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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 36)

Ohio’s G.O.P. Governor Splits From Trump, and Rises in Popularity

Westlake Legal Group 28dewine-01-facebookJumbo Ohio’s G.O.P. Governor Splits From Trump, and Rises in Popularity Trump, Donald J Shutdowns (Institutional) Republican Party Quarantines Polls and Public Opinion Politics and Government Ohio DeWine, Mike Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Conservatism (US Politics)

For 40 years, Mike DeWine rose steadily if blandly up the ladder of Ohio politics, finally landing his dream job as governor. He took office last year as a familiar figure in the state, not because of any indelible political identify, but because, at 72, he had been around forever.

But the coronavirus crisis has made Mr. DeWine something that decades in elected offices never did: a household name. A Republican, he took early and bold actions to lock down his state, even as the head of his party, President Trump, dismissed the threat of the pandemic.

Mr. DeWine’s decisiveness — closing schools before any governor in the country, postponing the state’s March 17 primary election to protect voters — sent his popularity soaring. The folksy governor, previously best known for an annual ice cream social at his rural home, became something of a cult figure on social media. Ohioans tuned into his five-day-a-week briefings to celebrate “Wine With DeWine,” a ritual whose motto is “It’s 2 o’clock somewhere.”

Now, Mr. DeWine is charting a way out of the shutdown, taking cautious steps while facing pressure from business leaders, conservative activists and some Republican lawmakers who vociferously question the economic costs of a state in quarantine.

Seven weeks into the crisis, Mr. DeWine is being guided by health experts while avoiding partisan fissures over stay-at-home orders that have been encouraged by Mr. Trump, who hopes a rebounding economy will carry him to re-election. The Ohio governor is the rare Republican official who does not automatically fall in step with Mr. Trump, an independence he shares with two other Republican governors, Larry Hogan of Maryland and Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, both of whom lead solidly Democratic states where bipartisanship is needed to survive. Unlike them, Mr. DeWine has gone his own way in a red-hued state.

He also split decidedly with Mr. Trump by encouraging a nearly all-mail primary election on Tuesday. While the president has spread the false claim that voting by mail entails “a lot” of fraud, Mr. DeWine pushed universal absentee ballots for voters’ safety. Ohio’s secretary of state on Monday called the effort a success, with nearly 1.5 million mail ballots cast.

Mr. DeWine also relaxed stay-at-home orders on Monday, announcing that some nonessential businesses could begin to reopen, even as he imposed new restrictions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Beginning May 4, the governor said, manufacturers, offices and construction businesses can reopen, followed on May 12 by retail stores and service businesses. Masks will be required indoors in workplaces as well as six feet of separation. “No mask, no work, no service, no exceptions,” Mr. DeWine said.

Some enterprises that are not on the list to reopen: hair salons and restaurants. “People want to get a haircut, people want to go back to restaurants,” the governor said. “All those things we’re anxious to do as well, but we’ve got to see how we’re going with these numbers. We’ve got to watch it for a few weeks.”

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Mr. DeWine has pledged that testing for the virus will ramp up sharply, to 20,000 per day by late May from about 7,000 per day now.

With the Democratic presidential race effectively over, the most watched races of Ohio’s rescheduled primary are two Democratic congressional contests: one near Cincinnati for a Republican-held seat that Democrats see as a pickup opportunity, and one in Columbus, where Representative Joyce Beatty faces a challenge from her left by Morgan Harper, who is backed by national progressive groups.

Before Mr. DeWine made his reopening announcement, more than 30 Republicans in the State Legislature called for an immediate end to the shuttering of all businesses, stating, “We believe it is time to trust Ohioans.”

Larry Householder, the Republican speaker of the House, said his caucus felt “disrespected” by the governor. He criticized Mr. DeWine for not letting small retailers open before May 12, while national chains have been designated essential and are open. “There is a tremendous amount of frustration from the majority members in the Ohio House,” Mr. Householder said in a statement.

In a poll of Ohio voters released on Monday, 35 percent of Republicans said they were worried that the United States would take too long to loosen restrictions and that the economy would spiral further downward, compared with 14 percent of Democrats.

The poll, by Baldwin Wallace University, also showed overwhelming support for the governor. Eighty-five percent of respondents approved of his handling of the coronavirus, 89 percent said they trusted him as a source of information about the outbreak, and three out of four said he was doing a better job than Mr. Trump.

Mr. DeWine’s data-driven response to the outbreak has won the support of top Democrats in the state. Many have praised his management style — honed over a lifetime of serving in all levels of government — as a departure from that of the president, who quixotically says to social distance one day and to ignore it the next.

“Mike DeWine’s performance contrasted with Trump’s performance shows you what character and experience mean,” said Sherrod Brown, Ohio’s senior senator and a Democrat. “The mini-Trump governors in Georgia, Texas and Florida, they’re going to do whatever Trump wants. But DeWine’s not going to do that. He cares about his legacy. He cares about the next generation.”

A week earlier, on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Mr. DeWine seemed to go out of his way to flatter Mr. Trump, saying that Ohio’s May 1 date to begin reopening was “consistent — very, very consistent — with the plan, the very thoughtful plan that the president has laid out.”

Despite efforts not to antagonize fellow Republicans, Mr. DeWine has faced pressure from multiple quarters. He declined to be interviewed for this article.

A Republican-led task force on the shutdown in the state’s House of Representatives has been a forum for criticism of the governor. Among the accusations are that unemployment benefits keep workers from returning to jobs. Conspiracy theories have also circulated unchecked in the task force’s online hearings, including that the official death toll is inflated and that Mr. DeWine shut down the economy to hurt Mr. Trump’s re-election chances.

Such views are echoed by protesters outside the Capitol in Columbus, including a group whose zombielike faces, pressed against glass doors, were captured in a photograph that ricocheted around social media.

Last week, Mr. DeWine publicly condemned a Republican state senator who had likened the actions of the director of the Ohio Department of Health, Dr. Amy Acton, who is Jewish, to Nazis during World War II.

Jai Chabria, a Republican strategist in Ohio, said Mr. DeWine’s approval ratings were high because he was listening to medical experts and ignoring political critics.

“I don’t think anyone can ever question Mike DeWine’s patience or ability to withstand criticism,” said Mr. Chabria, who was a senior adviser to Mr. DeWine’s predecessor, Gov. John Kasich, also a Republican. “He doesn’t get caught up in the Twitter games that other politicos like to play.”

Protesters and Republican lawmakers have apparently weighed less heavily on Mr. DeWine’s decision to reopen than Ohio business organizations. Last week, six groups, including the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association and the state’s Farm Bureau, called the state of the economy “dire” and said it was facing “irreversible devastation.” Nearly one million jobs have been lost. The groups pressed the governor to reopen the economy in a “phased approach,” which is what Monday’s orders entail.

In the Kasich years, Mr. DeWine served as attorney general, his sixth job in public office since 1976, after being elected a county prosecutor, a state senator, a congressman, lieutenant governor and U.S. senator.

He lost the Senate seat in 2006 to Mr. Brown, and in the succeeding years he tacked right. He renounced earlier support for a ban on assault weapons. In the 2012 presidential race, he withdrew an endorsement of Mitt Romney to instead back Rick Santorum. As attorney general, he represented the state against a gay resident of Cincinnati, Jim Obergefell, in the landmark Supreme Court case that legalized same-sex marriage in 2015.

Mr. Trump’s easy victory in Ohio in 2016 seemed to confirm that suburban Republicans of the Kasich brand were being run out of town by rural populists, many of whom had once voted for Democrats.

In Mr. DeWine’s first year in office, he was often overshadowed by conservative majorities in the Legislature. He signed a bill in 2019 banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, a decade-long goal of lawmakers on the right that Mr. Kasich had thwarted. After a mass shooting in Dayton the same year, Mr. DeWine watered down a proposed background check for gun buyers after facing pressure from pro-gun advocates.

“The dominant force in the last year has not been Mike DeWine, it’s been the Statehouse,” said David Pepper, the chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party. “Until coronavirus, DeWine was somewhat in the back seat of Ohio governance.” Now, Mr. Pepper said, the governor is at the wheel. “I’ve respected his approach from the beginning because he’s allowed the science and health experts to lead his response,” he added.

Every morning at 11:30, Mr. DeWine holds a conference call with the mayors of Ohio’s seven largest cities, all Democrats. Mayor Nan Whaley of Dayton, one of those on the call, said there was probably no other state where a Republican governor had worked as well with Democratic mayors. “It’s so refreshing — it’s how governing should work,” she said. “That’s a testament to DeWine, really.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Vows More Coronavirus Testing, but Less Than What May Be Needed

Westlake Legal Group 27dc-virus-testing1-facebookJumbo Trump Vows More Coronavirus Testing, but Less Than What May Be Needed United States Politics and Government United States Economy Trump, Donald J Tests (Medical) Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (2020) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

WASHINGTON — President Trump, under growing pressure to expand coronavirus testing as states move to reopen their economies, unveiled a new plan on Monday to ramp up the federal government’s help to states, but his proposal runs far short of what most public health experts say is necessary.

Mr. Trump’s announcement in the Rose Garden came after weeks of him insisting, inaccurately, that the nation’s testing capability “is fully sufficient to begin opening up the country,” as he said on April 18. Numerous public health experts say that is untrue, and Mr. Trump’s plan may do little to fix it.

An administration official said the federal government aimed to give states the ability to test at least 2 percent of their populations per month, though the president did not use that figure and it was not in his written plan. Instead, Mr. Trump and other officials with him in the Rose Garden said the United States would “double” the number of tests it had been doing.

“These were not complaining people. They had everything they needed. They had their ventilators; they had their testing,” Mr. Trump said on Monday after a call with governors. “We’re getting them what they need.”

In fact, governors have been complaining that they do not have nearly enough tests to give them the kind of information they need to make difficult decisions about reopening. They say they are competing with one another — and other countries — for the components that make up the testing kits, including nasal swabs and chemicals that detect whether the virus is present in a specimen.

Rather than one coordinated federal response, the Trump administration has been engaging on an ad hoc basis as states take the lead. In Kansas, for example, after an outbreak of the coronavirus in the meatpacking industry threatened to shutter plants that supply one-quarter of the nation’s meat, tests were ferried in by Kansas National Guard pilots in Blackhawk helicopters — but only after Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, pleaded with Mr. Trump for help.

The Trump administration has come under intense criticism for not doing more, and for not providing specific guidance to the states about how much testing is necessary in its initial plan for reopening the economy, “Guidelines for Reopening America Again,” released this month. Outside experts have recommended that anywhere from 0.9 percent to 50 percent of the American public must be tested for the coronavirus every week.

“I think it’s really important that the White House has put out much more specific guidance for states around testing,” said Jen Kates, a senior vice president and director of global health and H.I.V. policy for the Kaiser Family Foundation, who has analyzed states’ capacity for testing. But the plan to test 2 percent, she said, “may not be enough.”

Paul Romer, a Nobel Prize-winning economist from New York University who has recommended that 50 percent of the population be tested each week, said testing 2 percent “is not enough to test everyone in health care even once, let alone to keep retesting them every day, which is what it would take to keep those who do get infected from going on shift and infecting their colleagues.”

Congress has been pushing the Trump administration to come up with a clearer strategy. The $484 billion stimulus package lawmakers passed last week designated $25 billion to expand testing capacity and required the administration to come up with a plan to support the states.

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Senator Patty Murray of Washington, the top Democrat on the Senate Health Committee, said on Monday that Mr. Trump’s plan was meaningless.

“This document does nothing new and will accomplish nothing new,” Ms. Murray said in a statement. “It doesn’t set specific, numeric goals, offer a time frame, identify ways to fix our broken supply chain, or offer any details whatsoever on expanding lab capacity or activating needed manufacturing capacity. Perhaps most pathetically, it attempts to shirk obvious federal responsibilities by assigning them solely to states instead.”

Undeterred, Mr. Trump said on Monday that states must reopen “as quickly as possible, but safely.”

He even called on governors to consider reconvening schools before the end of the academic year rather than waiting until the fall, as many districts have decided or expect to do.

In a conference call with the governors devoted mainly to ventilators and testing, Mr. Trump on his own raised the idea of bringing students back to the classrooms in the next few weeks. “The young children have done very well in this disaster that we’ve all gone through, so a lot of people are thinking about the school openings,” Mr. Trump said, according to an audio recording obtained by The New York Times.

Addressing Vice President Mike Pence, who was also on the call, he added, “I think it’s something, Mike, they can seriously consider and maybe get going on it.”

None of the governors on the call addressed the idea, although at least one state, Montana, was already moving ahead with the possibility of reopening schools before the start of summer.

Still eager to be the dominant voice on the crisis, Mr. Trump reversed a decision announced by the White House to cancel his daily coronavirus news briefing on Monday and went before the cameras again despite days of complaining that the events were not worth the time and effort because of journalistic bias. He took over the announcement of a testing plan originally put out by lower-level officials.

The administration has steadfastly resisted calls to nationalize the production and distribution of coronavirus test kits, and the plan Mr. Trump unveiled on Monday reiterated that stance, making clear that the states are still primarily responsible for testing and Washington is the “supplier of last resort.”

Rather than the more comprehensive surveillance testing sought by many public health experts, the administration is focused on a more limited goal of “sentinel” testing of targeted sites that are particularly vulnerable, like nursing homes and inner-city health centers.

In the seven weeks since Mr. Trump promised that anyone who needed a test could get one, the United States has conducted about 5.2 million tests, far more than any other country, but still the equivalent of about 1.6 percent of the total population.

A group of experts convened by Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics has called for five million tests a day by early June, ramping up to 20 million per day by late July.

Peter Baker and Jonathan Martin contributed reporting.

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Trump’s Coronavirus Briefings ‘Not Worth the Time.’ But He Couldn’t Stay Away

Westlake Legal Group 27dc-virus-trump-facebookJumbo Trump's Coronavirus Briefings 'Not Worth the Time.' But He Couldn't Stay Away United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J News and News Media Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

WASHINGTON — To the surprise of exactly no one, President Trump resumed his daily coronavirus news briefings on Monday, just two days after tweeting that they were “not worth the time & effort” and just hours after his own White House officially canceled the planned appearance.

The lure of cameras in the Rose Garden proved too hard to resist. For a president who relishes the spotlight and spends hours a day watching television, the idea of passing on his daily chance to get his message out turned out to be untenable despite his anger over his coverage. And so he was back, defending his handling of the pandemic and promising to reopen the country soon.

The on-again, off-again, on-again session was on the more sedate side of the spectrum seen in the six weeks since the president began commanding a slice of the homebound nation’s viewing attention almost every day right before family quarantine dinners. But even as he talked about the crisis that has killed almost as many Americans as the Vietnam War, Mr. Trump veered off to attack “Sleepy Joe” Biden, complain about being persecuted and make some of his favorite false claims.

He promoted his administration’s record on responding to the pandemic despite widespread criticism, blamed China for not stopping the virus in the first place, suggested he was open to suing states for imposing restrictions embraced by his own public health advisers and predicted an “incredible fourth quarter” of economic growth and recovery from the collapse of the economy.

He largely avoided the sort of anger he had displayed in recent days, even for questions that would typically provoke a sharp response. Asked if a president should be re-elected after so many Americans died in a matter of weeks, he argued that he had prevented it from being worse.

“Yeah, we’ve lost a lot of people,” he said. “But if you look at what original projections were, 2.2 million, we’re probably heading to 60,000, 70,000. It’s far too many. One person is too many for this. And I think we’ve made a lot of really good decisions.”

Pressed on his offhand suggestion last week that experts should study whether ingesting or injecting disinfectant could counter the virus, a comment that set off warnings by health agencies that doing so could be fatal, the president brushed it off quickly and moved on.

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“I can’t imagine why,” he said when told that some Americans might try it, putting their lives at risk. Asked if he took responsibility, he said, “No, I don’t.”

The furor over the disinfectant comments, which the president later claimed were sarcastic, prompted deep anger last week. Mr. Trump then spent much of the weekend railing on Twitter about the news media, including The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times and even the usually friendly Fox News when it proved insufficiently loyal by airing even a bit of criticism. He opted not to hold briefings on Saturday or Sunday even though for the most part he has been doing them seven days a week.

“There has never been, in the history of our Country, a more vicious or hostile Lamestream Media than there is right now, even in the midst of a National Emergency, the Invisible Enemy!” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter on Monday morning. “FAKE NEWS, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!” he added.

But Mr. Trump hates being seen as managed by his staff, and once he saw some of the television coverage reporting that his own aides thought he should hold fewer briefings, he decided to host one on Monday anyway.

The reversal, in less than two hours, was framed as an announcement of new testing guidance that was actually slated to be put out by lower-level officials. But Mr. Trump decided to bring along corporate executives he had met with just beforehand and have them take the microphone one after another to highlight their efforts to combat the virus.

Some of his allies had been relieved when he passed on any appearances over the weekend and initially canceled Monday’s briefing, hoping that he was coming around to their view that a more disciplined approach would be better. Other Republicans had urged the White House not to have the president brief every day and to limit those sessions he did to more like 30 minutes, which would hone the message and limit the off-script collateral damage.

“Standing at that podium for more than 30 minutes is kind of like being at a bar after 2 a.m.,” said Ari Fleischer, who was a White House press secretary under President George W. Bush. “All the good stuff has probably happened by now and the only thing left is going to be bad. So get out of the bar — or get off the podium after about 30 minutes.”

Mr. Trump ended up spending nearly twice that in the Rose Garden on Monday, but he gave the lectern over to Vice President Mike Pence, Dr. Deborah L. Birx, his pandemic coordinator, and the executives enough that his own time was limited, to the relief of some of his aides and allies.

“There seems to be a direct correlation between how completely bonkers the daily Trump briefing had become and the piling up of devastating facts on both the death toll and the job losses,” said Jennifer Psaki, who was White House communications director under President Barack Obama. “So it is hard to see how continuing this briefing was to his own advantage.”

While not at his feistiest, Mr. Trump still flashed some of his usual bombast, claiming as he often does that until the virus hit he had built “the greatest economy in the history of the world” and “you would have been at war with North Korea if I wasn’t president,” two assertions belied by history and statistics.

He rejected a fear voiced by former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., his putative Democratic challenger, that the president might seek to delay the November election, citing the pandemic. “I never even thought of changing the date of the election,” Mr. Trump said.

But he said he would be open to joining lawsuits against states that have imposed social distancing restrictions to combat the virus deemed too strict, as Attorney General William P. Barr has suggested. “It would depend on the state; it would depend on the circumstances of the state,” Mr. Trump said. “The attorney general doesn’t want to have rights taken away. There are some people, they’re not allowed to open up a store. They’re going to lose their livelihood.”

He made no effort to reconcile that with his own administration’s guidelines urging that most stores be kept closed or with his criticism of Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia for opening some businesses in his state too quickly.

At the same time, Mr. Trump complained about the prosecution of Michael T. Flynn, his former national security adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to authorities, and quickly equated it to his own time under investigation. “What happened to your president of the United States should never again be allowed to happen,” he said.

After 55 minutes it was over. And certainly not for the last time.

Maggie Haberman contributed reporting from New York.

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To Pressure Iran, Pompeo Turns to the Deal Trump Renounced

Westlake Legal Group 26dc-iransanctions-facebookJumbo To Pressure Iran, Pompeo Turns to the Deal Trump Renounced United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Security Council (UN) Russia Pompeo, Mike Nuclear Weapons Iran Europe Embargoes and Sanctions Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Arms Trade

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is preparing a legal argument that the United States remains a participant in the Iran nuclear accord that President Trump has renounced, part of an intricate strategy to pressure the United Nations Security Council to extend an arms embargo on Tehran or see far more stringent sanctions reimposed on the country.

The strategy has been described in recent days by administration officials as they begin to circulate a new resolution in the Security Council that would bar countries from exporting conventional arms to Iran after the current ban expires in October. Any effort to renew the arms embargo is almost certain to be opposed by Russia and, publicly or quietly, by China. The Russians have already told American and European officials they are eager to resume conventional arms sales to Iran.

In an effort to force the issue, Mr. Pompeo has approved a plan, bound to be opposed by many of Washington’s European allies, under which the United States would, in essence, claim it legally remains a “participant state” in the nuclear accord that Mr. Trump has denounced — but only for the purposes of invoking a “snapback” that would restore the U.N. sanctions on Iran that were in place before the accord.

If the arms embargo is not renewed, the United States would exercise that right as an original member of the agreement. That step would force a restoration of the wide array of the sanctions that prohibited oil sales and banking arrangements before the adoption of the agreement in 2015. Enforcing those older sanctions would, in theory, be binding on all members of the United Nations.

European diplomats who have learned of the effort maintain that Mr. Trump and Mr. Pompeo are selectively choosing whether they are still in the agreement to fit their agenda.

The entire drama could play out this autumn in the weeks before the presidential election, setting up a potential confrontation with Iran in the midst of the contest.

Political calculations aside, the administration’s larger plan may go beyond imposing harsher sanctions on Iran. It is also to force Tehran to give up any pretense of preserving the Obama-era agreement. Only by shattering it, many senior administration officials say, will Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani be forced to negotiate an entirely new agreement more to Mr. Trump’s liking.

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Iran has resisted even opening talks with the Trump administration, saying that before it would sit down Mr. Trump to amend the previous agreement, the United States would have to re-enter the accord and fully abide by its terms. Mr. Trump has refused.

The intricate strategy has been described by senior administration officials involved in devising it. Asked about it, Mr. Pompeo said in a statement to The New York Times: “We cannot allow the Islamic Republic of Iran to purchase conventional weapons in six months. President Obama should never have agreed to end the U.N. arms embargo.”

“We are prepared to exercise all of our diplomatic options to ensure the arms embargo stays in place at the U.N. Security Council,” he added.

A draft of the American resolution to extend the arms embargo indefinitely has been shared with some members of the Security Council by Brian H. Hook, the State Department’s special representative for Iran, who is carrying out the new strategy.

In trips to New York and Paris, he has described the administration’s insistence that Tehran never receive even small conventional arms, much less missiles. But he did not explain the next step if the arms embargo lapses: an effort to unilaterally force the imposition of even more crushing sanctions.

The timing is critical for Iran, which has been ravaged by the coronavirus. A month ago, the United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, wrote to the world’s largest economic powers and urged a lifting of economic sanctions on Iran, along with Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea and Zimbabwe. “I am encouraging the waiving of sanctions imposed on countries to ensure access to food, essential health supplies, and Covid-19 medical support,” he wrote. “This is the time for solidarity not exclusion.”

He did not say how long that waiver should last, and his appeal has made little progress.

Mr. Trump said that he would be willing to give some medical equipment to Iran to combat the virus, such as ventilators, “if they ask for it.” Iran’s leaders have not asked.

Trump administration officials say their threat to return to the far harsher sanctions — which blocked virtually all oil sales and drove Iran to the negotiating table — would not come until fall, presumably after the first phase of the coronavirus response has passed. They maintain it is separate from any relaxation of restrictions on medical supplies, some of which are exempted already from U.S. sanctions.

The arms embargo at the center of the dispute was something of a sideshow to the main nuclear agreement. The agreement covers only Iran’s nuclear activity: It required Iran to ship about 97 percent of its nuclear fuel out of the country — moved to Russia, in early 2016 — and to observe sharp limits on its production of nuclear material for 15 years.

Iran abided by those limits for a year after Mr. Trump pulled out of the agreement. But since last summer, it has gradually violated the limitations on both how much nuclear fuel it is allowed to stockpile and the level to which it can enrich its fuel. As a result, experts agree that it has greatly shortened its “breakout time,” the period needed to make enough fuel for a single nuclear weapon. Iran insists it would return to the agreed-upon levels as soon as Mr. Trump came back into compliance with the agreement by lifting unilateral sanctions.

The arms embargo — along with limits on missile launches — was part of a United Nations Security Council resolution that enshrined the nuclear accord, and suspended years of U.N.-imposed sanctions. That is what begins to expire in October. (The limits come off in stages: Small arms restrictions end this year, but restrictions on missiles and their components remain in place for another three years.)

Wendy R. Sherman, who served as the negotiation team leader of the Iran accord during the Obama administration and now directs the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard, recalled that the Russians and Chinese never wanted a conventional arms embargo on Iran, and only agreed to one of limited duration.

In an interview, Ms. Sherman predicted that if the United States argues that it remains a participant in the agreement for the purposes of dismantling the accord, “I think they will get tremendous pushback, because the Trump administration withdrew from the agreement.” She predicted that any move to impose the snapback provisions “will be strongly resisted, and should be.” But she added, “That doesn’t mean it wouldn’t succeed.”

Under Mr. Pompeo’s plan, an American-drafted resolution, which has already been given to the Europeans, the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates, would propose extending the conventional arms embargo, according to a copy reviewed by The New York Times.

The American draft says that “Iran shall not supply, sell or transfer, directly or indirectly, from its territory, by its nationals or using its flag vessels or aircraft, any arms or related matériel, and that all member states shall prohibit the procurement of such items from Iran by their nationals, or using their flagged vessels or aircraft, and whether or not originating in the territory of Iran.”

Russia, the U.S. expects, would veto the resolution in the Security Council.

In response, the United States would then attempt to declare that it remains a participant state in the agreement, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, despite Mr. Trump’s declaration that he was abandoning it.

As a participant state, the United States would declare that Iran is violating the agreement because it is now producing nuclear fuel above the limits in the accord — and impose the snapback of U.N. sanctions that Mr. Obama referred to in his 2015 speech, when he was trying to reassure critics of the agreement.

Relying on a legal opinion developed by lawyers within Mr. Pompeo’s department, the United States would dispute the arguments of the other signatories that Mr. Trump gave up all rights to invoke the snapback when he declared that the United States was reimposing its own sanctions on Iran, despite Washington’s obligations under the agreement.

A senior European diplomat, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, dismissed the strategy as pushing the words of the agreement far beyond their logical context.

But the administration’s strategy could well work, even if other members of the United Nations ignored the move. At that point, on paper at least, the United Nations would be back to all the sanctions on Iran that existed before Mr. Obama reached the accord with Tehran.

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Trump’s Disinfectant Remark Raises a Question About the ‘Very Stable Genius’

Westlake Legal Group merlin_171872820_ac94b047-74a7-459d-98c5-df7778586e2a-facebookJumbo Trump’s Disinfectant Remark Raises a Question About the ‘Very Stable Genius’ United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Rumors and Misinformation Intelligence and Intelligence Tests (IQ) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Cleansers, Detergents and Soaps

President Trump’s self-assessment has been consistent.

“I’m, like, a very smart person,” he assured voters in 2016.

“A very stable genius,” he ruled two years later.

“I’m not a doctor,” he allowed on Thursday, pointing to his skull inside the White House briefing room, “but I’m, like, a person that has a good you-know-what.”

Mr. Trump’s performance that evening, when he suggested that injections of disinfectants into the human body could help combat the coronavirus, did not sound like the work of a doctor, a genius, or a person with a good you-know-what.

Even by the turbulent standards of this president, his musings on virus remedies have landed with uncommon force, drawing widespread condemnation as dangerous to the health of Americans and inspiring a near-universal alarm that many of his past remarks — whether offensive or fear-mongering or simply untrue — did not.

Mr. Trump’s typical name-calling can be recast to receptive audiences as mere “counterpunching.” His impeachment was explained away as the dastardly opus of overreaching Democrats. It is more difficult to insist that the man floating disinfectant injection knows what he’s doing.

The reaction has so rattled the president’s allies and advisers that he was compelled over the weekend to remove himself from the pandemic briefings entirely, at least temporarily accepting two fates he loathes: giving in to advice (from Republicans who said the appearances did far more harm than good to his political standing) and surrendering the mass viewership he relishes.

Some at the White House have expressed frustration that the issue has lingered. “It bothers me that this is still in the news cycle,” Dr. Deborah Birx, the coronavirus response coordinator, told CNN on Sunday, adding, “I worry that we don’t get the information to the American people that they need, when we continue to bring up something that was from Thursday night.”

Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland, a Republican who has been willing to speak skeptically about Mr. Trump’s virus leadership, said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that it “does send a wrong message” when misinformation spreads from a public official or “you just say something that pops in your head.” Asked to explain the president’s words, Mr. Hogan said, “You know, I can’t really explain it.”

No modern American politician can match Mr. Trump’s record of false or illogical statements, which has invited questions about his intelligence. Insinuations and gaffes have trailed former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Dan Quayle and Joseph R. Biden Jr., now the presumptive Democratic nominee, among many others. But Mr. Trump’s stark pronouncement — on live television, amid a grave public health crisis, and leaving little room for interpretation — was at once in a class of its own and wholly consistent with a reputation for carelessness in speech.

Still, for weeks, the president’s political team has been strikingly explicit about its intended messaging against Mr. Biden: presenting him as a doddering 77-year-old not up to the rigors of the office — and setting off on the kind of whisper campaign that does not bother with whispers.

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A Trump campaign Twitter account on Saturday celebrated the anniversary of Mr. Biden’s 2020 bid by highlighting all that he had “forgotten” as a candidate, with corresponding video clips of momentary flubs and verbal stumbles: “Joe Biden forgot the name of the coronavirus.” “Joe Biden forgot the G7 was not the G8.” “Joe Biden forgot Super Tuesday was on a Tuesday.”

On Sunday, the Trump campaign made clear that the disinfectant affair would not disrupt its plans. “Joe Biden is often lost,” said Tim Murtaugh, a Trump campaign spokesman, “losing his train of thought during friendly interviews, even when he relies on written notes in front of him.”

T.J. Ducklo, a Biden spokesman, called this approach “a distraction tactic — as if anything could erase the memory of the president suggesting people drink disinfectant on national television.”

Carlos Curbelo, a Republican former Florida congressman who clashed at times with Mr. Trump and did not vote for him, said the president’s comments on disinfectants were likely to resonate precisely because he was running a race premised largely on Mr. Biden’s mental capacity.

“Given Joe Biden’s gaffes and mistakes, I think the Trump campaign had a strong narrative there,” he said. “At the very least, that advantage was completely erased.”

Mr. Curbelo said a friend had suggested recently that Mr. Trump’s toxic virus idea was “the craziest thing he ever said.”

“I said, ‘I don’t know,’” Mr. Curbelo recalled. “‘Maybe. I’d have to look back and check.’”

This history, of course, is the argument for Democratic caution. The list of episodes that were supposed to end Mr. Trump — the “Access Hollywood” tape, the “very fine people” on both sides of a white supremacist rally, insulting John McCain’s service as a prisoner of war — is longer than most voters’ memories.

The president can register as more time-bending than Teflon. Plenty sticks to him; it just tends to be buried quickly enough by the next stack of outrages, limiting the exposure of any single one.

But if most Trump admirers have long since made up their minds about him, recent polling on his handling of the crisis does suggest some measure of electoral risk. Governors and public health officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci are viewed as far more trustworthy on the pandemic, according to surveys.

Lily Adams, a former aide on the presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Kamala Harris, who is now advising Unite the Country, a pro-Biden super PAC, said that swing voters in focus groups were especially dismayed at Mr. Trump’s refusal to listen to experts.

“Any person who has ever done a load of laundry, or installed a childproof lock on a cleaning supplies cabinet, or just looked at one of those skulls on the label, knows it’s an idiotic idea,” she said.

Even some of the president’s reliable cheerleaders at Fox News have not tried to defend him. And recent visitors to the Drudge Report — the powerful conservative news aggregation site whose proprietor, Matt Drudge, has increasingly ridiculed Mr. Trump of late — were greeted with a doctored image of “Clorox Chewables.” “Trump Recommended,” the tagline read. “Don’t Die Maybe!”

For Mr. Trump, such mockery tends to singe. Since long before his 2016 campaign, few subjects have been as meaningful to him as appraisals of his intellect.

It is a source of perpetual obsession and manifest insecurity, former aides say, so much so that Mr. Trump has felt the need to allude to his brainpower regularly: tales of his academic credentials at the University of Pennsylvania; his “natural ability” in complicated disciplines; his connection to a “super genius” uncle, an engineer who taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

When Rex Tillerson, the president’s first secretary of state, was reported to have called Mr. Trump a “moron” in private — one of several former senior administration officials said to have rendered equivalent verdicts — Mr. Trump challenged him to “compare I.Q. tests.” A favorite Trump insult on Twitter, reserved for Mr. Biden among others, is “low I.Q. individual.”

“He doesn’t want to feel like anybody is better than he is,” said Barbara A. Res, a former executive vice president of the Trump Organization, who recalled Mr. Trump bragging about his college grades. “He can’t deal with that. I can see it now with the doctors, and that’s why he dismisses them. He used to be intimidated by lawyers. Anyone who knows more than he does makes him feel less than he is.”

Steve Schmidt, a former Republican strategist and prominent Trump critic, said the president’s meditation on disinfectants stood apart from a trope that Mr. Schmidt came to recognize as an adviser to conservatives like Mr. Bush: “that the conservative candidate in the race was also always portrayed as the dumb candidate.”

“But a caricature is distinct from a narrative,” Mr. Schmidt said. And Mr. Trump’s reckless medical fare, he reasoned, had given adversaries a narrative by confirming a caricature.

The president’s own attempts at damage control have been scattershot. First, his new press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, accused the news media of taking Mr. Trump out of context. Shortly afterward, he undercut her case by saying his comments had in fact been a sarcastic prank on reporters, an explanation even some supporters found implausible.

He left his Friday briefing on the coronavirus without taking questions. By Saturday, when Mr. Trump tweeted that the events were “not worth the time & effort,” his opponents conceded this much:

The president had probably done something smart.

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Coronavirus Live Updates: Governors to Lay Out Road Map for Reopening

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Governors are using talk shows to detail their next steps.

As the nation shifts toward slowly reviving the economy, with several states allowing a gradual reopening of businesses and others indicating they will soon do the same, governors from across the country are set to appear on television on Sunday to articulate the latest steps in their response to the coronavirus pandemic.

For weeks, the Sunday morning talk shows have emerged as a critical, highly visible platform for governors to detail the urgent needs of their state and, at times, challenge President Trump in demanding a more robust federal response.

This week, the governors of Oklahoma and Colorado will be among those discussing the steps they have taken toward reopening their economies.

Oklahoma’s Republican governor, Kevin Stitt, who allowed businesses including hair and nail salons, barber shops, spas, and pet groomers to reopen on Friday, is to appear on “Fox News Sunday.”

Gov. Jared Polis, the Colorado Democrat who has indicated he will allow limited reopenings beginning May 1, is to appear on “State of the Union” on CNN.

Stacey Abrams, who opposed Brian Kemp in the Georgia governor’s race in 2018, will appear on “State of the Union” and “Meet the Press” on NBC.

Mr. Kemp, a Republican, received a wide range of criticism — from Mr. Trump, as well as from Atlanta’s mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms — for his plan that permitted salons, tattoo shops and bowling alleys to open on Friday, and will allow dine-in restaurant service and movie theaters to open on Monday.

Hardie Davis Jr., the mayor of Augusta, Ga., who is a critic of Mr. Kemp’s plan, is scheduled to be on CNN’s “Inside Politics.”

Larry Hogan, Maryland’s Republican governor, and Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan’s Democratic governor, both fixtures on the talk show circuit in recent weeks, will return on Sunday. Mr. Hogan will appear on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” as well as on ABC’s “This Week,” alongside Ms. Whitmer.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is set to be on “State of the Union.” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is scheduled to appear on “Fox News Sunday.” And Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, is to be on “State of the Union” and “Meet the Press.”

In New York, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Saturday announced new steps to ramp up testing, offering eligibility to more residents and allowing any pharmacy in the state to conduct tests.

Mr. Cuomo, who has emphasized that testing capacity needed to increase sharply before he would consider reopening the state’s economy more widely, said that emergency workers, health care workers and essential employees could be tested even if they are not showing symptoms. He also announced an executive order allowing any of the state’s roughly 5,000 pharmacies to administer tests.

“That’s been a big complaint across the board,” Mr. Cuomo said. “Everybody wanted tests and they couldn’t get tests.”

The state was beginning to conduct antibody tests on front-line health care workers at four hospitals in New York City, the governor said, and would expand that testing to emergency workers and transit workers next week.

Trump suggests that the daily briefings are no longer worth his time.

On the first day in weeks that the White House did not hold a briefing on the coronavirus, President Trump lashed out at the news media for asking “hostile questions” and suggested his daily appearances were no longer worth his time.

“What is the purpose of having White House News Conferences when the Lamestream Media asks nothing but hostile questions, & then refuses to report the truth or facts accurately,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter late Saturday. “They get record ratings, & the American people get nothing but Fake News. Not worth the time & effort!”

The tweet came two days after Mr. Trump suggested at a briefing that an “injection inside” the human body with a disinfectant could help combat the coronavirus. Despite a lack of scientific evidence, Mr. Trump has long pushed various ideas against the virus, like sunlight and warmer temperatures as well as an array of drugs, including the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, which he has promoted as a “what have you got to lose” remedy. Medical experts have since stepped up warnings about the drugs’ possibly dangerous side effects.

Since Thursday’s assertion, Mr. Trump has been angrily tweeting about the unfairness of his coverage after a damaging news cycle his aides have privately admitted is self-inflicted. Officials have also said that they were skeptical that Mr. Trump would fully retreat from a scenario in which he took questions from reporters, even though he said the two-hour format of the briefings was not worth the effort.

Officials inside the White House are also discussing replacing Alex M. Azar II, the health and human services secretary, after a string of news reports about the administration’s slow response to the coronavirus and a separate controversy about an ousted department official, two senior administration officials said.

Mark Meadows, President Trump’s new chief of staff, is among the aides considering removing Mr. Azar once the height of the coronavirus crisis abates, the officials said. The discussions were first reported by Politico and The Wall Street Journal.

On Saturday, two senior administration officials said that no imminent changes were planned. Among the possible replacements are Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and Dr. Deborah Birx, a key member of the coronavirus task force.

Mr. Trump has become angry with Mr. Azar in recent weeks, after stories in The Washington Post and The New York Times detailed decisions and discussions related to the administration’s response to the coronavirus. Mr. Trump, who has closely followed the coverage, was upset that he was being blamed while Mr. Azar was portrayed in a more favorable light, aides said, adding that the president was also suspicious that Mr. Azar was trying to save his own reputation at the president’s expense.

Other officials were angry that, after Mr. Azar and other top department officials forced out Dr. Rick Bright, the head of a key drug and vaccine development agency, Mr. Azar told Vice President Mike Pence in front of a crowded task force meeting that Dr. Bright had been promoted.

But on Saturday, the White House issued a full-throated defense of Mr. Azar, calling the rumors false.

“The Department of Health and Human Services, under the leadership of Secretary Azar, continues to lead on a number of the president’s priorities,” Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, said in a statement. “Any speculation about personnel is irresponsible and a distraction from our whole-of-government response to Covid-19.”

Grudgingly, New York comes to terms with a new normal.

A walk in the park brings tense flare-ups: Back off, you’re too close. Oh really? Then stay home. A loud neighbor, once a fleeting annoyance of urban life, is cause for complaint to the city. Wake at noon, still tired. The city’s can-do resilience has given way to resignation and random tears.

The journey that began in March with an us-against-it unity, with homemade masks and do-it-yourself haircuts and Zoom happy hours, has turned into a grim slog for many. It felt as if the city had cautiously approached a promising bend in the road, a new page on the calendar, only to find nothing, and beyond that, ever more of the same.

A feeling of sadness shot through with frayed nerves could be felt in conversations in and around New York City as the coronavirus outbreak in the world’s epicenter dragged toward its sixth week, its end still too far off to see.

“This is the week where I feel like I have accepted this, and given up,” Euna Chi of Brooklyn wrote in an email. “My daily commute to the couch feels ‘normal.’”

How the virus ravaged an immigrant city near Boston.

Separated from Boston by the Mystic River, Chelsea, Mass., is a world apart, a first stop for immigrant families — Lithuanian, Polish, Irish, and more recently, Honduran and Guatemalan — who cannot afford the bigger city’s sky-high rents.

It has a population density of nearly 17,000 people per square mile, with whole families crowding into single rooms in triple-decker rowhouses, buildings with high rates of lead paint, asbestos and air pollution.

This spring, the virus collided disastrously with the city’s overcrowded housing. A warning flare came in the second week of April, when, late at night, a young mother called the city housing authority from the street; she had disclosed her test results to her roommates, and they had kicked her out.

“It dawned on me that this situation was going to replicate itself,” said Thomas Ambrosino, Chelsea’s city manager, “and we better have a solution.”

For Paul Nowicki, the director of operations for the housing authority in the city, one difficulty has been safeguarding residents in a building when he cannot locate infected people.

Many leaders will face the same stubborn challenge: How, in a country that values its citizens’ medical privacy and autonomy, can authorities separate the sick from the well?

The question is an urgent one if public life is to resume.

In West Virginia and Ohio, much-needed hospitals are no longer operating.

A wide stretch of West Virginia and Ohio is fighting the coronavirus pandemic with 530 fewer hospital beds than it had last year, after a for-profit company shut down three of the area’s larger hospitals.

Beginning in 2014, Alecto Healthcare Services acquired the three hospitals: Fairmont Medical Center in Fairmont, W.Va., Ohio Valley Medical Center in Wheeling, W.Va., and East Ohio Regional Hospital in neighboring Martins Ferry, Ohio. Employees expected the new ownership to put the institutions on solid footing after years of financial struggle.

Instead, decisions made by Alecto wound up undercutting patient care and undermining the hospitals’ finances, according to more than two dozen interviews with doctors, nurses, other staff members, government officials and patients, as well as a review of court records.

Doctors were fired to save on salaries; many patients followed them elsewhere. Medical supplies ran short. Vendors went unpaid. Finally, one after another, the three hospitals ceased operating.

The counties they serve have already recorded 171 coronavirus cases and nine deaths. Hundreds of people whose lungs were scarred by decades in coal mines are vulnerable to a devastating respiratory syndrome caused by the virus, doctors said.

“We’ve now got a hospital that existed for over 100 years that, in the middle of a pandemic, sits empty,” said Jonathan Board, chairman of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors, referring to Fairmont.

Dr. John Wolen, the former trauma chief at Ohio Valley, now works at Wheeling Hospital and is bracing for an influx of patients. “The extra capacity that we will absolutely need is not going to be there,” he said.

Lawsuits demand tuition refunds after colleges’ shift to online learning.

Students are demanding tuition refunds in a wave of lawsuits against universities, which have largely turned to online learning because of social distancing measures during the coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday, lawsuits were filed against Columbia University and Pace University in New York, arguing that the quality and value of the education has been compromised. Similar complaints had been filed against Drexel University, the University of Miami and the University of Colorado.

Colleges have been reluctant to refund tuition, a major source of operating revenue. They say students are still getting the classes and degrees they signed up for, just in a different format.

The new lawsuits charge the universities with breach of contract and unjust enrichment, saying they promised a campus experience rich with amenities like gyms and libraries and the arts but have stopped delivering on those promises since mid-March, when most students were asked to evacuate their dormitories and shift to online classes.

“If the students wanted to go to Columbia and earn their degree online, they could have done that, but they chose to go to the on-campus version of Columbia, which is heavily marketed for its experiential and educational value,” said Roy T. Willey IV, a lawyer for the plaintiffs.

In court documents, the plaintiffs argue that the universities have admitted that online and in-person classes are not equivalent through their pricing and marketing. Tuition for an online social work degree at Columbia, for instance, is almost $10,000 less than for the same degree earned on campus, according to the documents.

Columbia did not return a request for comment.

A spokesman at Pace, Jerry McKinstry, said the university had done its best to accommodate students — by shifting mental health counseling online, allowing most classes to be taken pass-fail and adjusting housing feeds — under circumstances beyond the university’s control.

“Since transitioning to remote learning, as mandated by the State of New York, academic programs and services have continued,” Mr. McKinstry said.

How can we help?

The coronavirus pandemic has left many in need, but there are many ways you can assist, and often no money is needed.

China’s new export rules for some medical supplies will put more of the burden for quality checks on importers.

Reporting was contributed by Sarah Kliff, Joel Petterson, Rick Rojas, Ellen Barry and Michael Wilson.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Coronavirus Live Updates: Governors to Lay Out Road Map for Reopening

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group 26virus-us-briefing-oklahoma-articleLarge Coronavirus Live Updates: Governors to Lay Out Road Map for Reopening United States Trump, Donald J New York State Michigan Georgia Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
Credit…Joseph Rushmore for The New York Times

Governors are using talk shows to detail their next steps.

As the nation shifts toward slowly reviving the economy, with several states allowing a gradual reopening of businesses and others indicating they will soon do the same, governors from across the country are set to appear on television on Sunday to articulate the latest steps in their response to the coronavirus pandemic.

For weeks, the Sunday morning talk shows have emerged as a critical, highly visible platform for governors to detail the urgent needs of their state and, at times, challenge President Trump in demanding a more robust federal response.

This week, the governors of Oklahoma and Colorado will be among those discussing the steps they have taken toward reopening their economies.

Oklahoma’s Republican governor, Kevin Stitt, who allowed businesses including hair and nail salons, barber shops, spas, and pet groomers to reopen on Friday, is to appear on “Fox News Sunday.”

Gov. Jared Polis, the Colorado Democrat who has indicated he will allow limited reopenings beginning May 1, is to appear on “State of the Union” on CNN.

Stacey Abrams, who opposed Brian Kemp in the Georgia governor’s race in 2018, will appear on “State of the Union” and “Meet the Press” on NBC.

Mr. Kemp, a Republican, received a wide range of criticism — from Mr. Trump, as well as from Atlanta’s mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms — for his plan that permitted salons, tattoo shops and bowling alleys to open on Friday, and will allow dine-in restaurant service and movie theaters to open on Monday.

Hardie Davis Jr., the mayor of Augusta, Ga., who is a critic of Mr. Kemp’s plan, is scheduled to be on CNN’s “Inside Politics.”

Larry Hogan, Maryland’s Republican governor, and Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan’s Democratic governor, both fixtures on the talk show circuit in recent weeks, will return on Sunday. Mr. Hogan will appear on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” as well as on ABC’s “This Week,” alongside Ms. Whitmer.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is set to be on “State of the Union.” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is scheduled to appear on “Fox News Sunday.” And Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, is to be on “State of the Union” and “Meet the Press.”

In New York, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Saturday announced new steps to ramp up testing, offering eligibility to more residents and allowing any pharmacy in the state to conduct tests.

Mr. Cuomo, who has emphasized that testing capacity needed to increase sharply before he would consider reopening the state’s economy more widely, said that emergency workers, health care workers and essential employees could be tested even if they are not showing symptoms. He also announced an executive order allowing any of the state’s roughly 5,000 pharmacies to administer tests.

“That’s been a big complaint across the board,” Mr. Cuomo said. “Everybody wanted tests and they couldn’t get tests.”

The state was beginning to conduct antibody tests on front-line health care workers at four hospitals in New York City, the governor said, and would expand that testing to emergency workers and transit workers next week.

Trump suggests that the daily briefings are no longer worth his time.

On the first day in weeks that the White House did not hold a briefing on the coronavirus, President Trump lashed out at the news media for asking “hostile questions” and suggested his daily appearances were no longer worth his time.

“What is the purpose of having White House News Conferences when the Lamestream Media asks nothing but hostile questions, & then refuses to report the truth or facts accurately,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter late Saturday. “They get record ratings, & the American people get nothing but Fake News. Not worth the time & effort!”

The tweet came two days after Mr. Trump suggested at a briefing that an “injection inside” the human body with a disinfectant could help combat the coronavirus. Despite a lack of scientific evidence, Mr. Trump has long pushed various ideas against the virus, like sunlight and warmer temperatures as well as an array of drugs, including the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, which he has promoted as a “what have you got to lose” remedy. Medical experts have since stepped up warnings about the drugs’ possibly dangerous side effects.

Since Thursday’s assertion, Mr. Trump has been angrily tweeting about the unfairness of his coverage after a damaging news cycle his aides have privately admitted is self-inflicted. Officials have also said that they were skeptical that Mr. Trump would fully retreat from a scenario in which he took questions from reporters, even though he said the two-hour format of the briefings was not worth the effort.

Officials inside the White House are also discussing replacing Alex M. Azar II, the health and human services secretary, after a string of news reports about the administration’s slow response to the coronavirus and a separate controversy about an ousted department official, two senior administration officials said.

Mark Meadows, President Trump’s new chief of staff, is among the aides considering removing Mr. Azar once the height of the coronavirus crisis abates, the officials said. The discussions were first reported by Politico and The Wall Street Journal.

On Saturday, two senior administration officials said that no imminent changes were planned. Among the possible replacements are Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and Dr. Deborah Birx, a key member of the coronavirus task force.

Mr. Trump has become angry with Mr. Azar in recent weeks, after stories in The Washington Post and The New York Times detailed decisions and discussions related to the administration’s response to the coronavirus. Mr. Trump, who has closely followed the coverage, was upset that he was being blamed while Mr. Azar was portrayed in a more favorable light, aides said, adding that the president was also suspicious that Mr. Azar was trying to save his own reputation at the president’s expense.

Other officials were angry that, after Mr. Azar and other top department officials forced out Dr. Rick Bright, the head of a key drug and vaccine development agency, Mr. Azar told Vice President Mike Pence in front of a crowded task force meeting that Dr. Bright had been promoted.

But on Saturday, the White House issued a full-throated defense of Mr. Azar, calling the rumors false.

“The Department of Health and Human Services, under the leadership of Secretary Azar, continues to lead on a number of the president’s priorities,” Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, said in a statement. “Any speculation about personnel is irresponsible and a distraction from our whole-of-government response to Covid-19.”

Grudgingly, New York comes to terms with a new normal.

A walk in the park brings tense flare-ups: Back off, you’re too close. Oh really? Then stay home. A loud neighbor, once a fleeting annoyance of urban life, is cause for complaint to the city. Wake at noon, still tired. The city’s can-do resilience has given way to resignation and random tears.

The journey that began in March with an us-against-it unity, with homemade masks and do-it-yourself haircuts and Zoom happy hours, has turned into a grim slog for many. It felt as if the city had cautiously approached a promising bend in the road, a new page on the calendar, only to find nothing, and beyond that, ever more of the same.

A feeling of sadness shot through with frayed nerves could be felt in conversations in and around New York City as the coronavirus outbreak in the world’s epicenter dragged toward its sixth week, its end still too far off to see.

“This is the week where I feel like I have accepted this, and given up,” Euna Chi of Brooklyn wrote in an email. “My daily commute to the couch feels ‘normal.’”

How the virus ravaged an immigrant city near Boston.

Separated from Boston by the Mystic River, Chelsea, Mass., is a world apart, a first stop for immigrant families — Lithuanian, Polish, Irish, and more recently, Honduran and Guatemalan — who cannot afford the bigger city’s sky-high rents.

It has a population density of nearly 17,000 people per square mile, with whole families crowding into single rooms in triple-decker rowhouses, buildings with high rates of lead paint, asbestos and air pollution.

This spring, the virus collided disastrously with the city’s overcrowded housing. A warning flare came in the second week of April, when, late at night, a young mother called the city housing authority from the street; she had disclosed her test results to her roommates, and they had kicked her out.

“It dawned on me that this situation was going to replicate itself,” said Thomas Ambrosino, Chelsea’s city manager, “and we better have a solution.”

For Paul Nowicki, the director of operations for the housing authority in the city, one difficulty has been safeguarding residents in a building when he cannot locate infected people.

Many leaders will face the same stubborn challenge: How, in a country that values its citizens’ medical privacy and autonomy, can authorities separate the sick from the well?

The question is an urgent one if public life is to resume.

In West Virginia and Ohio, much-needed hospitals are no longer operating.

A wide stretch of West Virginia and Ohio is fighting the coronavirus pandemic with 530 fewer hospital beds than it had last year, after a for-profit company shut down three of the area’s larger hospitals.

Beginning in 2014, Alecto Healthcare Services acquired the three hospitals: Fairmont Medical Center in Fairmont, W.Va., Ohio Valley Medical Center in Wheeling, W.Va., and East Ohio Regional Hospital in neighboring Martins Ferry, Ohio. Employees expected the new ownership to put the institutions on solid footing after years of financial struggle.

Instead, decisions made by Alecto wound up undercutting patient care and undermining the hospitals’ finances, according to more than two dozen interviews with doctors, nurses, other staff members, government officials and patients, as well as a review of court records.

Doctors were fired to save on salaries; many patients followed them elsewhere. Medical supplies ran short. Vendors went unpaid. Finally, one after another, the three hospitals ceased operating.

The counties they serve have already recorded 171 coronavirus cases and nine deaths. Hundreds of people whose lungs were scarred by decades in coal mines are vulnerable to a devastating respiratory syndrome caused by the virus, doctors said.

“We’ve now got a hospital that existed for over 100 years that, in the middle of a pandemic, sits empty,” said Jonathan Board, chairman of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors, referring to Fairmont.

Dr. John Wolen, the former trauma chief at Ohio Valley, now works at Wheeling Hospital and is bracing for an influx of patients. “The extra capacity that we will absolutely need is not going to be there,” he said.

Lawsuits demand tuition refunds after colleges’ shift to online learning.

Students are demanding tuition refunds in a wave of lawsuits against universities, which have largely turned to online learning because of social distancing measures during the coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday, lawsuits were filed against Columbia University and Pace University in New York, arguing that the quality and value of the education has been compromised. Similar complaints had been filed against Drexel University, the University of Miami and the University of Colorado.

Colleges have been reluctant to refund tuition, a major source of operating revenue. They say students are still getting the classes and degrees they signed up for, just in a different format.

The new lawsuits charge the universities with breach of contract and unjust enrichment, saying they promised a campus experience rich with amenities like gyms and libraries and the arts but have stopped delivering on those promises since mid-March, when most students were asked to evacuate their dormitories and shift to online classes.

“If the students wanted to go to Columbia and earn their degree online, they could have done that, but they chose to go to the on-campus version of Columbia, which is heavily marketed for its experiential and educational value,” said Roy T. Willey IV, a lawyer for the plaintiffs.

In court documents, the plaintiffs argue that the universities have admitted that online and in-person classes are not equivalent through their pricing and marketing. Tuition for an online social work degree at Columbia, for instance, is almost $10,000 less than for the same degree earned on campus, according to the documents.

Columbia did not return a request for comment.

A spokesman at Pace, Jerry McKinstry, said the university had done its best to accommodate students — by shifting mental health counseling online, allowing most classes to be taken pass-fail and adjusting housing feeds — under circumstances beyond the university’s control.

“Since transitioning to remote learning, as mandated by the State of New York, academic programs and services have continued,” Mr. McKinstry said.

How can we help?

The coronavirus pandemic has left many in need, but there are many ways you can assist, and often no money is needed.

China’s new export rules for some medical supplies will put more of the burden for quality checks on importers.

Reporting was contributed by Sarah Kliff, Joel Petterson, Rick Rojas, Ellen Barry and Michael Wilson.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Nervous Republicans See Trump Sinking, and Taking Senate With Him

Westlake Legal Group merlin_171873021_3bbb19f1-6572-4cde-ad35-e508f5f24ca4-facebookJumbo Nervous Republicans See Trump Sinking, and Taking Senate With Him United States Politics and Government United States Economy Trump, Donald J Republican Party Republican National Committee Presidential Election of 2020 Presidential Election of 2016 Polls and Public Opinion Democratic Party Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Campaign Finance Biden, Joseph R Jr

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s erratic handling of the coronavirus outbreak, the worsening economy and a cascade of ominous public and private polling have Republicans increasingly nervous that they are at risk of losing the presidency and the Senate if Mr. Trump does not put the nation on a radically improved course.

The scale of the G.O.P.’s challenge has crystallized in the last week. With 26 million Americans now having filed for unemployment benefits, Mr. Trump’s standing in states that he carried in 2016 looks increasingly wobbly: New surveys show him trailing significantly in battleground states like Michigan and Pennsylvania, and he is even narrowly behind in must-win Florida.

Democrats raised substantially more money than Republicans did in the first quarter in the most pivotal congressional races, according to recent campaign finance reports. And while Mr. Trump is well ahead in money compared with the presumptive Democratic nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr., Democratic donors are only beginning to focus on the general election, and several super PACs plan to spend heavily on behalf of him and the party.

Perhaps most significantly, Mr. Trump’s single best advantage as an incumbent — his access to the bully pulpit — has effectively become a platform for self-sabotage.

His daily news briefings on the coronavirus outbreak are inflicting grave damage on his political standing, Republicans believe, and his recent remarks about combating the virus with sunlight and disinfectant were a breaking point for a number of senior party officials.

On Friday evening, Mr. Trump conducted only a short briefing and took no questions, a format that a senior administration official said was being discussed as the best option for the president going forward.

Glen Bolger, a longtime Republican pollster, said the landscape for his party had become far grimmer compared with the pre-virus plan to run almost singularly around the country’s prosperity.

“With the economy in free-fall, Republicans face a very challenging environment and it’s a total shift from where we were a few months ago,” Mr. Bolger said. “Democrats are angry, and now we have the foundation of the campaign yanked out from underneath us.”

Mr. Trump’s advisers and allies have often blamed external events for his most self-destructive acts, such as his repeated outbursts during the two-year investigation into his campaign’s dealings with Russia. Now, there is no such explanation — and, so far, there have been exceedingly few successful interventions regarding Mr. Trump’s behavior at the podium.

Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma, said the president had to change his tone and offer more than a campaign of grievance.

“You got to have some hope to sell people,” Mr. Cole said. “But Trump usually sells anger, division and ‘we’re the victim.’”

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There are still more than six months until the election, and many Republicans are hoping that the dynamics of the race will shift once Mr. Biden is thrust back into the campaign spotlight. At that point, they believe, the race will not simply be the up-or-down referendum on the president it is now, and Mr. Trump will be able to more effectively sell himself as the person to rebuild the economy.

“We built the greatest economy in the world; I’ll do it a second time,” Mr. Trump said earlier this month, road-testing a theme he will deploy in the coming weeks.

Still, a recent wave of polling has fueled Republican anxieties, as Mr. Biden leads in virtually every competitive state.

The surveys also showed Republican senators in Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina and Maine trailing or locked in a dead heat with potential Democratic rivals — in part because their fate is linked to Mr. Trump’s job performance. If incumbents in those states lose, and Republicans pick up only the Senate seat in Alabama, Democrats would take control of the chamber should Mr. Biden win the presidency.

“He’s got to run very close for us to keep the Senate,” Charles R. Black Jr., a veteran Republican consultant, said of Mr. Trump. “I’ve always thought we were favored to, but I can’t say that now with all these cards up in the air.”

Republicans were taken aback this past week by the results of a 17-state survey commissioned by the Republican National Committee. It found the president struggling in the Electoral College battlegrounds and likely to lose without signs of an economic rebound this fall, according to a party strategist outside the R.N.C. who is familiar with the poll’s results.

The Trump campaign’s own surveys have also shown an erosion of support, according to four people familiar with the data, as the coronavirus remains the No. 1 issue worrying voters.

Polling this early is, of course, not determinative: In 2016 Hillary Clinton also enjoyed a wide advantage in many states well before November.

Yet Mr. Trump’s best hope to win a state he lost in 2016, Minnesota, also seems increasingly challenging. A Democratic survey taken by Senator Tina Smith showed the president trailing by 10 percentage points there, according to a Democratic strategist who viewed the poll.

The private data of the two parties is largely mirrored by public surveys. Just last week, three Pennsylvania polls and two Michigan surveys were released showing Mr. Trump losing outside the margin of error. And a pair of Florida polls were released that showed Mr. Biden enjoying a slim advantage in a state that is all but essential for Republicans to retain the presidency.

To some in the party, this feels all too similar to the last time they held the White House.

In 2006, anger at President George W. Bush and unease with the Iraq war propelled Democrats to reclaim Congress; two years later they captured the presidency thanks to the same anti-incumbent themes and an unexpected crisis that accelerated their advantage, the economic collapse of 2008. The two elections were effectively a single continuous rejection of Republican rule, as some in the G.O.P. fear 2018 and 2020 could become in a worst-case scenario.

“It already feels very similar to the 2008 cycle,” said Billy Piper, a Republican lobbyist and former chief of staff to Senator Mitch McConnell.

Significant questions remain that could tilt the outcome of this election: whether Americans experience a second wave of the virus in the fall, the condition of the economy and how well Mr. Biden performs after he emerges from his Wilmington, Del., basement, which many in his party are privately happy to keep him in so long as Mr. Trump is fumbling as he governs amid a crisis.

But if Republicans are comforted by the uncertainties that remain, they are alarmed by one element of this election that is already abundantly clear: The small-dollar fund-raising energy Democrats enjoyed in the midterms has not abated.

Most of the incumbent House Democrats facing competitive races enjoy a vast financial advantage over Republican challengers, who are struggling to garner attention as the virus overwhelms news coverage.

Still, few officials in either party believed the House was in play this year. There was also similar skepticism about the Senate. Then the virus struck and fund-raising reports covering the first three months of this year were released in mid-April.

Republican senators facing difficult races were not only all outraised by Democrats, they were also overwhelmed.

In Maine, for example, Senator Susan Collins brought in $2.4 million while her little-known rival, the House speaker Sara Gideon, raised more than $7 million. Even more concerning to Republicans is the lesser-known Thom Tillis of North Carolina. Republican officials are especially irritated at Mr. Tillis because he has little small-dollar support and raised only $2.1 million, which was more than doubled by his Democratic opponent.

“These Senate first-quarter fund-raising numbers are a serious wake-up call for the G.O.P.,” said Scott Reed, the top political strategist at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The Republican Senate woes come as anger toward Mr. Trump is rising from some of the party’s most influential figures on Capitol Hill.

After working closely with Senate Republicans at the start of the year, some of the party’s top congressional strategists say the handful of political advisers Mr. Trump retains have communicated little with them since the health crisis began.

In a campaign steered by Mr. Trump, whose rallies drove fund-raising and data harvesting, the center of gravity has of late shifted to the White House. His campaign headquarters will remain closed for another few weeks, and West Wing officials say the president’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale, hasn’t been to the White House since last month, though he is in touch by phone.

Then there is the president’s conduct.

In just the last week, he has undercut the efforts of his campaign and his allies to attack Mr. Biden on China; suddenly proposed a halt on immigration; and said governors should not move too soon to reopen their economies — a week after calling on protesters to “liberate” their states. And that was all before his digression into the potential healing powers of disinfectants.

Republican lawmakers have gone from watching his lengthy daily briefings with a tight-lipped grimace to looking upon them with horror.

“Any of us can be onstage too much,” said the longtime Representative Greg Walden of Oregon, noting that “there’s a burnout factor no matter who you are, you’ve got to think about that.”

Privately, other party leaders are less restrained about the political damage they believe Mr. Trump is doing to himself and Republican candidates. One prominent G.O.P. senator said the nightly sessions were so painful he could not bear watching any longer.

“I would urge the president to focus on the positive, all that has been done and how we are preparing for a possible renewal of the pandemic in the fall,” said Representative Peter King, Republican of New York.

Asked about concerns over Mr. Trump’s briefings, the White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, said, “Millions and millions of Americans tune in each day to hear directly from President Trump and appreciate his leadership, unprecedented coronavirus response, and confident outlook for America’s future.”

Mr. Trump’s thrashing about partly reflects his frustration with the virus and his inability to slow Mr. Biden’s rise in the polls. It’s also an illustration of his broader inability to shift the public conversation to another topic, something he has almost always been able to do when confronted with negative story lines ranging from impeachment proceedings to payouts to adult film stars.

Mr. Trump is also restless. Administration officials said they were looking to resume his travel in as soon as a week, although campaign rallies remain distant for now.

As they look for ways to regain the advantage, some Republicans believe the party must mount an immediate ad campaign blitzing Mr. Biden, identifying him to their advantage and framing the election as a clear choice.

“If Trump is the issue, he probably loses,” said Mr. Black, the consultant. “If he makes it about Biden and the economy is getting better, he has a chance.”

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Prescriptions Surged as Trump Praised Drugs in Coronavirus Fight

Westlake Legal Group 00virus-prescribe-2-facebookJumbo Prescriptions Surged as Trump Praised Drugs in Coronavirus Fight United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Rheumatoid Arthritis National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Lupus Erythematosus Hydroxychloroquine (Drug) Food and Drug Administration Drugs (Pharmaceuticals) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Chloroquine (Drug) Azithromycin (Drug) Autoimmune Diseases

It was at a midday briefing last month that President Trump first used the White House telecast to promote two antimalarial drugs in the fight against the coronavirus.

“I think it could be something really incredible,” Mr. Trump said on March 19, noting that while more study was needed, the two drugs had shown “very, very encouraging results” in treating the virus.

By that evening, first-time prescriptions of the drugs — chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine — poured into retail pharmacies at more than 46 times the rate of the average weekday, according to an analysis of prescription data by The New York Times. And the nearly 32,000 prescriptions came from across the spectrum — rheumatologists, cardiologists, dermatologists, psychiatrists and even podiatrists, the data shows.

A Surge in Prescriptions

Previously, first-time prescriptions for chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine had been nearly the same for over a year.

30,000 prescriptions
Weekday average: 683.6
On March 19, prescriptions topped 31,000 after President Trump discussed his hopes for the drugs at a briefing.

Source: IPM.ai, a subsidiary of Swoop

While medical experts have since stepped up warnings about the drugs’ possibly dangerous side effects, they were still being prescribed at more than six times the normal rate during the second week of April, the analysis shows. All the while, Mr. Trump continued to extol their use. “It’s having some very good results, I’ll tell you,” he said in a White House briefing on April 13.

The extraordinary change in prescribing patterns reflects, at least in part, the outsize reach of the Trump megaphone, even when his pronouncements distort scientific evidence or run counter to the recommendations of experts in his own administration. It also offers the clearest evidence yet of the perils of a president willing to push unproven and potentially dangerous remedies to a public desperate for relief from the pandemic.

On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration warned against using the drugs outside a hospital setting or clinical trial because they could lead to serious heart rhythm problems in some coronavirus patients. Days earlier, the federal agency led by Dr. Anthony S. Fauci — one of Mr. Trump’s top advisers on the pandemic — issued cautionary advice on the drugs, and stated that there was no proven medication to treat the virus.

As the prescriptions surged in the second half of March, the largest volumes per capita included states hit hardest by coronavirus, like New York and New Jersey. Georgia, Arkansas and Kentucky were other states with relatively high per-capita figures. In absolute numbers, California and Washington, the earliest-hit states, were among the largest. The biggest number in either category was in Florida, where nearly one prescription was written for every thousand residents.

Carmen Catizone, executive director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, said the surge created shortages that “put patients at risk who depend on these medications” to treat other illnesses.

“The fact that people reacted to what the White House said in such a way — in the 35 years I’ve been in pharmacy and pharmacy regulation, I’ve never seen that before,” he said.

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More than 40,000 health care professionals were first-time prescribers of the drugs in March, according to the data, which is anonymized and based on insurance claims filed for about 300 million patients in the United States, representing approximately 90 percent of the country’s population. The data is current through April 14.

The data was compiled by IPM.ai, a subsidiary of Swoop, a company in Cambridge, Mass., that specializes in health care data and analytics based on artificial intelligence. It does not include drugs prescribed to patients in hospitals, where some doctors have administered the medication, or those released to hospitals from the Strategic National Stockpile. The data provided to The Times did not include the identities of the prescribers or the patients.

After Mr. Trump’s remarks last month, retail pharmacies across the country reported a run on the drugs, which are mostly prescribed by a small subset of medical specialists. Within days, states began issuing emergency orders to restrict the new prescriptions.

Gwendolyn Young walked into her pharmacy in Los Angeles four days after the president’s March 19 briefing, trying to pick up a 90-day prescription of hydroxychloroquine. She has taken the medication for more than 30 years to treat lupus. The drug, while approved for malaria, is also used to treat lupus and other autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. Hundreds of thousands of patients across the United States rely on it to keep painful symptoms at bay.

At the pharmacy, Ms. Young said, she was told to start rationing her pills because the drug was being given only to patients who had Covid-19. She was eventually able to get a 14-day supply, but the uncertainty has made her anxious.

“Will I have to keep doing this every 14 days?” she said. “What happens to those people who don’t push the way I do?”

Although the availability of hydroxychloroquine has improved in recent weeks, the Food and Drug Administration still lists it as being in short supply.

Mike Donnelly, vice president of communications for the Lupus Foundation of America, said that the organization received calls and emails daily from patients who were told their prescription could be filled only in part or not at all. A spokesman for the Arthritis Foundation said some patients received their refills only after calling around to as many as a dozen pharmacies.

In the past month, about 40 states have intervened in some manner to quell the frenzy.

Idaho was the first to take a hard line, issuing a temporary rule on the same day that Mr. Trump first mentioned the drugs in his daily briefing. The rule banned pharmacists from dispensing chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine unless the prescription included a written diagnosis of a condition that the drugs had been proved to treat. The rule also limited prescriptions to a 14-day supply unless a patient had previously taken the medication.

The director of Idaho’s State Board of Pharmacy said at the time that many of the prescriptions were being written by doctors for themselves and their family members, a trend reported by other state boards as well.

Some of those writing prescriptions for themselves may have been on the front lines treating patients; the data shows an uptick among health care practitioners working in emergency medicine. More broadly, the analysis indicates a major shift in the kinds of medical practitioners writing the prescriptions, based on prescribing patterns in retail pharmacies since 2016.

Historically, the majority of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine prescriptions have come out of a narrow band of specialties like rheumatology. That changed last month, when the specialties reflected in the data included larger numbers of those working in dermatology, ophthalmology, podiatry, urology and other areas.

More Prescriptions From More Doctors

Before the pandemic, most first-time prescriptions for antimalarial drugs came from within a few specialties, but in March, medical professionals across the spectrum prescribed them in record volumes.

Source: IPM.ai, a subsidiary of Swoop·Note: IPM.ai calculates specialty by analyzing prescriptions written and procedures performed by medical practitioners.

In the past six weeks, Dr. Niran Al-Agba, a pediatrician in Silverdale, Wash., has prescribed chloroquine to a handful of adults she considered high risk for Covid-19 — among them, her 76-year-old mother, who works in her medical office.

Dr. Al-Agba said she began researching the drugs in early March after the death of a Seattle-area man, who at the time was the first known virus-related fatality in the United States. She concluded from her research that chloroquine might help, and she didn’t see any harm in writing a short prescription.

“It’s just really hard to look at your mother and not try,” she said.

Dr. Al-Agba instructed her mother to take the pills only if she spiked a fever, which she has not. She still has the pills.

For Dr. Blake Williamson, an ophthalmologist in Louisiana, it came down to writing a prescription for himself. He worries about his close contact with patients and with his 84-year-old father-in-law, who is undergoing chemotherapy for lung cancer and helps care for his three children.

He took a short, prophylactic course of hydroxychloroquine after reading studies from Europe that he thought were promising, and on advice from other physicians.

Dr. Williamson said he thought he did the right thing, especially given his continued exposure to emergency patients in an area hit hard by the pandemic.

“My goal was simply not to be an asymptomatic carrier who could harm patients or at-risk family members and not even know it,” he wrote in an email.

The interest in taking chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment did not originate with Mr. Trump.

Reports from doctors in China and France that the drugs might help patients fueled interest in scientific and medical communities in the United States. Conservative media, in particular, trumpeted the drugs’ potential effectiveness, and the data shows prescriptions had already increased two and a half times over the weekday average during the week before Mr. Trump’s March 19 briefing.

Mr. Trump soon extended his interest to a combination of one of those drugs, hydroxychloroquine, with an antibiotic, azithromycin.

“HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine,” he wrote in a post to Twitter around 10 a.m. on March 21, a Saturday.

The tweet coincided with a weekend flood of prescriptions for the two antimalarial drugs. By the end of the day, the prescriptions had increased 114 times at retail pharmacies compared with the average weekend day, according to The Times analysis.

On Tuesday, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, led by Dr. Fauci, issued guidelines against the combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin except in clinical trials, with experts citing “the potential for toxicities.

Enthusiasm for the drugs has been waning over the past couple weeks, including at Mr. Trump’s own news conferences and among researchers.

A small trial in Brazil of chloroquine was halted after coronavirus patients taking higher doses developed irregular heart rates that increased their risk of a potentially fatal heart arrhythmia. A study of 368 patients in U.S. veterans hospitals found that hydroxychloroquine was associated with an increased death rate; the drug, used with or without the antibiotic azithromycin, also did not help patients avoid the need for ventilators. (The veterans study was not a controlled trial, and neither study has been peer-reviewed.)

Mr. Trump was asked about the veterans study at his briefing on Tuesday.

“Obviously, there have been some very good reports and perhaps this one is not a good report,” he said.

By Thursday, Mr. Trump had moved on to a different subject, raising a question at his White House briefing about the use of disinfectants to kill the coronavirus inside the body. The remarks were followed by dire warnings from state health officials, who were inundated with requests for information about such a course of action. The president’s press secretary tried to make the case the comments were taken out of context by the news media, and Mr. Trump later insisted he had only been kidding.

Jennifer Valentino-DeVries contributed reporting. Susan C. Beachy contributed research.

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Trump’s Suggestion That Disinfectants Could Be Used to Treat Coronavirus Prompts Aggressive Pushback

Westlake Legal Group 24xp-disinfectants-facebookJumbo Trump’s Suggestion That Disinfectants Could Be Used to Treat Coronavirus Prompts Aggressive Pushback washington state United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Poisoning and Poisons Food and Drug Administration Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Cleansers, Detergents and Soaps Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

WASHINGTON — In Maryland, so many callers flooded a health hotline with questions that the state’s Emergency Management Agency had to issue a warning that “under no circumstances” should any disinfectant be taken to treat the coronavirus. In Washington State, officials urged people not to consume laundry detergent capsules. Across the country on Friday, health professionals sounded the alarm.

Injecting bleach or highly concentrated rubbing alcohol “causes massive organ damage and the blood cells in the body to basically burst,” Dr. Diane P. Calello, the medical director of the New Jersey Poison Information and Education System, said in an interview. “It can definitely be a fatal event.”

Even the makers of Clorox and Lysol pleaded with Americans not to inject or ingest their products.

The frantic reaction was prompted by President Trump’s suggestion on Thursday at a White House briefing that an “injection inside” the human body with a disinfectant like bleach or isopropyl alcohol could help combat the virus.

“And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute,” Mr. Trump said after a presentation from William N. Bryan, an acting under secretary for science at the Department of Homeland Security, detailed the virus’s possible susceptibility to bleach and alcohol.

“One minute,” the president said. “And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that.”

Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, was sitting to the side in the White House briefing room, blinking hard and looking at the floor as he spoke. Later, Mr. Trump asked her if she knew about “the heat and the light” as a potential cure.

“Not as a treatment,” Dr. Birx said, adding, “I haven’t seen heat or light” — before the president cut her off.

Mr. Trump’s remarks caused an immediate uproar, and the White House spent much of Friday trying to walk them back. Also Friday, the Food and Drug Administration warned that hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, two drugs that the president has repeatedly recommended in treating the coronavirus, can cause dangerous abnormalities in heart rhythm in coronavirus patients and has resulted in some deaths.

The F.D.A. said the drugs should be used only in clinical trials or hospitals where patients can be closely monitored for heart problems.

“Leave it to the media to irresponsibly take President Trump out of context and run with negative headlines,” Kayleigh McEnany, the new White House press secretary, said in a statement criticizing the coverage of Thursday night’s briefing.

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But the president later undermined her argument by insisting that his question to Mr. Bryan in fact had been an elaborate prank he had engineered to trick reporters.

“I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen,” Mr. Trump said on Friday to reporters gathered in the Oval Office. The president said he had posed his theory on cleaning the body with disinfectant “in the form of a sarcastic question to a reporter,” which also was not true — he had said it unprompted to Mr. Bryan.

With more questions likely at the Friday briefing, Vice President Mike Pence, the head of the White House coronavirus task force, abruptly ended it shortly after it began.

Several White House officials said they shared the view that Mr. Trump had been taken out of context, even as they acknowledged that his comments were problematic. They noted that the president had later directed the same comments to Dr. Birx, and suggested them as a course of study, as opposed to a recommendation of a course of action for the American public.

But they acknowledged that Mr. Trump’s delivery was too sloppy for a president who is in the middle of managing the response to a pandemic that has killed over 45,000 Americans. Some said it was one of the worst days in one of the worst weeks of his presidency.

Others inside the administration raised questions about why Mr. Bryan, whose background is not in health or science, had been invited to deliver a presentation. Mr. Bryan, whose expertise is in energy infrastructure and security, is serving in an acting capacity as the head of the department’s science and technology directorate.

Mr. Bryan served 17 years in the Army, followed by yearslong stints as a civil servant at the Defense and Energy Departments. The latter role led to a whistle-blower complaint accusing him, in part, of manipulating government policy to further his personal financial interests, and then lying to Congress about those interests.

Mr. Bryan was invited by the vice president’s office to the coronavirus task force meetings on Wednesday and Thursday about a study that his department had done relating to heat and the conditions in which the coronavirus can thrive or be dampened. On Thursday, Mr. Bryan presented a graphic to the room, according to four people briefed on the events.

Mr. Pence’s advisers wanted Mr. Bryan to brief the news media on his findings, but several West Wing staff members objected, partly because they were concerned the information had not been verified.

Before Mr. Bryan took the lectern, Dr. Birx and Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, a member of the coronavirus task force, made a few revisions to his presentation, officials said.

As he listened to Mr. Bryan, the president became increasingly excited, and also felt the need to demonstrate his own understanding of science, according to three of the advisers. So Mr. Trump went ahead with his theories about the chemicals.

Later in the briefing, Phil Rucker, a reporter for The Washington Post, asked the president why he had that discussion, since “people tuning into these briefings, they want to get information and guidance and want to know what to do — they’re not looking for a rumor.”

”Hey, Phil,” he responded. “I’m the president, and you’re fake news.”

The backlash was swift. A host of corporations, doctors and government officials quickly stepped forward to issue an identical warning: Cleaning products are extremely dangerous to ingest — potentially deadly — and no one should do so.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi ridiculed Mr. Trump’s comments as she criticized his priorities for coronavirus relief. “The president is asking people to inject Lysol into their lungs,” she said, calling it an indication that “Republicans reject science.”

And Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic presidential front-runner, added his own criticism.

“I can’t believe I have to say this,” Mr. Biden posted on Twitter on Friday afternoon, “but please don’t drink bleach.”

Dr. Jerome M. Adams, the surgeon general, also issued a warning through his Twitter feed — the closest he has come so far to walking back the words of the president.

“A reminder to all Americans- PLEASE always talk to your health provider first before administering any treatment/ medication to yourself or a loved one,” Dr. Adams said. “Your safety is paramount, and doctors and nurses are have years of training to recommend what’s safe and effective.”

Mr. Trump’s hopeful comments about disinfectant use coincided with an alarming rise in accidents with household cleaning products in recent weeks, according to doctors who monitor activity at poison call centers. On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a growing number of calls to poison control centers, and a significant increase in accidental exposures to household cleaners and disinfectants.

The F.D.A. has moved to tamp down on merchants online that have encouraged the ingestion of products made with disinfectants and cleaning agents, including chlorine dioxide, a compound commonly used as a bleach. The products have found favor with conspiracy theorists and fringe activists online who peddle chlorine dioxide as “Magical Mineral Solution,” or M.M.S.

One such activist, Mark Grenon, claimed after the president’s briefing that “Trump has got the M.M.S. and all the info,” according to The Guardian. Mr. Grenon did not reply to an email seeking comment, nor did the White House. On Friday, a person familiar with the situation said senior administration officials were not familiar with Mr. Grenon or his letter.

Social media platforms have also moved to filter out the circulation of junk science and bad information online, using disinfectants as a prime example. Last month, Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, specifically mentioned a bleach “cure” as an example of “misinformation that has imminent risk of danger.”

“Things like, ‘You can cure this by drinking bleach,’” he said. “I mean, that’s just in a different class.”

A spokesman for Twitter said on Friday that the president’s statements “do not violate our Covid-19 misinformation policy.”

Katie Rogers reported from Washington, and Christine Hauser, Alan Yuhas and Maggie Haberman from New York. Kenneth P. Vogel contributed reporting from Washington, and Davey Alba from New York.

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