All 50 states are under a federal disaster declaration for the first time in US history. There are now more than 29,000 members of the National Guard on duty across the country to deal with the response to the pandemic, according to a tweet from the chief of the National Guard Bureau. Guardsmen have been called to serve a variety of roles in different states, from staffing emergency operations centers to restocking grocery shelves.
“Obviously you could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives,” Fauci said. “If we had right from the very beginning shut everything down, it may have been a little bit different. But there was a lot of pushback about shutting things down back then.”
Globally, at least 1,850,220 cases of the Covid-19 and more than 114,000 deaths have now been reported, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Weather adds to social distancing stress
A majority of the storms were across the South and East Coast, according to the National Weather Service, with tornado watches issued across areas of Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana. At least eight deaths were reported.
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency emphasized in a tweet that people should continue social distancing practices if they go to a public shelter.
“Have a safe place to go. If you go to a public shelter please wear a mask, bandana, or scarf around your nose and mouth. Practice social distancing,” the agency’s tweet read.
FDA outlines new plan to clean N95 respirators
The FDA’s announcement Sunday outlined a plan to decontaminate the respirators through a company called Advanced Sterilization Products, which could allow for the decontamination of approximately 4 million N95 respirators per day.
“This authorization will help provide access to millions of respirators so our health care workers on the front lines can be better protected and provide the best care to patients with Covid-19,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen M. Hahn said in a news release.
The company would use a system called the STERRAD Sterilization System that uses “vaporized hydrogen peroxide gas plasma sterilization,” according to the agency.
More than 6,300 hospitals in the US already have the system installed, according to the FDA, and each system can reprocess approximately 480 respirators per day.
The system is limited to “a maximum of 2 decontamination cycles per respirator,” according to the FDA letter authorizing its use.
New York state and local government square off on school closures
De Blasio announced Saturday that public schools in the city would remain closed for the rest of the academic year. A few hours later, Cuomo said no decision had been made yet.
Speaking about his relationship with de Blasio, Cuomo said Sunday he understood the mayor’s stance and that it’s “not an unreasonable position.”
He added that unlike de Blasio, he has to worry about other counties and neighboring states when making decisions and said coordination with Connecticut and New Jersey would be optimal.
“We won’t open schools one minute sooner than they should be open, but we won’t open schools one minute later than they should be open either,” Cuomo said. “Whatever plan we come up with will be driven by data and science.”
Cuomo explained it is important to open business at the same time as schools because schools act in part as childcare so parents can go to work. He added opening both at the same time is also critical for restarting the economy.
“If you say the schools are closed through June, you are effectively saying businesses are closed through June because you can’t — restart the economy fully without restarting schools,” Cuomo said.
De Blasio also mandated that beginning Monday, all city workers who come in contact with the public while on duty are to wear face coverings.
Easter Sunday celebrated via social distancing
A livestream of the service showed dozens of people in folding chairs sitting together in Bundy’s industrial warehouse in the small city of Emmett, about 30 miles northwest of Boise, where a handmade sign reading “Defy Martial Law” was placed in front of the speaker’s podium.
After the group watched a pre-recorded praise video, Bundy briefly addressed the group, saying, “When you believe in Christ … you will never infringe upon your neighbor’s rights.”
There were no signs on the livestream of anyone attempting to challenge or interrupt the service. Wayne Hoffman with the conservative Idaho Freedom Foundation — a group that has called the ban on gatherings unconstitutional — also was invited to speak.