospitalized for observation, the Navy said.Firefighters attacked the flames inside the ship while firefighting vessels with water cannons directed streams of seawater into the ship and helicopters made water drops.“Sailors across this waterfront are absolutely doing a magnificent job,” Sobeck said at a press conference Sunday.He said there was no ordnance on board, and while the ship holds a million gallons (3.7 million liters) of fuel it was “well below” any heat source.About 160 sailors and officers were on board when an explosion and flames sent up a huge plume of dark smoke from the 840-foot (255-meter) amphibious assault vessel, which has been docked at Naval Base San Diego. That’s far fewer than the thousand typically on the ship when it’s on active duty, said Mike Raney, a spokesman for Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.All crew members were accounted for, said Admiral Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations.Sobeck, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 3, said the Navy thinks the fire began somewhere in a lower cargo hold where equipment and vehicles are stored.The fire spread up into office and personnel berths where it was fueled by paper, cloth, rags or other materials in a standard fire, Sobeck said. He said he was not concerned about the air quality or toxicity around the fire.“There was a report of an internal explosion,” Sobeck said. “What we cannot ascertain is exactly what the explosion was caused from.”The admiral suggested that the compartment heated up and over-pressurized.The 23-year-old ship has the capacity to deploy and land helicopters, certain types of short-takeoff airplanes, smaller boats and amphibious vehicles.Because of its age, a fire could be particularly destructive, especially if it reached the engine room and other tight spaces with machinery, said Lawrence B. Brennan, a professor of admiralty and international maritime law at Fordham University in New York.“The heat of a fire of this nature can warp the steel, and that can be a major problem for any ship,” said Brennan. “On an older ship, it’s even more of a problem.”Two other docked ships, USS Fitzgerald and USS Russell, were moved to berths away from the fire, officials said.The ship was commissioned in 1998, and is the third to bear the name Bonhomme Richard. During the Revolutionary War, Capt. John Paul Jones named the first ship after the French translation of the pen name Benjamin Franklin used as the author of “Poor Richard’s Almanac.”last_img read more