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Trump news – live: President threatens Iran as US coronavirus death toll predicted to reach up to 240,000

Trump news live: Latest coronavirus updates as president warns death toll could soar this month | The Independent

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LiveUpdatedWednesday 1 April 2020 20:43

Trump news – live: President threatens Iran as US coronavirus death toll predicted to reach up to 240,000

Follow the latest updates

Donald Trump has issued his starkest warning yet on the threat posed by the coronavirus outbreak to the US, telling the country it is facing “a hell of a bad two weeks” and saying observing social distancing rules is “a matter of life and death”.

“I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead,” he said at his latest briefing from the White House. “This is going to be one of the roughest two or three weeks we’ve ever had in our country… We’re going to lose thousands of people.”

With the US death toll growing past 4,000 and the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases reaching more than 200,000, officials are now warning the disease could ultimately kill between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans, even if people continue to stay home and limit their contact with others.

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2020-04-01T19:43:57.930Z

Speaker Nancy Pelosi dismissed as an “excuse” claims from Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that impeachment proceedings distracted the president from appropriately responding to the coronavirus pandemic during its initial outbreak.

“We have a life-and-death situation in our country, and they should not try to hide behind an excuse for why they do not take action,” the California Democrat said. “That’s an admission that perhaps the president and the majority leader cannot handle the job,” she said.

House Democratic leaders have targeted 20 April as the earliest they are likely to call members back to Washington to continue legislating the government’s response to the health crisis.

Griffin Connolly reports:

  • Alex Woodward
  • 1 April 2020 20:43
2020-04-01T18:29:00.906Z

US coronavirus cases reach 200,000

The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the US has more than doubled within a week, as several reports show the country’s coronavirus cases topping 200,000 on Wednesday.

  • Alex Woodward
  • 1 April 2020 19:29
2020-04-01T17:40:43.896Z

Florida issues statewide stay-at-home order

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has finally issued a statewide order mandating residents to shelter in place during the coronavirus pandemic, after the state became the only state with more than 5,000 cases without such statewide measures.

On Tuesday, Governor DeSantis said at a news conference that he had no plans to issue a statewide order based on lack of instruction from the White House to do so.

On Wednesday, the governor announced an order, to go into effect on 2 April.

Chris Riotta reports:

  • Alex Woodward
  • 1 April 2020 18:40
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2020-04-01T17:30:00.000Z

Trump says Iran is planning ‘sneak attack’ on US interests in Iraq

Tensions between Iran and the US have been sky-high since the US assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in January. Since then, US bases in Iraq have come under attack a number of times.

  • Alex Woodward
  • 1 April 2020 18:21
2020-04-01T17:13:10.753Z

Trump tells Twitter that US could strike Iran

Donald Trump claims that Iran “or its proxies” are planning a “sneak attack” in Iraq.

His threat follows criticism about US sanctions against Iran that has deprived the country of critically needed medical supplies as it combats the coronavirus pandemic.

The Pentagon haas reportedly been ordered to plan for escalation in Iraq, while the region’s leaders are addressing the crisis that’s disproportionately impacting Iranians.

  • Alex Woodward
  • 1 April 2020 18:13
2020-04-01T17:00:00.000Z

Andrew Cuomo: ‘I don’t think we get back to normal. I think we get to a new normal’

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says the state will see a peak in coronavirus cases at the end of April, as the state’s death toll nears 2,000.

He also announced the closure of playgrounds, but is keeping open “open areas” inside the state’s parks.

“I’ve said this 100 different ways, but compliance is still not where it should be,” Cuomo said. “So, we’re going to take more dramatic actions.”

The governor also addressed the trauma of removing personal and physical interactions from daily lives for up to several months. “Think how emotionally and personally repugnant that concept is,” he said. “We’re not built to be isolated for long periods of time … I don’t think we get back to normal. I think we get to a new normal.”

Danielle Zoellner reports:

  • Alex Woodward
  • 1 April 2020 17:49
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2020-04-01T16:45:00.000Z

US surgeon general: White House social distancing guidelines are essentially a national stay-at-home order

More than a dozen states still don’t have statewide stay-at-home orders in place to combat the spread of coronavirus, and the White House has not issued a national order. US Surgeon General Jerome Adams did not say whether every state should have an order in place, pointing to the “tough choices” that governors must make.

Asked whether every state would have a stay at home order, he told NBC on Wednesday that “we want nationally people to understand the importance of social distancing” and that the Trump administration is providing governors the best possible guidelines” to make that decision.

He said those guidelines are essentially a national stay at home order, but it’s one that can’t be enforced.

The surgeon general also said states that leaned into more aggressive quarantine efforts like Washington and California have been able “to flatten their curve and we know that if you do this that it usually takes about three to four weeks from the time you start to lean into it before you level it off.”

  • Alex Woodward
  • 1 April 2020 17:09
2020-04-01T16:15:00.000Z

Breaking: Trump administration claims it only found out alarming death toll figures at weekend despite experts issuing warning weeks ago

Vice President Mike Pence contended Wednesday that Donald Trump only learned last weekend of government projections showing at least 100,000 people will die in America from coronavirus, despite such warnings being pushed by some experts weeks ago.

“It was those numbers the president was presented with on Saturday,” Mr Pence told CNN, saying Deborah Birx, a top infectious disease expert, only completed an analysis that produced the dire modeling on Friday.

The Independent‘s John T Bennett reports:

  • Alex Woodward
  • 1 April 2020 17:11
2020-04-01T16:00:00.000Z

Former CDC official on returning to ‘normal’ by summer: Coronavirus ‘is not like the weather’

Asked whether the coronavirus could diminish in the summer, former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Tom Frieden stressed that officials should stop looking at the calendar and respond to the data.

He said on CBS This Morning: “It’s not like the weather. We can’t expect seasons here. … We should be able to gradually reopen if we do the right things. It’s not about the date. It’s about the data.”

Dr Frieden said Americans should prepare for a “new normal” while strengthening the healthcare system.

“That’s what we can and must do to re-open as soon and as safely as possible.”

His remarks follow the White House’s shifting timetable to “re-open” the US and its economy by the end of April, though health officials have warned against a return to business as usual. which could endanger millions of Americans, without more stringent lockdown provisions.

  • Alex Woodward
  • 1 April 2020 16:59
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2020-04-01T15:25:00.000Z

Trump’s industry-friendly rollback could kill billions of birds, warns ex-wildlife chief

The president’s latest short-termist environmental rollback in favour of industry threatens to end the practice of imposing criminal penalties on companies that do nothing to prevent unintentional bird deaths.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (MBTA) allows for fines or prosecution for oil and gas, construction, communications and other companies who do not take steps to protect bird populations.

The most notable enforcement case bought under the MBTA resulted in a $100m (£80.6m) settlement by BP, after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010 killed approximately 100,000 birds.

Hard to believe they’re still finding time to implement these horrors, isn’t it?

  • Joe Sommerlad
  • 1 April 2020 16:08
2020-04-01T15:10:00.000Z

US medical workers hit by pay cuts at height of coronavirus

Staggering.
  • Joe Sommerlad
  • 1 April 2020 16:08
2020-04-01T14:50:00.000Z

Kellyanne Conway: ‘If you have a great solution, let’s hear it’

In a confusing world, it’s strangely gratifying to see that some things just never change.

Say what you like about the White House counsel but she is nothing if not consistent.

It’s a good thing she is too because things are getting pretty weird out there…

  • Joe Sommerlad
  • 1 April 2020 15:25
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2020-04-01T14:35:00.000Z

Trump blames impeachment for slow response to coronavirus

Here’s Gino Spocchia on the president blaming the House Democrats for his slow response to the outbreak.

If they hadn’t wasted months impeaching him for attempting to extort a foreign government into helping rig the election in his favour, America would not be in this mess, you see.

Presumably it’s their fault he said it was a “hoax” too.

  • Joe Sommerlad
  • 1 April 2020 15:25
2020-04-01T14:20:00.000Z

White House listing 100,000 to 240,000 coronavirus deaths as ‘goals’ causes offensive

While the chart Trump displayed yesterday was intended to illustrate that the US could face a projected 1.5m to 2.2m deaths from the deadly outbreak if it did nothing – and therefore cutting those alarming numbers down to 100,000-240,000 through social distancing laws would constitute a major “win” – its title certainly did come off as more than a little callous, given that we’re talking about human lives on the line here.

Greg Evans has this report on the reaction for Indy100.

  • Joe Sommerlad
  • 1 April 2020 14:56
2020-04-01T14:05:00.000Z

US coronavirus death toll passes 4,000 as cases near 200,000

Here’s Gino Spocchia with the latest statistics from the US, which continue to make for grim reading.

  • Joe Sommerlad
  • 1 April 2020 14:57
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2020-04-01T13:50:00.000Z

‘It is like Lord of the Flies out there, it’s like eBay for states and hospitals’

Connecticut senator Chris Murphy and his colleague for Hawaii Brian Schatz have introduced legislation requiring the federal government to take over the medical supply chain to guard against “profiteering” from states in need.

“It is Lord of the Flies out there right now, as Governor [Andrew] Cuomo said yesterday – it’s like eBay for states and hospitals,” he told MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “They all go online every single day to try to bid on a ventilator, and they run up the price.”

  • Joe Sommerlad
  • 1 April 2020 15:27
2020-04-01T13:35:00.000Z

US surgeon-general issues unofficial ‘national stay-at-home order’ as Florida coronavirus cases double in four days
Dr Jerome Adams was on NBC’s Today show this morning and had the following to say on the outbreak with regard to certain state governors not playing ball:

Dr Adams was speaking after the number of cases in Ron DeSantis’s Florida doubled in just four days.

  • Joe Sommerlad
  • 1 April 2020 14:42
2020-04-01T13:20:00.000Z

US airstrikes killed civilians in Somalia, Amnesty report says

In non-coronavirus news, US airstrikes in Somalia killed two civilians and injured three in February, according to human rights watchdog Amnesty International, releasing a statement that raises questions about America’s own investigations of such allegations.

US Africa Command said it was assessing the accusation and typically goes to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties.

American forces have been fighting a decade-long struggle against the al-Qaeda-linked militant group al-Shabaab in East Africa. The insurgency wants to overthrow Somalia’s shaky, internationally backed government and rule using its own strict interpretation of Islamic law.

  • Joe Sommerlad
  • 1 April 2020 14:18
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2020-04-01T13:00:00.000Z

‘The first great crisis of the post-American world’

Here’s some interesting – if fairly grim – historical perspective on our current disasterscape from the co-chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

  • Joe Sommerlad
  • 1 April 2020 12:49
2020-04-01T12:40:00.000Z

Churchgoers flock to hear Louisiana pastor despite virus ban

Buses and cars filled a church parking lot in the town of Central, Louisiana, on Tuesday evening as worshipers flocked to hear a pastor who is facing misdemeanour charges for holding services despite a ban on gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A few protesters turned out too, including a man shouting through a bullhorn against the gathering at the Life Tabernacle Church. Another demonstrator held up a sign reading: “God don’t like stupid.”

Afterward, as people began leaving the church, some chatted outside the front doors and many appeared to not be adhering to social distancing recommendations to remain at least six feet apart. Hugs and handshakes were shared freely as people said their goodbyes and departed.

Hours earlier, pastor Tony Spell was issued a summons for holding services previously at the church in violation of the governor’s order banning gatherings.

  • Joe Sommerlad
  • 1 April 2020 12:54
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