US Coronavirus Updates: Trump Says He's Temporarily Suspending Immigration to US

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The Trump administration is ramping up its outreach to governors after insisting it was up to states to scale coronavirus testing. Vice President Mike Pence lead a conference call with the nation’s governors Monday morning in response to calls for a national testing strategy to help secure in-demand supplies like testing swabs and chemical reagents.

The call comes a day after Trump announced that he would be using the Defense Production Act to compel one company to manufacture swabs. Officials and health experts say the country needs to dramatically scale its testing infrastructure if it is going to safely roll back restrictions and reopen businesses without risking a major spike in infections.

The U.S. has reported about 785,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 42,000 deaths as of Monday night, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis in the U.S.:

President Trump Says He'll Temporarily Suspend Immigration

President Donald Trump said Monday that he is temporarily suspending immigration to the United States in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the "need to protect jobs."

In a tweet Monday night, the president attributed the suspension to an "attack from the Invisible Enemy" and the "need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens."

He added that would sign an executive order temporarily suspending immigration, NBC News reports.

A senior administration official tells NBC News the move "had been under consideration for a while," and that the details of the ban "will be forthcoming." The official said the order could be signed as soon as this week.

Trump previously barred travel from China and Europe to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

It's not clear from the president's tweet whether the order would bar non-U.S. citizens from traveling to the country for purposes such as business or to visit family.

Some US Producers, States Reopening Amid Political Pressure

Boeing and at least one other U.S. heavy-equipment manufacturer resumed production and some states rolled out aggressive reopening plans Monday, despite nationwide concerns there is not enough testing yet to keep the coronavirus from rebounding.

The reopenings came amid economic gloom, as oil futures plunged below zero on Monday and stocks and Treasury yields also dropped on Wall Street.

In a dispute that has turned nakedly political, President Donald Trump has been agitating to restart the economy, singling out Democratic-led states and egging on protesters who feel governors are moving too slowly.

Some states — mostly Republican-led ones — have relaxed restrictions, and on Monday announced that they would take further steps to reopen their economies.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced that gyms, hair salons, bowling alleys and tattoo parlors were among businesses that could reopen Friday, as long as owners followed strict social distancing and hygiene requirements.

Texas on Monday began a week of slow reopenings, starting off with state parks, while officials said that later in the week, stores would be allowed to offer curbside service.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced Monday that businesses across most of the state would begin reopening as early as next week, although the order did not cover counties with the largest cities, including Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville and Chattanooga. Both states are led by Republicans.

Republican West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said Monday that he would allow hospitals to begin performing elective procedures if the facilities met an unspecified set of criteria, while Democratic Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said Monday that he would let his statewide stay-at-home order expire next week as long as strict social distancing and other individual protective measures continued.

But governors from many other states said they lacked the testing supplies they need and warned they could get hit by a second wave of infections, given how people with no symptoms can still spread the disease.

Dr. Deborah Birx said Monday there is no evidence the coronavirus is becoming more or less adaptive to the human body as it spreads from human to human. "We don’t have any indication that it’s less able to spread," she said.

Massachusetts Becomes Coronavirus Hot Spot as Cases Surge

Massachusetts has become a hot spot of coronavirus infections and is drawing the concern of federal officials and promises of aid from hard-hit New York. The state's death toll is poised to double in less than a week to over 2,000.

Officials are scrambling to boost hospital capacity and trace new infections to curb the spread of the disease.

Vice President Mike Pence said Sunday that the White House is closely watching the Boston area. The coordinator of the federal coronavirus task force said officials are “very much focused” on Massachusetts. 

How Coronavirus Has Grown in Each State — in 1 Chart

New York has quickly become the epicenter of the American coronavirus outbreak. This chart shows the cumulative number of cases per state by number of days since the 10th case.

Source: Johns Hopkins University
Credit: Amy O’Kruk/NBC

Protests Against Stay-Home Orders Sweep Across US

Hundreds of protesters in Pennsylvania defied a ban on mass gatherings to stage an anti-shutdown rally at the state Capitol in Harrisburg.

Flag-waving protesters — some with masks, some without — ignored social distancing guidelines to call on Gov. Tom Wolf to end the shutdown of businesses deemed nonessential and to get nearly 1.4 million Pennsylvanians back to work. Others protesters drove around the block, horns blaring.

The Harrisburg protest is among several demonstrations taking place Monday around the country amid a growing national movement against stay-at-home orders designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

A Patriots' Day Rally organized by opponents of Arizona's business closures was underway at the statehouse in Phoenix.

In Nashville, Tennessee, and in Augusta, Maine, protesters also gathered to urge their governors to reopen their states.

"Business owners are being forced to layoff employees while the unemployment system is failing those laid off as the economy free falls," said organizers of Mainers Against Excessive Quarantine in statement. "This is a recipe for disaster with many in our society helpless. We cannot stand by and watch our neighbors suffer while the government considers prolonging these painful conditions."

In Missouri, protesters were encouraged to “flood the streets of downtown Kansas City and demand that businesses be allowed to open up, people allowed to work, and lives returned to normal,” according to a flyer advertising the event.

The protesters contend the stay-at-home orders are unnecessary and are seriously damaging the economy.

In states such as Oklahoma, New Hampshire, Texas, Maryland and Virginia, small-government groups and supporters of right-wing causes have united behind a deep suspicion of efforts to shut down daily life to slow the spread of COVID-19. Frustrated protesters have also visibly ignored social distancing rules while holding signs and protesting together.

A viral video shows a health care worker standing in front of a protester’s truck in Denver, Colorado. Protesters demanded an end to state stay-at-home orders meant to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

US Extends Mexico, Canada Border Restrictions for Another 30 Days

The U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada will be closed to non-essential travel for at least another month.

Acting Secretary Chad Wolf of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced Monday that the three nations have agreed to extend restrictions initially imposed in March that are aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.

Wolf says the restrictions would be extended for 30 more days. Canada announced the agreement between Ottawa and Washington on Friday.

Commercial traffic continues over both borders.

In addition, citizens of all three nations are not being turned away if they are trying to return home. But it does mean a further ban on trips for tourism, shopping and recreation as well as any other activities deemed “non-essential.”

"As President Trump stated last week, border control, travel restrictions and other limitations remain critical to slowing the spread and allowing the phased opening of the country,” Wolf said in a statement.

President Donald Trump announced that both southern and northern U.S. borders would close temporarily to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

NYC's Pride Parade, Other Events Canceled Through June

New York City won’t allow public events in June, including three of the city’s major annual celebrations. It includes the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, the Celebrate Israel parade and the Pride parade on its 50th anniversary.

Mayor Bill de Blasio says the events would be canceled or at least postponed, saying Monday it was a painful but necessary step as the city continues to fight the coronavirus.

“They will be back, and we will find the right way to do it,” he said.

The Pride parade began in 1970 as a way to commemorate the Stonewall rebellion the year before, when a police raid at the Stonewall Inn bar sparked a resistance by gay men, bisexuals, lesbians and transgender people and led to the development of more extensive and militant LGBTQ activist groups than the U.S. had seen before.

David Correa, interim executive director of Heritage of Pride, told CNBC it wasn’t easy to cancel the parade, especially given the economic hit LGBTQIA+ businesses will take from it, “but our top priority remains the health and well-being of all those that participate with us.”

The Puerto Rico and Israel parades are also touchstones in a city that has the largest Jewish population outside Israel and the biggest Puerto Rican community off the island.

Former FDA Chief Warns of Reopening Without Full Testing in Place: 'It's a Risk'

He admits “it’s a risk, no question,” but says that it’s “not possible to wait until September.”

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Monday that some states are ready to slowly reopen in the beginning of May even though the U.S. likely won’t have broad-based testing for the coronavirus in place until September.

“It's a risk, there's no question it's a risk," Gottlieb said in an interview on the TODAY show. "I mean, we won't have the testing that we want until September, I think, in terms of kind of broad coverage. You're still going to see high positivity rates heading into May.”

Governors in more than a dozen states have extended their orders into May even as they face increased pressure to begin reviving their economies. Gottlieb warned that the U.S. won’t have the optimal amount of testing and contact tracing in place “to do the work of tracking down everyone who is sick, or who might have been in contact with people who [are] sick.”

“We're not going to be there. We're not going to be there in May, we're not going to be there in June, hopefully we'll be there by September,” Gottlieb said.

Still, he said it's just not realistic to wait until the fall to reopen.

“If we wait until we have sort of the optimal framework for testing, we'll be waiting until the fall and that's just not going to be possible from an economic, social or public health standpoint,” he said.

Trump, Congress Near Deal on Small Business, Hospital Aid

The Trump administration and Congress expect an agreement Monday on an aid package of up to $450 billion to boost a small-business loan program that has run out of money and add funds for hospitals and COVID-19 testing.

As talks continued, President Donald Trump said there’s a "good chance" of reaching a bipartisan agreement with Democrats.

"We are very close to a deal," Trump said Sunday at the White House.

Along with the small business boost, Trump said the negotiators were looking at "helping our hospitals," particularly hard-hit rural health care providers.

The Senate is scheduled for a pro forma session Monday, but no vote has been set.

The House announced it could meet as soon as Wednesday for a vote on the pending package, according to a schedule update from Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md.

4/20 Fizzle: Pot Industry Tested as Virus Slams Economy

The unofficial holiday celebrating all things cannabis arrives Monday as the nation’s emerging legal marijuana market braces for an economic blow from the coronavirus crisis, with many consumers reducing spending or going underground for deals.

It was supposed to be a long weekend of festivals and music culminating on April 20, or 4/20, the code for marijuana’s high holiday. Instead, it has been reduced to an online replica because of stay-at-home orders to curb the pandemic.

Virtual parties and video chats are replacing vast outdoor smoking sessions to mark the rise of legalization and celebrate cannabis culture. The origins of the annual celebration are believed tied to a group of Northern California high school friends, who used the code as slang for smoking pot in the early 1970s.

"Stay home," the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, said bluntly. San Francisco Mayor London Breed threatened arrests: "We will not tolerate anyone coming to San Francisco for 4/20 this year."

How Coronavirus Has Grown in Each State — in 1 Chart

New York has quickly become the epicenter of the American coronavirus outbreak. This chart shows the cumulative number of cases per state by number of days since the 10th case.

Source: Johns Hopkins University
Credit: Amy O’Kruk/NBC

The Associated Press/NBC
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