As Pandemic Wrecks Budgets, States Cut and Borrow to Balance Books

In February, Ohio had a $ 200 million surplus. Then the coronavirus pandemic occurred, and two months later – when tax revenue plummeted and public health expenditures soared – the state was facing a $ 777 million hole.

Republican Governor Mike DeWine ordered immediate cuts to close the gap. He had no choice. The pandemic, said DeWine, "does not excuse us from balancing our budget, which we are legally obliged to do".

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Ohio is hardly alone. Every state is struggling with one version of the same problem, and everyone except one – Vermont – has balanced budget laws in place. And for most, the new fiscal year starts on July 1, leaving them desperate for help with just a few weeks to work out a plan.

A coalition of five Democratic governors said on Monday that state and local governments need $ 1 trillion in federal aid or they will be forced to decide between financing public health programs or firing teachers, police and other workers.

Democrats in Washington supported these calls, but some republicans – including President Trump – suggested that Democratic-controlled states are seeking redemption for bad decisions prior to the pandemic.

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The problem is that balanced budget laws have left states with few options. And coronavirus increases tension every day: home stay requests and frozen economic activity have reduced state sales and income tax revenues, and services that are largely unused, such as airports and public transportation, still need be maintained.

Georgia has instructed all state agencies to cut spending by 14% by May 20. California has already borrowed $ 348 million, and Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday proposed sharp cuts to public schools, universities and health services as part of a revised budget.

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California's new budget would cut spending by 9%, but, like DeWine, Newsom said he had little choice.

"Our state is in an unprecedented emergency, facing huge job losses and deficits in record time," he wrote in a letter to lawmakers. "This budget reflects that emergency."

In Wisconsin, residents woke up in a state of confusion on Thursday, after the conservative majority of the state Supreme Court sided with the Republican majority in the Legislature on Wednesday night, cancel a state home stay request by Governor Tony Evers, Democrat.

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In Michigan, hundreds of protesters, many of them armed, appeared at the State Capitol in a rain storm. The state closed the building in advance and canceled the legislative session, instead of risking a repeat of an April protest in which angry protesters carrying long weapons packed inside.

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In Pennsylvania, some Republican lawmakers asked the Democratic governor's orders to deny closing non-essential deals, and President Trump flew to Allentown for a politically charged visit to a medical supply facility.

The response to coronavirus in these three states, which determined the 2016 presidential election and could strongly influence that of November, is becoming a confusing and hectic mix of health guidance, protest and party politics – letting residents defend themselves.

"My anxiety about this pandemic is not having a unified plan, being all on the same page and listening to the science and the same rules," said Jamie O & # 39; Brien, 40, who owns a hair salon in Madison, Wisconsin. ., which remains closed due to a request to stay at a local home.

In Wisconsin, the court's decision left some residents in a party mood, going directly to one of the state's many taverns to celebrate. Others were determined to stay home, worried that it was too early to return to crowded restaurants and shops.

"You have the only group that is 'Yay!'," Said Patty Schachtner, a Democratic senator from western Wisconsin. "And the other group is like & # 39; Dude, life got complicated & # 39 ;."

It was a disturbing microcosm of a country increasingly unable to separate bitter political divisions from plans to fight a deadly disease. Democratic governors in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, supported by public health experts, urged caution before reopening. Republican legislatures in the states moved in the opposite direction, citing economic necessity and personal freedom.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released six flowcharts on Thursday to help schools, restaurants, public transport systems and other businesses decide when to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic, the agency's first launch of such an orientation after a draft. more comprehensive. rejected by the White House.

Decision trees are mainly composed of basic tips that can serve as a checklist for companies before reopening. At the slide for restaurants and bars, the C.D.C. says that establishments should feel comfortable opening if they don't violate local laws, promote good hygiene, increase cleanliness, encourage social distance and institute leniency sick leave policies, among other suggestions.

Public disclosure of the guidelines follows a turmoil among DC. and the white house. Trump administration officials sent back the initial CD recommendations, arguing that they were too prescriptive and rigid when the density of confirmed coronavirus cases it can vary a lot from state to state, and even from municipality to municipality. Some federal agencies have also said that drafting the guidelines could harm businesses and the economy.

Notably absent from the six decision trees launched on Thursday, there was any mention of houses of worship, which had been a particularly controversial point on the CD. guidance that was rejected. An outline of this guidance encouraged all congregants to wear masks and suggested that religious institutions suspend the use of any "choir or music group".

AC DC. The spokesman said that more decision letters could be issued and that the released ones emphasize the need for employers to work closely with local health officials.

But the simple slides, which include arrows, stop sign graphics and links to additional resources, can still help directors, employers and others who face difficult decisions about reopening. Almost all states have eased restrictions in some companies.

The White House threatened to veto a $ 3 trillion pandemic relief project that Democrats planned to pass in the House on Friday, when Republicans asked their members to reject a measure they considered uninitiated.

At the a message to the house on Thursday, White House officials considered the legislation unsustainable and said the Democrats who drafted it were "more concerned with delivering long-standing party and ideological wish lists than improving our nation's ability to deal with challenges. economic and public health issues we face ".

On a day when the two-month count of unemployment claims reached 36.5 million, the statement suggested what Republican leaders and White House officials have suggested in recent days: that they are unsure whether additional economic aid measures will be needed and that such a move should focus on tax cuts and corporate liability protections. .

Republican House leaders urged their members to vote against the legislation, saying: "Neither this bill nor any of that will ever become law".

As Democrats were preparing to promote approval in the House, they were making last-minute revisions to the bill, including a provision to prevent nonprofits that were involved in electoral activities, such as contributing to a political campaign, from receiving loans. . They also added language that calls for a study to examine the role of virus-related misinformation in the public's response to the pandemic.

For three weeks, a small town in northern New Jersey watched policeman Charles Roberts.

Everyone at Glen Ridge knew Mr. Roberts, or at least they had a story about him. He was the officer they saw in the morning at Starbucks, the one who put their new seats in the back seats, the one who remembered the names of their children at school, where his wife was a teacher and where Roberts, 45, was an officer in the education program about drugs.

Since he passed out at home in April, they have prayed for him and put signs on doors, windows and lawns that read "#ROBSTRONG".

On Thursday, three days after he died of coronavirus complications, the people of Glen Ridge, which is 20 miles west of New York, paid you one last honor.

With no central meeting place available because of state blockade orders, they left their homes by the hundreds and stayed on their balconies, front gardens and sidewalks. They put their hands over their hearts as the hearse carrying his body headed for the cemetery. Many wore blue and orange – the colors of the New York Mets, Roberts' favorite baseball team – and hailed the hearse, escorted by dozens of police cars and motorcycles from nearby towns and cities.

"He's just really the poster image of what a Norman Rockwell police officer looks like," said Joseph Uliano, a Glen Ridge Police Department officer, referring to the famous painting of a policeman talking to a small child in a store of soft drinks. . "If there was a 2020 version of that poster, it would be Rob sitting at that counter with that little boy."

Coughing or sneezing may not be the only way for people to transmit infectious pathogens like the coronavirus. Talking can also boost thousands of droplets so small that they can remain suspended in the air for eight to 14 minutes, according to a new study.

The research, published Wednesday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could help explain how people with mild or nonexistent symptoms can infect others in nearby locations, such as offices, nursing homes, cruise ships and other confined spaces.

The experimental conditions of the study would need to be replicated in more real circumstances, and the researchers still do not know how much virus must be transmitted from one person to another to cause infection. But his findings reinforce the argument of wearing masks and taking other precautions to reduce the spread of the virus.

The Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday night that a coronavirus test used by the White House to track team members and visitors may not be accurate.

In an unusual public statement, the agency said initial data suggested that the Abbott ID Now test, hailed as a rapid test to diagnose virus infection, could return false negatives in truly infected patients.

"This test can still be used and can correctly identify many positive cases in minutes," said Dr. Tim Stenzel, director of the FDA's Office of Diagnostic and Radiological Health in Vitro.

But the negative results must be confirmed with another high-sensitivity test, he added.

The product, which received emergency authorization from the F.D.A. in late March, he was enthusiastically promoted by President Trump – he was even used as a support during at least one press conference. Mr. Trump said the tests are "highly accurate".

The agency's warning follows a study by NY.U researchers. Langone Health, which found the test, can lose infections up to 48% of the time.

The F.D.A. it also said it received 15 so-called "adverse event reports" on the Abbott device, suggesting that some users were receiving false negatives. The agency said it was still evaluating the test.

In a statement to investors late on Thursday, Abbott defended the ID Now test, calling it reliable when used as intended. "Negative test results should be considered in the context of a patient's recent exposures, history and presence of clinical signs and symptoms consistent with Covid-19," the statement said.

If the negative results are inconsistent with signs and symptoms, Abbott said, patients should receive an alternative test.

On the island of Oahu, where Honolulu city and county government are consolidated, recreational facilities will also reopen on Friday for a few days. individual exerciseand drive-in religious services will be allowed, Mayor Kirk Caldwell said, during a news conference on Thursday.

Caldwell said Honolulu officials are also examining a June 5 reopening for restaurants, which have been limited to food and delivery.

"We are being very cautious here," said Caldwell.

Retail and repair companies, real estate services, car dealerships, florists, mobile pet caregivers and golf courses may reopen on Friday, but must comply with social distance rules. Occupancy in retail stores will be limited.

Caldwell said he would also seek state approval to reopen beaches on Oahu after the island of Kauai was cleared on Wednesday. "We ask that you stay at least five feet from the next person who may be lying in the sun," he said.

Scattershot reopens stores, beauty salons and restaurants across the country have not stopped the flood of layoffs, with the federal government reports on Thursday, nearly three million people filed for unemployment last week, bringing the two-month count to 36.5 million.

The weekly count of new claims has been decreasing since the end of March, but this hopeful flicker barely stands out in a bleak economic scenario.

AN new Federal Reserve survey found that in households earning less than $ 40,000 a year, nearly 40% of people working in February lost their jobs in March or early April.

And despite states' attempts to keep up with the claims attack, many workers are extremely frustrated, either by the inability to submit requests or by late payments.

Where the reopening process has started, workers who have been called back to work often face reduced hours and wages, and an increased risk of infection. Refusing to return, however – whether because of ill health or the need to care for children while schools are closed – is likely to end unemployment benefits.

"It is a very difficult choice for those in the service sector and those at the bottom end of the salary scale," said Rubeela Farooqi, chief US economist at High Frequency Economics. "Do you come back and run the risk of getting sick or have no money coming in?"

As job losses increased, two ideologically opposed parliamentarians came to the same conclusion: it is time for the federal government to cover workers' wages.

Representative Pramila Jayapal, a progressive Democrat from Washington, and Senator Josh Hawley, a conservative Republican from Missouri, are arguing with their party leaders that guaranteed income programs it should be part of the federal aid effort.

Neurologists in New York City, Michigan, New Jersey and other parts of the country have reported a flurry of cases in which healthy young adults have suffered strokes. Many are now convinced that unexplained episodes are yet another treacherous manifestation by Covid-19.

Although strokes can be rare, they can have catastrophic consequences, including cognitive impairment, physical disability and even death.

"We are seeing a surprising number of young people who have had a minor cough or no memory of viral symptoms, and isolate themselves at home as they should – and have a sudden stroke," Dr. Adam Dmytriw, a radiologist at the University of Toronto and one of the authors of A paper describing a series of patients who had strokes related to Covid-19.

For some of these patients, a stroke was the first symptom of a viral infection. They postponed the emergency room because they did not want to be exposed to the virus.

"If you don't get help, you risk being permanently disabled and in need of long-term care," said Johanna Fifi, a neurologist at the Mount Sinai Health System in New York. "It will not disappear on its own."

A Texas appeals court ruled against the state's attorney general on Thursday and allowed voters who feared being infected with the virus to vote by mail instead of appearing at the polls.

The decision it is probably just the last step in a complex legal process, as other lawsuits against the state's efforts to limit access to postal voting during the pandemic take place in federal and state courts.

The question lies in the rules for voting by correspondence and whether healthy voters who fear the virus in the polls qualify for voting as voters with disabilities. The Texas Democratic Party, voting rights groups and others who sued the state say yes. But Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton said the electoral code "does not allow a healthy person to vote by mail just because going to the polls poses some risk to public health."

In a separate lawsuit on Wednesday, Paxton asked the Texas Supreme Court to order officials in five counties stop encouraging voters to run in the mail if they feared getting the virus.

In the last ruling on Thursday, the state's Fourteenth Court of Appeals confirmed a first instance order issued last month. In that order, a judge found that voting in person during the pandemic was likely to harm a voter's health and that "all voters without established immunity meet the clear definition of disability" and were entitled to mail at the polls.

The whistleblower who was ousted as head of a federal medical research agency accused on Thursday that top Trump administration officials failed to heed his first warnings to stock up on masks and other supplies to fight the coronavirus, and the Americans died as a result.

"Lives were in danger and I believe lives were lost," Dr. Rick Bright, who was removed in April as director of the Department of Health and Human Services's Advanced Biomedical Research and Development Agency, told a House subcommittee. "The window is closing to deal with this pandemic."

During nearly four hours of testimony, Dr. Bright told lawmakers about a Chamber health subcommittee that the outbreak would “worsen and be prolonged” if the United States did not quickly develop a national testing strategy and predicted vaccine shortages if the government did not draft a distribution plan now.

After holding on for almost a month, President Trump and his health secretary, Alex M. Azar II, responded to Dr. Bright, raising the confrontation. Trump dismissed Dr. Bright as a "disgruntled employee"While Azar insisted that the authorities follow the scientist's ideas.

"Everything he was complaining about has been achieved," Azar told reporters as he and Trump prepared to board the presidential helicopter to leave for Allentown, Pennsylvania. "What he said was done."

"It's like someone who was in the choir trying to say he was a soloist at the time," continued Azar, adding, "Your claims don't hold water. They don't hold water.

Bright's testimony was the first time that a federal scientist – or any federal official – went to Congress and openly accused the administration of putting American lives at risk by confusing his response to the coronavirus. He said that Americans will face "the darkest winter in modern history" if the government acts quickly, as people become "restless" to leave their homes.

In New York, a central area of ​​five counties met the criteria to begin reopening some businesses this weekend, said Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. Another 157 deaths were reported, on the fourth consecutive day, the number was below 200.

State officials are investigating 110 cases of a potentially fatal pediatric inflammatory syndrome that appears to be related to the virus and has so far been linked to the deaths of three children. Cases have been reported in other states, including California, Louisiana and Mississippi.

On Broadway, the theatrical adaptation of "Frozen" will not reopen as soon as the pandemic subsides, Disney Theatrical Productions announced Thursday, making it the first musical to be brought down by the crisis.

"Frozen" was the weakest of the three Disney musicals that were being shown on Broadway – the others were "The Lion King" and "Aladdin" – but the decision to end it came earlier than anticipated. The move is a reminder that the pandemic is likely to change the theater scene, forcing producers to reevaluate the financial viability of long-planned projects, due to the expected challenges that attract audiences and investors.

California Governor Gavin Newsom proposed sharp cuts in public schools, universities and health services, among other programs, as part of a revised state budget announced on Thursday that reflected the sudden loss of income caused by the pandemic.

The budget reduces spending by nine percent of the total initial proposal the governor made in January.

"Our state is in an unprecedented emergency, facing huge job losses and deficits in record time," he said in a letter to lawmakers. "This budget reflects that emergency."

To cushion the impact of a projected 22% drop in revenue, the governor has proposed withdrawing the state's so-called $ 16 billion rainy day reserves over the next three years.

The proposed $ 203.3 billion budget, if approved by the Legislature, would bring spending back to 2018 levels. But it would still be well above the levels seen during the Great Recession a decade ago.

Newsom said he would start negotiating with the unions to cut salaries for state employees by 10%. The salary cuts would include the governor and his team. "We recognize that these cuts are devastating for so many people," he said.

Many of the proposed cuts could be canceled if the federal government agrees to further assistance, the governor said. "The federal government, we need you," said Newsom.

The revised budget also crossed over the $ 80 million that Newsom had allocated in January to expand the state version of Medicaid to undocumented people aged 65 and over. The expansion, promised last year to progressives and the Latin Legislative group, had been a priority in the Legislature this year.

Newsom's government is projecting a 9% drop in general economic activity because of the crisis, according to the governor's cabinet secretary. The state is also projecting that unemployment will peak at 25% this quarter, she said.

Precautions came from all corners, but they pointed in one direction: the fight against the virus would be long and the economic consequences lasting.

"It is important to put this on the table: this virus can become just another endemic virus in our communities, and this virus never disappears," said Mike Ryan, head of the World Health Organization. Emergency response team.

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci told a Senate panel this week that a vaccine for the virus would almost certainly not be ready in time for the new school year and called for caution in the face of a pathogen that continued to surprise and confuse the world's leading scientists.

"I think it is better to be careful, if we are not careless, in thinking that children are completely immune to the harmful effects," said Fauci. “Children in general do much, much better than adults and the elderly, and particularly those with underlying conditions. But I am very careful and I hope humbly to know that I don't know everything about this disease. And that is why I am very reserved about making broad predictions. "

The warnings, like many aspects of the crisis response in the United States, were quickly swept away by dysfunctional and disputed political speeches, distorted or dismissed in many ways – including by Trump himself.

The president, whose administration is predicting a rapid economic recovery as it pressures states to ease restrictions on public life, has pushed to reopen the country's schools and criticized Fauci's testimony.

"I totally disagree with him in schools," Trump said in an interview with Fox Business on Thursday morning. “And we will, I call them embers. I call them thorns. And he called – I noticed that he used the word pico. Well, you can have that, and we are going to publish. "

Trump also said he expected a vaccine to be available by the end of the year, a timeline that health experts recommend is unlikely. He also said the military would help with distribution.

"Our armed forces are being deployed and therefore, by the end of the year, we will be able to give many people very, very quickly," said Trump without providing details.

As in a natural disaster such as a hurricane, in a public health emergency, the military may be allowed to assist in areas such as distribution of supplies and logistics.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on CBS This Morning Thursday that the president still had confidence in Dr. Fauci, but that they were "on opposite sides of the equation" when it came to schools that reopened . Trump follows the advice of several medical experts before making his own decisions, she said. "He makes the best decision based on the data presented to him," said McEnany.

The leaders of the parents' largest teacher and volunteer union organization backed down from Trump's efforts to reopen schools, saying that only one employee could reassure them that it was safe to get millions of students back.

"I am waiting for Dr. Fauci," said Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association, on Thursday in a call with reporters. "I'm not waiting for a politician; I'm waiting for an infectious disease medical professional to say, & # 39; Now we can do it, under these circumstances. & # 39;"

Eskelsen García joined educators and members of the National P.T.A. the day after Trump scolded Fauci for expressing caution about the reopening of schools. Dr. Fauci said a Senate panel on Tuesday, a vaccine for the virus would almost certainly not be ready in time for the new school year. "It is best to be careful, if we are not careless, in thinking that children are completely immune to the deleterious effects," he said.

Fauci's testimony angered Trump, who believes that the reopening of schools is critical to restarting the economy and his re-election campaign. "I totally disagree with him in schools," Trump said on Thursday in an interview with Fox Business.

School leaders are preparing for severe budget cuts as they anticipate large expenses for additional staff and protective equipment to help mitigate the spread of the virus.

After a forced period of inactivity, many are wondering whether it is advisable to return to stationary bikes, shared weights and treadmills. Public sports facilities tend to be breeding grounds for germs. But there are things you can do to reduce your risk of infection if you want to exercise.

Um poderoso tufão atingiu as Filipinas, complicando sua batalha contra o vírus. A ONU confirmou os primeiros casos em campos de refugiados lotados de muçulmanos rohingya em Bangladesh. E o Iêmen agora está devastado pela pandemia também.

Os relatórios foram contribuídos por Mike Baker, Kim Barker, Karen Barrow, Pam Belluck, Katie Benner, Alan Blinder, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Julie Bosman, Emily Cochrane, Patricia Cohen, Michael Coop, Michael Cooper, Maria Cramer, Catie Edmondson, Nicholas Fandos e Manny Fernandez. O filme conta a história de um garoto que se apaixona por um garoto de 13 anos, que é um garoto de 13 anos que vive em uma cidadezinha do interior do estado de São Paulo, que vive em um hotel de luxo em Los Angeles, nos Estados Unidos. O objetivo da ação é promover a conscientização e a conscientização sobre a importância da prevenção e prevenção de doenças crônicas, bem como a prevenção e tratamento de doenças crônicas.

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