News and Headlines. 3/16/2020

News and Headlines: In The News, Politics, World News, Commentary/Opinion.

In The News:

Illinois restaurants, bars concerned about future after Pritzker orders closures over coronavirus

“I am ordering all bars and restaurants in the state of Illinois to close to the public at the close of business Monday night March 16th through March 30th,” Pritzker said in Chicago.

“We are working with restaurant owners and food delivery services across the state to see if restaurants can safely keep their kitchens open so the restaurants can continue food delivery at their homes.

Additionally, we are allowing drive through and curbside pickups over this period.”

He said he’s working with grocers, and federal and local governments to ensure food supplies to stores continue at all hours.

“Please do not hoard food,” Pritzker said. “Buy what you need, but please be reasonable. There is enough food to go around, but please do not be selfish.”

San Francisco announces three week lockdown:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised officials across the United States to crack down on large gatherings of more than 50 people for at least eight weeks
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised officials across the United States to crack down on large gatherings of more than 50 people for at least eight weeks as the governors of California, Illinois and Ohio close all of the bars in their states.

San Francisco’s mayor has announced an unprecedented three week lockdown that will begin on Tuesday at midnight and bans anyone from leaving their home for anything other than doctor’s visits or trips to the grocery store.

In addition to the lockdown in city parameters, six counties in the Bay Area are being told to ‘shelter in place’.

The lockdown is the strictest action to be taken in America. Anyone who breaks it faces legal repercussions.

It will last until April 7. Mayor London Breed called it a ‘defining moment’ on Monday morning.

15 Miles of New Border Walls Slated for Construction in Texa

Photo: Bob Price/Breitbart Texas
Photo: Bob Price/Breitbart Texas

Officials said the new walls are to be constructed in locations where no physical barriers currently exist. These will be new walls, officials stated.

CBP procurement officers awarded the $175,577,000 contract to Randy Kinder Excavating, Inc. The contract calls for four non-contiguous segments.

The new segments will connect to other recently completed border wall segments near Roma, Rio Grande City, Escobares, La Grulla, and a community known as Salineño, Texas.

Prior to the award of the contract, CBP officials consulted with local elected officials for each of the impacted communities.

President Trump & Coronavirus Task Force Hold News Conference 3/16/20

President Trump and Members of the Coronavirus Task Force Hold News Conference 3/16/20

New York, New Jersey, Connecticut team up to announce new restrictions to fight coronavirus

Air passengers leave a customs area March 15, 2020, at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, N.J..
Air passengers leave a customs area March 15, 2020, at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, N.J.. Seth Wenig / AP photo

The trio, Andrew Cuomo of New York, Phil Murphy of New Jersey and Ned Lamont of Connecticut took part in a joint phone call to announce that they would be limiting social gatherings to groups of 50 people or smaller and to require the closure of restaurant dining rooms, movie theaters, gyms and casinos.

The new statewide directions were to take effect at 8 p.m. Monday.

The latest data on diagnosed cases in each state around noon on Monday showed New York with 729, New Jersey with 98 and Connecticut with 26. The three states have a combined population of about 31.9 million, about 10 percent of the total U.S. population.

First Dose Of Experimental Coronavirus Vaccine Administered In Seattle

Shutterstock/Billion Photos
Shutterstock/Billion Photos

The vaccine, mRNA-1273, was developed by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and Moderna Inc, a biotechnology company.

Unlike most vaccines, this one does not contain a weakened version of the virus it seeks to counteract.

Therefore, no chance exists that its recipients can get sick, according to the Associated Press.

MRNA-1273 has been injected into the arms of three volunteers at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Institute in Seattle.

It will ultimately be tested on 45 study participants who will be given two doses, one month apart, reports the AP.

Hospitals Cancel Elective Surgeries to Prepare for Surge of Coronavirus Patients

The moves to cancel or postpone elective surgeries and related measures come after U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said it was important to act decisively to contain the outbreak.

“We are at a critical inflection point in this country,” Adams said in an interview with Fox News.

“We are where Italy was two weeks ago in terms of our numbers and we have a choice to make as a nation:

Do we want to go the direction of South Korea and really be aggressive and lower our mortality rates or do we want to go the direction of Italy?” he said.

Adams advised hospitals to cancel elective surgeries, warning that every elective surgery could spread coronavirus within a medical center.

First coronavirus case on US Navy ship – sailor tests positive

The amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4)
The amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) transits the Indian Ocean during well deck operations. Boxer, the flagship for the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group, and the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (13th MEU) are in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility on a western Pacific deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joseph M. Buliavac/Released)

“U.S. Navy ships conduct routine, daily cleanliness procedures geared toward health, wellness and the prevention of communicable disease spread.

USS Boxer is taking appropriate preventative measures and conducting a thorough cleaning in accordance with specific guidance from the CDC and Navy-Marine Corps Public Health Center,” the Navy statement reads.

“Military health professionals are conducting a thorough contact investigation to determine whether any additional personnel were in close contact and possibly exposed. Depending on the results of that investigation, additional mitigations may be taken,” the statement continued.

GA’s Gov. Kemp authorizes call of up to 2,000 Georgia National Guard troops for COVID-19 response

To assist with COVID-19 mitigation and critical services, including the transfer of Georgians currently at Dobbins Air Reserve Base to their homes, the Georgia National Guard will now be available to communities to ensure the steady supply of medical equipment, food, shelter, or related materials to keep Georgians safe in the weeks ahead.”

The Georgia National Guard is already assisting with the transfer of 31 Georgians – formerly passengers on the Grand Princess cruise ship – from Dobbins Air Reserve Base to their homes today for isolation and monitoring by Department of Public Health officials, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

Early US Coronavirus Patients Have Fully Recovered: Health Officials

Medical personnel staff a drive-through testing site for coronavirus for employees at UW Medical Center Northwest in Seattle,
Medical personnel staff a drive-through testing site for coronavirus for employees at UW Medical Center Northwest in Seattle, Washington, on March 13, 2020.
(Brian Snyder/Reuters)

The trio included a couple in their 70s and another unrelated person in their 50s.

Health officials across the country have reported patients fully recovering.

About four out of five patients don’t require hospitalization, according to data gleaned from cases around the world that’s been widely cited by U.S. health officials.

A Washington state resident who was the first person in the state to test positive for COVID-19, the disease the virus causes, “fully recovered” in late February, health officials said.

Charity Questions | Full Measure

In today’s follow the money, we take a look at people who gave to charities with no idea that almost all of the money was sent to for-profit fundraisers.

Reporter Sarah Kleiner with the Center for Public Integrity uncovered the story.

US troops, families banned from traveling in the US, starting today

US pentagon building aerial view at sunset (Dreamstime/TNS)
US pentagon building aerial view at sunset (Dreamstime/TNS)

In addition to all general travel, the Pentagon orders also halt all Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders and temporary duty assignments that would otherwise require personnel to move.

The new orders apply to all DoD installations, facilities and surrounding areas within the United States and its territories.

“The Department will continue to issue additional guidance with regard to the COVID-19 as conditions warrant. Our goal is to remain ahead of the virus spread so our military force remains effective and ready,” the Pentagon said.


SCOTUS postpones hearing arguments due to coronavirus spread

Alex Wong/Newsmakers via Getty Images
Alex Wong/Newsmakers via Getty Images

According to a Monday announcement from the Supreme Court of the United States, all oral arguments for the rest of the month have been postponed for the foreseeable future.

The news release says that the court made the decision “in keeping with public health precautions recommended in response” to the virus’ global outbreak and that it “will examine the options for rescheduling those cases in due course in light of the developing circumstances.”

Despite the postponement, members of the court will still hold their scheduled conference — where they discuss and make decisions about cases — on Friday, but will have the option of participating in the meeting via telephone instead of showing up in-person.

Woman licking plane toilet seat for ‘coronavirus challenge’ is slammed by Meghan McCain, others on Twitter

In the video, which was originally shared to TikTok, the 22-year-old aspiring influencer from Miami is seen licking a toilet seat, allegedly while in a plane bathroom.

“Please [retweet] this so people can know how to properly be sanitary on the airplane,” she captioned the 6-second clip.

Since posting, those online have been quick to call her out – including Meghan McCain, who demanded the social media star be jailed.

Missouri gunman kills officer, 3 others in convenience store shooting

Springfield Officers Christopher Walsh and Josiah Overton were responding to a report of a shooting at a Kum & Go in Springfield, Mo., at 11:43 p.m. Sunday when they were shot, Police Chief Paul Williams told a news conference early Monday.

The gunman arrived at the Kum & Go after firing shots at three other locations, he said.

“Callers at the Kum & Go reported a vehicle crashing at the scene and an armed suspect entering the store and shooting customers and employees,” the chief said.


White House Adviser Working on Directive to Reduce US Foreign Dependency on Medicines

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro (L) attends the opening session of a congress of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) in Geneva on Sept. 24, 2019. (FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, told CNBC that the United States is heavily dependent on the global supply chain “not just for its medicines but for its medical supplies and medical equipment.”

“The essence of the order … is to bring all of that home so that we don’t have to worry about foreign dependency,” he said in a March 16 interview, adding that 70 percent of the ingredients used in advanced pharmaceuticals “comes from abroad.”

Navarro said the departments of Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, and Defense buy significant amounts of medical equipment, and “we need to have them buy that from American producers on American soil.”

House Republicans press for hearing on ‘threat’ China poses to US pharmaceutical industry

“The outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has highlighted a critical threat to the domestic supply of life saving prescription drugs.

Too many supply chains for our most critical medicines and medical devices are too dependent on China,” said the letter addressed to Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney.

The U.S. is a leader in pharmaceutical development, yet global supply chains “rely so heavily on China that the recent COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in alarming shortages in the United States,” the letter said.

Nation Debt | Full Measure

President Trump promised he would eliminate the national debt.

Instead – there’s no end in sight – which some say could mean dire straits for the US…and soon.

Joce Sterman follows the money with Tom Schatz, President of Citizens Against Government Waste.

Romney wants government to send $1K to every American adult amid coronavirus crisis

That was one of several proposals Romney, a Republican, put forward Monday in his effort to help small businesses and individuals.

The Utah senator and 2012 GOP presidential nominee said his proposals would “build on” the coronavirus package passed by the House of Representatives that the Senate is set to consider this week, but it is unclear if Romney will push for these proposals in that bill or in a potential third bill that has been hinted at by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Making the case for the $1,000 checks, Romney’s news release said that Congress took similar actions to help individuals and small businesses during the recessions in 2001 and 2008.

Yang demands Congress get its ‘sh– together’ and approve payments to all Americans

“What exactly is the political downside of putting money into people’s hands? Get your sh– together Congress and do the right thing,” Yang tweeted Monday morning.

Yang then retweeted a video of Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., on Fox News, where the Republican said legislation from the House did not go far enough.

“We’re going to do everything we can to get cash into the hands of affected workers and families as quickly as possible so we can all get through this pandemic together,” Cotton said.

World News:

Pompeo warns China against spreading ‘outlandish rumors’ about coronavirus

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday warned his Chinese counterpart against spreading “outlandish rumors” about the coronavirus pandemic.

State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said Pompeo “conveyed strong U.S. objection to [China’s] efforts to shift blame for COVID-19 to the United States” in a phone call with Yang Jiechi, director of China’s Office of Foreign Affairs.

China has come under harsh criticism for initially failing to take seriously the growing threat of the highly contagious respiratory infection.

White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien said last week that China tried to cover up the coronavirus outbreak.

‘We are at war’: France’s president just announced a 15-day lockdown, banning public gatherings and walks outdoors

Any public gatherings are banned starting midday Tuesday and for 15 days after, Macron said. He said that includes activities such as walks outside.

Macron told French residents not to leave their homes or meet with other people unless absolutely necessary.

Any public gatherings are banned starting midday Tuesday and for 15 days after, Macron said. He said that includes activities such as walks outside.

Macron told French residents not to leave their homes or meet with other people unless absolutely necessary.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: Myth busters

From the evidence so far, the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in ALL AREAS, including areas with hot and humid weather.

Regardless of climate, adopt protective measures if you live in, or travel to an area reporting COVID-19.

The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands.

By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

Israel declares war on COVID19; applies counter-terrorism measures – TV7 Israel News 16.03.20

1) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declares war on the coronavirus; approved counter-terrorism measures against the general Israeli public to identify suspects in breach of self-quarantine.

2) Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben Shabbat highlights that the situation remains under control; as Jerusalem mobilizes the military to assist local councils and civilian medical services.

3) Israelis flood supermarket, as they prepare for a possible nationwide curfew.

Israel Helps Palestinians Prevent Coronavirus; Arabs Betray Them

Pictured: Palestinians in Ain el-Hilweh, Lebanon's largest Palestinian refugee camp, protest on January 31, 2020.
Palestinians in Lebanon are worried that the Lebanese authorities may use the coronavirus as an excuse to intensify restrictions even further on their refugee camps, after Samir Geagea, a prominent Lebanese politician, called for the immediate closure of the 12 Palestinian refugee camps in his country. Pictured: Palestinians in Ain el-Hilweh, Lebanon’s largest Palestinian refugee camp, protest on January 31, 2020. (Photo by Mahmoud Zayyat/AFP via Getty Images)

In the past few days, Israeli authorities delivered 200 coronavirus testing kits to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. In addition, Israeli and Palestinian professional teams have been working together to prevent the spread of the virus.

The Israeli authorities have also delivered another 200 coronavirus testing kits to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, despite the thousands of rockets and incendiary and bomb-carrying balloons that the ruling government, Hamas, has launched from there towards Israel.

In addition, Israeli authorities have coordinated the transfer of 20 tons of disinfectant material from Israeli factories to the Palestinian health sector. The material included chlorine and hydrogen peroxide, used for disinfection, preservation of hygiene and sanitation.

‘Stay home’: Justin Trudeau closes Canada’s borders over coronavirus

The Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, speaks during a news conference on the Covid-19 situation
The Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, speaks during a news conference on the Covid-19 situation from his residence in Ottawa where he is self-isolating on Monday. Photograph: Dave Chan/AFP via Getty Images

Canada has closed its borders to all foreign nationals except for US citizens, as the country’s prime minister unveiled “increasingly aggressive” measures to contain the new coronavirus outbreak, and urged people to stay at home.

“Over the past few days, we’ve seen Covid-19 spread around the world at an even faster pace.

Canada is no exception,” Trudeau, speaking from outside his home where he is in self-imposed quarantine after his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau tested positive for the virus last week.

Canada now has 377 confirmed cases of the coronavirus – more than double Friday’s figures.

Hardest Hit Coronavirus Regions Reveal Intimate Ties With Beijing

In the final weeks of 2019, a novel coronavirus outbreak occurred in the city of Wuhan, in central China.

As the world welcomed a new decade, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) opted to suppress information about the emerging crisis until it could no longer remain hidden.

Nearly two months after mainland Chinese authorities acknowledged the outbreak and the existence of the contagious virus, the crisis has spread round the globe, assuming epidemic proportions in multiple regions.

Yet the heaviest-hit regions outside China all share a common thread: close or lucrative relations with the communist regime in Beijing.

Spain becomes 4th most coronavirus-infected nation, seizes all private health care

People walk along La Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, March 15, 2020.
People walk along La Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, March 15, 2020. Spain’s government announced Saturday that it is placing tight restrictions on movements and closing restaurants and other establishments in the nation of 46 million people as part of a two-week state of emergency to fight the sharp rise in coronavirus infections.
(AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

China, where the novel virus originated, remains the country with the most cases. Italy came in second, recording 24,747 cases Monday.

That number was a 16.9 percent jump from the 21,157 cases Sunday, and a 63.7 percent jump from the 15,113 cases Friday.

Iran came in third with 3,983 cases, a 9.8 percent jump from 12,729 cases Sunday, and a 38.8 percent jump from the 10,075 cases Friday.

Spain also came in fourth for the number of recorded deaths — at least 288. At least 3,218 people in China, 1,809 people in Italy and 724 people in Iran have died from the virus.


Project Veritas’ James O’Keefe: On Exposing Media Bias & Censorship [CPAC 2020]

For this episode of American Thought Leaders 🇺🇸, we sat down with James O’Keefe, founder of Project Veritas, to discuss the work of his organization, which seeks to “investigate and expose corruption, dishonesty, self-dealing, waste, fraud, and other misconduct in both public and private institutions,” according to their website.

NYT Reporters Just Can’t Stop Lying

What are the odds that two Times reporters would unintentionally misquote a Times article in exactly the same way to give exactly the same impression?

I’m no statistician, but I’d say close to zero.

Ironically, this comes just days after the Times’ Elaina Plott seemed perplexed by why distrust in the media is rising among Trump supporters.