Vice President Mike Pence was self-isolating Sunday (May 10th) after his press secretary tested positive for the coronavirus last week, AP reported, citing an administration official who said Pence was voluntarily keeping his distance from others in line with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, spokesman Dennis O'Malley stated that Pence, quote, "is not in quarantine," and plans to be at the White House Monday. He also said Pence has tested negative every day since his exposure. Meanwhile, three of the nation's top health scientists are self-quarantining because of exposure to Pence's aide:Dr. Anthony Fauci; CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield; and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn. Fauci has tested negative and will work from home. All three are expected to testify by videoconference before a Senate health committee Tuesday. It was also announced last night that the chairman of the committee, Senator Lamar Alexander, will also be participating by videoconference because he's self-quarantining after one of his staffers tested positive.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin advocated yesterday for the importance of beginning to reopen the economy, saying onFox News Sunday, "If we do this carefully, working with the governors, I don’t think there’s a considerable risk. Matter of fact, I think there’s a considerable risk of not reopening. You’re talking about what would be permanent economic damage to the American public." After another 3.2 million U.S. workers applied for jobless benefits last week, for a total of 33.5 million over the last seven weeks, Mnuchin also said he expected the jobless numbers to, quote, "probably get worse before they get better." But also said he expects the economic numbers to improve in the second half of this year, and that 2021 will be a, quote, "great year."
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Sunday that the number of new daily hospitalizations for the coronavirus in the state, which has been the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, had returned to where it was when he issued a statewide shutdown on March 20th. There were 521 people newly hospitalized with the disease Saturday. There were also 207 deaths, which Cuomo said is back down to where it was about a week after the shutdown. Meanwhile, Cuomo also said nursing homes in the state must start testing staffers for the virus twice a week, and will no longer be sent coronavirus patients leaving hospitals. The governor had faced criticism for a March 25th state directive saying nursing homes couldn't refuse new or returning residents who'd tested positive for the virus, which was intended to help free up hospital beds for the sickest patients. Critics charge the order worsened outbreaks in nursing homes, which have been hard hit by the coronavirus.
In other developments:
There have been more than 79,500 people killed in the U.S. by the coronavirus as of last night, according to Johns Hopkins University's count. There have been more than 1,329,000 confirmed cases.