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Trump campaign calls Sessions delusional in letter

President Donald Trump’s campaign has sent a letter demanding his former attorney general Jeff Sessions stop tying himself to Trump in campaign materials

MONTGOMERY, Ala. —
President Donald Trump’s campaign has sent a letter to Jeff Sessions, his former attorney general now running for a U.S. Senate seat, objecting to Sessions’ portrayal of himself as a Trump supporter in a campaign mailer.

The March 31 letter sent by Michael S. Glassner, chief operating officer of Donald J. Trump for President, accused Sessions of attempting to “misleadingly promote your connections to and ‘support’ of Trump,” in the campaign mailer that mentioned Trump’s name 22 times.

“The letter even makes the delusional assertion that you are President ‘Trump’s #1 Supporter,’” Glassner wrote.

“We only assume your campaign is doing this to confuse President Trump’s loyal supporters in Alabama into believing the President supports your candidacy in the upcoming primary run-off election. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Glassner wrote.

Before becoming attorney general, Sessions was the first U.S. senator to endorse Trump, donning a Make America Great Again hat at an Alabama rally. But in a political twist of irony, his public falling out with Trump has threatened to upend his hopes of recapturing his former seat.

Sessions relinquished the Senate seat from Alabama he held for 20 years when he was appointed Trump’s attorney general, a position he was forced to resign after his 2017 recusal from the Russia inquiry sparked blistering criticism from Trump. Sessions is now seeking to return to the seat.

Wounded by the fallout of that soured relationship in the Trump-loving state, Sessions was forced into a runoff with former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville in the Republican primary. Tuberville led Sessions in the first round of voting. The winner will face incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Doug Jones in November in the once reliably red state.

The letter from the Trump campaign read: “We want to be absolutely clear about it: President Trump and the Trump Campaign unambiguously endorse Tommy Tuberville.” The letter was first reported by The New York Times.

According to the Sessions campaign, the mailer in question that drew the objections of the Trump campaign, was sent several days before Trump made his March 10 endorsement of Tuberville.

The Sessions camp said Thursday night that Alabama voters will decide the race.

“The people of Alabama are going to decide this race, not Washington. Alabamians are an independent lot and they make their own decisions. Our campaign is resolutely focused on the important challenges facing America, and the critical issues to Alabama and our economy,” Sessions spokesman John Rogers said in a statement.

The Sessions camp repeated a challenge to Tuberville to debate before the July runoff.

Sessions has emphasized his loyalty to Trump since entering the race. He noted that he was the first U.S. senator to endorse Trump in 2016 and had championed many of the conservative immigration, criminal justice and trade policies that became thought of as the Trump agenda.

Trump’s March 10 endorsement of Sessions’ primary opponent Tuberville — and one before it that appeared to mock Sessions for being forced into a runoff — put an end to any hopes by Sessions supporters that the president would keep quiet on the Alabama race.

The GOP runoff, originally set for March 31, was delayed until July because of the new coronavirus outbreak.

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The daily terrors: Improvising in a makeshift ICU in Spain

The tension is palpable in this makeshift ICU in Spain

BADALONA, Spain —
The tension is palpable. There is no non-essential talking. An orchestra of medical monitors marks the tempo with an endless series of soft, distinct beeps.

Never have so many people been inside the library of the Germans Trias i Pujol hospital in northeastern Spain. But the health care workers in improvised protective gear aren’t consulting medical books. Instead, they’re treating patients in critical condition suffering from pneumonia caused by the coronavirus.

From the outside, this makeshift intensive-care unit in Badalona, near Barcelona, looks nothing like a library. The bookshelves have been removed to make room for up to 20 hospital beds, breathing machines and an array of medical equipment after the longstanding ICU and other areas of the hospital flooded with COVID-19 patients.

With the scarcity of full-body protective suits across Spain, doctors and nurses are employing what they can find, reusing masks, layering oversized surgical gowns with plastic aprons and running through an infinite number of latex gloves.

Like scuba divers, they apply a small dose of detergent to their goggles just before stepping into the sweltering, virus-laden room in the hopes of mitigating the inevitable fogging of their eye protection caused by their own breathing.

They’ll be at it for hours, racing from patient to patient, sweating under all the layers.

A team of Associated Press journalists enters the room to document the work, but their presence is barely noticed. Health workers remain focused on their essential tasks — monitoring vitals, administering medication, manipulating the tubes and cords connecting the patients to a plethora of machines.

Most patients are intubated and hooked up to ventilators. About half have been flipped onto their stomachs to ease pressure on their lungs and help their breathing. Nurses acknowledge that this is not a hopeful sign.

As Spain sees the rate of infections slowly stabilize, it continues logging a daily record number of deaths – Thursday set a record, with 950 deaths in 24 hours. More than 10,000 people have died in Spain thus far.

The patients in this alternate ICU will likely spend weeks in the hospital before their battle with the virus is won or lost. They fight for life without their loved ones, who are unable to visit them.

Nurses on the other side of the glass observe their movements, typing away on computers. Communicating on walkie-talkies, those inside give them the latest developments: “37.8C.” One of the patients has a fever again. Medication is then injected into the IV bag.

Time floats, and not just because the nurses are unable to see their watches from behind their foggy goggles.

As one person’s shift ends, the laborious process of leaving the ICU begins. Nurses exit via a designated door and remove their now-contaminated armor, one piece at a time. Goggles go into one bucket, gowns in another. The outer layer of gloves and aprons are thrown into the trash.

A weight is lifted off their shoulders as they leave the ICU behind. But another weight takes its place in the form of a haunting question: Will the virus follow them home?

———

Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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Should pulse oximeters be used at home to track coronavirus symptoms?

Lung problems like pneumonia and respiratory failure can be some of the most severe symptoms of COVID-19. Knowing how your lungs are doing could help calm a lot of nerves. Advice found on YouTube and social media is gaining traction, turning some toward the use of a pulse oximeter to monitor their oxygen levels at home.

For people who already have the pocket-sized device at home due to an underlying health condition, it’s fine to continue using it — but doctors say for most people it’s not needed, and may even be a bad idea.

A pulse oximeter, also called a “pulse ox,” painlessly clips to your finger and uses light to determine the percentage of oxygen in your blood and your heart rate. The device is typically found in a doctor’s office, but some versions are available for sale on Amazon and at medical supply stores. Normally, this information helps your clinician determine if you need supplemental oxygen.

The American Thoracic Society feels most people do not need a pulse oximeter. Some people are prescribed a pulse ox for conditions that cause them to have periods of low oxygen or certain underlying lung conditions, or for when they’re exercising or traveling to high altitudes.

If you fall outside of those categories, you can ask your doctor if a pulse ox is something you really need.

Dr. Len Horvitz, internist and pulmonologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said he recommends home pulse oximeters to many of his patients, but noted that for the people without an underlying respiratory disease, they are likely not necessary and may make people anxious if they feel the need to frequently check their oxygen levels.

“Keep in mind a pulse ox is only good if you have the ability to supply supplemental oxygen,” said Dr. Eric Cioe-Peña, director of global health at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, New York. “So it is good for triage for those who are medically frail. But it is not a tool for everyone to have at home because, regardless, if the outcome is your oxygen saturation is low, you will need to go to a hospital.”

Having technology available literally at our fingertips doesn’t always mean we should use it. “You do not need this if you are 30 and have no medical condition,” Cioe-Peña said.

Although pulse oximeters are commercially available, they come at many price points and the quality can vary greatly. There is no good way to know whether a home pulse ox is reading accurately. Additionally, the range of what is considered normal can vary from person to person, so the best person to interpret a pulse oximeter reading is a physician.

Having a pulse ox at home may help with your desire to have some control during an overwhelming situation like a pandemic — but it may also create more stress. If you are short of breath from climbing a set of stairs, you may have not noticed before, but experts worry that people without a medical degree might jump to conclusions.

People can feel short of breath for many reasons, and it does not necessarily mean there is an underlying problem. Horvitz noted if you feel short of breath, there are several ways to determine if your breathing is OK without a pulse ox.

That includes a simple test: Check to see if you are taking 12-18 breaths per minute, which is a perfectly normal range. Alternatively, if you can speak in full sentences and go about your day without feeling short of breath, doctors say you probably have enough oxygen in your blood.

Doctors interviewed by ABC News also cautioned people against buying pulse oximeters due to the ongoing shortage of medical supplies, which are desperately needed in hospital settings.

“As we expand beds in all these acute care areas that we are creating all over, we won’t have these pulse oximeters built into the walls so we are going to need them on these portable devices,” Cioe-Peña said. “Having 90% of America order them on Amazon isn’t going to do us a favor.”

And even if a home pulse oximeter shows your blood oxygen level is normal, it doesn’t necessarily mean you do not have the virus. While shortness of breath and low oxygen levels can be a sign of COVID-19 infection, a pulse-oximeter is not the best way to determine if you truly have it.

If you are concerned about having COVID-19, you should call your primary care physician for guidance on where and how to get tested. If you are having trouble breathing, you should call 911 or head to your nearest emergency room.

Delaram J. Taghipour, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., is a preventive medicine resident physician at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Nancy A. Anoruo, M.D., M.P.H., is an internal medicine resident physician at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Both are contributors to the ABC News Medical Unit.

What to know about the coronavirus:

  • How it started and how to protect yourself: Coronavirus explained
  • What to do if you have symptoms: Coronavirus symptoms
  • Tracking the spread in the U.S. and worldwide: Coronavirus map
  • Tune into ABC at 1 p.m. ET and ABC News Live at 4 p.m. ET every weekday for special coverage of the novel coronavirus with the full ABC News team, including the latest news, context and analysis.

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    Man accused of killing US journalist to stay in prison

    A Pakistani provincial government has ordered a British Pakistani man whose conviction in the kidnapping and killing of a U.S. journalist was overturned to remain in custody for three months

    KARACHI, Pakistan —
    A Pakistani provincial government Friday ordered a British Pakistani man whose conviction in the kidnapping and killing of a U.S. journalist was overturned to remain in custody for three months.

    The Superintendent of Karachi’s Central Prison, Hasan Sehtoo, said he received an order from the Sindh provincial government saying Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh’s release would threaten public safety. The government ordered him detained as it appeals to the Pakistan Supreme Court to have his murder conviction reinstated.

    Saeed was found guilty of murder and kidnapping in the 2002 death of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl and sentenced to death. On Thursday, the Sindh High Court overturned his murder conviction and sentenced him to seven years for the kidnapping.

    Pearl disappeared Jan. 23, 2002 in Karachi while researching links between Pakistani militants and Richard C. Reid, who became known as the “shoe bomber” after he was arrested on a flight from Paris to Miami with explosives in his shoes. Prosecutors said Saeed lured Pearl into a trap by promising to arrange an interview with an Islamic cleric who police believed was not involved in the conspiracy.

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    Athletes Village for Olympics could house virus patients

    The governor of Tokyo is talking about the possibility of using the under-construction Olympic Athletes Village as a temporary hospital for coronavirus patients

    TOKYO —
    The under-construction Athletes Village for the Tokyo Olympics could be used as a temporary hospital for coronavirus patients.

    Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has been talking about the possibility of occupying the massive development on Tokyo Bay, which is to house up to 11,000 Olympic and 4,400 Paralympic athletes and staff during the games.

    The complex, which will eventually include 24 buildings, is expected to remain unoccupied with the Olympics delayed for 16 months.

    Koike said the Athletes Village was “one of the options, but the village is not finished yet. We are talking about places that are available even today or tomorrow and checking a possibility one by one.”

    As another alternative, Koike said on Friday that the Tokyo city government would buy a hotel to house patients.

    Through Thursday, Japan had reported about 3,300 cases of coronavirus with 74 deaths, according to the health ministry. Tokyo reported 97 new cases on Thursday with officials looking for more beds in the capital as totals rise.

    The coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people and can include a fever, coughing and mild pneumonia. The risk of death is greater for older adults and people with other health problems.

    The 5,600 units in the Athletes Village will be renovated after the Olympics and sold. Almost 1,000 are now for sale, or have been sold. Occupancy was supposed to begin in 2023, and apartment prices are listed between $500,000 and $2 million.

    The Athletes Village is a joint venture involving 10 major companies and the city of Tokyo. The complex will be known as Harumi Flag and the developers include Mitsui Fudosan Residential Co., Nomura Real Estate Development Co., and Sumitomo Realty & Development Co.

    The group running Harumi Flag said the proposal to use the property for coronavirus beds was speculation and added the developers had not heard from the city. The group also said Harumi Flag had not decided on its plans for the development in light of the 16-month Olympic postponement.

    One of the biggest challenges for Olympics organizers will be lining up the Athletes Village for next year, along with about 40 sports venues.

    Estimates suggest the postponement will cost between $2 billion and $6 billion, with most of the bill going to Japanese taxpayers.

    Tokyo organizers officially are spending $12.6 billion to organize the Olympics, although a government audit says the figure is twice that much. All but $5.6 billion is public money.

    Organizing committee documents show the Switzerland-based International Olympic Committee is contributing $1.3 billion. The IOC had income of $5.7 billion in the last four-year Olympic cycle. More than 90% is from selling broadcast rights and sponsorships.

    ———

    More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

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    Outbreaks global economic cost may top $4 trillion

    The outbreak of the coronavirus has dealt a shock to the global economy with unprecedented speed. Following are developments on Friday related to the global economy, the work place and the spread of the virus.

    ————————————

    COSTS MOUNT: The pandemic will cost the global economy as much as $4.1 trillion, or nearly 5% of all economic activity, according to new estimates from the Asian Development Bank.

    The regional lender said Friday that growth in developing Asia would likely fall to 2.2% in 2020, more than halving last year’s growth of 5.2%. China, the region’s biggest economy, experienced double-digit contractions in business activity in January-February and will likely see growth fall to 2.3% this year. That’s compared with 6.1 last year, already a three-decade low, the ADB said. China’s losses from shutdowns and other costs due to the pandemic could add up to $692 billion if containment efforts drag on. But the ADB estimated that growth would bounce back next year to more than 7%.

    In Europe, a key gauge of activity in manufacturing and services fell to a record low, suggesting an annualized drop in GDP of about 10% for the 19-country eurozone.

    SMALL BUSINESS, BIG HELP: China has promised to ensure that entrepreneurs, who are the country’s economic engine, get the loans they need to recover from the pandemic. The central bank plans to make 1 trillion yuan ($140 billion) available to commercial banks for lending to small and medium-size enterprises, most of which are privately owned.

    The ruling Communist Party began easing travel and other restrictions in early March to revive the world’s second-largest economy after declaring victory over the outbreak. The central bank also said this week local governments will be allowed to issue more bonds to finance spending on public works construction and other projects meant to shore up economic growth.

    In Britain, the government is broadening the scope of an emergency loans scheme for businesses, enabling a wider range of small businesses to tap a 330 billion-pound fund of loan guarantees. So far, only 1,000 out of 130,000 loan inquiries have been approved.

    HEAVY INDUSTRY: Toyota is halting production at five of its 18 plants in Japan, because of sluggish overseas demand. The stoppage will last three days for most of the plants, but one plant will close until mid-April.

    The affected plants produce vehicles for export, including Lexus luxury models and the Prius hybrid. Other Japanese automakers, such as Honda Motor Co., have also suspended production as the outbreak slams demand. Toyota has reported 19 COVID-19 infectiosn among workers, including four in the U.S. and two in Japan, spokeswoman Kayo Doi said.

    The U.S. auto industry is completely shut down.

    Germany’s auto industry association says new car registrations in the country dropped 38% in March compared with a year earlier, the steepest drop it has measured since German reunification three decades ago.

    The German Association of the Automotive Industry said that 215,100 new vehicles were registered last month. Over the whole first quarter, 701,300 cars were registered – a 20% year-on-year drop. Restrictions on public life in Germany started kicking in in mid-March and automakers have largely suspended production.

    The association said that March production fell 37% and the number of cars exported dropped 32%.

    SOUND OF ONE CAR CRASHING: Even pandemics have silver linings. Streets are largely empty, the number of traffic accidents are falling sharply, and so is the cost of auto insurance, at least in France.

    The MAIF, one of France’s largest auto insurers, said Friday that traffic accidents are down between 75% and 80% since the country largely shutdown.

    MAIF plans to refund some of the savings from a 100 million-euro ($108 million) drop in traffic-accident payouts. It said the rebate to clients with vehicle insurance will likely be about 50 euros ($54) each. Motorists will be given the option to donate the refunds to medical personnel, vaccine research or charity.

    MARKETS: Global stock markets fell Friday after soaring U.S. job losses tempered enthusiasm about a possible deal to stabilize oil prices amid anxiety over the global economic decline due to the pandemic. On Wall Street, futures for the benchmark S&P 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were off 1%.

    ROUNDING IT OUT: The U.S. typically has a unique response to crisis, and this one is no different.

    Firearm sales spiked 85% last month compared with the March last year, according an analysis of the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System by Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting.

    The laws of supply and demand also apply to arming up, of course, and the cost of adding guns the the shopping list will cost you.

    “Much of the industry’s inventory will have been depleted, so that we anticipate that weapons and ammunition prices increased as well,” said Jurgen Brauer, SAAF’s chief economist.

    Data on prices will be released soon.

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    Prince Charles opens fast-tracked London hospital

    Prince Charles remotely opened Friday the new Nightingale Hospital at London’s main exhibition and conference center, a temporary facility that will soon be able to treat 4,000 people who have contracted the COVID-19 disease

    LONDON —
    Prince Charles on Friday remotely opened the new Nightingale Hospital at London’s main exhibition and conference center, a temporary facility that will soon be able to treat 4,000 people who have contracted COVID-19.

    Charles said he was “enormously touched” to be asked to open the temporary facility at the ExCel center in east London and paid tribute to everyone, including military personnel, involved in its “spectacular and almost unbelievable” nine-day construction.

    “An example, if ever one was needed, of how the impossible could be made possible and how we can achieve the unthinkable through human will and ingenuity,” he said via video link from his Scottish home of Birkhall.

    “To convert one of the largest national conference centres into a field hospital, starting with 500 beds with a potential of 4,000, is quite frankly incredible.”

    The new National Health Service hospital will only care for people with COVID-19, and patients will only be assigned there after their local London hospital has reached capacity.

    Charles, who earlier this week emerged from self-isolation after testing positive for COVID-19, said he was one of “the lucky ones” who only had mild symptoms, but “for some it will be a much harder journey.”

    He expressed his hope that the hospital “is needed for as short a time and for as few people as possible.”

    The hospital is named after Florence Nightingale, who is widely considered to be the founder of modern nursing. She was in charge of nursing British and allied soldiers in Turkey during the Crimean War of the 1850s, her selfless care earning her the reputation as the “Lady with the Lamp.”

    Natalie Grey, the head of nursing at NHS Nightingale, unveiled the plaque formally opening the hospital on the prince’s behalf.

    Further new hospitals are being planned across the U.K., including in Birmingham, Glasgow and Manchester, to alleviate the pressure on the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic.

    “In these troubled times with this invisible killer stalking the whole world, the fact in this country we have the NHS is even more valuable that before,” said Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who also contracted COVID-19 and only emerged from his self-isolation on Thursday.

    The number of people in Britain dying after testing positive for COVID-19 has been increasing sharply over the past couple of weeks. The latest U.K. figures showed that the number of people to have died increased in a day by 569 to 2,921.

    Like many other countries, Britain is in effective lockdown, with bars and nonessential shops closed in order to reduce the rate of transmission, the hope being that it will eventually reduce the peak in deaths. Hancock would not be drawn across several interviews about when he expects the peak to be, beyond that it’s likely to occur in “coming weeks.”

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    US cuts 701K jobs in March amid coronavirus pandemic, unemployment rate jumps to 4.4%

    ABC News Corona Virus Economic Impacts

    The new jobs report show the first impacts of the outbreak on the labor market.

    U.S. employers cut 701,000 jobs in March and the unemployment rate rose to 4.4% from 3.5%, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    The new report released Friday is the first to show the initial impacts of the novel coronavirus pandemic on the U.S. labor market.

    The COVID-19 outbreak has brought U.S. businesses to a screeching halt. At least 45 states have issued or announced statewide closures of all non-essential businesses to help stop the spread of coronavirus in the U.S.

    Some of the biggest job losses occurred in leisure and hospitality, especially in food and drinking services, according to the government. Notable losses also occurred in health care/social assistance, professional/ businesses services, retail and construction.

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    Meek Mill, Jay-Zs criminal justice organization ramps up efforts to protect prisoners amid coronavirus threat

    ABC News Corona Virus Entertainment Impacts

    The group will send 50,000 masks to Rikers Island, which has over 200 cases.

    The criminal justice reform organization founded by rappers Meek Mill and Jay-Z is sending personal protective equipment to prisons as cases of inmates testing positive for the novel coronavirus surge in various correctional facilities across the country.

    REFORM Alliance joined forces with advocate Shaka Senghor to send about 100,000 surgical masks to various prisons as states suffer from a shortage of medical supplies to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Meek Mill, who has been tweeting about the COVID-19 crisis and urging fans to stay home, launched the organization in January 2019 after his own experiences in the criminal justice system ignited a movement.

    Tune into ABC at 1 p.m. ET and ABC News Live at 4 p.m. ET every weekday for special coverage of the novel coronavirus with the full ABC News team, including the latest news, context and analysis.

    Rikers Island will receive 50,000 masks and an additional 2,500 masks are being sent to the Rikers medical facility.

    Rikers is one of the largest prison complexes in the world and has suffered from a surge of cases in New York, which has become the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.

    According to The Legal Aid Society, which is tracking COVID-19 cases in New York jails, there were more than 200 positive cases of COVID-19 in Rikers Island facilities as of Thursday.

    The Tennessee Department of Corrections will be sent 40,000 masks, which will be distributed to correctional facilities in the state impacted by the crisis.

    The rest of the masks will be sent to the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, Mississippi, which was sued earlier this year by Jay-Z and fellow hip-hop artist Yo Gotti over “barbaric” conditions that allegedly led to deaths of multiple inmates.

    Correctional facilities, where inmates are often crowded into small spaces and share facilities that make social distancing incredibly challenging, are particularly susceptible to the outbreak and hundreds of inmates and prison personnel have tested positive for the coronavirus.

    Most recently, four inmates died after testing positive for the coronavirus at FCI Oakdale federal prison in Louisiana over the span of five days, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

    Last week, REFORM Alliance released the “SAFER Plan” — a set of recommendations based on consultations and the advice of medical experts and prison reform advocates from across the political spectrum — to protect prisoners during the pandemic.

    “We are on the verge of a humanitarian crisis,” Jessica Jackson, chief political officer at REFORM Alliance, said in a statement to ABC News. “There are horror stories coming from people in jails and prisons across the country. REFORM Alliance is seeking help to get medical supplies into correctional facilities, and we’re also pushing Governors across the country to enact our SAFER Plan recommendations to get people out quickly and safely.”

    Both federal and state prisons are facing hurdles in managing the COVID-19 threat as prison officers, guards and inmates test positive for the virus.

    What to know about the novel coronavirus:

  • How it started and how to protect yourself: coronavirus explained
  • What to do if you have symptoms: coronavirus symptoms
  • Tracking the spread in the US and worldwide: coronavirus map
  • Over the past week, judges around the country ordered thousands of inmates released amid reports of shortages of medical and cleaning supplies.

    President Donald Trump criticized the move on Thursday when asked what the federal government is doing to protect inmates.

    “We don’t like it,” he said about prisoners getting released. “The people don’t like it and we’re looking to see if I have the right to stop it in some cases.”

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    Fauci given security detail after threats: Source

    Dr. Anthony Fauci, someone millions of Americans are trusting to help them deal with the coronavirus crisis, has now had to be given increased security after threats to his safety, a source familiar with the matter told ABC News.

    The source did not reveal the nature of the threats against Fauci, director of the National Institute of of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.

    In recent days, on the recommendation of the U.S. Marshals Service, the department approved a special deputization request from HHS for more than a half dozen HHS inspector general special agents to provide protective services for Fauci.

    Tune into ABC at 1 p.m. ET and ABC News Live at 4 p.m. ET every weekday for special coverage of the novel coronavirus with the full ABC News team, including the latest news, context and analysis.

    Law enforcement officials tell ABC News that a security assessment for Fauci was conducted after a wave of threats in the past weeks were posted online about him, including at least one direct threat to Fauci threatening harm to him and his family.

    Another factor for approving the protection, one official added, was that Fauci in recent weeks has also been approached in public by admirers who were getting too close for comfort, asking for things like autographs and selfies, and there was a desire to get a protective bubble around him for social distancing purposes as well as security.

    The HHS OIG’s office, which is tasked with providing Fauci’s detail, has provided the following statement to ABC:

    “For more than two decades, the Office of Inspector General has provided professional protective services for the HHS Secretary and, as needed, to Departmental leadership. In each case, OIG assesses and recommends the appropriate level of protection. Dr. Fauci’s standard of protection is consistent with that provided to HHS officials in previous administrations. Due to the sensitive nature of protective operations, no further details can be provided at this time.

    As Fauci has become one of the more prominent national faces for the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus, some in far-right or fringe conspiracy websites have baselessly sought to cast him as a member of the ‘deep-state’ resistance out to undermine Trump.

    Facebook posts have re-surfaced a series of emails in 2012 and 2013 from Fauci sent to aides of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — part of a WikiLeaks dump of emails believed to be hacked by Russian operatives, in which Fauci expressed admiration for Clinton.

    The criticism, however, doesn’t appear yet to have had a major impact on President Trump’s thinking towards Fauci. Even as Fauci has publicly corrected Trump in several instances related to the pandemic, Trump has described Fauci as “extraordinary” and “fantastic” in interviews and briefings at the White House.

    At the White House briefing on the crisis Wednesday, with Fauci standing nearby, Trump said, “He doesn’t need security. Everybody loves him. Besides that, they’d be in big trouble if they ever attacked him.”

    The security threat assessment was done by HHS law enforcement and security officials. The U.S. Marshals signed off on their request to deputize Office of Inspector General agents to protect Fauci and after that, the Justice Department signed off on the request.

    HHS OIG agents received special deputations by USMS to provide protective services to Fauci, according to a U.S. Marshals Service official.

    When asked about the increased security on NBC’s “Today” show Thursday morning, Fauci said it’s all part of the job.

    “I’ve chosen this life. I mean, I know what it is. There are things about it that sometimes are disturbing. But you just focus on the job you have to do. And just put all that other stuff aside and try as best as possible not to pay attention to it. And just forge ahead. We have a really, really, very, very difficult situation ahead of us. All of that other stuff is secondary,” he said.

    Facui who’s 79 and still a runner, has been open about his increased work load and the toll it takes.

    “It’s grueling. Um, in some respects I think it would probably be almost unsustainable. But I’m just, as I often say, just sucking it up cause because you got to do it,” Fauci said in an interview posted on the NIH website on Friday.

    In that recorded interview with his NIH boss, Fauci joked about getting to the White House via the Washington D.C. Metro system.

    “When the White House heard that, they went completely nuts,” Fauci said with a hearty laugh.

    What to know about coronavirus:

  • How it started and how to protect yourself: coronavirus explained
  • What to do if you have symptoms: coronavirus symptoms
  • Tracking the spread in the US and Worldwide: coronavirus map