Setting the stage for a possible power struggle with President Donald Trump, governors around the U.S. began collaborating on plans Tuesday to reopen their economies in what is likely to be a drawn-out, step-by-step process to prevent the new coronavirus from rebounding with disastrous results.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government's top infectious disease expert, said the U.S. does not yet have the critical testing and tracing procedures needed to begin reopening the nation's economy, adding a dose of caution to increasingly optimistic projections from the White House.
"We have to have something in place that is efficient and that we can rely on, and we're not there yet," Fauci said in an interview with The Associated Press.
Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday that the nation’s major airlines have tentatively agreed to terms for $25 billion in federal aid to pay workers and keep them employed through September. The deals aren’t final, but the assistance is almost certain to be a mix of cash and loans, and the government could take a small ownership stake in the leading airlines.
In parts of Europe where infections and deaths have begun stabilizing, the process to reopen the economy was already underway. Certain businesses and industries have been allowed to reopen in a calibrated effort by politicians to balance public health against their countries' economic well-being.
Here's an update on developments. Scroll or swipe further for in-depth coverage.
- Three potential COVID-19 vaccines are making fast progress in early-stage testing in volunteers in China and the U.S., but it’s still a long road to prove if they’ll really work. China’s CanSino Biologics is beginning the second phase of testing its vaccine candidate, and in the U.S., a shot made by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc. isn’t far behind. The first person to receive that experimental vaccine last month returned to a Seattle clinic Tuesday for a second dose.
- The $2.2 trillion federal rescue package could fail to deliver badly needed financial aid to thousands of smaller cities and counties where a majority of Americans live, according to documents and interviews with local officials. The coronavirus outbreak has blown holes in the budgets of communities as the costs of battling the outbreak skyrocket and critical sources of revenue like sales and income taxes plummet.
- Between 10% and 20% of U.S. coronavirus cases are health care workers, though they tended to be hospitalized at lower rates than other patients, officials reported Tuesday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the first national data on how the pandemic is hitting doctors, nurses and other health care professionals. It's important new information but not necessarily surprising.
- China has been criticized in the West for its early mishandling of the health crisis due to politically motivated foot-dragging. Now it is seeking to change perceptions through what has been dubbed "mask diplomacy." That's a combination of soft power policy, political messaging and aid shipments designed to portray Beijing as a generous and efficient ally. That message has found fertile ground in places like Serbia and Hungary, whose leaders nurture close ties with Beijing and Moscow.
- Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and his health minister are in open conflict over the country's coronavirus response, leading many to worry that the far-right leader could soon fire the official who has played a major role in containing the outbreak. The public battle between a president notorious for his polarizing remarks and the more measured doctor has reminded many of a similar tug of war taking place in the United States between Trump and Fauci. It has also raised concerns that efforts to prevent the spread of the virus in Latin America's largest country could veer off track.
For more summaries and full reports, please select from the articles below. Scroll further for helpful tips, charts tracking virus spread and more.
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