NYC clinics set to start ‘self-swab’ coronavirus tests
New York City-run health clinics will soon take a new tack on coronavirus testing. Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday that in the coming days, the clinics will begin using a procedure that lets people collect samples themselves at a health care worker’s direction. He says the “self-swab” tests would allow for more and easier testing and make it safer for test-seekers and health care workers alike. The process will work like this: A health care will explain how to administer the test, and then the person would go into another area, take a nasal swab and spit into a cup for a second sample for cross-checking. The samples will then be given to a health care worker and tested.
Plan is for Trump to shift focus to economy, reopening
WASHINGTON (AP) — White House strategists are planning to shift President Donald Trump’s public focus from the coronavirus to the burgeoning efforts aimed at reopening the country and easing the economic devastation caused by the pandemic. Aides intend to put him in more controlled settings than his daily briefings, where his ability to grab headlines with freewheeling performances has become a liability. And plans are being drawn up for a limited schedule of travel within the next few weeks. Meantime, Republican polling shows that his path to reelection depends on how the public assesses the pace of the economic rebound.
Georgia restaurants allowed to reopen as restrictions loosen
ATLANTA (AP) — Some Georgia restaurants were reopening for limited dine-in service as more restrictions against the coronavirus are loosened in the big Southern state. Movie theaters on Monday can welcome customers and limited in-restaurant dining may resume. This comes after other businesses, including barbershops, gyms, tattoo shops and nail salons, were allowed to start seeing customers Friday. Many establishments gratefully opened their doors after a monthlong closure, but others didn’t feel ready yet amid the pandemic and remained shuttered. A similar mixed response is expected from the businesses allowed to reopen Monday.
Court tosses NY case that could have expanded gun rights
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has sidestepped a major decision on gun rights in a dispute over New York City’s former ban on transporting guns. The justices ruled Monday that there’s nothing left for them to decide now that the city has eased restrictions on taking licensed, locked and unloaded guns outside the city limits and a new state law prevents New York from reviving the ban. The court had seemed poised to use the case to expand gun rights nationwide. But other guns cases remain in the high-court’s pipeline and the justices could decide to hear one or more of those next term.
Court rules insurers can collect $12B under health care law
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has ruled that insurance companies can collect $12 billion from the federal government to cover their losses in the early years of the health care law championed by President Barack Obama. The justices voted 8-1 Monday in holding that insurers are entitled to the money under a provision of the “Obamacare” health law that promised the companies a financial cushion for losses they might incur by selling coverage to people in the marketplaces created by the health care law. The case is separate from a challenge to the health care law that the court has agreed to hear in its term that begins in October.
Federal trial opens over Florida’s felon voting law
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A federal trial is underway Monday that could help settle whether impoverished Florida felons can be denied the right to vote. Voters overwhelmingly approved an amendment in 2018 that allowed felons to regain the right to vote. But the Florida Republican-controlled Legislature passed a bill that was later signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis stipulating that felons must pay all legal financial obligations before their voting rights can be restored. A consolidated class action suit before a U.S. District judge in Tallahassee will consider the constitutional merits of that law. In a state that holds great sway in national politics, the case could have wide ramifications.
AP POLL-VIRUS OUTBREAK-VOTING
AP-NORC poll: Rising support for mail voting amid pandemic
WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans’ support for mail-in voting has jumped amid concerns about the safety of polling places during the coronavirus pandemic. But a wide partisan divide suggests President Donald Trump’s opposition to vote by mail may be resonating with his Republican backers. A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds Democrats are now much more likely than Republicans to support their state conducting elections exclusively by mail — 47% to 29%. In 2018, about half as many Democrats were in favor, and there was little difference in the views of Democrats and Republicans on the question.
Pelosi is latest high-profile Democrat to endorse Joe Biden
ATLANTA (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has endorsed Joe Biden’s presidential bid. The California Democrat, in video remarks Monday, said Biden offers “hope and courage, values, authenticity, and integrity.” She said he’d be a “voice of reason and resilience” amid the coronavirus pandemic. The two political veterans played key roles in Democratic legislative victories during President Barack Obama’s administration and in the 2018 election that gave Democrats a majority in the House. Pelosi said she wants more “bold progress” with Biden as president. Her backing ratifies Biden’s contention that he is the party’s best chance to keep the House majority and regain Senate control from Republicans.
Stocks rise as governments plan to ease virus lockdowns
Stocks are rising around the world as governments prepare to gradually lift restrictions they imposed on businesses to slow the sweep of the coronavirus pandemic. The S&P 500 added 0.7% in early trading Monday at the start of a week chockablock with market-moving events. Several major central banks are meeting, including the Bank of Japan, which announced its latest stimulus measures to prop up markets. A slew of the biggest U.S. companies are also scheduled to report how much profit they made in the first three months of 2020. Bond yields rose and the price of oil fell.
Alaska Girl Scouts to get relief loan for lost cookie sales
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Selling Girl Scout cookies is normally a foolproof business model, but the coronavirus outbreak has cooled sales for Alaska scouts. The Girl Scouts of Alaska looked for help and the group is expected to receive a federal recovery loan to help compensate for lost cookie sales. The Anchorage Daily News reported First National Bank Alaska facilitated the federal Paycheck Protection Program loan. As a result of the shutdown, about 144,000 unsold boxes have filled the homes of Alaska scouting families. The loan allows the organization’s employees to keep working and provide online programs for Girl Scouts stuck at home.