USPS may shut down by June without emergency action

FILE – In this Friday March 20, 2020 file photo, a U.S Postal Service mail carrier wears gloves while delivering mail in South Wilkes-Barre, Pa. (Aimee Dilger/The Times Leader via AP)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 12:28 PM PT — Saturday, April 4, 2020

The unofficial motto of the United States Postal Office is: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night deters these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

However, the motto says nothing about working through a global pandemic. The USPS is facing two severe problems as the outbreak continues: a lack of funding and a lack of protective equipment for employees.

“Today, the Postal Service will deliver more than 450 million pieces of mail and 20 million packages to 159 million addresses,” stated Postmaster General Megan Brennan. “We serve every American home and business, and play a vital role in every American community.”

The recently passed $2 trillion stimulus package doesn’t give them any money to continue operating, it only allows them to borrow $10 billion more from the Treasury Department. According to officials, this may be a temporary fix, but will also add to the nearly $200 million in debt the post office has.

Despite people sending and receiving more packages during quarantine, the amount of regular mail sent, which makes up more than 57 percent of annual revenue, is dropping daily.

A United States Postal worker makes a delivery with gloves and a mask in Warren, Mich., Thursday, April 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Additionally, the USPS is still working to deliver packages on behalf of other delivery services, like Amazon. In 2019, the Postal Service was responsible for 1/3 of all Amazon deliveries. It is crucial in delivering to rural areas, while still meeting the company’s strict one and two-day Prime delivery guarantees.

Meanwhile, employees continue to work as usual, despite facing dangerous conditions without personal protection equipment.

“I had a customer come up and, as he was talking to me, he spit in my face with his saliva. He was just talking and this was just the first customer to come into my counter. Then there was a second customer who came into my encounter and lifted his mask down. As he did that, as he was talking to me with his mother by his side, he coughed in my face a couple of times.” – Shannon Cooksey, postal worker

So far, 20 workers have tested positive, but many who may have been exposed cannot get tested.

“When I did reach the front of the line, …they told me that because my fever wasn’t that high, I couldn’t get a test today,” added Cooksey.

A postal service carrier dons gloves as he delivers mail in northeast Jackson, Miss., Monday, March 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Should the Postal Service close due to bankruptcy or massive infection, the consequences would be severe. Last year, they shipped more than 1 billion prescriptions to patients across the country. That number is only expected to rise as people continue to get sick.

The Treasury Department is preparing to cut millions of stimulus checks in the coming weeks. Without emergency intervention to keep the Postal Service afloat, there could be no one to deliver them.

Original Article

N.Y. Gov. Cuomo denies he’ll seize ventilators from hospitals under new executive order

FILE – In this Tuesday, March 24, 2020 file photo, Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference against a backdrop of medical supplies at the Jacob Javits Center that will house a temporary hospital in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 10:43 AM PT — Saturday, April 4, 2020

Governor Andrew Cuomo has denied he will be seizing ventilators from hospitals in upstate New York and sending them to highly affected hospitals. On Friday, he claimed that his new executive order does not constitute “seizing,” as he doesn’t like the word.

“First of all, don’t use the word ‘seize.’ I didn’t use that word, it’s a harsh kind of word. It’s a sharing of resources.” – Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York

The Democrat also acknowledged he understands if hospitals aren’t willing to give up their ventilators and apologized for any hardship his order may cause.

Under the order, the governor can direct the National Guard to go to hospitals and take their ventilators.

“So I am going to sign an executive order, which says the state can take ventilators and PPE from institutions that don’t need them now and redeploy them to other parts of the state and other hospitals that do need them,” stated Cuomo.

He added, “If hospitals want to sue me, let them sue me.”

RELATED: Mayor De Blasio: NYC May Not Have Enough Ventilators To Make It Through Next Week

Original Article

Sen. Sanders outlines goals for potential fourth coronavirus relief package

In this image from video, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks on the Senate floor at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, March 25, 2020. (Senate Television via AP)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 11:05 AM PT — Saturday, April 4, 2020

Democrat presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) has outlined the priorities for a potential fourth coronavirus relief package. On Friday, the senator detailed the matter and posted his goals for the bill on his campaign website.

He called for sending every American $2,000 a month, along with the suspension of monthly rent and mortgage payments. Sanders believes the pandemic should trigger a major change in the U.S.

“I hope very much that out of this terrible, terrible tragedy, we do some fundamental rethinking about the nature of American society, what our moral statements are, what our priorities are,” said the senator.

The presidential hopeful isn’t the only one pushing for more coronavirus relief legislation.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has also voiced support for more action. However, both the House and Senate aren’t expected to meet again until at least April 20th.

President Trump has also said he will ask Congress for more money to aid small businesses if the allocated money runs low. On Saturday, the president announced he will use the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan to help support small businesses if he has to.

Starting Friday, small businesses will have the opportunity to apply for around $350 billion in loans, which became available through the previous coronavirus relief package.

MORE NEWS: Trump Admin. Announces Plan To Pay For Uninsured COVID-19 Treatment

Original Article

White House starts testing those in close contact with President Trump, Vice President Pence

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence listen during a briefing about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Thursday, April 2, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 9:55 AM PT — Saturday, April 4, 2020

The White House is conducting rapid coronavirus tests for anyone who comes into close proximity with President Trump or Vice President Mike Pence. Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere confirmed Friday that officials are trying “to limit the inadvertent transmission” of the virus at the White House.

Testing is intended for staff members and visitors who could possibly be “pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic carriers” of the virus.

“Starting today, anyone who is expected to be in close proximity to either of them will be administered a COVID-19 test to evaluate for pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic carrier status to limit inadvertent transmission,” stated Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere.

Reporters who attend the White House press briefings are exempt, but will continue to have their temperatures taken.

President Trump has taken the test twice thus far, including once this week, which returned a negative result.

The latest data from multiple health agencies, including the CDC and the World Health Organization, showed the United States has more than 271,000 active cases of coronavirus.

As of Saturday, more than 7,100 have died, while just over 9,000 have recovered in the U.S. alone. Health officials expect cases will continue to rise in the next few weeks before leveling off.

The number of overall cases around the world has nearly reached 1.2 million, with the global death toll surpassing 60,000.

WATCH: Testing Data Shows Fever Temps Falling Nationwide

Original Article

President Trump criticizes mail-in voting

President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Friday, April 3, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 10:15 AM PT — Saturday, April 4, 2020

President Trump has said he is confident the election will happen on schedule in November without the use of mail-in ballots.

“The General Election will happen on November 3rd,” he confirmed.

During Friday’s coronavirus task force briefing, the president discredited mail-in voting by saying “people could use the method to cheat.” He instead promoted the implementation of voter IDs, adding that most official actions in the U.S. require a photo ID.

“You should have a picture on your (ballot) for voting, it should be called voter ID, they should have that,” he stated. “It shouldn’t be mail-in voting, it should be you go to a booth and publicly display yourself.”

Democrats, such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have been pushing for additional funding for absentee voting.

WATCH: How The Coronavirus Is Impacting The 2020 Elections

FILE – In this Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018 file photo an election worker is seen inserting a ballot into a locked ballot box at the Montana Pavilion at MetraPark on election day in Billings, Mont. All 56 of Montana’s counties plan to conduct the June 2 primary election by mail due to coronavirus concerns. Ballots will be mailed on May 8. Same-day registration and voting will still be allowed while new laws could mean election results will be available earlier than usual. (AP Photo/Matthew Brow,File)

Original Article

Trump admin. announces plan to pay for uninsured COVID-19 treatment

President Donald Trump listens during a briefing about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Friday, April 3, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 9:35 AM PT — Saturday, April 4, 2020

The Trump administration has guaranteed that all uninsured COVID-19 patients will be treated free of charge. On Friday, the president announced a plan to reimburse hospitals for all costs accrued during the treatment of patients without health insurance.

“Today, I can so proudly announce that hospitals and health care providers treating uninsured coronavirus patients will be reimbursed by the federal government, using funds from the economic relief package Congress passed last month,” stated President Trump.

The measure will be funded from a partial allocation of the $100 billion earmarked for health care providers in the CARES Act relief package.

The move came amid concerns over the likely cost of treatment for people left without coverage, especially following recent job losses. Some had pressed the administration to reopen federal Obamacare exchanges to close this gap.

However, the president recently announced he was working on a different solution, which eventually lead to Friday’s decision.

In this March 29, 2020 photo provided by the U.S. Navy, medical personnel assigned to the hospital ship USNS Mercy docked at the Port of Los Angeles treat a non-COVID-19 patient from a Los Angeles-area medical facility. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Erwin Jacob Miciano/U.S. Navy via AP)

Under President Trump’s plan, hospitals will be barred from “double-dipping.” The funds will be reimbursed on the condition uninsured patients are not also billed for their treatment.

Hospitals will also be banned from charging uninsured patients for care provided by doctors not employed by the hospital, a common cost arising during unscheduled medical visits.

To ensure the solvency of federal funds, hospitals will be reimbursed at Medicare rates.

The administration has already made testing for COVID-19 free at the point of use. This new directive will reportedly use the same tested mechanism to make sure the funds are delivered as promptly as possible.

“Getting the uninsured access to the care they need is a top priority for President Trump. The CARES Act signed by the president includes another $100 billion for health care providers. Under the president’s direction, we will use a portion of that funding to cover providers’ costs of delivering COVID-19 care for the uninsured, sending the money to providers through the same mechanism used for testing.”

– Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services

In this Tuesday, March 31, 2020, photograph, medical technicians complete a test for COVID-19 at a Stride Community Health Center drive-thru testing site as a statewide stay-at-home order remains in effect in an effort to reduce the spread of the new coronavirus in Wheat Ridge, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

According to analysts, the president’s directive came at a particularly opportune time. Hospitals typically absorb the brunt of costs related to treating the uninsured and have been bracing for a lack of funds as the pandemic nears its peak.

The White House has not yet announced how the rest of the $100 billion destined for health care providers will be spent. Secretary Azar has said specifics should be announced soon.

President Trump also announced some private insurers, including Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna and Humana, have pledged to waive copays from insured patients treated for COVID-19 over the next 60 days.

MORE NEWS: Trump Admin. Cracks Down On Health Supply Profiteering Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Original Article

Mayor De Blasio: NYC may not have enough ventilators to make it through next week

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, left, discusses the arrival of a shipment of 400 ventilators with Dr. Steven Pulitzer, the Chief Medical Officer of NYC Health and Hospitals, at the city’s Emergency Management Warehouse., Tuesday, March 24, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 7:26 PM PT — Friday, April 3, 2020

The mayor of New York City has said the city may only have enough ventilators to make it through to Monday or Tuesday. Bill de Blasio stressed the emergency in a Friday morning interview.

“We can only get to Monday or Tuesday at this point, we don’t know after that,” he explained. “How on earth is this happening in the greatest nation in the world?”

The coronavirus outbreak has hit New York the hardest. The state is quickly running out of medical supplies, space and personnel. There are nearly 52,000 confirmed cases in the city and roughly 92,000 in the state.

According to the mayor, officials predicted the city will have 5,000 ICU COVID-19 patients in need of ventilators.

The USNS Comfort arrived in New York earlier this week to ease the current overflow of patients in city hospitals.

A ventilator is displayed during a news conference, Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at the New York City Emergency Management Warehouse, where 400 ventilators have arrived and will be distributed. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

As NYC continues to be a hot spot for the virus, thousands of residents are struggling to make ends meet. While some New York workers have been deemed essential, such as pharmacists, restaurant employees and those in the health care industry, others have been forced to stay home.

According to recent reports, residents in Queens have been hit particularly hard as they try to balance ‘stay at home’ orders with the economic reality of the pandemic.

“My house, there’s 10 people who live there besides my family. So, say I get infected while working here, everybody else runs the risk of being infected. …My mom is definitely worried. She wanted me to stop coming here, but I mean, she’s not working. My father’s not working, my sister doesn’t work because she’s young. This is the only source of income for now.” – Brian Navarrete, pharmacy employee

Millions of Americans have been furloughed in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. In New York specifically, officials believe the worst is not yet over.

On Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo reported that 562 people died in the last 24 hours, which was the largest single day spike in virus fatalities to date.

MORE NEWS: President Trump, Gov. Cuomo Continue To Clash Over N.Y. Ventilator Supply

Original Article

CDC recommends wearing facial covering when out in public

A woman is wearing a face mask as she walks through the old town in Jena, Germany, Friday, April 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 6:38 PM PT — Friday, April 3, 2020

On Friday, President Trump announced new federal guidelines from the CDC, which recommended Americans wear face masks in public to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The president noted the policy is voluntary, but should not be used in place of existing social distancing guidelines.

President Donald Trump listens during a briefing about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Friday, April 3, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

He also announced a directive to invoke the Defense Production Act, which will prevent scarce medical supplies from being exported from the U.S.

“I’m also signing a directive invoking the Defense Production Act to prohibit export of scarce health and medical supplies by unscrupulous actors and profiteers. The secretary of Homeland Security will work with FEMA to prevent the export of N95 respirators, surgical masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment. We need these items immediately for domestic use, we have to have them.”

– Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States

Officials have asked individuals choosing to wear face masks to use fabric or a scarf, so medical grade masks can go to the nation’s medical personnel.

READ MORE: Americans Turn To Face Masks To Ward Off COVID-19

Original Article

Calif. seeks 15K hotel rooms for homeless during pandemic

Gov. Gavin Newsom discuses California’s efforts to convert hotels and motels into isolation housing for the homeless threatened by the coronavirus during a news conference near Sacramento, Calif. April 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, Pool)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 5:55 PM PT — Friday, April 3, 2020

California Governor Gavin Newsom seeks 15,000 hotel rooms to help house the homeless amid the coronavirus pandemic. On Friday, Newsom announced the state has “obtained nearly 7,000 rooms” to use and are en route toward a 15,000-room goal.

Hotels in the program will include “custodial laundry, security and support staff.”

The governor confirmed the federal government will be taking care of a majority of the costs.

“FEMA is providing 75 percent reimbursements for this project, this is first in the nation,” stated Newsom. “Their support is profoundly significant to address this crisis head on.”

A hazardous material emergency truck is shown parked in front of the Abigail Hotel in San Francisco, Thursday, April 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

He added this will relieve the pressure on homeless shelters and reduce the overall impact on medical centers.

As of Friday, California had more than 11,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

RELATED: Gov. Newsom: Calif. To Provide Additional Support To Keep Small Businesses Afloat

Original Article

Ala. Gov. Ivey issues ‘stay at home’ order

Photo via The Office of Alabama Governor.

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 6:15 PM PT — Friday, April 3, 2020

Alabama has officially been placed on lockdown three weeks after its first reported case of COVID-19. State Governor Kay Ivey issued the ‘stay at home‘ order on Friday, which will go into effect Saturday.

Ivey has gradually ramped up the state’s response to the outbreak, including declaring a state of emergency, closing schools and banning price gouging. Last week, she urged residents to remain at home and emphasized the seriousness of the situation.

“We must be serious about eliminating this spread of this virus. Public health orders are not suggestions, they have been put in place to save your life. Folks this is for real, this is a deadly situation and your attention is important.” – Kay Ivey, Governor of Alabama

So far, more than 30 states have issued ‘stay at home’ or ‘shelter in place’ orders to stem the spread of the virus.

MORE NEWS: President Trump Faces Pressure To Issue Nat’l ‘Stay At Home’ Order

Original Article

Fla. joins list of states allowing religious exemptions in response to ‘stay at home’ orders

A leaflet listing Holy Week activities sits among empty pews during a live-streamed mass at the St. Augustine Church & Catholic Student Center, Sunday, March 29, 2020, in Coral Gables, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 3:35 PM PT — Friday, April 3, 2020

Florida is following the lead of 11 other states with the governor’s new ‘stay at home’ guidance, which will allow religious exemptions for houses of worship.

Governor Ron DeSantis was one of the remaining leaders to issue a ‘shelter in place’ order this week, which asked Floridians to only go out for essential activities. However, the governor’s advisement will allow religious services to continue meeting, in order to protect citizens’ First Amendment rights.

“I don’t think the government has the authority to close a church, I’m certainly not going to do that,” he said. “At the same time, we got with the churches and the synagogues very early and said, ‘In times like this, what you guys are doing, I think, is even more important, but we ask that you do it in a way that is going to be conducive to the overall mission.’”

Maria Ramirez prays outside of the St. Augustine Church & Catholic Student Center which is closed to parishioners due to the new coronavirus pandemic, Sunday, March 29, 2020, in Coral Gables, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Florida’s decision to constitute these exemptions came just days after the pastor of a megachurch was charged with misdemeanors, which related to him holding services with more than 500 people in attendance.

States such as Arizona, Colorado, Texas and Pennsylvania have granted similar privileges to these gathering places. Each have received additional rules for remaining open.

Nearly all of the states making exceptions for religious freedom will require every denomination holding in-person services to practice social distancing and take extra precautions to protect members of the congregation.

Most churches across the country have migrated to online services to help combat the spread of the coronavirus.

RELATED: Pastors Arrested For Holding Services During Lockdown

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has put an electronic sign on the driveway to The River Church Monday, March 30, 2020, in Tampa, Fla, after warning the megachurch about violating a safer-at-home order in place to limit the spread of coronavirus. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Original Article

Speaker Pelosi walks back infrastructure requests in next legislative package

FILE – In this Feb. 6, 2020, file photo, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., talks during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington. President Donald Trump and Pelosi have not spoken in five months at a time when the nation is battling its worst health crisis in a century. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 2:38 PM PT — Friday, April 3, 2020

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has walked back several infrastructure proposals Democrats are seeking in the next step of legislative coronavirus relief. On Friday, Pelosi said the next package should expand on the key points of the $2.2 trillion relief package.

This would include more funding for small business loans and unemployment insurance.

However, she noted some infrastructure proposals she sought will have to wait for the next bill.

“While I’m very much in favor of doing some things we need to do to meet the needs, clean water, more broadband (and) the rest of that, that may have to be for a bill beyond this. Right now, I think that we have a good model. It was bipartisan, it was signed by the president, but it’s not enough.” – Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House

The White House has signaled it would be open to another bill, which would expand on the emergency provisions set up in the most recent legislation.

In this image from video, members of the House stand after they passed the coronavirus stimulus package on the floor of the House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, March 27, 2020. (House Television via AP)

Meanwhile, an investigation into Hunter Biden’s alleged corruption scandal may still be underway amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Senate Homeland Security Committee recently announced it will move forward with the probe, despite infighting between Republicans and Democrats.

The investigation centers on allegations Biden sought to leverage his role with a Ukrainian energy company while his father Joe Biden was vice president.

“While the chairman is primarily focused on the once-in-a-generation crisis we’re experiencing, our oversight staff is continuing to push ahead with their work,” stated committee spokesman Austin Altenburg. “Nothing has changed in our long-term plans for our investigations.”

Last month, lawmakers dropped all non-essential work to focus on delivering aid to those affected by COVID-19. The Senate is not due back on Capitol Hill until April 20th.

MORE NEWS: Congress Discussing Possible Fourth COVID-19 Relief Package

Original Article

Trudeau warns President Trump not to cut exports of medical supplies to Canada

Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses Canadians on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Ontario, Friday, April 3, 2020. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 3:05 PM PT — Friday, April 3, 2020

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has warned President Trump that restricting the flow of medical supplies to Canada would be a “mistake.” On Friday, Trudeau emphasized both countries benefit from essential supplies moving across the border, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

His words came after a Minnesota manufacturing company said it received orders from the Trump administration to halt sending respirators to Canada and Latin America as demand grows in the U.S.

The prime minister has said he’s still in talks with the U.S. to ensure current trade relations will continue.

“I am confident that the close and deep relationship between Canada and U.S. will hold strong, and that we will not have to see interruptions in supply chain in either direction,” stated Trudeau.

He went on to say Canada is doing everything it can to ramp up domestic production of medical supplies it desperately needs.

MORE NEWS: Canada In Talks With White House To Avoid Troops Along Border

Original Article

Taliban: We will stop fighting for COVID-19

FILE – In this Dec. 14, 2019 file photo, jailed Taliban pray inside the Pul-e-Charkhi Jail, in Kabul, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul, File)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 2:00 PM PT — Friday, April 3, 2020

The Taliban recently announced a ceasefire in the areas of Afghanistan that have been affected by the coronavirus. A spokesperson made the announcement via Twitter, saying the group would stop fighting to allow medical teams to provide health services and aid.

“If, God forbid, the outbreak happens in an area where we control the situation, then we will stop fighting in that area,” said Zabiullah Mujahid.

The announcement followed a UN Security Council statement, which urged for an immediate ceasefire in response to the pandemic.

This week, Afghanistan imposed a lockdown in several cities in an attempt to curb the spread. So far, there have been nearly 300 infections and six deaths in the region.

In this Friday, March 27, 2020 photo, members of the Islamic Health Society, an arm of the Iran-backed militant Hezbollah group prepare to spray disinfectant as a precaution against the coronavirus, in a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

Meanwhile, neighboring country Iran has been struggling to contain the coronavirus pandemic as the death toll continues to rise. Iran’s health ministry announced Friday that 134 people lost their lives to the virus in a single day. This brought the country’s death toll to nearly 3,300.

Officials also confirmed the virus has infected more than 53,000 people in the country. Iran has taken various measures to stop the spread of the virus, including disinfecting the streets and public areas.

“The main goal is disinfection of public places in areas of prevalence of the coronavirus,” stated one local. “This virus suddenly spread and affected the whole country, but it is also affecting all countries in the world.”

Iran has been one of the hardest hit countries in the world after it reported its first coronavirus death on February 19th.

MORE NEWS: Stoltenberg: NATO To Use Military Capacity To Deliver Medical Supplies, Ramp Up COVID-19 Fight

Original Article

Americans turn to face masks to ward off COVID-19

FILE – In this March 5, 2020, file photo, Dr. Deborah Birx, Ambassador and White House coronavirus response coordinator, holds a 3M N95 mask as she and Vice President Mike Pence visit 3M headquarters in Maplewood, Minn. (Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via AP, File)/Star Tribune via AP)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 1:40 PM PT — Friday, April 3, 2020

Americans are taking new measures to avoid contracting the highly contagious coronavirus. According to recent reports, and increasing number of Americans are now covering their faces, in addition to practicing social distancing and frequent hand washing.

“I started wearing the mask today. I was coming out to Costco and decided I should be taking as much protection as I possibly can. I think it makes sense. It’s better than not trying anything.” – Unnamed resident

Citizens residing in California, a virus hot spot, have said that wearing a mask makes them feel safe and provides added security on the rare occasion they leave the house.

“Yeah, first time, just for extra precaution,” said another local. “I guess, rather walk around and someone happens to sneeze nearby, it feels safer a little more security in that aspect, rather than being in free air.”

Jose Villanueva, 77, originally from Durango, Mexico, adjusts his face mask after eating in the Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles on Wednesday, April 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Scientific studies have shown the virus can be transmitted from one person to another through airborne droplets. However, it is still under debate how effective masks are at limiting public transmission.

Thus far, the World Health Organization (WHO) has only recommended the use of masks for those who are sick or caring for a sick person.

“If you do not have these symptoms, you do not have to wear masks, because there is no evidence that they protect people who are not sick,” stated WHO consultant Christine Francis. “However, if you are healthy, but you are taking care of a person who is infected with the new coronavirus, then you should wear a mask whenever you are in the same room as that person.”

A worker at the Mathis Brothers mattress factory sews face masks Wednesday, April 1, 2020, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Others have argued that wearing one could protect against transmission from those who are asymptomatic carriers of the virus. Health care officials have urged Americans to leave the medical grade masks, like the coveted N95 masks, for health care workers amid the national shortage of personal protective equipment.

The president previously stated if Americans decide to cover their faces, scarves or cloth masks are a good alternative.

“If people wanted to wear them, they can. If people wanted to use scarves, which many people have, they can. In many cases, the scarf is better, it’s thicker… A recommendation is coming out,…but I will say this: they can pretty much decide for themselves right now.” – Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States

WATCH: N.Y. Fashion Designers Make Face Masks In Time Of Need

Original Article

Ky. judges order at-risk coronavirus patients to stay home, officials warn of fake testing sites

In this Sunday, March 29, 2020, photo, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear speaks during a news conference at the state Capitol in Frankfort, Ky. (Ryan C. Hermens/Lexington Herald-Leader via AP)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 1:05 PM PT — Friday, April 3, 2020

Several people in Kentucky have been ordered to remain at home after they were reportedly determined to be a health risk. According to new reports, judges in Louisville issued the orders after the individuals defied advice to remain home.

The mayor has said these orders are needed to keep the community safe.

Corrections officers have also been asked to attach a GPS monitor in order to ensure they remain at home. However, this has raised concern among officers, who claimed they aren’t being adequately protected when they come in contact with these individuals.

“You know, we are more than capable of handling anything that the city throws at us, but in order for us to be confident and do that, we need to know that we’re being taken care of as much as possible,” stated Police Lodge 77 spokesman Tracy Dotson. “We don’t think it’s too big of an ask to be tested and to get the proper equipment that we need to do this job, to do the tasks that the city and the judges are asking us to do.”

Officers want to be tested after coming into contact with the offenders. They added they’ll continue with their shifts as normal for now.

The latest resident to be monitored hasn’t tested positive, but is living with someone who did.

In this April 2, 2020 photo, a nurse at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle holds a medical face shield prior to the start of her shift in a triage tent outside the Harborview emergency department used to intake arriving patients who have respiratory symptoms. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Meanwhile, Kentucky state officials have warned residents about fake COVID-19 testing locations. Louisville city officials have been receiving phone calls about the sites over the course of the past week.

The sites were scattered around the city, in places like gas stations and church parking lots. According to Metro Council President David James, the testing sites are a scam and did not follow CDC regulations when administering the tests.

“They would take people’s swab, swab their face (and) their mouth,” he explained. “They’re dressed up in some kind of PPE outfit and they use the same exact gloves that they used on the person before you.”

The testing sites reportedly charged $250 per test and told patients they would have results within 24 hours.

The city has advised those seeking testing to go to established hospitals or other more reliable medical facilities registered with the state.

MORE NEWS: Trump Admin. Cracks Down On Health Supply Profiteering Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Original Article

Congress discussing possible fourth COVID-19 relief package

Members of the House of Representatives walk down the steps of Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, March 27, 2020, after passing a coronavirus rescue package. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 11:23 AM PT — Friday, April 3, 2020

Members of Congress are discussing a possible fourth coronavirus relief bill. Talks about the potential legislation have been circulating over the course of the past week.

A $2.2 trillion relief package was passed just last week, but some Democrats believe it was not enough. The decision garnered bipartisan support, but there were many compromises on each side. This left some Democrats feeling like their priorities had been ignored.

In an interview earlier this week, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said a fourth coronavirus bill would focus on recovery, whereas the past three have mitigated the emergency.

“This fourth bill, but third phase, will be about recovery,” she stated. “Again, always addressing the emergency and mitigation aspects of it, but to talk about how we go forward and in a way that is specific to the coronavirus.”

Pelosi has stressed the need to do more for state and local governments, health care, and infrastructure.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif. speaks before she signs the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. after it passed in the House on Capitol Hill, Friday, March 27, 2020., in Washington. The $2.2 trillion package will head to head to Trump’s desk for his signature. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he believes Democrats are trying to use the virus as an opportunity to push forward the Democrat agenda. The Kentucky lawmaker also said he and other Republicans are not in a rush to push forward more legislation just yet.

“So I think we need to wait a few days here, a few weeks, and see how things are working out,” he stated. “She (Pelosi) hasn’t suggested the House would even come back into session until the 20th of April and I’ve said the same thing, so let’s see how things are going and respond accordingly.”

Republicans have acknowledged that another relief package is likely to come, but only after they see how effective the most recent one is.

Economists have said significantly more government assistance will probably be needed soon, but Congress will likely require a series of negotiations before anything concrete is passed. Both the House and the Senate are expected to reconvene on April 20.

RELATED: Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council discusses measures in CARES Act

Original Article

Trump admin. cracks down on health supply profiteering amid COVID-19 pandemic

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, who is now serving as national defense production act policy coordinator, speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Thursday, April 2, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 10:31 AM PT — Friday, April 3, 2020

The Trump administration is cracking down on an emerging black market of medical supplies. While speaking at a White House press conference, the National Defense Production Act policy coordinator, Peter Navarro, outlined a troubling new trend emerging during the pandemic.

According to Navarro, people are hoarding medical supplies, including personal protective equipment like masks and respirators, and selling them to brokers who ship them overseas. The competition between these brokers is reportedly creating a bidding war and driving up the price of vital supplies needed to fight the pandemic. Navarro said this will not be tolerated.

“We are going to crack down unmercifully and I would say to the hoarder’s out there, the brokers…you’re trying to make money off of the misery of people in this country, around the world,” he stated. “That’s got to stop.”

Stockpiling of medical supplies is already a prosecutable offense thanks to an executive order signed by President Trump last week. While announcing the order, the president expressed indignation at profiteering off a national emergency.

“And that means it will be a crime to stockpile these items in excessive quantities, which is happening to a relatively small degree we think, but nevertheless, it’s happening,” he stated. “We can’t let it happen and we can’t let them resell them at excessive prices, which some people are doing.”

Connecticut National Guard personnel wheel two crates across indoor track lanes at Southern Connecticut State University’s Moore Field House while unloading supplies for a “surge” hospital to help relieve pressure on regional hospitals overtaxed due to the current coronavirus crisis, Tuesday, March 31, 2020, in New Haven, Conn. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Yet it seems those seeking to take advantage of the pandemic for personal gain have reportedly found a way to avoid prosecution by shipping supplies out of the country. However, a new executive order is tackling this loophole by authorizing Customs and Border Protection to target unauthorized shipments of medical supplies with the help of the Postal Service and private parcel carriers.

Navarro also provided an avenue for people currently hoarding illegal stockpiles of medical equipment to dispense with them. Put simply, he said use them to help the government’s efforts against the pandemic.

“What you need to do is pick up a phone and not call somebody out in around the world, you call FEMA,” said Navarro. “…we’ll give it to you at a fair price and be done with that because that stuff has absolutely got to stop.”

RELATED: U.S. medical workers protest lack of equipment

Original Article

Trump admin. cracks down on health supply profiteering amid COVID-19 pandemic

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, who is now serving as national defense production act policy coordinator, speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Thursday, April 2, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 10:31 AM PT — Friday, April 3, 2020

The Trump administration is cracking down on an emerging black market of medical supplies. While speaking at a White House press conference, the National Defense Production Act policy coordinator, Peter Navarro, outlined a troubling new trend emerging during the pandemic.

According to Navarro, people are hoarding medical supplies, including personal protective equipment like masks and respirators, and selling them to brokers who ship them overseas. The competition between these brokers is reportedly creating a bidding war and driving up the price of vital supplies needed to fight the pandemic. Navarro said this will not be tolerated.

“We are going to crack down unmercifully and I would say to the hoarder’s out there, the brokers…you’re trying to make money off of the misery of people in this country, around the world,” he stated. “That’s got to stop.”

Stockpiling of medical supplies is already a prosecutable offense thanks to an executive order signed by President Trump last week. While announcing the order, the president expressed indignation at profiteering off a national emergency.

“And that means it will be a crime to stockpile these items in excessive quantities, which is happening to a relatively small degree we think, but nevertheless, it’s happening,” he stated. “We can’t let it happen and we can’t let them resell them at excessive prices, which some people are doing.”

Connecticut National Guard personnel wheel two crates across indoor track lanes at Southern Connecticut State University’s Moore Field House while unloading supplies for a “surge” hospital to help relieve pressure on regional hospitals overtaxed due to the current coronavirus crisis, Tuesday, March 31, 2020, in New Haven, Conn. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Yet it seems those seeking to take advantage of the pandemic for personal gain have reportedly found a way to avoid prosecution by shipping supplies out of the country. However, a new executive order is tackling this loophole by authorizing Customs and Border Protection to target unauthorized shipments of medical supplies with the help of the Postal Service and private parcel carriers.

Navarro also provided an avenue for people currently hoarding illegal stockpiles of medical equipment to dispense with them. Put simply, he said use them to help the government’s efforts against the pandemic.

“What you need to do is pick up a phone and not call somebody out in around the world, you call FEMA,” said Navarro. “…we’ll give it to you at a fair price and be done with that because that stuff has absolutely got to stop.”

RELATED: U.S. medical workers protest lack of equipment

Original Article

NRA suing N.Y. Gov. Cuomo for shutting down gun stores as part of COVID-19 response

Andrea Schry, right, fills out the buyer part of legal forms to buy a handgun as shop worker Missy Morosky fills out the vendors parts after Dukes Sport Shop reopened, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in New Castle, Pa. under the new conditions specified for gun stores. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 8:31 AM PT — Friday, April 3, 2020

The National Riffle Association (NRA) announced its suing Gov. Andrew Cuomo for infringing on New Yorkers’ Second Amendment rights.

According to reports, the powerful pro-gun organization made the move after Cuomo forced gun stores to shut their doors as part of the non-essential business closure order.

The New York Democrat did this despite the fact the Department of Homeland Security previously designated gun stores as essential businesses. The official NRA complaint reads that Cuomo’s decision, “was based on a pointless and arbitrary attack on the constitutional rights of New York citizens.”

One pro-Second Amendment citizen explained why gun stores have the right to remain open amid the public health emergency. He noted that “under the Trump administration guidance the Department of Homeland Security has declared fire arms manufacturers and retailers essential businesses.”

The organization also filed a lawsuit against California state officials for carrying out similar actions. Both states are considered hot-spots for the coronavirus.

RELATED: American gun stores seeing surge in sales during pandemic

Original Article