New Yorkers flee to Hamptons, Catskills amid coronavirus fears

It was just over a week ago that Julia Noran-Johnston and her family made the decision — on the heels of the announcement that schools were closed and ahead of recent dire pandemic predictions for the city — to pack their bags for the countryside.

Noran-Johnston, her husband and her two young children bid farewell to their Upper West Side apartment for destinations north — far north.

“We found a super old farmhouse in Vermont for $3,000 for the month. We will likely stay beyond that,” says Noran-Johnston, founder and president of the Business of Home, a resource for interior design and home industry professionals.

Noran-Johnston, who chose Vermont because extended family is there, is far from alone in fleeing Manhattan during the city’s coronavirus lockdown. Some of her friends, she says, have rented vacation homes in the Poconos or the Berkshires.

Catskills houses for rent are in high demand for the same reason, brokers say, and many quarantined New Yorkers are making tracks to the Hamptons, boosting the short-term rental market there as well.

Leslie Hough, 55, who works in post-production and is currently on a project for Netflix, started her search weeks ago to find a work-from-home outpost away from the 1,000-square-foot Upper West Side apartment she shares with her partner, John Sudol, an acting coach.

The jump on looking paid off for Hough, who found a spacious three-bedroom in East Hampton close to the water for $3,500 a month, where she plans to stay until mid-May. “We needed space and two rooms to be in and need to be able to spread out,” says Hough, who adds that video conferencing is a large component of both of their jobs.

Vanessa, 32, and Ray Vargas, 40, founders of Home Sweet Hudson, an Ulster County-based listing and management service for Airbnb properties owned by city dwellers, have seen a significant jump in inquiries for full-home rentals in the last few weeks.

The Vargas’ roster of rentals — more than 30 properties — are sought after by families “asking about internet service and Wi-Fi and trying to keep connected but get out of the New York City area,” says Vanessa.

“We’re seeing customers inquiring about staying for a month or two,” adds Vanessa. “If we can’t accommodate them at one property, we can relocate them to another one.” Currently, rentals through Home Sweet Hudson range from $75 to more than $200 per night depending on the size of the house and its amenities. “We’re doing our best to work with folks and find the right place for them based on their budget,” says Vanessa.

Murray Hill resident Kate McMahon, 50, an actor, packed up a car with her husband, two teenage sons and the family dog, and opted for a $3,250-a-month creek-side three-bedroom home in Callicoon, New York. The cabin was secured through Red Cottage Inc., a rental service representing 58 cabins, farmhouses and woodland properties in the Catskills and Hudson Valley.

Red Cottage founder Jennifer Grimes, 53, reports working 70-hour weeks to help connect families — nearly all hailing from Manhattan — with rural dwellings amid coronavirus fears.

Though some properties initially reserved for spring and summer weddings have been canceled, Grimes says, they are just as quickly being scooped up by those seeking to shelter outside of the city for the next few months. “Someone just booked a huge house for two, maybe four people, until the Wednesday after Labor Day,” adds Grimes. Red Cottage’s rental properties skew high-end, often with amenities such as hot tubs and pools, with rates from $250 to $1,300 per night.

Owners of second homes upstate are also canceling renters’ reservations so they can also use the properties themselves. “We have had eight owners (out of 58) block their calendars for the foreseeable future,” Grimes says. “We have moved everyone to a different house, or have provided full refunds.”

To meet the unusually high demand, Grimes is even encouraging a handful of properties that typically close for the winter to reopen ASAP. Grimes says there are still places with availability starting in mid-April and new listings in the pipeline.

Patrick, 35, and Alana, 34, an engaged couple who declined to give their last names for privacy reasons, left their rental in Hell’s Kitchen for a woodsy three-bedroom rental in Stone Ridge, New York, where they have been working remotely since March 14. They are paying $5,500 for a 35-night stay — and will likely extend the reservation.

For Patrick, who works in finance, and Alana, who is in advertising, the notion to relocate out of the city for the short term was a no-brainer. “It just wasn’t feasible for us to work remotely from a small apartment in Hell’s Kitchen,” says Patrick. The area around Stone Ridge was familiar to the couple, who have made prior visits to New Paltz and Phoenicia.

New York’s more rural counties are taking notice of the influx, and pleading with city dwellers to reconsider relocating to their quiet towns during the public health crisis. Last Friday, Greene County, bordered on the south by Ulster County and to the east by Columbia County, issued a press release asking visitors and second homeowners to hold off on travel into the county and also to not expect the same resources. “Greene County is a large rural county with NO hospital!” the release said. “This limits our ability to serve a large number of people requiring higher levels of care for COVID-19 patients and other illnesses.”

Greene County currently has four confirmed cases of the coronavirus. And on Tuesday, the head of the White House coronavirus task force, Dr. Deborah Birx, has asked anyone leaving the New York metro area to self-quarantine for 14 days in order to stop the spread.

I didn’t want to watch [New York City] crumble, and wanted to be in denial out in the country.

“We’ve taken some steps, like requiring a 14-day minimum for new bookings, to be considerate of our friends and neighbors,” Grimes says. “So it’s a legitimate concern.”

But given the orders to stay home except for essential outings — a lockdown-style policy also known as shelter in place — many NYC residents still prefer less-populated environments to wait out the pandemic.

“My phone is ringing off the hook with one- and two-month rentals,” Steven Zellman, a real estate agent with Town and Country Real Estate in the Hamptons, tells The Post via email. “I have done 11 rentals in the last five days, and am working on four others as I write this.”

Joseph Kazickas of Rosehip Partners Real Estate and reports a comparable flurry of activity. “There’s definitely an uptick in inquiries in seasonal rentals, but also this urgency of customers who want to get into a home tomorrow for the next few months,” says Kazickas, who primarily serves the area between Westhampton and Montauk.

For Hough, the temporary move out east is about finding solace and safety in turbulent times.

“I didn’t want to be around and see New York City shut down,”she says. “It would be too much to bear; to be met with closed stores, closed restaurants and not being able to go on the subway. I didn’t want to watch it crumble, and wanted to be in denial out in the country. I wanted to be where the environment is beautiful, and where we might be able to find peace of mind through nature.”

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GOP Senate Candidate Claims Coronavirus Likely ‘Created In A Lab’ By China

A Republican running for the U.S. Senate in New Hampshire has repeatedly claimed China likely created the novel coronavirus in a laboratory ― a theory widely rejected by scientists and also pushed by pro-Kremlin voices seeking to sow discord. 

Donald Bolduc, a retired U.S. Army brigadier general and the former commander of American Special Operations Forces in Africa, is running to unseat Democratic incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in November. 

Like Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who endorsed him in January, Bolduc has been telling reporters that he believes the virus was potentially engineered in a Chinese lab as a biological warfare experiment.

“It’s China’s fault,” Bolduc said Tuesday during an interview with “Gun Shop Guys,” a local New Hampshire podcast. “They started this shit and they weren’t transparent about it. And they probably created it in a lab. And now we’re stuck with it. And the whole world is stuck with it.”

He expanded on his theory during an interview with WMUR on Thursday, claiming the virus was an attempt at population control that was designed to have “a fatal effect on our older generation.”

“China created this worldwide epidemic,” he told WMUR. The virus was “probably a biological program they put together and it got beyond their ability to contain.” 

Bolduc that day also retweeted Twitter user @AngelWarrior321, an anonymous, pro-Trump account that has shared sexist, racist and Islamophobic content targeting Democrats. The tweet claimed the virus was “not designed just to kill us” but to also “destabilize the West’s economy” because “China wants to rule the world.”

Asked about the retweet Monday, Josh McElveen, senior adviser to Bolduc’s campaign, told HuffPost the tweet was shared in error and would be removed.

“As much as we’d like to have a zero defect environment, an unintended retweet occurred during an audit of social media accounts,” McElveen said in a statement. 

Bolduc reiterated his lab theory in a phone interview with HuffPost on Monday. He said he’s not a scientist, but he has a hunch that is based on his military experience as well as reports that are available to the public.

“I would not take off the table the possibility of it being a lab-created virus that was either accidentally leaked due to carelessness,” Bolduc said, “or at worst ― at worst ― intentionally released to see what the effects would be and it just got out of control.”

He later added: “I am not on the fence about it. I’m pretty much convinced in my own mind based off of the way China has reacted inside of China and outside of China that this was created in a lab and they’re trying to cover their tracks.”

He said the U.S. should hold the Chinese government accountable “economically” and “politically” once the virus is under control and if it’s determined it came from a lab.

Both Cotton and Bolduc have noted that the place where the virus was first detected, the Chinese city of Wuhan, is home to the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory, which researches dangerous pathogens.

But the claim that China engineered the virus in a lab has been dismissed by scientists. The genome sequence of the virus suggests it is natural and was likely transmitted from a bat, possibly via another animal, to humans. 

“There’s absolutely nothing in the genome sequence of this virus that indicates the virus was engineered,” Richard Ebright, a professor of chemical biology at Rutgers University, told The Washington Post. “The possibility this was a deliberately released bioweapon can be firmly excluded.”

Vipin Narang, an associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told the Post that there’s no evidence that a lab accident caused the general population to be exposed to the virus, calling the scenario “highly unlikely.”

Bolduc told HuffPost he’s seen reports from scientists debunking the lab claim but said he’s also read “the same number of reports coming from inside China and other places that say the opposite.” Asked to specify which reports Bolduc was referring to, McElveen sent HuffPost two links: one to a thinly sourced Asia Times report and another to an entry on the right-wing blog American Thinker.

“I have read those reports and not being a scientist and a biochemist and all these people involved in this stuff, I certainly read them and I look at them and I say to myself, ‘OK, these are experts and this is great,’” Bolduc told HuffPost.

“I’m also reading the same number of reports coming from inside China and other places that say the opposite,” he continued. “This could be something that came from animals inside a lab, in my opinion, that got away from them.”

“I do not discuss science,” he added. “I am not an expert. And I hope that they’re right. However … we have to leave all options on the table to include the analysis of the experts who say no. I get it. I’m not a knucklehead.”

Bolduc, Cotton and conservative bloggers aren’t the only people accusing the Chinese government of either intentionally or unintentionally exposing the general population to the virus. 

The European Union External Action Service’s East StratCom, a task force that monitors Russia’s ongoing disinformation campaigns, reported last week that pro-Kremlin trolls were pushing the same theory to “sow distrust and division.”

The group said the Russian government wasn’t authoring fake news articles, but was amplifying the false theories peddled by other organizations, including American far-right groups, reported Politico.

Asked if he’s concerned that his lab theory echoed Russian disinformation efforts, Bolduc said his views have “nothing to do with those reports.”

“I don’t take this lightly,” Bolduc told HuffPost. “I’m trying to be responsible about it. I’m not trying to create an issue where one doesn’t exist. But I firmly believe that this option should be on the table just like every other option is on the table.”

“If it is something that was irresponsibly released due to something developed in a lab, great. If it’s not, great,” he added. “Let’s just know where it came from so we can contain it.”

Bolduc has said he has the backing of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which has not yet officially endorsed a candidate in the New Hampshire primary race. The NRSC did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

Cotton was slated to campaign for Bolduc and headline a Republican fundraiser in New Hampshire in May. His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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38 Positive for Coronavirus in NYC Jails, Including Rikers

New York (AP) — At least 38 people have tested positive for coronavirus in New York City jails, including at the notorious Rikers Island jail complex, the board that oversees the city’s jail system said Saturday.

In a letter to criminal justice leaders, Board of Correction interim chairwoman Jacqueline Sherman wrote that at least 58 other people were currently being monitored in contagious disease and quarantine units.

“It is likely these people have been in hundreds of housing areas and common areas over recent weeks and have been in close contact with many other people in custody and staff,” Sherman warned, predicting a sharp rise in the number of infections.

“The best path forward to protecting the community of people housed and working in the jails is to rapidly decrease the number of people housed and working in them.”

In the past six days, she wrote, the board learned that at least 12 Department of Correction employees, five Correctional Health Services employees, and 21 inmates have tested positive for the virus.

The city’s jail agency and its city-run healthcare provider did not respond to messages seeking comment on the letter. On Friday, the city’s Department of Corrections said just one inmate had been diagnosed with coronavirus, along with seven jail staff members.

Late Saturday, the department acknowledged 19 inmates had tested positive — two fewer than in the board’s letter — and 12 staff members. The city-run agency that provides inmate health care did not respond to messages seeking comment on the board’s assertion that some of its employees were also infected.

New York has consistently downplayed the number of infections, The Associated Press has found in conversations with current and former inmates.

More than 2.2 million people are incarcerated in the United States — more than anywhere in the world — and there are growing fears that an outbreak could spread rapidly through a vast network of federal and state prisons, county jails and detention centers.

It’s a tightly packed, fluid population that is already grappling with high rates of health problems and, when it comes to the elderly and the infirm, elevated risks of serious complications. With limited capacity nationally to test for COVID-19, men and women inside worry that they are last in line when showing flu-like symptoms, meaning that some may be infected without knowing it.

The first positive tests from inside prisons and jails started tricking out just over a week ago, with less than two dozen officers and staff infected in other facilities from California and Michigan to Pennsylvania.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and even death.

The vast majority of people recover from the virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe cases may take three to six weeks to recover.


The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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Coronavirus crisis: New York Gov. Cuomo orders all non-essential workers to stay home

New York Gov. Cuomo: Coronavirus created great need for ventilators

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo gives details on ventilators while delivering an update on the coronavirus outbreak.

New York state moved to join California on Friday in confining nearly all residents to their homes, as governors undertook their most sweeping efforts yet to contain the coronavirus and fend off the kind of onslaught of patients that has caused southern Europe to buckle.

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“We’re going to close the valve, because the rate of increase in the number of cases portends a total overwhelming of our hospital system," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said as cases in the state climbed to more than 7,000 and the death toll reached at least 38.


Cuomo said that starting Sunday, all workers in nonessential businesses must stay home and all gatherings of any size will be banned in the state of more than 19 million people. The move came after California all but confined its 40 million residents in the biggest lockdown in the nation.

The increasingly drastic measures in the U.S. came as gasping patients filled the wards of hospitals in Spain and Italy, and the global death toll surpassed 10,000, with the virus still multiplying and gaining footholds in new corners of the world.


The World Health Organization noted the epidemic’s dramatic speed.

“It took over three months to reach the first 10,000 confirmed cases and only 12 days to reach the next 100,000,” the U.N. health agency said.

Across the U.S., governors and public health officials watched the crisis from afar with mounting alarm and warned of critical shortages of ventilators, masks and other protective gear.

Countries frantically prepared for a deluge of patients in the coming weeks.

In Britain, the government asked 65,000 retired nurses and doctors to return to work. A convention center and hotels in Madrid were being turned into field hospitals for nearly 10,000 patients. France's military worked to build a makeshift medical center in the hard-hit town of Mulhouse. The U.S. readied military hospitals for civilian use, and more than 4,000 National Guard members were deployed in 31 states to help distribute food, scrub down surfaces and help in other ways.

The Trump administration warned Americans abroad to return home or risk spending an “indefinite” period away and said cross-border travel would be sharply curtailed, but said trade would not be affected. And the income tax filing deadline was moved from April 15 to July 15.

“We’re about to enter into a new way of living here in Los Angeles," Mayor Eric Garcetti said as California went into lockdown, with people told to venture outside only for essential jobs or errands and some exercise. “What we do and how we do it and if we get this right will determine how long this crisis lasts."


On Friday morning, the streets of downtown Los Angeles were quiet but not desolate. Residents walked their dogs or jogged, hile some homeless people slept. Cars drove along Figueroa Street, but the usual traffic jams were gone.

Scott Sorensen, who was walking his boxer, Chewie, said he is limiting how much attention he pays to the news so that he is not overwhelmed.

“I remember my great-grandmother describing the Depression,” said Sorenson, 50. “I’m trying to keep it in focus.”

The virus has struck at the very identities of many countries: closing down cafes, restaurants and boulevard life in France, ending la dolce vita in Italy, forcing the cancellation of the ceremonial changing of the guard at England's Buckingham Palace, wrecking sales of tulips in Holland and closing the Statue of Liberty in the U.S.

Governments are trying to balance locking down residents with the need to keep food, medicine and other essentials flowing.

In Britain, the category of vital workers includes doctors, nurses and paramedics — and also vicars, truckers, garbage collectors and journalists. In New York, people will allowed out for solitary exercise for their mental health, but Cuomo said they will have stay at least 6 feet away from one another.


In Bergamo, the epicenter of the Italian outbreak, cemeteries were overwhelmed. Patients at the city's main hospital lined up in a narrow ward, struggling for breath as doctors and nurses moved swiftly from one beeping machine to the next.

“When the virus arrived here, there was no containment and it spread through the valleys very quickly. … Some said it was the normal flu. We doctors knew it was not,” said Dr. Luca Lorini, head of intensive care at the hospital, where nearly 500 beds were dedicated to people suffering severe virus symptoms. Eighty patients were in intensive care.

In the Italian farm town of Fondi, home to a wholesale produce market serving Rome and Naples, a new ordinance banned all but essential people from entering or leaving after 40 elderly residents became infected.

At a convent on the outskirts of Rome, 19 of 21 nuns were infected, according to the Italian daily Il Messaggero. A Vatican decree absolved the sins of the faithful who were sick or in quarantine, as well as those of their caregivers, if they met certain conditions.

“Certain medical centers are suffering stress that is reaching the limit,” said Fernando Simón, director of Spain’s center for health alerts and emergencies. “The difficult days in which we must bear down are coming now. We must keep our focus.”

Although the illness is mild in most people, the elderly are particularly susceptible to serious symptoms. Italy has the world’s second-oldest population, and the vast majority of its dead — 87% — were over 70.

Some of the only good news came from Wuhan, the Chinese city where the outbreak began and were hospitals were struggling just weeks ago. For the second day in a row, no new infections were reported and only 39 cases were recorded nationwide — all brought from the outside, the government said.

With the crisis waning, China has begun sending medical supplies to Europe.

The effects of the global economy grinding to a halt took their toll, from millions of unsold flowers rotting in piles in Kenya to the slow emptying of the world's skies.

In the U.S., Congress worked to put together a $1 trillion emergency package to prop up industry and small businesses and dispense relief checks of $1,200 for adults and $500 per child.

Scientists advising the British government warned that restrictions on daily life may have to be in place for a year, with periods of less stringent and more stringent measures.

French President Emmanuel Macron urged employees to keep working in supermarkets, production sites and other necessary businesses amid stringent movement restrictions.

“We need to keep the country running,” Macron said.

Worldwide, the number of infections exceeded 244,000, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

Italy, with 60 million citizens, recorded at least 3,405 deaths, exceeding the 3,248 in China, a country with a population over 20 times larger. Spain, second behind Italy in Europe, reported 1,002 deaths and 19,980 infections. The U.S. death toll rose to at least 206.

More than 86,000 people have recovered, mostly in China.

Iran's official toll of more than 1,400 dead was rising quickly as well amid fears it is underreporting its cases. Tehran accused Washington of helping spread the virus by retaining sanctions that prevent it importing desperately needed medicine and medical equipment.

As the virus strengthened its foothold in Africa, the continent's busiest airport, in Johannesburg, announced that foreigners will no longer be allowed to disembark.


Perry reported from Wellington, New Zealand. Associated Press reporters around the world contributed.


The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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New York Governor Issues Statewide Stay-At-Home Order For All Non-Essential Workers

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo used his now-daily televised morning update to issue a statewide mandate that all non-essential workers in the state must stay home as the coronavirus continues to spread in the state. “16 days ago we were at zero [cases in New York] — today we’re at 2,900,” he said. “Those numbers are why we are taking this action.”

The “New York state on pause” directive follows a similar mandate laid down by California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday night. Los Angeles County also has an order in place as of late Thursday afternoon.

“The measures are meant to flatten the curve because cases rising this fast will completely overwhelm the state’s hospital and medical supply capacity, which is already under strain,” Cuomo said today. “It’s more than we could possibly arrange. That’s why we are taking these actions.

“Just so we’re all clear: This is a statewide order. It’s not what your county executive is doing, It’s not what your mayor is doing, it’s not what anyone else but me is doing, and I accept full responsibility.”

He added: “We know from past history that what a locality does matters – the 1918 Spanish flu which reminds us that this has happened before in society – but St. Louis took one course of action and Philadelphia took another and it made a dramatic difference in the number of people that died.”

Cuomo added: “New York is testing per capita more people than China and North Korea. When you amp up the number of tests, you are getting more positive cases. Now, are we more nervous? No. Because it was the reality. It’s a good thing because we can isolate and track back. New York has 7,000 cases – California has 1,000. New York is in a dramatically different position. We may well be testing multiples of these other states. Does it mean we have seven times more people infected than in California? You don’t know. You know we are doing more tests than California — in total, testing 32,000 people. We did 10,000 tests last night.”

Jill Goldsmith contributed to this report.

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Apple unveils new MacBook Air with double the storage and a keyboard that DOESN'T break

APPLE has unveiled a brand new MacBook Air with a revamped keyboard and extra storage.

Starting at £999, the powerful machine was announced by the California tech titan on Wednesday in an online release.

It features an improved scissor-switch keyboard, branded as the “Magic Keyboard”.

That means the MacBook Air has finally done away with Apple's controversial "Butterfly" keyboard design.

The old design has faced heavy criticism for durability issues and typing-related problems.

The new Macbook Air also boasts double the performance, according to Apple, thanks to its 10th-gen Intel processors.

It also comes with twice the storage of the last MacBook Air, now starting at 256GB.

"From students and consumers buying their first computer to customers looking to upgrade, everyone loves the Mac, and they especially love MacBook Air," the firm's Tom Boger said.

"Today we’re giving it a huge update, with two times faster performance, the new Magic Keyboard, double the storage, and a new lower price of £999."

The headline feature is the machine's new-and-improved keyboard.

Back in 2015, Apple made a major change to the way its MacBook keyboard works – but the move quickly backfired.

The "scissor" mechanism under each key was replaced with butterfly switches in a bid to make the laptops thinner and lighter.

Users quickly reported issues with the redesigned keys, which suddenly became susceptible to damage from something as small as dust getting under the keys.

Characters repeated unexpectedly, failed to appear, or keys felt "sticky" and did not respond in a consistent manner.

Apple was eventually forced to offer free MacBook keyboard replacements following a flood of user complaints.

For its newer MacBooks, including 2019's MacBook Pro, the firm has begun to load the machines with Butterfly keyboards, instead.

The new Macbook Air starts at £999 and goes on sale next week. It's available on Apple's website.

The laptop was announced this morning in an online release in what is an unusual change of tact for the US company.

Apple usually shows off its new gadgets at glitzy launch events in front of big crowds.

But with governments shutting down public gatherings in regions across the globe – including California, where the tech titan is based – Apple has chosen to give its latest announcements remotely.

In other news, old iPhones look set to get a new lease of life thanks to a rumoured Apple update.

Apple could change the Lightning port for a USB-C connector on future iPhone models.

And the iPhone 12 could be the thinnest ever thanks to new screen technology.

What do you think of the new iPhone? Let us know in the comments!

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New York Times Editorial: America Must Mobilize Against Coronavirus Like It’s A War

The New York Times editorial board called for the U.S. to be put a wartime footing to fight the coronavirus pandemic in an editorial published Tuesday.

The editorial ― titled “Stop Saying That Everything Is Under Control. It Isn’t.” — said tackling the crisis that’s sickened almost 200,000 people worldwide will “require a new, collective way of thinking about public health and society as a whole.”

It noted how President Franklin D. Roosevelt “compelled and inspired industries and individuals to rally for the greater good” during World War II and suggested that “something similar is called for today.”

“The United States is again faced with a crisis that calls for a national response, demanding a mobilization of resources that the free market or individual states cannot achieve on their own,” the editorial said.

It proposed the creation of new public works programs, the use of the Defense Production Act to allow President Donald Trump to “mobilize domestic industries in times of crisis” and the increase in production of medical equipment, just like the federal government “ramped up production of munitions during World War II.”

During WWII, the government “raised corporate and personal income taxes, pushed the business community onto a wartime footing, drafted millions into the military or civilian defense forces, rationed civilian goods in service of military goals and drastically reorganized society by offering jobs to women and minorities who had long been excluded from them,” the editorial board wrote.

“The society that emerged from the war was different — stronger — than the one that went into it,” it concluded. “It is remarkable what the country can do when the lives of its citizens are in peril, and the final outcome is uncertain. What it takes is leadership to summon that spirit to act in the national interest.”

Read The New York Times editorial here.

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China Revokes Press Credentials for U.S. Reporters from NYT, WSJ

China will effectively expel a group of U.S. journalists and prohibit them from relocating to work in Hong Kong or Macau as a tit-for-tat over media access between the two countries expands.

China’s foreign ministry on Tuesday said some reporters at the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post must hand in their media cards within 10 days in what it said was a response to U.S. caps on Chinese media imposed early this month.

In addition, China asked five U.S. media outlets to submit detailed personnel and asset information to the government, a decision that mirrored a U.S. move to designate five Chinese media outlets as “foreign missions.” This requirement applies to Voice of America, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and Time.

China’s foreign ministry said its actions are “entirely necessary and reciprocal countermeasures that China is compelled to take in response to the unreasonable oppression the Chinese media organizations experience in the U.S.,” noting what it said are “discriminatory restrictions” on Chinese journalists’ visa processing, administrative review and reporting activities.

Secretary of State Michael Pompeo dismissed the moves and the comparison to the U.S. decision in a news conference Tuesday with reporters in Washington, saying he hopes Beijing will reconsider.

“These aren’t apples to apples in any respect and I regret China’s decision today to further foreclose the world’s ability to conduct the free press operations which, frankly, would be really good for the Chinese people, really good for the Chinese people in these incredibly challenging global times where more information, more transparency are what will save lives,” Pompeo said.

— With assistance by Nick Wadhams

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Justin Trudeau Says Wife Sophie's 'Symptoms Remain Mild' After Testing Positive for Coronavirus

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is speaking out a day his wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus.

In a press conference on Friday, the politician, 48, updated the public on Grégoire Trudeau’s health following her diagnosis.

“Sophie’s symptoms remain mild, but we are following medical advice and taking every precaution. She will remain in isolation for the time being,” he said. “We are thinking about all the families across the country who’ve received the same diagnosis, but we’re in good hands. We have full confidence in Canada’s health officials and professionals.”

Trudeau went on to reiterate that he will also “remain in self-isolation for 14 days as a precautionary measure.

“I want to be clear I have no symptoms and I’m feeling good. And technology allows me to work from home,” he said. “Of course, it’s an inconvenience and somewhat frustrating. We are all social beings after all. But we have to do this because we have to protect our neighbours and our friends, especially our more vulnerable seniors and people with pre-existing conditions. We are following medical advice, as should all Canadians.”

He continued, “On that note, I want to thank all of Canada’s health professionals and the public health agency, who are doing an incredible job supporting and looking after all of us.”

In his speech, Trudeau said that the government is taking “significant steps” to keep Canadians safe and secure during the ongoing pandemic.

“Addressing COVID-19 must be a team Canada effort. To keep Canadians safe, to mitigate the economic impacts of the virus, all levels of government are working together. We are talking regularly. We are co-ordinating our efforts. We’re following the situation very closely and we’re pulling out all the stops,” he said.

“I know that you’re worried. You’re worried about your health, about your family’s health, about your job, your savings, about paying rent, about the kids not being in school. I know that you’re concerned about uncertainty in the global economy,” he added. “No one should have to worry about paying rent, buying groceries or additional child care because of COVID-19. We will help Canadians financially. The government of Canada will be introducing a significant fiscal stimulus package in the days ahead.”

As of Friday, Canada currently has more than 100 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, and one death had been reported in British Columbia.

In the United States, there have been at least 2,110 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 48 reported deaths as of March 13. Several states have declared a state of emergency to redirect funding, and public schools in Ohio, Maryland, New Mexico, Michigan, Oregon and the District of Columbia have closed.

On Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump declared a national emergency — “two very big words” — in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic. He said that declaration would unlock about $50 billion in funding to aid the local, state and federal response to the virus.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.

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New Facebook trick makes it easier to QUIT by sending all your pics to Google

FACEBOOK is finally letting you shift all of your images onto rival service Google Photos.

The move makes it easier to quit Facebook – or at the very least, take more control of the snaps you've shared on the app.

Billions of people use Facebook every single day, uploading a constant stream of photos and videos.

For nearly a decade, you've been able to download these photos to your computer – which isn't great if you've got limited space.

Now Facebook will let you directly transfer your snaps and videos directly to Google Photos.

That's Google's rival image-hosting service, which stores all your media in the cloud.

You can then download Google's app and access the photos just like you would in your camera roll – over the internet.

It's part of Facebook's bid to improve "data portability", giving users better control over their info.

"At Facebook, we believe that if you share data with one service, you should be able to move it to another," explained Facebook's Steve Satterfield, who runs the firm's Privacy and Public Policy team.

"That’s the principle of data portability, which gives people control and choice while also encouraging innovation."

You can find the new tool in your Facebook settings.

Navigate to the Your Facebook Information setting, and you'll find the option to transfer your media to Google Photos.

It might take a while, but it means you'll have all of your photos and videos in another place.

This is great for anyone hoping to delete their Facebook account, but it's also a good way to back up your content anyway.

And having media stored in Google Photos arguably makes it much more accessible (and easier to move around) versus keeping them on Facebook alone.

Facebook says that all the data being transferred is encrypted.

And you'll be asked to enter your password before the transfer begins.

How to delete Facebook – easy steps to QUITTING for good

Here's how to quit right now…

Temporarily deactivating your account is really easy – and you can log back in at any time to undo it:

  • Follow this link
  • Choose "Manage your account" and then scroll down to click "Deactivate your account"

Facebook has a special page for permanent account deletion, which you can find below:

  • Click here for deletion page

It's worth noting that you can also download a copy of your information from Facebook as a back-up:

  • Click the down arrow at the top right of any Facebook page and select Settings
  • Click "Download a copy of your Facebook data" at the bottom of the General Account Settings
  • Click Start My Archive

The tool is now available for UK users, while the US roll-out is expected to begin shortly.

If you can't see it yet then don't panic – sometimes new features can take a little while to roll out.

It's also worth relaunching the website or updating your app to check for new features.

In other news, a recent Facebook re-design has been branded "ugly" and "gross" by users.

Chronology may be coming back to your Instagram feed as an app expert has spotted a "Latest Posts" feature being tested.

TikTok has been accused of copying Instagram with its latest redesign.

And, Snapchat could also be getting a redesign, according to recent leaks.

Do you trust Facebook? Let us know in the comments!

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