‘People said it’s a war. It is a war. Then act like it’s a war!…’
The International Olympic Committee postponed the 2020 Tokyo Olympics until the summer of 2021 at the latest, acting on the recommendation of Japan’s prime minister. That could be a heavy economic blow to Japan and could upset athletes’ training regimens, perhaps costing some of them a shot at a medal.
Still, the decision met with relief from some competitors.
“A huge decision but I think the right one for sure,” British sprinter Adam Gemili said on Twitter. “Time to regain, look after each other during this difficult period and go again when the time is right!”
More than 400,000 people worldwide have been infected and over 18,500 have died, according to a running count kept by Johns Hopkins University.
In New York City, now one of the biggest hot spots, authorities rushed to set up thousands of hospital beds for potential victims. But the number of cases is doubling every three days, threatening to swamp the city’s intensive care units in the weeks ahead, Cuomo said.
New York state has recorded more than 200 deaths, or one-third of the U.S. total.
“One of the forecasters said to me we were looking at a freight train coming across the country,” the governor said. “We’re now looking at a bullet train.”
Cuomo proposed that the country send thousands of ventilators to New York City—the metropolitan area needs 30,000 of them, he said — and demanded that President Donald Trump use wartime authority to force manufacturers to produce them.
“People said it’s a war. It is a war. Then act like it’s a war!” Cuomo said.
Trump has invoked the Korean War-era Defense Production Act to deter hoarding but has been reluctant to use it to force companies to produce medical supplies. Vice President Mike Pence said on Fox News that 2,000 ventilators have been shipped to New York and 2,000 more will be sent Wednesday.
Deborah Birx, who’s leading the U.S. response to COVID-19, told reporters that peoepl leaving New York City should quarantine themselves for two weeks.
Stimulus Deal Approaching?
In Washington, top congressional and White House officials said they expected to reach a deal during the day on a package to shore up businesses and send relief checks to ordinary Americans of $1,200 per person or $3,000 for a family of four.
Stocks rallied around the world on the news. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged more than 2,100 points, or 11.4% — its biggest one-day percentage gain since 1933, during the Depression.
With Americans’ lives and livelihoods hanging in the balance, Trump said he hoped to reopen the country in less than three weeks.
“I would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter,” he said during a Fox News virtual town hall.
But with infections in the U.S. exceeding 50,000, including more than 670 deaths, public health experts have warned that failing to maintain social distancing would balloon infections to the point the health care system would be overwhelmed and many more people would die.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press