Published Friday, April 3, 2020 | 9 p.m.
Updated 26 minutes ago
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Friday abruptly fired the inspector general of the intelligence community, sidelining an independent watchdog who played a pivotal role in his impeachment even as his White House struggled with the deepening coronavirus pandemic. Trump informed the Senate intelligence committee late Friday of his decision to fire Michael Atkinson, according to a letter obtained by The Associated Press. Atkinson handled the whistleblower complaint that triggered Trump’s impeachment last year. Atkinson’s firing, which is part of a shakeup of the intelligence community under Trump, thrusts the president’s impeachment back into the spotlight as his administration deals with the deadly spread of coronavirus.
NEW YORK (AP) — Scarce supplies of medical equipment are leading to growing competition within the U.S. and among nations, in what one French politician called a “worldwide treasure hunt.” The governor of New York state, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, vowed to seize unused ventilators from private hospitals and companies, while President Donald Trump said he was preventing the export of N95 respirator masks and surgical gloves, a move he said was necessary to ensure that medical supplies are available in the U.S. The number of people infected in the U.S. exceeded a quarter-million, and the death toll climbed past 7,000, with New York state alone accounting for more than 2,900 dead, an increase of over 560 in just one day.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Some states and cities that have been shipped masks, gloves, ventilators and other essential equipment from the nation’s medical stockpile to fight the coronavirus have gotten an unwelcome surprise: the material is unusable. Nearly 6,000 medical masks sent to Alabama had dry rot and a 2010 expiration date. More than 150 ventilators sent to Los Angeles were broken and had to be repaired. In Oregon, it was masks with faulty elastic that could cause the straps to snap, exposing medical workers to the disease. “Several of the shipments we have received from the strategic national stockpile contained (personal protective equipment) well past expiration dates and, while we are being told much of the expired equipment is capable of being used for COVID-19 response, they would not be suitable for use in surgical settings,” Charles Boyle, a spokesman for Oregon Gov.
More than a million people could swamp the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplaces in the coming months as employers lay off staff during the coronavirus pandemic. The health insurance markets are a backbone of the Obama-era law that President Donald Trump has tried to demolish. They are now seen as a key option to help protect people from devastating medical bills while they search for another job and new coverage. Nearly 10 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits in the final two weeks of March, far exceeding the figure for any corresponding period on record. Here’s a closer look at the issue.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump announced new federal guidelines Friday recommending that Americans wear face coverings when in public to help fight the spread of the new coronavirus. The president immediately said he had no intention of following that advice himself, saying, “I’m choosing not to do it.” The new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages people, especially in areas hit hard by the spread of the coronavirus, to use rudimentary coverings like T-shirts, bandannas and non-medical masks to cover their faces while outdoors. The president exempted himself from his administration’s own guidelines, saying he could not envision himself covering his face while sitting in the Oval Office greeting world leaders.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Marine Gunnery Sgt. Kevin Meyer does his best recruiting face-to-face. He can look people in the eye, read their body language and get insight into whether they would make a good Marine. But coronavirus quarantines have shut down most recruiting stations. So Meyer and other recruiters have turned increasingly to social media. And that has its drawbacks. “They usually won’t run away if you’re talking to them in person,” said Meyer, noting that if they are online or on the phone, they can just hang up. “They just stop responding, and the conversation just ends without a conclusion.” As the coronavirus pandemic worsens and the country turns increasingly to the military for help, America’s armed services are struggling to get new recruits as families and communities hunker down.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin’s attempt to conduct an election in the midst of a coronavirus crisis lurched forward Friday, with a Democratic governor pushing for an all-mail election to replace in-person voting and Republican leaders refusing to budge. Just three days before Tuesday’s spring primary — which features the Democratic presidential contest plus a high-stakes state Supreme Court race — a federal judge had extended absentee voting through April 13 but refused requests to postpone the election. With thousands of poll workers quitting, Gov. Tony Evers for the first time Friday called for an all-mail election, ordering a special session Saturday and asking the Republican-dominated Legislature to agree.
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Authorities were conducting a “recovery” search for the daughter and a grandson of former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, after a canoe they were paddling in the Chesapeake Bay didn’t return to shore, the family said Friday. The missing relatives were identified as Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean, 40, and McKean’s 8-year-old son, Gideon Joseph Kennedy McKean. “With profound sadness, I share the news that the search for my beloved daughter Maeve and grandson Gideon has turned from rescue to recovery,” Kathleen Kennedy Townsend said in a statement Friday night, according to news outlets. A Maryland Natural Resources Police spokeswoman said authorities suspended the search Friday night but would resume Saturday morning.
MADRID (AP) — There’s a bookshelf filled with donated novels. Hotel toiletries rest on cardboard boxes turned into bedside tables. Meals are served with personalized notes from the staff. And an army of volunteers do their best to keep up an air of optimism amid the pandemic. At a cavernous convention center that has become Spain’s largest makeshift hospital, these touches of kindness and camaraderie are helping to make the days and nights more bearable for patients afflicted with COVID-19. “Despite the distance that we keep from each other, there is a sense of community,” said Jonan Basterra as he waited for the oxygen in his blood to reach a level high enough so he can go home.
He ran marathons on every continent, including Antarctica — 83 of them in all, many followed by a visit to an obscure craft brewery. Last year, he watched 365 movies — most of them in theaters. And Anick Jesdanun made sure — always — that when millions of people read his coverage of the internet and its ripples, they got all the facts and the context they needed. Jesdanun, 51, deputy technology editor for The Associated Press, died in New York City on Thursday of coronavirus-related complications, his family said. For more than two decades, Jesdanun helped generations of readers understand the emerging internet and its impact on the world.