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Coronavirus Live Updates: Fed Chief Warns U.S. Faces Downturn ‘Without Modern Precedent’ Coronavirus Live Updates: Study Shows Hydroxychloroquine May Harm Coronavirus Patients
(32 minutes later)
The malaria drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine 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.
Hydroxychloroquine is the drug that President Trump has advocated, and that he has said he has been taking in hopes of preventing coronavirus infection.
People who received the drugs were more likely to have abnormal heart rhythms, according to the study, which was published in the The Lancet.
But the study was observational, meaning that the patients were not picked at random to receive the drug or not. This type of study 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.
Parents have no idea if they will be able to send their children to school in the fall. Millions of workers do not know when, or even if, they may return to the office. Something as simple as going to the beach on this holiday weekend is a fraught decision.Parents have no idea if they will be able to send their children to school in the fall. Millions of workers do not know when, or even if, they may return to the office. Something as simple as going to the beach on this holiday weekend is a fraught decision.
And as millions more workers joined the ranks of the unemployed this week, bringing the total of jobless claims to nearly 39 million in just over two months, government officials and economists warned that it was virtually impossible to forecast how long the pain would last.And as millions more workers joined the ranks of the unemployed this week, bringing the total of jobless claims to nearly 39 million in just over two months, government officials and economists warned that it was virtually impossible to forecast how long the pain would last.
“In the best of times, predicting the path of the economy with any certainty is difficult,” Jerome H. Powell, the chair of the Federal Reserve, said on Thursday. “We are now experiencing a whole new level of uncertainty, as questions only the virus can answer complicate the outlook.”“In the best of times, predicting the path of the economy with any certainty is difficult,” Jerome H. Powell, the chair of the Federal Reserve, said on Thursday. “We are now experiencing a whole new level of uncertainty, as questions only the virus can answer complicate the outlook.”
Mr. Powell said the nation’s economy was in a “downturn without modern precedent.”Mr. Powell said the nation’s economy was in a “downturn without modern precedent.”
The Fed chief’s comments underscored a point his colleagues have made repeatedly in recent days: The path to recovery is not obvious as the economy and job market absorb the biggest shock in generations. Against that backdrop, several said, both Fed policymakers and those in Congress and the White House should be prepared to do more if needed.The Fed chief’s comments underscored a point his colleagues have made repeatedly in recent days: The path to recovery is not obvious as the economy and job market absorb the biggest shock in generations. Against that backdrop, several said, both Fed policymakers and those in Congress and the White House should be prepared to do more if needed.
“Depending on the course the virus takes and the depth and duration of the downturn it causes, additional support from both monetary and fiscal policies may be called for,” Richard H. Clarida, the Fed’s vice chair, said during an event earlier in the day.“Depending on the course the virus takes and the depth and duration of the downturn it causes, additional support from both monetary and fiscal policies may be called for,” Richard H. Clarida, the Fed’s vice chair, said during an event earlier in the day.
But key government officials, particularly Republican members of Congress and some officials in the Trump administration, have signaled varying appetites for providing further help.But key government officials, particularly Republican members of Congress and some officials in the Trump administration, have signaled varying appetites for providing further help.
Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, expressed opposition on Thursday to extending enhanced unemployment benefits, which provide an extra $600 a week. Tax cuts and other incentives to encourage hiring would be preferable at this point, he said.Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, expressed opposition on Thursday to extending enhanced unemployment benefits, which provide an extra $600 a week. Tax cuts and other incentives to encourage hiring would be preferable at this point, he said.
“I do not believe that more government spending is going to give us a strong and durable recovery,” Mr. Kudlow said.“I do not believe that more government spending is going to give us a strong and durable recovery,” Mr. Kudlow said.
A sophisticated fraud network targeting Washington State’s unemployment system claimed hundreds of millions of dollars before officials were able to identify and crack down on the attack, state officials said Thursday.A sophisticated fraud network targeting Washington State’s unemployment system claimed hundreds of millions of dollars before officials were able to identify and crack down on the attack, state officials said Thursday.
“I realize this is a jaw-dropping figure,” said Suzi LeVine, the commissioner of the state Employment Security Department. The fraudulent claims had been filed on behalf of tens of thousands of people, and many involved individuals who had not lost their jobs, she said.“I realize this is a jaw-dropping figure,” said Suzi LeVine, the commissioner of the state Employment Security Department. The fraudulent claims had been filed on behalf of tens of thousands of people, and many involved individuals who had not lost their jobs, she said.
Officials confirmed the fraud on the same day the federal government reported that another 2.4 million American workers filed for jobless benefits last week, bringing the total to a staggering 38.6 million in nine weeks.Officials confirmed the fraud on the same day the federal government reported that another 2.4 million American workers filed for jobless benefits last week, bringing the total to a staggering 38.6 million in nine weeks.
And while the Labor Department has found that a large majority of laid-off workers expect their joblessness to be temporary, there is growing concern among economists that many jobs will never come back.And while the Labor Department has found that a large majority of laid-off workers expect their joblessness to be temporary, there is growing concern among economists that many jobs will never come back.
“I hate to say it, but this is going to take longer and look grimmer than we thought,” said Nicholas Bloom, an economist at Stanford University.“I hate to say it, but this is going to take longer and look grimmer than we thought,” said Nicholas Bloom, an economist at Stanford University.
The stunning scale of the job losses, and the billions of dollars in benefits approved by Congress to sustain workers without incomes, has made unemployment systems ill-equipped to handle the surge of claims vulnerable to fraud.The stunning scale of the job losses, and the billions of dollars in benefits approved by Congress to sustain workers without incomes, has made unemployment systems ill-equipped to handle the surge of claims vulnerable to fraud.
The U.S. Secret Service said in a memo last week that it appeared that an international group of fraudsters was targeting unemployment systems, particularly in Washington State. Officials said there was also evidence of attacks in Florida, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Wyoming.The U.S. Secret Service said in a memo last week that it appeared that an international group of fraudsters was targeting unemployment systems, particularly in Washington State. Officials said there was also evidence of attacks in Florida, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Wyoming.
Investigators said the impostors appeared to be working with an extensive database of personal information stolen in earlier hacking attacks that allowed them to submit claims.Investigators said the impostors appeared to be working with an extensive database of personal information stolen in earlier hacking attacks that allowed them to submit claims.
Washington State had moved to make payments available quickly and deliver them to direct-deposit accounts. But the state began realizing the scope of the problem when people who had not filed for unemployment received mail saying that they had.Washington State had moved to make payments available quickly and deliver them to direct-deposit accounts. But the state began realizing the scope of the problem when people who had not filed for unemployment received mail saying that they had.
Ms. LeVine said the state had increased security on its systems and delayed payments to prevent further fraud. That has blocked thousands of other claims worth an additional hundreds of millions of dollars.Ms. LeVine said the state had increased security on its systems and delayed payments to prevent further fraud. That has blocked thousands of other claims worth an additional hundreds of millions of dollars.
The pain, though, is already widespread. A household survey from the Census Bureau released Wednesday found that 47 percent of adults said they or a member of their household had lost employment income since mid-March. And Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City said on Thursday that nearly one in four New Yorkers needs food.The pain, though, is already widespread. A household survey from the Census Bureau released Wednesday found that 47 percent of adults said they or a member of their household had lost employment income since mid-March. And Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City said on Thursday that nearly one in four New Yorkers needs food.
To address the problem, the city will increase to 1.5 million the number of meals it distributes each day by next week. A million meals will be delivered; the rest will be available for pickup at schools.To address the problem, the city will increase to 1.5 million the number of meals it distributes each day by next week. A million meals will be delivered; the rest will be available for pickup at schools.
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.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 coronavirus cases.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 coronavirus 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.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.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.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.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.”“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.”
President Trump on Thursday called for flags at the White House, on public grounds across the country and on naval vessels to be flown at half-staff in honor of the victims of the coronavirus, a rare acknowledgment of the lives lost from an administration that typically likes to downplay the death toll and take credit for lives it claims it saved.President Trump on Thursday called for flags at the White House, on public grounds across the country and on naval vessels to be flown at half-staff in honor of the victims of the coronavirus, a rare acknowledgment of the lives lost from an administration that typically likes to downplay the death toll and take credit for lives it claims it saved.
“Our nation mourns for every life lost to the coronavirus pandemic, and we share in the suffering of all those who endured pain and illness from the outbreak,” read the proclamation that was signed by Mr. Trump.“Our nation mourns for every life lost to the coronavirus pandemic, and we share in the suffering of all those who endured pain and illness from the outbreak,” read the proclamation that was signed by Mr. Trump.
He ordered American flags to be flown at half-staff through Sunday.He ordered American flags to be flown at half-staff through Sunday.
On Memorial Day, the president said, the flags at half-staff would be honoring the nation’s war dead. The announcement came several hours after Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer, the minority leader, had written to Mr. Trump asking him to fly flags at half-staff when the country reaches 100,000 Covid-19 deaths, which is expected in the coming days.On Memorial Day, the president said, the flags at half-staff would be honoring the nation’s war dead. The announcement came several hours after Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer, the minority leader, had written to Mr. Trump asking him to fly flags at half-staff when the country reaches 100,000 Covid-19 deaths, which is expected in the coming days.
In their letter to Mr. Trump, Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer called for “a national expression of grief.”In their letter to Mr. Trump, Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer called for “a national expression of grief.”
Almost 95,000 people have now died in the United States, according to a tally by The New York Times, and an average of more than 1,000 deaths a day are still being recorded.Almost 95,000 people have now died in the United States, according to a tally by The New York Times, and an average of more than 1,000 deaths a day are still being recorded.
Mr. Trump has not led any observance of national mourning since the pandemic began claiming American lives by the thousands. In his recent public comments, he has steered clear of talking about the deaths, focusing instead on the need to reopen the country — a process he describes as a “transition to greatness” — and defending his own handling of the crisis.Mr. Trump has not led any observance of national mourning since the pandemic began claiming American lives by the thousands. In his recent public comments, he has steered clear of talking about the deaths, focusing instead on the need to reopen the country — a process he describes as a “transition to greatness” — and defending his own handling of the crisis.
Touring a Ford plant in Michigan earlier on Thursday, Mr. Trump declined to wear a mask in front of the cameras, despite the plant’s guidelines that required anyone on the site to have a face covering to protect from the spread of the coronavirus.Touring a Ford plant in Michigan earlier on Thursday, Mr. Trump declined to wear a mask in front of the cameras, despite the plant’s guidelines that required anyone on the site to have a face covering to protect from the spread of the coronavirus.
The president said he wore one when he was alone with Ford executives, but took it off for the public portion of his tour.The president said he wore one when he was alone with Ford executives, but took it off for the public portion of his tour.
“I didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it,” he said.“I didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it,” he said.
A church in northern Mississippi burned to the ground this week in what the police believe was arson because of a spray-painted message at the scene that seemed to criticize the church’s defiance of coronavirus restrictions.A church in northern Mississippi burned to the ground this week in what the police believe was arson because of a spray-painted message at the scene that seemed to criticize the church’s defiance of coronavirus restrictions.
First Pentecostal Church had sued Holly Springs, Miss., which is about an hour southeast of Memphis, arguing that the city’s stay-at-home order had violated the church’s right to free speech and interfered with its members’ abilities to worship.First Pentecostal Church had sued Holly Springs, Miss., which is about an hour southeast of Memphis, arguing that the city’s stay-at-home order had violated the church’s right to free speech and interfered with its members’ abilities to worship.
After firefighters put out the blaze early on Wednesday morning, the police found the message “Bet you stay home now you hypokrits” spray-painted on the ground near the church’s doors, according to Maj. Kelly McMillen of the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department.After firefighters put out the blaze early on Wednesday morning, the police found the message “Bet you stay home now you hypokrits” spray-painted on the ground near the church’s doors, according to Maj. Kelly McMillen of the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department.
A photograph of the graffiti also appeared to show an atomic symbol with an “A” in the center, which is sometimes used as a logo for atheist groups.A photograph of the graffiti also appeared to show an atomic symbol with an “A” in the center, which is sometimes used as a logo for atheist groups.
After growing frustration with the city’s executive orders, the first of which was issued on March 23, the church’s pastor, Jerry Waldrop, confronted city officials at a demonstration at a local Walmart.After growing frustration with the city’s executive orders, the first of which was issued on March 23, the church’s pastor, Jerry Waldrop, confronted city officials at a demonstration at a local Walmart.
The church also filed a lawsuit against the city, which has about 8,000 residents, in April. A lawyer for the church said in the lawsuit that the police had cited Mr. Waldrop on Easter for holding a service in violation of the city’s order, and had later shut down a Bible study.The church also filed a lawsuit against the city, which has about 8,000 residents, in April. A lawyer for the church said in the lawsuit that the police had cited Mr. Waldrop on Easter for holding a service in violation of the city’s order, and had later shut down a Bible study.
Quakers have worshiped in the meetinghouse on Schermerhorn Street in Brooklyn since 1857. The walls of the room are bare and white, and when you look up to check the time, there is no clock. The room’s only decoration is a bouquet of flowers, brought every week by the flower committee.
For the past 27 years, Ted Ehrhardt, 76, has awoken on Sunday morning and headed to worship there. “I’m am a very conflicted, confused and bewildered man,” he said. “The meeting for me is a touchstone. It’s the thing holding me together.”
So when he found out that the meeting could no longer continue because of the coronavirus outbreak, he felt unmoored. Not long after, the members of the Quaker ministry and council came up with a plan. The meetings would resume, but over the videoconferences.
“I shared with neighbors that I am attending Quaker Meeting via Zoom and they laughed,” Meg Langworthy, 56, of the Middlebury, Vt., meeting, wrote in an email.
In Quaker worship, members sit together in silence, waiting for a message from God to move through them. But this new frontier in virtual Quakerism posed a question — was it possible to gather with God over Zoom?
It started with silence, or something close to silence, or perhaps it was simply the absence of a low-level hum that nobody knew was humming until it stopped. In the quiet we realized that, until the pandemic arrived, we had lived in a vast, elaborate, whirring contraption that delivered culture and commerce at spectacular speeds, with astonishing efficiency.It started with silence, or something close to silence, or perhaps it was simply the absence of a low-level hum that nobody knew was humming until it stopped. In the quiet we realized that, until the pandemic arrived, we had lived in a vast, elaborate, whirring contraption that delivered culture and commerce at spectacular speeds, with astonishing efficiency.
Logistics — the science of making Thing A and delivering it to Point B — had become a national art form, the corporate answer to jazz, stand-up comedy and end-zone dances. America was like an operating system that upgraded itself so regularly that its design and endless enhancements were taken for granted.Logistics — the science of making Thing A and delivering it to Point B — had become a national art form, the corporate answer to jazz, stand-up comedy and end-zone dances. America was like an operating system that upgraded itself so regularly that its design and endless enhancements were taken for granted.
Now, the heart of the great American logistics machine is beating slowly and erratically, and in some places it has gone into full-on cardiac arrest. Inevitably, one of our many reactions is pure bewilderment.Now, the heart of the great American logistics machine is beating slowly and erratically, and in some places it has gone into full-on cardiac arrest. Inevitably, one of our many reactions is pure bewilderment.
Us?Us?
Wait. Us?Wait. Us?
Rationing meat. Scrambling for masks. Running low on crucial drugs. The early shortages for the pandemic — swabs, toilet paper, ventilators — were a foreshadowing, not an aberration. We still don’t have enough good tests. Our national pantry, long bursting, lacks essentials. Come to think of it, it’s also missing some nonessentials. Just try to buy a bicycle.Rationing meat. Scrambling for masks. Running low on crucial drugs. The early shortages for the pandemic — swabs, toilet paper, ventilators — were a foreshadowing, not an aberration. We still don’t have enough good tests. Our national pantry, long bursting, lacks essentials. Come to think of it, it’s also missing some nonessentials. Just try to buy a bicycle.
Let us acknowledge the obvious: The country is flunking a curriculum that it basically wrote. Which is baffling. American supremacy in logistics has been a calling card for decades, even among people unfamiliar with the L-word.Let us acknowledge the obvious: The country is flunking a curriculum that it basically wrote. Which is baffling. American supremacy in logistics has been a calling card for decades, even among people unfamiliar with the L-word.
David Segal reports on how the virus is beating us at the logistics game and won’t wait for us to get our mojo back.David Segal reports on how the virus is beating us at the logistics game and won’t wait for us to get our mojo back.
“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.”“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.”
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.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.
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.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.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.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.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 Mike Baker, Karen Barrow, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Kassie Bracken, Keith Bradsher, Chris Buckley, Annie Karni, Corey Kilgannon, Alan Rappeport, Emily Rhyne, Biance Giaever, Marc Santora, Jeanna Smialek and Farah Stockman. Reporting was contributed by Denise Grady, Alan Blinder, Eileen Sullivan, Mike Baker, Karen Barrow, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Kassie Bracken, Keith Bradsher, Chris Buckley, Annie Karni, Corey Kilgannon, Alan Rappeport, Emily Rhyne, Biance Giaever, Marc Santora, Jeanna Smialek and Farah Stockman.