Saturday , September 19 2020

Coronavirus Live Updates: As Pandemic Ravages Budgets, States Cut and Borrow to Balance Books – The New York Times, Nytimes.com

The White House threatens to veto a $ 3 trillion pandemic relief bill, and a study suggests that even talking can propel the droplets that spread the virus.

  • Updated May , , : am ET )

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Ohio’s governor ordered cuts to close a $ 777 million budget gap. (Credit … Ty Wright for The New York T imes

(As the virus devastates tax revenues, states must follow balanced-budget laws.)

In February, Ohio was running a $ million budget surplus. Then the coronavirus pandemic struck, and two months later – as tax revenue plummeted and public health expenses skyrocketed – the state was facing a $ million hole.

Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, ordered immediate cuts to close the gap. He had no choice. The pandemic, Mr. DeWine said, “does not exempt us from balancing our budget, which we are legally obligated to do.”

Ohio is hardly alone. Every state is grappling with a version of the same problem, and all but one – Vermont – have (balanced-budget laws) in place. And for most, the new fiscal year starts on July 1, leaving them desperate for help with just a few weeks to come up with a plan.

A coalition of five Democratic governors said on Monday that state and local governments needed $ 1 trillion in federal relief or they would be forced to decide between funding public health care programs or laying off teachers, police officers and other workers.

Democrats in Washington have supported those requests, but some Republicans

– including President Trump – have suggested that Democratic-controlled states are seeking a bailout for poor decisions that predate the pandemic.

The problem is that balanced-budget laws have left states with a few options. And the coronavirus adds to the strain every day: Stay-at-home orders and frozen economic activity have cut state sales-and income-tax revenue, and services that are largely unused, like airports and public transit, still must be maintained.

Georgia has instructed all state agencies to reduce spending by (percent by May) . California has already borrowed $ 728 million, and Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday proposed steep cuts to public schools and universities and health care as part of a revised budget.

The new California budget would cut spending by 9 percent over all, but like Mr. DeWine, Mr. Newsom said he had little choice.

“Our state is in an unprecedented emergency, facing massive job losses and shortfalls in record time, ”he wrote in a letter to legislators. “This budget review that emergency.”

(In swing states, reopening deepens the political divide.)

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President Trump’s supporters lined the road outside Owens & Minor’s distribution center in Allentown, Pa., For the president’s visit on Thursday. Credit … Doug Mills / The New York Times

In Wisconsin, residents woke up to a state of confusion on Thursday after the co nservative majority on the State Supreme Court sided with the Republican majority in the Legislature on Wednesday night,

In Michigan, hundreds of protesters, many of them armed, turned out at the State Capitol in a drenching rainstorm. The state closed the building in advance and canceled the legislative session, rather than risk a repeat of an April protest in which angry protesters carrying long guns crowded inside

In Pennsylvania, some Republican lawmakers urged defiance of the Democratic governor’s orders to keep nonessential businesses closed, and President Trump flew to Allentown for a politically charged visit to a medical supply facility.

The response to the coronavirus in those three states, which determined the presidential election and could strongly influence the one in November, is becoming a confused and agitated blend of health guidance, protest and partisan politics – leaving residents to fend for themselves.

“My anxiety for this pandemic.” is not having a unified plan, that we’re all on the same page, and listening to science and the same rules, ”said Jamie O’Brien, 42, who owns a hair salon in Madison, Wis., that remains closed because of a local stay-at-home order.

Across Wisconsin, the court ruling left some residents in a festive mood, heading directly to one of the state’s many taverns to celebrate. Others were determined to stay home, worried that it was too soon to return to crowded restaurants and shops.

“You have the one group that’s like, ‘Yay!’” Said Patty Schachtner, a Democratic state senator from western Wisconsin. “And the other group is like, ‘Man, life just got complicated.’”

It was an unsettling microcosm of a country impossible unable to separate bitter political divisions from plans to battle a deadly disease. Democratic governors in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, backed by public health experts, have urged caution before reopening. Republican legislatures in the states have pushed in the opposite direction, citing economic necessity and personal freedom.

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  • Customers at the International House of Food in Phoenix. The C.D.C. released a set of guidelines to help businesses decide whether to reopen. Credit … Adriana Zehbrauskas for The New York Times

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday released six flow charts meant to help schools, restaurants, transit systems and other businesses decide when to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic , the agency’s first release of such guidance after a more comprehensive draft was rejected by the White House .

    The public release of the guidance follows a tumultuous back-and-forth between the CDC and the White House. Trump administration officials had sent back the CDC’s initial recommendations, arguing that they were too prescriptive and rigid when the (density of confirmed coronavirus cases) can fluctuate widely from state to state, and even county to county. Some federal agencies also said the draft guidelines could harm businesses and the economy.

    Notably absent from the six decision trees released on Thursday was any mention of houses of worship, which had been a particularly contentious point in the CDC guidance that was rejected. A draft of that guidance encouraged all congregants to wear masks and suggested religious institutions suspend the use of any “choir or music ensemble.”

    A CDC A spokesman said that further decision charts may be issued, and that the ones that were released emphasized the need for employers to work closely with local health officials.

    But the simple slides, which include arrows, stop sign graphics and links to further resources, could still aid principals, employers and others faced with tough decisions about whether to reopen. Nearly every state has eased restrictions on some businesses .

    (The White House threatens to veto a $ 3 trillion relief bill.) The White House threatened to veto a $ 3 trillion pandemic relief bill that Democrats planned to push through the House on Friday, as Republicans urged their members to reject a measure they said was a nonstarter.

    In a message to the House on Thursday, White House officials called the insupportable legislation and said Democrats who drafted it were “more concerned with delivering on longstanding partisan and ideological wish lists than with enhancing the ability of our nation to deal with the public health and economic challenges we face. ”

    On a day. when the two-month tally of (jobless claims reached) . 5 million , the statement hinted at what Republican leaders and White House officials have suggested in recent days: That they are not certain additional economic aid measures will be needed, and that any such measure should be centered on tax cuts and liability protections for businesses.

    House Republican leaders urged their members to vote against the legislation, saying, “Neither this bill nor anything like it will ever become law.”

    Even as they prepared to muscle it thro ugh the House, Democrats were making last-minute revisions to the bill, including a provision to bar nonprofit organizations that had engaged in election activities, such as contributing to a political campaign, from receiving loans. They also added language ordering a study to examine the role of virus-related disinformation in the public’s response to the pandemic.

    The virus killed a police officer. His town lined the streets to mourn him.

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    (Family members mourned the passing of Officer Charles Roberts during a memorial service in Glen Ridge, NJ, on Thursday.) (

    (Credit … Chang W. Lee / The New York Times

    For three weeks, a small town in northern New Jersey kept vigil over Officer Charles Roberts.

    Everyone in Glen Ridge knew Mr . Roberts, or at least had a story about him. He was the officer they saw in the morning at Starbucks, the one who secured their new car seats into back seats, the one who remembered their children’s names from school, where his wife was a teacher and where Mr. Roberts, 45, was an officer in the drug education program.

    Since he had collapsed at home in April, they had prayed for him and placed signs on their doors, windows and lawns that read “#ROBSTRONG.”

    On Thursday, three days after he died from complications of the coronavirus, the people of Glen Ridge, which is about 30 miles west of New York City, (paid him one last honor .

    With no central gathering spot available because of the state’s lockdown orders, they filed out of their homes by the hundreds and stood on their porches, front yards and sidewalks. They placed their hands over their hearts as the hearse carrying his body made its way to the cemetery. Many wore blue and orange – the colors of the New York Mets, Mr. Roberts’s favorite baseball team – and saluted as the hearse drove by, escorted by dozens of police cars and motorcycles from nearby towns and cities.

    “He’s just truly the poster image of what a Norman Rockwell police officer looks like,” said Joseph Uliano, a fellow officer in the Glen Ridge Police Department, referring to the famous painting of a police officer chatting with a small child at a soda shop. “If there was a 2485 version of that poster, it would be Rob sitting at that counter with that little boy. ”

    Even talking can propel the droplets that spread the virus, a study suggests.

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    New findings are strengthening the case for wearing masks and taking other precautions to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

    Coughs or sneezes may not be the only way people transmit infectious pathogens like the coronavirus to one another. Talking can also propel thousands of droplets so small they can remain suspended in the air for eight to (minutes, according to a new study.)

    The research, published Wednesday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , could help explain how people with mild or no symptoms may infect others in close quarters such as offices, nursing homes, cruise ships and other confined spaces.

    The study’s experimental conditions would need to be replicated in more real-world conditions, and resea rchers still do not know how much virus has to be transmitted from one person to another to cause infection. But its findings strengthen the case for wearing masks and taking other precautions to reduce the spread of the virus.

    The FDA says a test used by the White House may produce false negatives.

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    President Trump inspecting an Abbott Labs testing kit during a coronavirus briefing at the White House in March. Credit … Al Drago for The New York Times

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