Month lost in the United States: how the USA lagged behind in coronavirus testing.
As the deadly coronavirus spread across the United States between late January and early March, large-scale testing of people who might have been infected did not occur due to technical failures, regulatory obstacles, common bureaucracies and a lack of leadership at various levels. .
The three federal health agencies responsible for detecting and combating pandemic threats have failed to prepare quickly enough, according to a Times investigation. Even as scientists looked at China and sounded alarms, none of the agency's directors conveyed the urgency needed to stimulate an unhindered defense, according to interviews with more than 50 current and former public health officials, administration officials, senior scientists. and company executives.
Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, relied on the agency's veteran scientists to develop a test for the coronavirus. But when the test proved to be flawed, it took the CD in February to resolve a solution. Meanwhile, the virus was spreading undetected.
Dr. Stephen Hahn, Commissioner for Food and Drug Administration, should help increase national testing capacity by approving diagnostic tests developed by the private sector. However, he enforced regulations that, paradoxically, made it more difficult for hospitals and laboratories to implement these tests in an emergency.
Alex M. Azar II, commissioner for health and human services, oversaw the two other agencies and coordinated the government's public health response to the pandemic. However, he was unable to press C.D. C. or F. D. A to accelerate or change course.
Together, the challenges resulted in a lost month, when the United States wasted its best chance of containing the spread of the coronavirus. Instead, Americans were left largely blind to the scale of an impending public health catastrophe.
C.D.C. issues a travel statement to the New York area after Trump withdraws his quarantine threat.
President Trump said Saturday night that he will not impose a quarantine on New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, but will issue a "strong" travel notice to be implemented by the governors of the three states.
Trump made the announcement on Twitter just hours after telling reporters he was considering quarantining the three states in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus to Florida and other states.
Later on Saturday night, the CD issued a formal statement urging residents of the three states to "abstain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days, with immediate effect". The statement, published on the agency's website and Twitter account, does not apply to "employees in critical infrastructure sectors," the agency said. This includes trucks, public health professionals, financial services and food supply workers.
Trump, when he said he was considering a quarantine for the region, did not offer details on how his government would apply it. Speaking to CNN, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York criticized the idea, calling it "a declaration of war on states".
He also questioned the logistical challenges and the message that this order would present. "If you start to isolate areas across the country, it would be totally bizarre, counterproductive, anti-American, anti-social," he said.
Trump's public disclosure of his deliberations came a day after he signed a $ 2 trillion economic stimulus package and how cases in the tristate area continued to rise. The specter of a federal quarantine followed a wave of governors who, fearful of the virus spreading across their states, ordered people traveling from New York to isolate themselves for two weeks after their arrival.
Governor Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island said on Friday that state troops would begin stopping drivers with New York license plates so that National Guard officers could collect contact information and inform anyone from the state who was subject to mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Texas, Florida, Maryland and South Carolina are among the other states that have ordered people arriving from New York to be quarantined. In Texas, for example, the authorities said On Friday, Department of Public Security officials would conduct surprise visits to see if travelers were fulfilling the state's mandate and warned that offenders could be fined $ 1,000 and imprisoned for 180 days.
Lamont, the governor of Connecticut, this week asked all New York City travelers to self-quarantine for two weeks upon entering the state, but he stopped issuing an order demanding this.
A sudden blockade in India leaves hundreds of thousands of migrants homeless and unemployed.
In one of the largest migrations in modern Indian history, hundreds of thousands of migrant workers began long journeys on foot to get home, having been made homeless and unemployed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's national blockade to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
In the capital, Delhi, thousands of migrants, including entire families, kept their pots, pans and blankets in backpacks, some balancing young children on their shoulders as they walked along interstate highways. Some planned to walk hundreds of kilometers. But when they reached the Delhi border, many were beaten by the police.
“You are afraid of the disease, living on the streets. But I fear hunger more, not the crown, ”said Papu, 32, who came to Delhi three weeks ago to work and was trying to get to his home in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh state, 250 kilometers away.
So far, 980 people have tested positive for coronavirus in India, with 24 killed, according to officials.
India already had one of the largest homeless populations in the world, and the blockade may have tripled the situation overnight, say workers in non-governmental organizations. A 2011 government census put the number of homeless at 1.7 million, almost certainly a major underestimation in this country of 1.3 billion.
The blockade, which includes a ban on interstate travel, was announced just four hours in advance on Tuesday, leaving India's huge migrant population stranded in large cities, where jobs draw them in large numbers from the countryside.
Illinois reports the first known death in the United States of a baby with the coronavirus.
A child who tested positive for coronavirus died in Chicago, the authorities said on Saturday. It was the first known death of a child under the age of one year from the virus in the United States, although officials in some states do not release details about the people who die.
So far, newborns and babies appear not to have been affected by the coronavirus, but three new studies suggest that the virus may reach the fetus in the womb.
"There was never a death associated with Covid-19 in a child," said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. "A full investigation is underway to determine the cause of death." Older adults, especially those in their 80s and 90s, were seen as the most vulnerable in the outbreak, but younger ones also died.
As of Saturday night, deaths in the United States had exceeded 2,000, at least 50 of them in Illinois. More than 3,500 known cases of the virus have been identified in Illinois.
Ambulances in New York have not been so busy since 9/11.
Even though New York hospitals are flooded with cases of coronavirus, some patients are left behind in their homes because the health care system cannot deal with all of them, according to dozens of interviews with paramedics, fire department officials from New York and union representatives. as city data.
In a matter of days, the city's 911 system was overwhelmed by calls for medical assistance apparently related to the virus. The system typically receives about 4,000 calls from Emergency Medical Services per day.
On Thursday, dispatchers answered more than 7,000 calls – a volume not seen since the 9/11 attacks. The record number of calls in one day was broken three times in the last week.
Because of the volume, healthcare professionals are making life and death decisions about who is sick enough to take to the crowded emergency rooms and who looks well enough to leave behind. They are assessing on the scene which patients should receive lengthy measures, such as CPR and intubation, and which patients are too far away to save.
And they are doing this, in most cases, they say, without adequate equipment to protect themselves from infections.
Paramedics described gloomy scenes as New York City became the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, with more than 29,000 cases on Saturday and 517 deaths.
Reports and research were contributed by Neil MacFarquhar, Alan Blinder, Michael D. Shear, Jesse McKinley, Abby Goodnough, Sheila Kaplan, Sheri Fink, Katie Thomas, Noah Weiland and Maria Abi-Habib.