Axios

Inside the start of the great virus airlift

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A plane from Shanghai arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York Sunday morning carrying an extraordinary load: 12 million gloves, 130,000 N95 masks, 1.7 million surgical masks, 50,000 gowns, 130,000 hand sanitizer units, and 36,000 thermometers.

Why it matters: The flight is the start of what might end up being the largest government-led airlift of emergency medical supplies into the United States.

Coronavirus updates: Global death toll tops 32,000

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 32,000 people around the world — with Italy alone reporting over 10,000 deaths, per data from Johns Hopkins.

The big picture: The number of deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. surpassed 2,000 on Saturday. The United States leads the world in confirmed coronavirus infections, with more than 125,000 by noon on Sunday. The number of those recovered from the virus in the U.S. surpassed on Saturday evening.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 12 mins ago - Health

Fixing America's broken coronavirus supply chain

Polowczyk speaks at a coronavirus briefing at the White House, March 23. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

The senior Navy officer now in charge of fixing America's coronavirus supply chain is trying to fill the most urgent needs: ventilators and personal protective gear. But barely a week into his role at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, he's still trying to establish what's in the pipeline and where it is.

Driving the news: "Today, I, as leader of FEMA's supply chain task force, am blind to where all the product is," Rear Adm. John Polowczyk tells Axios.

Go deeperArrow25 mins ago - Health

Louisiana on track to exceed ventilator capacity this week, governor says

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said on CBS News' "Face the Nation" on Sunday that his state is at risk of exceeding its ventilator capacity by April 4, stating that he has placed orders for "about 12,000 ventilators" but has thus far only received 192.

Why it matters: Louisiana — and particularly New Orleans — is site of one of most intense coronavirus outbreaks in the U.S. Local and state government officials like Edwards have been sounding the alarm about the nationwide shortage of ventilators, which are crucial for treating patients who are unable to breathe for themselves.

Go deeperArrow27 mins ago - Health

Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from coronavirus

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that models suggest the coronavirus will infect millions of Americans and could kill 100,000–200,000, though he stressed that the projections are "such a moving target."

Why it matters: Fauci has been the coronavirus task force's most outspoken advocate for emergency social distancing measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus, sometimes contradicting President Trump's more optimistic outlook.

Pelosi: "As the president fiddles, people are dying"

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ramped up her criticism of President Trump's coronavirus response on CNN"s "State of the Union" Sunday, claiming that his downplaying of the crisis has cost American lives.

The big picture: The U.S. is now reporting the most positive coronavirus cases in the world, with 124,686 confirmed as of Sunday morning. Pelosi argued on CNN that Trump's initial denial and subsequent delay in getting life-saving equipment to state governments have been "deadly."

Trump pulls tighter with Biden in nationwide polling

Photos: (L) Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images; Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump gained ground on Joe Biden in the WashPost/ABC News poll this month, going from 7 points down in February to a statistical tie — Biden 49% to Trump 47% among registered voters.

Why it matters: Preferences among all adults has Biden standing at 50% and Trump at 44%, though the poll also tests national sentiment and not state-by-state competitions for an Electoral College majority.

Podcast downloads drop during coronavirus outbreak

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Americans have been listening to fewer podcasts since the coronavirus pandemic started to worsen in the United States, fashion trade publication Women's Wear Daily reports.

Why it matters: Podcast downloads have dropped about 10%, and the number of total unique listeners also dropped around 20% since the start of the month, according to data from Podtrac.

Schools get creative to keep students connected

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

School districts are exploring ways to keep their homebound pupils connected to the classroom, even though many students don't have the internet service or devices they need to do assignments.

Why it matters: All teachers face the problem of "summer slide" — when students lose skills during summer breaks. This year will be doubly hard because students are losing between one and three additional months of in-classroom instruction due to coronavirus-driven closures.

U.S.-led coalition in Iraq withdraws from 3rd base this month

A soldier stands guard at the Qayyarah Airfiend in southern Mosul, March 26. Photo: Murtadha Al-Sudani/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The U.S.-led coalition in Iraq withdrew from K1 Air Base in the northern part of the country on Sunday, AP reports.

Why it matters: It's the third site that coalition forces have left this month as the U.S. gathers troops in Baghdad and at Ain al-Asad Air Base.

Go deeperArrow4 hours ago - World

The year of the protest meets the year of the lockdown

Hong Kong demonstrators protest a government ban on face masks in October. Photo by Laurel Chor/Getty Images

The year of the mass uprising has collided with the year of the coronavirus lockdown, leaving protest movements around the world stalled. 

The big picture: The enduring images of 2019 are of protest — from Hong Kong to Khartoum, across the Middle East and through much of Latin America. Seemingly overnight, though, social distancing has made such mass demonstrations almost unthinkable.

Go deeperArrow5 hours ago - World

Gilead expands access to experimental coronavirus drug in emergency cases

Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Gilead Sciences CEO Daniel O’Day said in an open letter Saturday that the company is expanding access to its experimental anti-coronavirus drug remdesivir to include severely ill COVID-19 patients.

The big pig picture: President Trump has called the antiviral drug "promising," but the results of six clinical trials on this investigational medicine are still being conducted, so its effectiveness in the treatment of the novel coronavirus has yet to be proved. The World Health Organization is involved in the tests.

Go deeperArrow10 hours ago - Health

North Korea launches more ballistic missiles into the sea

A woman in Seoul passes a televised broadcast image of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on March 21. Photo: Jung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images

North Korea has fired what appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles into the ocean off its east coast, officials in Japan and South Korea said Sunday morning local time.

The big picture: North Korea has launched a series of missiles since its first of the year on March 2. "In a situation where the entire world is experiencing difficulties due to COVID-19, this kind of military act by North Korea is very inappropriate and we call for an immediate halt," South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement, per Yonhap news agency.

Go deeper: Kim Jong-un announces end to moratorium on nuclear weapon tests

Keep ReadingArrow14 hours ago - World

Trump rules out quarantine in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut after pushback

President Trump on the White House grounds on Saturdya. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Saturday night that he's decided not to introduce quarantine enforcement measures for New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut, but a "strong" travel advisory would be issued for those states. The CDC has since issued a domestic travel advisory for the states.

Why it matters: Trump said hours earlier he was considering quarantine measures to combat the rise in novel coronavirus cases. But he received pushback, notably from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who told CNN such a measure would cause "chaos." "This would be a federal declaration of war on states," Cuomo added.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 15 hours ago - Health

CDC urges residents in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to avoid travel

The CDC announced Saturday night a domestic travel advisory for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, urging residents to "refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately."

Details: President Trump announced earlier the CDC would issue a "strong" travel advisory for the states after he decided against enforcing quarantine measures following a pushback from governors. The advisory does not apply to employees of critical infrastructure industries, the CDC said.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 15 hours ago - Health