President Donald Trump has “turned his back on the problem,” Joe Biden said, adding that the United States is “plainly a nation in crisis” because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee called Trump’s handling of the outbreak “inept” as he called on Congress to make sure people have the support they need to “keep their heads above water.”
Lawmakers returned to Washington Monday to negotiate with the Trump administration over the scope of a new funding package to counter the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the United States.
Trump has defended the way he has handled the coronavirus, saying his early action to close the U.S. borders to visitors from China – where the outbreak began -- saved millions of lives. Last week, there were more than 70,000 newly confirmed cases each day. As of Monday, the U.S. had almost 3,824,000 confirmed cases and close to 141,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Research Center.
And while Trump has reversed himself in recommending people wear masks to stop the spread of COVID-19, he says he will not make masks mandatory nationwide.
In another reversal on mask policy, earlier Monday Winn-Dixie supermarkets announced it would not make shoppers wear masks. But hours later, it reversed itself and said all customers in its stores must cover up starting next week.
The chain said it didn’t want to cause friction between employees and shoppers who refused to wear masks. But after hearing all day from longtime shoppers who say they will now go elsewhere for groceries, it dropped the no-mask policy.
Winn-Dixie has about 500 stores, primarily in southeastern U.S. states that Trump won in 2016.
Two more Brazilian ministers – the citizenship minister and education minister – announced Monday they have tested positive for COVID-19 and are in quarantine.
Citizenship Minister Onyx Lorenzoni said his symptoms are mild and he credited the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, along with two other medications, for making him feel better.
Brazil’s newly appointed education minister, Milton Ribeiro, like Lorenzoni, announced his diagnosis and quarantine measures on social media.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has also come down with COVID-19, and, along with Trump, has touted hydroxychloroquine as a treatment, despite medical experts’ warnings that is ineffective and has possibly deadly side effects.
Bolsonaro is also in quarantine. He appeared in a video Sunday, standing in front of a group of supporters who cheered as he held a box of hydroxychloroquine over his head.
Brazil, with 2.1 million cases and 80,000 deaths, trails only the U.S. in both coronavirus counts.
Spain said its number of COVID-19 cases has risen threefold over the past three weeks, since it started easing restrictions and mandatory lockdowns.
“Where measures have been relaxed is where these clusters appear,” Health Minister Salvador Illa said Monday. “We’re talking about gatherings of extended family and spaces associated with nightlife.”
The Catalan regional government is urging people to stay at home again, and bars and restaurants are ordered to limit the number of customers.
The Israeli parliament voted Monday to let the domestic intelligence agency track the cellphones of COVID-19 carriers for the rest of 2020.
Privacy advocates said this endangers civil liberties. But Israel reported 1,500 new cases Monday with health officials fearing a second wave since schools and businesses were reopened in May.
The top U.S. infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch when the Washington Nationals host the New York Yankees Thursday to open the coronavirus pandemic-shortened Major League Baseball season.
The usual 162-game season has been reduced to 60 games and no fans will be allowed at the ballparks, at least for meantime.
"Dr. Fauci has been a true champion for our country during the COVID-19 pandemic and throughout his distinguished career, so it is only fitting that we honor him as we kick off the 2020 season and defend our World Series Championship title," the Nationals said in a statement released Monday.