Coronavirus Live Updates: Trump Calls Houses of Worship ‘Essential Services’ and Urges Reopening

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Trump calls houses of worship “essential services” and urges governors to let them reopen “right now.”

President Trump on Friday said that he was calling houses of faith, including churches, synagogues, and mosques, “essential services” and urged governors to reopen them “right now.”

“Today I am identifying houses of worship — churches, synagogue and mosques — as essential places that provide essential services,” Mr. Trump said at a hastily-scheduled briefing at the White House on Friday. “Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential but have left out churches and other houses of worship. It’s not right.”

Religious services have emerged as flashpoints since states first began restricting large gatherings as they sought to curb the spread of the virus. Mr. Trump initially hoped to let the country reopen by Easter, a goal that proved untenable as the outbreak continued to grow.

In several cases his Justice Department put its weight behind religious institutions battling state and local restrictions. After the department lent its support last month to a Mississippi church that was penalized for holding drive-in services in defiance of local virus restrictions, Attorney General William P. Barr said in a statement: “Even in times of emergency, when reasonable and temporary restrictions are placed on rights, the First Amendment and federal statutory law prohibit discrimination against religious institutions and religious believers.”

And Justice Department lawyers wrote a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom of California this week objecting to his timeline for letting religious institutions reopen.

Mr. Trump said that the nation needs religion. “In America we need more prayer not less,” he said.

His move came as health officials have found that worship gatherings could be particularly susceptible to viral spread. And some churches that recently reopened were forced to close again after discovering new infections, including Catoosa Baptist Tabernacle in Ringgold, Ga., and Holy Ghost Catholic Church in Houston.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report this week about an outbreak in March at a rural Arkansas church. Of the 92 people who attended the church between March 6 and March 11, the report said, 35 tested positive and three died. And investigators found that another 26 other people who were in contact with the people who attended church events later tested positive, and one died.

In hard-hit New York, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo moved this week to allow religious gatherings of up to 10 people to resume as long as attendees wear masks and maintain social distance.

“I understand their desire to get back to religious ceremonies as soon as possible,” Mr. Cuomo said of faith leaders.

The announcement was particularly significant for Jewish congregations, where a minyan, defined as 10 people over 13, is required for a worship service.

An anti-malaria drug promoted by the president may be harmful when taken to treat the virus.

Credit…Dave Sanders for The New York Times

The malaria drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, which President Trump has promoted, did not help coronavirus patients and may have done harm, according to a new study based on the records of nearly 15,000 patients who received the drugs and 81,000 who did not.

People who received the drugs were more likely to have abnormal heart rhythms, according to the study, which was published in the The Lancet. They were also more likely to die.

Mr. Trump has said he has been taking hydroxychloroquine in hopes of preventing a virus infection, despite a safety warning last month from the Food and Drug Administration, which said that the drug should only be taken by virus patients in clinical trials or in hospitals where they could be closely monitored for heart problems.

His promotion of the drug has been criticized by medical experts and has led to an uptick in reported use by Americans. Hours after Mr. Trump first touted the drugs in March, new prescriptions for them poured into retail pharmacies at a much higher rate than had previously been seen.

The study was observational, meaning that the patients were not picked at random to receive the drug or not. It is based on data from 96,032 coronavirus patients from 671 hospitals around the world. Observational studies like this one cannot provide definitive evidence about drug safety and effectiveness.

Even so, the authors of the study recommended that the drugs not be used outside clinical trials, and they said carefully controlled trials were urgently needed. Several clinical trials are underway around the world.

Mixing antibody and viral test results raises questions.

Credit…Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and several state health departments have come under fire for mixing two types of coronavirus tests in their reported results, in a way that public health experts say could distort the true picture of the pandemic.

The practice conflated two different types of tests results: viral tests, which assess whether someone currently has the virus, and antibody tests, which look for signs in the blood that a person had it in the past.

Both numbers are helpful in assessing the scale of the outbreak, but only viral test numbers can indicate a state’s ability to identify people who currently have the virus. Also, antibody tests are often inaccurate, recent research suggests.

A spokeswoman for the C.D.C. acknowledged in a statement that viral tests had initially far outpaced antibody tests, so the agency grouped them together. As antibody tests have become more common, officials are now working to differentiate the two.

Georgia, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont and Virginia have also faced scrutiny over combined results, though some state officials said they were initially not aware of the problem and have since made changes.

Virginia first faced criticism for combining its test results earlier this month, but has since stopped the practice, effective May 14, the state’s health department said on Friday.

Similarly, health officials in Texas announced this week that they had made changes to exclude antibody tests from its tally of total tests, Vermont removed antibody test results from the numbers on its website and officials in Georgia said they were working to improve transparency.

Georgia is being closely watched after it became one of the first states in the country to reopen businesses last month. Cases there have remained more or less the same, but the latest developments raised questions about the accuracy of the numbers.

“The integrity of our data is absolutely our No. 1 priority,” Dr. Kathleen Toomey, the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health, said at a news conference on Thursday.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is still using a small number of positive antibody tests to inform the state’s total case numbers, a spokesman, Nate Wardle, said on Friday. But he said those antibody tests represented less than 1 percent of total cases in the state, and were not being used to decide whether regions should reopen.

Cascading weaknesses in the federal disaster response system are being exposed.

Credit…Emily Rose Bennett for The New York Times

For decades, the backbone of the nation’s disaster response system — and a hallmark of American generosity — has been its army of volunteers who race toward danger to help shelter, feed and counsel victims of hurricanes, wildfires and other calamities.

However, the pandemic has exposed a critical weakness in this system: Most volunteers are older people at higher risk from the virus, so this year they can’t participate in person. Typically more than 5 million volunteers work in disaster relief annually, said Greg Forrester, president of National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters, an association of nonprofit groups, but this year he expects the number to decline by 50 percent.

Asked how disaster relief efforts can meet the usual demand with half as many people, Mr. Forrester said: “You won’t.”

It is the latest in a cascading series of problems facing an already fraying system ahead of what is expected to be an unusually severe hurricane season combined with disasters like this week’s dam collapse and flooding in Michigan, a state particularly hard hit by Covid-19.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is running short of highly trained personnel as the virus depletes its staff. Longstanding procedures for sheltering victims in gymnasiums or other crowded spaces suddenly are dangerous because they risk worsening the pandemic. And traditional agreements among states to help each other if crisis strikes are now sputtering.

FEMA says it has taken steps to prepare for hurricane season. “We have not taken our eye off the ball about handling other disasters,” Peter Gaynor, FEMA’s administrator, said in a briefing this month.

Nevertheless the problems amount to one of the most severe tests in decades for a system designed to respond to local or regional storms or other disasters — not a crisis on a national scale.

A vaccine developed in China appears to be safe and may offer protection against the virus, scientists say.

The early-stage trial, published in the Lancet, was conducted by researchers at several laboratories and included 108 participants. Subjects who got the vaccine mounted a moderate immune response to the virus, which peaked 28 days after the inoculation, the researchers found.

A vaccine to the new coronavirus is considered to be the best long-term solution to ending the pandemic and helping countries reopen their societies. Nearly 100 teams worldwide are racing to test various candidates.

On Monday, Moderna announced that its RNA vaccine appears to be safe and effective, based on results from eight people in its trial. On Wednesday, researchers in Boston said a prototype vaccine protected monkeys from coronavirus infection.

The vaccine reported today was created with another virus, an adenovirus called Ad5 that easily enters human cells.

But the virus is one that many people already have been exposed to, and some experts have worried that too many already have antibodies to Ad5, limiting its usefulness as a way to deliver a vaccine.

Although the vaccine did elicit some immune response, the results are based on data from just a short period. It is not clear how long-lasting the protection might be.

Apart from pain at the injection site, close to half of the participants also reported fever, fatigue and headaches, and about one in five had muscle pain.

The participants knew whether they were receiving a low, medium or high dose, however, which may have influenced their perceptions of the side effects.

The country enters a Memorial Day weekend to remember (or forget).

Credit…Bryan Anselm for The New York Times
Credit…Bryan Anselm for The New York Times
Credit…Sarah Rice for The New York Times
Credit…Sarah Rice for The New York Times

Mobbed beaches. Crowded parades. Congested public ceremonies. Jam-packed backyard barbecues. Memorial Day, which has come to signal the beginning of hot weather across much of the United States, typically brings millions shoulder to shoulder, towel to towel.

But this year, these first rites of summer are taking place as the country grapples with the pandemic and cautiously emerges from months of quarantine. People are eager for social interaction and fun, yet public health officials warn that those impulses could result in an uptick in cases.

Many traditional Memorial Day events have been canceled or replaced with socially distant formats. Elected officials and event organizers are struggling to bring back as much normalcy as possible without jeopardizing public health. The results have been hopeful, maddening and bewildering. But many Americans are pressing on, and trying to preserve what is important while letting go of what is not.

The Memorial Day ceremony in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., is on but organizers are begging the public not to come. The boardwalk in Ocean City, Md., opened this month, but signs reminded that groups of 10 or more were discouraged. And in Massachusetts, beaches will reopen for swimming on Memorial Day, but volleyball is banned and sunbathers must place their towels 12 feet apart.

Here are some general tips for planning a trip to the beach.

People are also beginning to feel the negative health effects of social isolation, which Steve Cole, a social genomics researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles, argued can increase the chances of chronic disease and other types of illnesses the longer it goes on.

“We don’t want to be packed like sardines in a crowd,” he said, “but at the same time, a lone human being is a recipe for death.”

Deadly diseases could surge after disruptions to vaccination programs.

Credit…Arshad Arbab/EPA, via Shutterstock

The widespread interruption of routine immunization programs around the world during the coronavirus pandemic is putting 80 million children under 1 year old at risk of contracting deadly, vaccine-preventable diseases, according to a report Friday by the World Health Organization, UNICEF and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

The groups surveyed 129 poor and middle-income countries and found that 68 had some degree of disruption of vaccine services through clinics and through large inoculation campaigns.

Many public health experts say they are worried that deaths from diseases including cholera, rotavirus and diphtheria could far outstrip those from Covid-19 itself.

But officials are now moving toward a cautious risk-benefit analysis. Noting that Covid-19 has flared inconsistently worldwide, varying not only from country to country but also within national borders, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, a consortium of international organizations, is urging countries to evaluate their own situations closely and devise alternative, pandemic-safe vaccination strategies as soon as possible.

Summer camps and youth athletics will be allowed in Florida, without state restrictions.

Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, a Republican, said on Friday that he was lifting all prohibitions on youth activities in the state, effective immediately.

The state Department of Health will publish answers to frequently asked questions, but “we’re not really going to be instituting a lot of rules, or really any rules,” Mr. DeSantis said. “At the end of the day, we trust parents to be able to make decisions.”

Local governments could choose to keep some restrictions in place, he said.

Mr. DeSantis acknowledged that children have died of complications related to Covid-19. And a handful of children in Florida have been hospitalized with an inflammatory disease linked to the coronavirus.

Dr. Bonnie White, a pediatrician who treats Mr. DeSantis’s three young children, said at the news conference that parents should also let their children play with other children, assuming none of them have any symptoms.

“We’re seeing lots of kids come in with anxiety issues and depression, and I think that’s because they’ve been isolating themselves,” she said. (She also urged parents to vaccinate their children, especially against the measles.)

Mr. DeSantis noted that Florida never closed day care centers during the pandemic, in spite of recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to do so, and did not see major problems stemming from those facilities.

Mayor Lenny Curry of Jacksonville, who joined the governor during Friday’s announcement, said parents have approached him asking for their children’s activities to be renewed.

“Let’s let kids be kids,” Mr. Curry said.

Most of Florida began gradually reopening on May 4, with the exception of populous South Florida, where the virus has hit hardest. But even there, life has slowly resumed. Beaches in Miami-Dade County will reopen on June 1, Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced on Friday. Miami-Dade and neighboring Broward County have been the last holdouts on allowing beachgoers back.

As cases rise in Alabama, Montgomery’s mayor warns of a shortage of I.C.U. beds.

Credit…Dan Busey/The Decatur Daily, via Associated Press

As all 50 states begin to open back up in some way, some epidemiologists are seeing warning signs of a possible resurgence in the South, including Montgomery, Ala., where Mayor Steven L. Reed raised alarms going into the holiday weekend.

Mr. Reed, who earlier this week said there was just one I.C.U. bed remaining at certain area hospitals, said he spoke out after hearing from hospital leaders that the situation was becoming unsustainable.

“We are in a very dangerous predicament,” he said on MSNBC on Thursday night.

Mr. Reed, a Democrat whose position is officially nonpartisan, attributed an uptick in cases in Montgomery to changes in people’s behavior amid an early decision by Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, to relax restrictions across Alabama, including the reopening of entertainment venues on Friday.

“It has sent a message that the battle with Covid-19 is over and it has been won,” he said. “We are still in this battle. We can’t afford to relax now.”

Mia Mothershed, a spokeswoman for Jackson Hospital in Montgomery, said on Friday that the hospital had reached capacity in its 30 I.C.U. beds due to a combination of the virus and other patients. “We have absolutely no beds available here,” she said.

Listen to how the pandemic has hushed great cities.

Credit…George Etheredge for The New York Times

As the pandemic brought much of the crush of daily life to a halt, microphones listening to cities around the world have captured human-made environments suddenly stripped of human sounds.

At the busy corner of Lafayette and East Fourth Street in New York, a comparison of audio clips captured recently during the stay-home orders and a year earlier found that the usual Manhattan sounds — car horns, idle chatter and the rumble of subways passing frequently below — had been replaced by the low hum of wind and birds. Sound levels there fell by about five decibels, enough to make daytime sound more like a quiet night.

Parks and plazas across London are quieter than they were before the pandemic. Along Singapore’s Marina Bay, the sounds of human voices have faded. In suburban Nova Scotia, the noise of cars and airplanes no longer drowns out the rustle of leaves and wind. In New York, the city has been quieter than on the coldest winter days.

Whether you find this welcome or unnerving is another question.

“To me, it’s the sound of the city aching,” said Juan Pablo Bello, who leads a project at N.Y.U. studying the sounds of New York City. “It’s not a healthy sound in my mind.”

And while many city residents have found that birds all seem much louder these days, they are likely actually quieter now than before the pandemic. That is because they no longer have to sing louder to be heard over the racket of the city, a behavior, known as the Lombard effect, that has been observed in other animals, too.

N.Y.C’s suburbs could start to reopen next week, Cuomo said.

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Cuomo Says New York City Suburbs Could Reopen Soon

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said that Long Island and the Mid-Hudson regions could begin opening next week if virus-related deaths continued to decline.

Long Island and Mid-Hudson region: If the number of deaths continues to decline the way it has, and they get their tracing online — every region has a certain number of tracers that they need to reopen because we want to make sure when they reopen they have the testing and tracing operation working. But if the number of deaths continues to decline. They get their tracing up and online. Both regions could reopen this week. In anticipation of that, we’re going to allow construction staging, Phase 1 construction begins, before you can begin construction you have to have staged the construction, the materials have to be on site etc., and safety precautions have to be on site. So we’re going to allow that construction staging. Now for the Long Island and the Mid-Hudson, we’re hopeful that the number of deaths continues to decline, and then they would be reopening this week.

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Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said that Long Island and the Mid-Hudson regions could begin opening next week if virus-related deaths continued to decline.CreditCredit…Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Long Island and the suburban counties north of New York City could begin reopening next week if the number of virus-related deaths keep declining and local officials set up strong contract-tracing programs, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Friday.

As of Friday, only New York City and the surrounding areas have yet to meet the state’s seven reopening metrics. Both Mr. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio said New York City, which has met four of the state’s criteria, was not likely to begin reopening until June.

New York City still needs to have at least 30 percent of its hospital beds and at least 30 percent of its intensive-care-unit beds available. As of Friday morning, it had 27 percent of hospital beds and 26 percent of its I.C.U. beds available.

Both city and state officials have said that their metrics were likely to go hand in hand, and that they would coordinate in their decisions on reopening, though Mr. Cuomo on Friday suggested that the state’s guidelines took precedence.

Though beach towns ask N.Y.C. residents to stay away, some city beaches may open for swimming in June.

In the Hamptons, the locals have put up barricades to limit parking and deployed enforcement officers to ticket outsiders. Jersey Shore towns have banned short-term leases and Airbnb rentals. The Suffolk County executive’s office taunted Mr. de Blasio: “Do your job. Figure out a plan to safely reopen your beaches.”

In normal times, the Memorial Day weekend start of beach season sparks a mass migration from New York City to Long Island, the Jersey Shore and, to a lesser extent, Connecticut. But the beach closings in the city have led to a backlash from local officials in those areas, who say they fear that their shorelines will be overwhelmed by an exodus of sun-starved New Yorkers.

Should the pandemic continue to ebb, however, New York City is seriously considering opening its beaches to swimming in June. The mayor declined to give a date for the reopening, but a spokeswoman for the mayor said the lifeguard training was in anticipation of a possible June reopening.

To maintain social distancing, beaches across the region are moving to limit access to everyone. On the Jersey Shore, some towns are reducing parking and keeping their iconic boardwalks closed. In Spring Lake, beachgoers must now buy daily beach badges in advance; nearby Asbury Park is limiting sales of beach badges and selling them only through an online app.

On Friday, Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey said outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people are allowed, and campgrounds can open. Social distancing is still required, Mr. Murphy said, and indoor gatherings are still limited to 10 people.

In Connecticut, state beaches are allowing people to gather in groups of five people or fewer, with 15 feet between beach blankets.

And special rules have also been adopted to keep outsiders away. Westchester County, just north of the city, has restricted its beaches at Playland in Rye and Croton Point Park to county residents. In Groton, Conn., only residents can use Eastern Point Beach on weekends and holidays.

Mr. de Blasio has warned New Yorkers not to take mass transit to the beach and said that for now, city beaches are intended only for those who live near them. He also said last week that the city would enforce strict limits on crowding at beaches and fence them off if necessary.

On Friday morning, the mayor said that “hundreds of officers” will be at the beaches this weekend to back up parks workers on enforcing restrictions.

Global markets are uneasy, but the S&P 500 is positioned to post a weekly gain.

Credit…Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

The S&P 500 is on track to end with a gain for the week.

It was a turbulent week for markets, with shares alternating between gains and losses as investors assessed new economic developments and the prospect of businesses reopening.

And although the S&P 500 was slightly lower in early trading Friday, adding to losses from the day before, a big rally on Monday positioned the index for an overall gain.

Worldwide, Friday was uneasy for markets as China’s pledges to combat the damage of the virus fell short of those by other countries, and Beijing’s efforts to tighten its grip in Hong Kong worried investors.

At the annual National People’s Congress, China’s leaders unveiled a plan to spend another $140 billion to combat the pandemic’s economic effects, an amount that falls short of what other countries have earmarked to fight the outbreak-related global economic crisis.

China’s plan to place Hong Kong firmly under Beijing’s control and crack down on new antigovernment protests triggered a sharp decline in the city’s stock market — which fell more than 5 percent.

Museums are beginning to reopen, with new restrictions.

You won’t be able to use the drinking fountains, check your coat or eat in the cafe. You will have to wear a mask, submit to a temperature check and agree to leave if you show signs of illness.

These are the requirements set by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, when it reopens on Saturday, the first major arts institution in the country to welcome the public back.

“We’re getting as many as 90 to 100 calls a day — ‘When are you opening? I want to see my favorite works of art’,” Gary Tinterow, the museum’s director, said. “That’s our mission, that’s why we exist: to facilitate those encounters between works of art and individuals. And I fully believe that we can create as safe an environment as possible.”

As several states begin to reopen, their museums are carefully doing the same, with new policies and protocols in place: The San Antonio Museum of Art on May 28; the Boca Raton Museum of Art on June 3; the Wichita Art Museum on June 23; the Cleveland Museum of Art around June 30.

The Wichita Museum, for example, said it picked up from the Milwaukee Art Museum the idea of having visitors agree to a code of conduct that includes wearing masks and keeping six feet apart. Wichita also expects to remove benches from its galleries and to keep its cafe at under 50 percent capacity.

“It’s very important to have a plan,” said Patricia McDonnell, the museum’s director, “and it’s very important to be able to change that plan on a moment’s notice.”

Watch what it was like inside one New York hospital during the peak of the city’s outbreak.

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‘Lord Have Mercy’: Inside One of New York’s Deadliest ZIP Codes

In early March, doctors at St. John’s hospital in Far Rockaway identified the first Covid-19 patient in Queens. Now, there is an uneasy lull and the staff fears a second wave will come.

“One, two, three. One, two, three. One, two, three. One, two, three. One, two, three. One, two, three. Got to roll — Roll him. Before, you didn’t really have time to think about it. You just had to get it done. Now you get time to sit back and look at what you’ve been doing, and start processing your feelings. That could be one of my family members. That could be me.” “Tower Five, Donyale. St. John’s is the only hospital on the peninsula. It’s a lot of people that I’ve known my whole life. My first night 10 people died, right in front of me. And it was just — yeah, that was a lot.” “I’m the director of the Emergency Department. I’m the first line of defense. How are you? My name is Dr. Lee, OK? Nobody’s ever trained for this type of scenario or the stuff that we saw this past month. All right, that should make you feel comfortable. I don’t think it’s going to hit me for a while.” “I think there’s a feeling, like can we take a breath? Can we back up? Take that moment, but still keep your hand on the gas.” “Is my stethoscope over there? It’s night and day. The volume has been drastically down. However, I’m still concerned. It’s calm. Nothing’s going on. But that’s part of the E.D. — you don’t know what’s coming through that door. I’m sure this is a great look with a goggle on top, you know what I mean? Maybe I spoke too soon. They’re coming in. Here you go. Patient with shortness of breath and fever. That looks like from a nursing home. How are you doing? My name’s Dr. Lee.” “He’s going to go to 53.” “People need to understand the gravity. Can you call respiratory for me, please? I’m intubating somebody in 53. In a peak, we had close to 60 patients intubated. We are surrounded by nursing homes. In that sense, we got hit pretty hard. I was never in a battle or any other armed type of deal, but that’s what it felt like when we are triaging the patients a certain way. Give me a four mat — is respiratory coming? And this was the first time in my lifetime that I actually went through that.” “There you go.” “Raise the bed. Two more. All right, ready? Let go.” “There’s got to be one in the bag, in the box.” “So we pulled the stylet out, balloon 22 at the lip. The chance they’re coming off the ventilator is very, very low. Good collar change. And I’ve got to protect their airway. And afterwards, we deal with what comes next.” “I feel like it wiped out a generation, like that generation that was hanging on with a lot of comorbidities. I just feel like it just came in and just —” “The day we maxed out, I think we were 112 patients in here. So outside the ambulance door, the stretchers went down the ramp to the bottom of the entrance where they drive in. And we literally, we just go out there and look and see, OK, who to pull off the list first? Because we knew — how many people can we intubate?” “I called two families, back to back, I went home two days crying in a row. And I held the phone, and they got to say goodbye to their loved one — terrible.” “What else do you do? I mean, you hate to say it. But we’re not God. But are you going to revive the 95 year old or the 42 year old?” “I’ll never be prepared. I don’t think you’re ever prepared for that.” “You know what the saddest thing was? You get someone in alert, talking to you from her house — I remember 72-year-old lady, Polish lady, very nice, couldn’t breathe. Oxygenation was awful. She broke her bridge because she was breathing so hard. And she was so upset about this piece of broken tooth. She said, ‘You have to wrap it. I can’t afford to fix it when I get home.’ I knew, as I was wrapping that tooth, you’re not going home. You’re going to be dead by tomorrow. And I said, ‘OK,’ and I’m wrapping it in a plastic bag, and sticking it in behind her insurance card. ‘Oh, thank you. God bless you. Thank you for fixing my — saving my tooth so I can fix it when I go home.’ She was dead the next day I came back in.” “Yeah.” “The poor families. It must be awful. It has to be, just to not be with them.” “I’ll be right back.” “I’m sorry. The thing that hit me was when my dad got infected. He’s a healthy working man. He owns his deli. I wouldn’t say never gets sick, but he rarely gets sick. Then I got a phone call from my mother saying that my dad didn’t look good. I thought maybe, maybe we just caught it in time. But he was intubated, put on a ventilator. He’s been on it for the past four weeks. I don’t think he’s going to make it. And we have — might as well just say it here — we have to figure out we’re going to do.” “I feel a responsibility to this place, this community. We’re safety net hospital. Said there’s nine in there. Working in the morgue right now, I’m still trying to figure out why God placed me here at this moment. Once I go outside, I’m in a zone with it. It’s set up like an airplane. You looking for somebody there in Section 5, Row D. You couldn’t have told me that we’d have did that a month and a half ago.” My son’s grandfather’s best friend, man. Jesus. One, two, three — stop. One, two, three — all the way. It’s more emotional for me now than it was two months ago. It’s starting to tap into my pain. We got this thing, we man up and get it done. We don’t go to somebody and say, ‘I’m hurting.’ And if we’re going to recover from this correctly, we’re going to have to do that.” “That’s what I don’t know is, how we’re going to move forward. Any update?” “No.” “I was born here in this hospital. My dad was born in this hospital, and all my siblings. In the beginning, I was leaving and crying every day. But thank God, it’s changing. It seems like it’s changing. Mr. Style?” “Yes.” “How are you this evening?” “I feel good.” “You feel good? I’m going to feed you, OK?” “Yes.” “We’re going to start with the soup because I know you like your soups.” “Yes.” “Right? How is that?” “Wonderful.” “I’m going to miss you when you leave me today. You know that? Reach your hand straight, and there’s your teacup.” “OK.” “All right. Put the straw to your mouth. Here’s the straw. OK, close your mouth. Go ahead. Drink. Dealing with Covid, people are scared when they find out that they have that. You don’t want to be the person that’s just running in the room and running back out. What’s most exciting about going home? What are you excited about?” “Oh, sometimes here, I’m just lonely by myself. And when I’m at home, my grandson is with me. I’m comfortable at home. I cannot see, but I can find my way around the house by touching furniture.” “Hey, this is St. John’s calling. Your dad is ready to go now. Somebody’s going home.” “Thank you for everything, OK?” “Yeah. It was a pleasure. I’m excited for you. You’re going home.” “Yeah. Thank you!” “Yes. Thank you.” “All right, thank you.” “I feel like we’ve seen the worst of it. I’m hoping that the numbers don’t go back up. But the reality is that they could. Just dealing with the unknown right now.” “Can we call respiratory? CPAP? It’s time to think, and it is time to work. What’s her SAT? That’s been taught by my dad, my mom. Just in case, set the intubation stuff set up, all right? I hope I’m wrong, but I still think the second wave is coming. I hope I’m wrong.” “You ever hear the saying, men cry in the dark? I’ve cried one time since this happened, and I’ve carried 100 — it’s got to be 150 people out of here. One, two, three. Big, small, men, women, people I know, grew up with them, grew up with their children. One, two, three. I would do everything in my being to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.”

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In early March, doctors at St. John’s hospital in Far Rockaway identified the first Covid-19 patient in Queens. Now, there is an uneasy lull and the staff fears a second wave will come.CreditCredit…Emily Rhyne/The New York Times

“Before, you didn’t really have time to think about it — you just had to get it done,” said one worker at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital. “Now, you get time to sit back and look at what you’ve been doing, and start processing your feelings. That could be one of my family members. That could be me.”

In early March, doctors at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway identified the first virus patient in Queens. Now, there is an uneasy lull and staff members fear a second wave could come.

This is how to fix your work-from-home tech.

The last thing you need right now is a spotty Wi-Fi signal interrupting your workday. Good news! There are some simple steps you can take to improve that. And, while you’re at it, take a look at the rest of your computer setup and see what may be slowing you down. A little tweak can make working from home less miserable.

China abandons a growth target for the year and more from our international correspondents.

Parting with years of precedent, China on Friday abandoned an annual growth target for 2020, in an acknowledgment that restarting its economy after the outbreak will be a slow and difficult process.

In his annual report to lawmakers meeting in Beijing, Premier Li Keqiang said that the country had made major achievements in its response to the epidemic and that economic development was a top priority. But while he set goals to limit inflation and unemployment, he did not announce a target for economic growth for the year.

Coronavirus cases in China have slowed to a small fraction of what they were in January, but the pandemic was weighing heavily on the country’s politics and economy as top officials began a tightly choreographed legislative pageant.

In one sense, the National People’s Congress is a chance for China’s leaders, who won broad public support for curbing the spread of the outbreak, to push back against growing international criticism over their early missteps in Wuhan. President Xi Jinping has described his government’s containment efforts as a “people’s war” against the virus.

Reporting was contributed by Denise Grady, Alan Blinder, Michael Cooper, Eileen Sullivan, Christopher Flavelle, Apoorva Mandavilli, Mike Baker, Karen Barrow, Patricia Mazzei, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Kassie Bracken, Niraj Chokshi, Michael Gold, Dana Rubinstein, Keith Bradsher, Mohammed Hadi, Chris Buckley, Sarah Mervosh, Jan Hoffman, Annie Karni, Corey Kilgannon, Alan Rappeport, Emily Rhyne, Biance Giaever, Robin Pogrebin, Marc Santora, Elizabeth Dias, Jeanna Smialek and Farah Stockman.

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