The Department of Homeland Security says it has suspended any actions to implement Trump’s travel ban, and the Louvre in Paris reopens after Egypt identifies the man who attacked soldiers with a machete.
The Justice Department Appeals the Federal Court Stay on Trump's Travel Ban
The U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) appealed a decision on Saturday night by a federal judge in Seattle that temporarily halted President Donald Trump’s travel ban. The judge’s ruling was made Friday night, and by the next morning the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department both said they would quit enforcing the ban that stopped people in seven majority-Muslim countries from coming to the U.S. The move by the DOJ takes the case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where it could go before three judges, one appointed by former-President George W. Bush, another by Jimmy Carter, and the third by Barack Obama. As POLITICO reported, a potential hurdle for Trump’s ban is that “temporary restraining orders” like those issued by the federal judge in Seattle “are not ordinarily appealable. Usually a party who wants to appeal has to wait until the next stage in the process, a preliminary injunction.” If the Ninth Circuit Court refuses to hear the appeal then it could go to the Supreme Court.
The judge opens up our country to potential terrorists and others that do not have our best interests at heart. Bad people are very happy!
Romanian Prime Minister Rescinds Decree that Legalized Corruption
The prime minister of Romania, Sorin Grindeanu, bowed to massive protests on Saturday against a decree that would have protected politicians from prosecution for corruption. The decree decriminalized some offences of graft and bribery of up to $48,000. It was pitched as a way to relieve pressure on the prison system, although it mainly would have protected dozens of government officials. Protesters had taken to the streets for five days, with as many as 330,000 showing up in 70 different cities—140,000 of whom were in a plaza near the prime minister’s office building. The decree would have especially helped Social Democrat leader Liviu Dragnea, who was convicted of electoral fraud and was accused of using his political influence to get state salaries for two people. The conviction barred Dragnea from serving in political office. He is viewed as the power behind the prime minister, who took office last month.
Egypt Identifies the Man Who Attacked Guards at the Louvre
An Egyptian Interior Ministry official said on Saturday that the man who attacked soldiers at the Louvre Museum in Paris was 28-year-old Abdullah Reda Refaie al-Hamahmy, a man with no history of political activism or criminal activity, the Associated Press reported. Al-Hamahmy came to Paris on a tourist visa and bought two military machetes at a gun store in the city. Then, while trying to enter the Louvre’s underground shopping center, he rushed at French guards. The guards shot al-Hamahmy four times, and he is recovering from those wounds, which are no longer listed as life-threatening. Al-Hamahmy is Egyptian, although he is believed to have been living in the United Arab Emirates. He came to Paris last week and sent his family a photo of himself with the Eiffel Tower. During the attack, al-Hamahmy yelled "Allahu akbar!" and French President Francois Hollande has said there is “no doubt” this was a terror attack. Al-Hamahmy’s father denied to reporters that his son was radicalized or involved in any militant group. The Louvre, which houses countless masterpieces of art, reopened Saturday morning.
The Department of Homeland Security and the State Department Suspend Trump's Travel Ban
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said Saturday it would suspend all actions to implement President Donald Trump’s travel ban on seven majority-Muslim countries, and the State Department said it would allow visa holders from those countries to to enter the U.S. Both announcements came after a federal judge in Seattle ruled to temporarily block Trump’s executive order, a ruling that derived from a lawsuit filed by the state of Washington, and joined by Minnesota. “This decision shuts down the executive order immediately,” Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Friday night after the ruling was made. “That relief is immediate, happens right now.” In accordance with that ruling, the State Department said it would allow people with visas from the previously banned countries to enter the U.S., and in a separate statement DHS said it would stop enforcing Trump’s order, effectively returning to the standards prior to the ban. In its statement, DHS said it had “suspended any and all actions implementing the affected sections of the Executive Order entitled, 'Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.'” Trump denounced the judge’s decision via Twitter, saying:
The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!
The U.S. may end up with the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the industrialized world. This is how it’s going to play out.
Three months ago, no one knew that SARS-CoV-2 existed. Now the virus has spread to almost every country, infecting at least 446,000 people whom we know about, and many more whom we do not. It has crashed economies and broken health-care systems, filled hospitals and emptied public spaces. It has separated people from their workplaces and their friends. It has disrupted modern society on a scale that most living people have never witnessed. Soon, most everyone in the United States will know someone who has been infected. Like World War II or the 9/11 attacks, this pandemic has already imprinted itself upon the nation’s psyche.
A global pandemic of this scale was inevitable. In recent years, hundreds of health experts have written books, white papers, and op-eds warning of the possibility. Bill Gates has been telling anyone who would listen, including the 18 million viewers of his TED Talk. In 2018, I wrote a story for The Atlantic arguing that America was not ready for the pandemic that would eventually come. In October, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security war-gamed what might happen if a new coronavirus swept the globe. And then one did. Hypotheticals became reality. “What if?” became “Now what?”
The coronavirus outbreak may last for a year or two, but some elements of pre-pandemic life will likely be won back in the meantime.
The new coronavirus has brought American life to a near standstill, closing businesses, canceling large gatherings, and keeping people at home. All of those people must surely be wondering: When will things return to normal?
The answer is simple, if not exactly satisfying: when enough of the population—possibly 60 or 80 percent of people—is resistant to COVID-19 to stifle the disease’s spread from person to person. That is the end goal, although no one knows exactly how long it will take to get there.
There are two realistic paths to achieving this “population-level immunity.” One is the development of a vaccine. The other is for the disease to work its way through the population, surely killing many, but also leaving many others—those who contract the disease and then recover—immune. “They’re just Teflon at that point,” meaning they can’t get infected again and they won’t pass on the disease, explains Andrew Noymer, a public-health professor at the University of California at Irvine. Once enough people reach Teflon status—though we don’t yet know if recovering from the disease confers any immunity at all, let alone lifelong immunity—normalcy will be restored.
Trump is utterly unsuited to deal with this crisis, either intellectually or temperamentally.
For his entire adult life, and for his entire presidency, Donald Trump has created his own alternate reality, complete with his own alternate set of facts. He has shown himself to be erratic, impulsive, narcissistic, vindictive, cruel, mendacious, and devoid of empathy. None of that is new.
But we’re now entering the most dangerous phase of the Trump presidency. The pain and hardship that the United States is only beginning to experience stem from a crisis that the president is utterly unsuited to deal with, either intellectually or temperamentally. When things were going relatively well, the nation could more easily absorb the costs of Trump’s psychological and moral distortions and disfigurements. But those days are behind us. The coronavirus pandemic has created the conditions that can catalyze a destructive set of responses from an individual with Trump’s characterological defects and disordered personality.
China warned Italy. Italy warned us. We didn’t listen. Now the onus is on the rest of America to listen to New York.
In the emergency-department waiting room, 150 people worry about a fever. Some just want a test, others badly need medical treatment. Those not at the brink of death have to wait six, eight, 10 hours before they can see a doctor. Those admitted to the hospital might wait a full day for a bed.
I am an emergency-medicine doctor who practices in both Manhattan and Queens; at the moment, I’m in Queens. Normally, I love coming to work here, even though in the best of times, my co-residents and I take care of one of New York City’s most vulnerable, underinsured patient populations. Many have underlying illnesses and a language barrier, and lack primary care.
“The thought of simply breathing in and out without coughing and reuniting with my children ... is goal enough. To—literally—live and let live will be enough.”
I can pinpoint the exact moment I started feeling off. My partner, Will, and I were on a bike ride on the afternoon of Wednesday, March 18, to escape our apartment and get some exercise. This was back when leaving a New York City apartment to get some exercise was still okay, or at least that’s what we’d read, or at least that’s what we thought? If the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that what is considered dogma today might change tomorrow.
Ten minutes into our bike ride, I was overcome by an intense fatigue. “I think I have to go back,” I said.
Back home, I felt chilled. Took my temperature: 99.1. I’m normally 97.1, but still, not a huge deal. We’d been so careful about wiping down doorknobs, washing our hands, and keeping everyone except for our family out of our apartment. I’d been ambiently worried enough that my 13-year-old son could be a silent carrier of the virus that I’d yanked him out of his public middle school and off the crowded subways four days before Mayor Bill de Blasio pulled the plug– (far too belatedly, in my opinion). I was getting over a urinary-tract infection, so my fever, I thought, must be from that.
The government is showing how not to handle a pandemic.
By now, the global timeline of the coronavirus’s development has been well established: The first case reportedly appeared in mid-November; in December, the Chinese government was still attributing hospitalizations to a peculiar form of pneumonia; through January and February, the outbreak began spreading around the world; and its epicenter is today firmly in Europe and the United States.
Throughout, another set of events were occurring here in India. Late last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu-nationalist government introduced and passed a controversial new law, ostensibly in support of minorities in neighboring countries, that in fact openly discriminated against Muslims and undermined India’s secular foundations. Then, early this year, protests over that new law snowballed into a pogrom in which dozens of people—mostly Muslims—have been killed.
It has taken a good deal longer than it should have, but Americans have now seen the con man behind the curtain.
When, in January 2016, I wrote that despite being a lifelong Republican who worked in the previous three GOP administrations, I would never vote for Donald Trump, even though his administration would align much more with my policy views than a Hillary Clinton presidency would, a lot of my Republican friends were befuddled. How could I not vote for a person who checked far more of my policy boxes than his opponent?
What I explained then, and what I have said many times since, is that Trump is fundamentally unfit—intellectually, morally, temperamentally, and psychologically—for office. For me, that is the paramount consideration in electing a president, in part because at some point it’s reasonable to expect that a president will face an unexpected crisis—and at that point, the president’s judgment and discernment, his character and leadership ability, will really matter.
You live in a cramped apartment and you’re scared. But escape is selfish.
Hello fellow New Yorkers. You want to leave. So badly. I know. Me too. But don’t. Don’t do it.
It is absurd at this point that it’s even your choice. The bridges should be closed to all but essential traffic. The airports should be shuttered. Instead, Hertz is still renting cars at its 17 Manhattan locations, AirBnB is listing “Corona free” homes in New Jersey, and airlines are offering (apocalyptically cheap) tickets from all three New York airports to Anywhere But Here.
I know all that because I spent one morning this week Googling a dozen possible escapes, in a moment of claustrophobia and panic. I share 900 square feet with two kids and a dog. My wife is a physician who is still seeing patients. And even though I trust her precautions and protocols, I can’t shake the feeling of dread. Mixed in with the uncertainty is the certainty that everything is going to get much, much worse, as the cases spike and people I love or know or admire begin to die. My impulse is to do something—to move, to flee. I’m sure virtually everyone else in the city feels the same way.
Hospitals are poised to face the kind of life-and-death decisions that industrialized countries typically encounter only in times of war and natural disaster.
Two weeks ago, a man came to an emergency room in New York with pain in the lower-right quadrant of his abdomen. A CT scan showed inflammation around a fingerlike projection at the base of his colon. Combined with a fever, this was a classic case of appendicitis. Surgeons took the man to the operating room and removed his appendix.
The next day, recovering upstairs, the man still had a fever. Doctors ordered a test for the coronavirus. A day later, his results came back positive.
Under usual circumstances, a person with a dangerous, infectious respiratory disease such as COVID-19 requires special precautions in a hospital. Everyone who enters the patient’s room—even to ask how they’re doing or to pick up a lunch tray—is required to don a fresh gown, gloves, and a mask. If the worker must get in close contact with the patient, the mask has to be an N95 respirator, and a face shield is required to guard the eyes. Without exception, every piece of this gear must be discarded in a biohazard dispenser upon leaving the room. An errant mask or glove or gown, coated in virus, can become lethal.
New restrictions in Hong Kong show that a single round of constraints won’t be enough to beat the pandemic.
HONG KONG—As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases exploded in China early this year, Hong Kong, densely populated and connected to the mainland, was able to largely contain the virus’s spread. A combination of community response and official action held back the pace of infections, with the number of patients discharged from treatment until recently outpacing those remaining in the hospital. This month, civil servants on work-from-home orders were allowed to return to their office. Soon, private businesses started to do the same. Commuters began to refill the buses and subways. Bars and restaurants left largely vacant for weeks saw patrons remerge. As reports of outbreaks abroad worsened, Hong Kong appeared to be slowly returning to form.