Throughout January, as President Trump repeatedly played down the seriousness of the virus and focused on other issues, an array of figures inside his government — from top White House advisers to experts deep in the cabinet departments and intelligence agencies — identified the threat, sounded alarms and made clear the need for aggressive action.
Dozens of interviews and a review of emails and other records by The New York Times revealed many previously unreported details of the roots and extent of Mr. Trump’s halting response. Read the full investigation.
The country now has more than 530,000 confirmed cases, by far the world’s largest count, and more than 20,600 deaths, surpassing Italy’s as the world’s heaviest toll. More than 16 million Americans have lost their jobs.
Here’s what else is happening in the United States:
- On Saturday, the U.S. surpassed Italy in the total number of confirmed deaths from the coronavirus. Government projections obtained by The New York Times found that without any mitigation, the death toll from the virus could have reached 300,000 — and that it could reach 200,000 if the Trump administration lifts 30-day stay-at-home orders. Read the latest updates for the United States.
- Christians across the United States prepared to celebrate Easter by gathering virtually on Sunday, largely following stay-at-home orders and guidance from health officials. A handful of lone pastors in states like Louisiana and Mississippi plan to hold in-person services in defiance of restrictions on mass gatherings, citing their religious freedoms. President Trump said in a tweet that he would watch the online service of First Baptist Dallas, led by Robert Jeffress, one of his prominent supporters.
- The largest states are split on when and how to reopen. The governors of Texas and Florida, both Republicans, have started talking about reopening businesses and schools, echoing signals from Mr. Trump. But the leaders of California and New York, both Democrats, are sounding more cautious notes.
- Top officials in New York, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak with more than 180,000 cases, appear to disagree over whether New York City schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year. Read the latest updates for the New York region.
- Citing the virus, the Trump administration said it would issue visa penalties on countries that refuse to accept people the U.S. aims to deport.
- With so many restaurants and schools closed and other sources of demand disrupted, many of the largest farms in the country are destroying tens of millions of pounds of fresh food that they haven’t been able to sell or donate to food banks, which can absorb only so much perishable food.