CDC reports more than 1.5 million cases – as it happened


After Donald Trump said on Friday that he believes places of worship should be deemed as essential services, Minnesota’s Democratic governor, Tim Walz, issued an executive order addressing the issue. Places of worship in the state will now be able to open at 25% of capacity. Individuals or households in the buildings must maintain six feet distance.

Walz said he still encouraged citizens to worship remotely. “I am under no illusion whatsoever: Every move we make that loosens up increases the risk,” Walz said.

President Trump’s slapdash order to temporarily suspend most travel from Europe to the US in an effort to contain the spread of Covid-19 in March was widely criticized for the mayhem it prompted at airports and border entry points. But a new Washington Post story reveals how that decision and the muddled messaging surrounding it may well have sealed the country’s coronavirus fate.

While Trump points to his travel ban of China as evidence of his proactive response, mounting evidence indicates the outbreak was “driven overwhelmingly” by Europe:

The images [of airport chaos] showed how a policy intended to block the pathogen’s entry into the United States instead delivered one final viral infusion. As those exposed travelers fanned out into U.S. cities and suburbs, they became part of an influx from Europe that went unchecked for weeks and helped to seal the country’s coronavirus fate.

Epidemiologists contend the U.S. outbreak was driven overwhelmingly by viral strains from Europe rather than China. More than 1.8 million travelers entered the United States from Europe in February alone as that continent became the center of the pandemic. Infections reached critical mass in New York and other cities well before the White House took action, according to studies mapping the virus’s spread. The crush of travelers triggered by Trump’s announcement only added to that viral load.

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