New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio brushed off his previous comments about the coronavirus pandemic on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday, insisting that now is not the time to look backward.

Why it matters: De Blasio told New Yorkers in the early stages of the outbreak that they should continue their normal activities. "We want people to go about their lives," he said on March 13. "We want people to rest assured that a lot is being done to protect them."

  • De Blasio also visited his preferred Brooklyn gym on the same day that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state would order a series of closures, including gyms, in response to the coronavirus outbreak

The big picture: With more than 30,000 reported cases and 672 deaths from the virus in New York, the city is now the epicenter of the crisis in the United States and the site of one of the largest outbreaks in the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

What he's saying:

"We should not be focusing, in my view, on anything looking back on any level of government right now. This is just about how we save lives going forward. Everybody was working with the information we had. And trying, of course, to avoid panic. ... This was a very different world just a short time ago. ... I think the time to deal with these questions is after this war is over, because literally here in New York City, it feels like a wartime environment."
— Bill de Blasio

Go deeper: New York's fight to save itself from coronavirus is also the country's fight

Go deeper

Updated 45 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Americans feel Trump's sickness makes him harder to trustFlorida breaks record for in-person early voting.
  2. Health: The next wave is gaining steam.
  3. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots.
  4. World: Ireland moving back into lockdown — Argentina becomes 5th country to report 1 million infections.

Meadows confirms Trump's tweets "declassifying" Russia documents were false

Photo: Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows confirmed in court on Tuesday that President Trump's tweets authorizing the disclosure of documents related to the Russia investigation and Hillary Clinton's emails "were not self-executing declassification orders," after a federal judge demanded that Trump be asked about his intentions.

Why it matters: BuzzFeed News reporter Jason Leopold cited the tweets in an emergency motion seeking to gain access to special counsel Robert Mueller's unredacted report as part of a Freedom of Information Act request. This is the first time Trump himself has indicated, according to Meadows, that his tweets are not official directives.

2 hours ago - World

China embraces hostage diplomacy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Chinese government is threatening to detain foreign citizens unless their home governments do what Beijing demands. In some cases, China has already made good on those threats.

The big picture: This marks a potential evolution of China's "wolf warrior diplomacy" to outright rogue state behavior, putting it in the company of countries like North Korea and Iran, which have also engaged in hostage diplomacy.

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