As states grapple with how and when to lift restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic, President Trump is voicing disagreement with one of his top public health experts on the issue of reopening schools.
In an interview Wednesday with Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo, Trump called Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, “a very good person” but noted, “I’ve disagreed with him.”
“I think that we have to open our schools,” Trump said in the interview, which will air in full Thursday morning. “Young people are very little affected by this. . . . Now, we want to do it safely, but we also want to do it as quickly as possible. We can’t keep going on like this. You’re having bedlam already in the streets. You can’t do this. We have to get it open. I totally disagree with him on schools.”
While statistics suggest that the coronavirus is less dangerous to children than adults and the elderly, Fauci warned at a Senate committee hearing Tuesday that “we don’t know everything about this virus.” He noted a spate of new cases of coronavirus-infected children presenting with a “very strange inflammatory syndrome.”
Wis. high court strikes down extension of stay-home order
MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down Governor Tony Evers’s coronavirus stay-at-home order, ruling that his administration overstepped its authority when it extended the mandate for another month without consulting legislators.
The 4-3 ruling essentially reopens the state, lifting caps on the size of gatherings, allowing people to travel as they please, and allowing shuttered businesses to reopen, including bars and restaurants. The Tavern League of Wisconsin swiftly posted the news on its website, telling members, “You can OPEN IMMEDIATELY!”
The decision let stand language that had closed schools, however, and local governments can still impose their own health restrictions. In Dane County, home to the capital of Madison, officials quickly imposed a mandate incorporating most of the statewide order. City health officials in Milwaukee, meanwhile, said a stay-at-home order they enacted in late March remains in effect.
Evers said that the state was doing well in the fight against the coronavirus, but that the court ruling will lead more counties to adopt their own restrictions. He said the state will descend into a confusing patchwork of ordinances that will allow infection to spread.
“Today, Republican legislators convinced four members of the state Supreme Court to throw the state into chaos,” Evers said. “They have provided no plan. There’s no question among anybody that people are going to get sick. Republicans own that chaos.”
Chief Justice Patience Roggensack wrote for the majority that health secretary Andrea Palm’s order amounted to an emergency rule that she doesn’t have the power to create on her own, and also imposes criminal penalties beyond her powers.
Kushner clarifies comments on presidential election
Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner raised eyebrows Tuesday by suggesting there was some uncertainty about whether the presidential election would happen in November as scheduled because of the coronavirus pandemic and that he had some role in making that determination.
Hours after his remarks to Time magazine generated a strong reaction on social media, Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law, issued a clarification, saying he was unaware of and not involved in any discussions about changing the date of the 2020 election. Neither Trump nor Kushner as his advisor has any legal authority to change the timing of the presidential election.
The brief and disconcerting episode raised doubts about Kushner’s familiarity with the laws and constitutional provisions governing US presidential elections. According to the Congressional Research Service: ‘‘The text of the Constitution does not appear to contain a constitutional role for the Executive Branch in such decisions.’’
A federal statute says that Election Day is to be held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
NYC launches ads informing parents of rare syndrome
NEW YORK — New York City is launching a public service campaign to inform parents about a rare syndrome that is thought to be linked to COVID-19 and has been diagnosed in more than 80 children in the city, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday.
Digital ads alerting parents to the symptoms of the inflammatory condition in children started start Wednesday, de Blasio said, and ads on radio and TV, on bus shelters, and in community newspapers will follow.
The syndrome affects blood vessels and organs and has symptoms including prolonged fever, abdominal pain, and vomiting. Three children diagnosed with the syndrome have died in New York state, including one in New York City.
Of the 82 children diagnosed with pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome in the city, 53 tested positive either for COVID-19 or for its antibodies, de Blasio said.
Meanwhile, New York City took its first tentative step toward opening schools in September, sending out about 62,000 offers to parents of 4-year-olds for its all-day pre-kindergarten program, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
Manafort released to his home for prison sentence
Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, has been released to serve his prison term under home confinement because of coronavirus fears, his lawyer confirmed.
Manafort had been imprisoned since June 2018 when he was indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller on a charge of witness tampering while awaiting trial on bank and tax fraud charges, for which he was convicted that summer. He later pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruct justice related to his undisclosed lobbying for a pro-Russian politician and political party in Ukraine. Manafort is serving a seven-year term.