Trump turns criticisms of his administration on the W.H.O. and threatens to permanently cut its funding.
President Trump threatened to permanently cut off all funds to the World Health Organization Monday night, a dramatic escalation of his repeated attempts to deflect blame for his handling of the pandemic that has killed more than 90,000 people in the United States during the past several months.
In a late-night, four-page letter to the director general of the W.H.O., Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Mr. Trump accused the global health group of failing to act quickly and aggressively enough against the virus in its early days, in effect denouncing the organization for the very missteps and failures that have been leveled at him and his administration.
Public health experts have said the president’s public denials of the virus’s dangers slowed the American response, which included delayed testing and a failure to stockpile protective gear.
In the letter, the president said that the W.H.O. “belatedly declared the outbreak of a Public Health Emergency of International concern on January 30,” more than a month after the virus was first detected. But Mr. Trump did not declare a national emergency until weeks later, despite being aware of the virus and its dangers.
The president has railed against the W.H.O. for weeks as his own political and public health crisis at home has intensified, saying the group is in the thrall of China, where the virus originated. In the letter, he said the group was responsible for many deaths because it failed to challenge the version of events from Xi Jinping, the president of China, regarding the origin of the virus and its initial spread.
“On January 28, after meeting with President Xi in Beijing, you praised the Chinese government for its ‘transparency’ with respect to the coronavirus, announcing that China had set ‘a new standard for outbreak control’ and ‘bought the world time,’” Mr. Trump wrote in his letter, accusing the W.H.O. of failing to criticize China for cracking down on its own scientists and doctors.
But that criticism from Mr. Trump was particularly ironic given his own very similar comments about China early in the pandemic. On Jan. 24, four days before the W.H.O. comments, Mr. Trump tweeted his own praise of the Chinese leader.
“China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus,” wrote Mr. Trump, who was at the time trying to complete negotiations on a trade deal with China. “The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!”
Mr. Trump also wrote that the United States would reconsider its membership in the W.H.O. because it was “so clearly not serving America’s interests.”
Mr. Trump, who halted the U.S. contribution to the W.H.O. last month, is driven by a deep skepticism of international organizations, fueled by a belief — not supported by facts — that the United States is being ripped off by other countries seeking to prosper at America’s expense.
The threat to cut off assistance to the W.H.O. is also an example of the president’s America First view of foreign aid, in which Mr. Trump has repeatedly made it clear that he favors pulling back from international obligations that he derisively calls part of a globalist agenda that is harmful to American interests.
But by freezing support for the group in the middle of a global health emergency, the president risks abdicating the United States’ usual role as a global health leader. The announcement of a $2 billion contribution by President Xi on Monday underscored the potential consequence of Mr. Trump’s decision. Last year, the United States contributed about $553 million of the W.H.O.’s $6 billion budget, with China providing $43 million.
“All I can tell you is, so far I seem to be OK,” he said, explaining that he takes a daily pill. The White House physician said later that Mr. Trump had no symptoms and had regularly tested negative for the virus.
The drugs can cause dangerous abnormalities in heart rhythm in virus patients, the F.D.A. warned, saying they should be used only in clinical trials or hospitals where patients can be closely monitored for heart problems.
Several doctors said they were alarmed that Mr. Trump was using the bully pulpit of the presidency to tell the public he takes a drug that has not been proven to be effective against the coronavirus, but which does have known risks.
Dr. Steven E. Nissen, the chief academic officer of the Miller Family Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, said he had treated patients who developed a life-threatening arrhythmia.
“This disorder can be lethal,” Dr. Nissen said. “My concern would be that the public not hear comments about the use of hydroxychloroquine and believe that taking this drug to prevent Covid-19 infection is without hazards.
“In fact, there are serious hazards.”
Early studies of hydroxychloroquine in the laboratory, which showed that the drug could block the virus from attacking cells, prompted enthusiasm. But the studies of the drug in humans have largely proved disappointing, and some have pointed to serious side effects in people with heart problems.
“I’m not going to get hurt by it,” said Mr. Trump, 73, explaining that he was making the disclosure in order to be transparent with Americans. “It has been around for 40 years for malaria, for lupus, for other things. I take it. Front-line workers take it. A lot of doctors take it.”
As the United States plunges into the worst economic downturn in decades, there is growing concern that the Treasury and the Federal Reserve are being too timid and halting in their approach as they scramble to rescue the economy.
Whether they are being assertive enough will be front and center today when the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, and the Federal Reserve chair, Jerome H. Powell, testify before the Senate Banking Committee on the programs for the first time.
Lawmakers have begun warning the Fed and Treasury that they may fall short of congressional intent by being too risk averse and designing programs that could exclude borrowers in desperate need of help.
On Monday, a report from the congressional commission overseeing the Fed and Treasury’s efforts pointed out that most of the $500 billion that Congress allocated in March to the Treasury to support businesses and local governments had yet to be used and raised questions about how the rescue programs would work.
The Treasury Department has yet to extend any of the $46 billion it was given to support airlines and national security-related companies and the Fed, whose newer and riskier lending programs are meant to be backstopped with the remaining $454 billion, has just one such program underway.
Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia, plans to ask about the degree of risk being taken, and in a letter sent to Mr. Mnuchin and Mr. Powell on Monday he argued that “all taxpayers will be better off to the extent more businesses can access affordable financing.”
Senator Patrick J. Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, said he expected questions to arise about the time it had taken to roll out key programs. “I’m starting to get a little concerned about that,” he said.
Saddled with debt, and entering a job market devastated by the pandemic, millions of young people, especially those without college degrees, face an exceptionally dicey future.
They are new to the job market — with scant on-the-job experience and little or no seniority to protect them from layoffs. A large body of research — along with the experience of those who came of age in the last recession — shows that young people trying to start their careers during an economic crisis are at a lasting disadvantage. Their wages, opportunities and confidence in the workplace may never fully recover.
And in the worst downturn in generations — one with no bottom in sight — the pattern is beginning to play out with a vengeance. From March to April, employment dropped by a quarter for workers 20 to 24 years old, and 16 percent for those 20 to 29. That compares with about 12 percent of workers in their 50s.
For some younger workers, this is the second blow in barely a decade. An analysis by the McKinsey Global Institute noted that “the generation that first entered the job market in the aftermath of the Great Recession is now going through its second ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ downturn.”
Molly Zerjal, 32, of St. Louis, lost a communications job at Wells Fargo during the last downturn. Now, Ms. Zerjal works in marketing at a different financial firm, and she’s afraid it could happen again.
“I’m not an essential worker: marketing and communications is a ‘nice to have,’” she said. “Every day, I’m like, ‘Oh, God, what could happen today?’ It’s like P.T.S.D.”
In a new report, “Temperature Screening and Civil Liberties During an Epidemic,” the A.C.L.U. said that such technologies could give people a false sense of security, potentially leading them to be less vigilant about health measures like wearing masks or social distancing. The group also cautioned that the push for widespread temperature scans during the pandemic could usher in permanent new forms of surveillance and social control.
In its report, the A.C.L.U. recommended that public health experts study the effectiveness of temperature-scanning technologies “to determine if the trade-offs are worth it.” Otherwise, the group said, the fever-screening systems should not be deployed.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers a lower-tech solution: “Ask employees to take their own temperature either before coming to the workplace or upon arrival at the workplace.”
Therese Kelly arrived for her shift at an Amazon warehouse in Hazle Township, Pa., on March 27 to find her co-workers standing clustered in the cavernous space. Over a loudspeaker, a manager told them what they had feared: For the first time, an employee had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Some of the workers cut short their shifts and went home. Ms. Kelly, 63, got to work.
In the less than two months since then, the warehouse in the foothills of the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania has become Amazon’s biggest Covid-19 hot spot.
Local lawmakers believe that more than 100 workers have contracted the disease, but the exact number is unknown. At first, Amazon told workers about each new case. But when the total reached about 60, the announcements stopped giving specific numbers.
The best estimate is that more than 900 of the company’s 400,000 blue-collar workers have had the disease. But that number, crowdsourced by Jana Jumpp, an Amazon worker, almost certainly understates the spread.
Fever checkpoints at the entrances to academic buildings. One-way paths across the grassy quad. Face masks required in classrooms and dining halls. And a dormitory-turned-quarantine facility for any students exposed to the coronavirus.
That was one vision for the fall semester at the University of Kentucky conjured up by a special committee last week — and not the most dystopian scenario.
In a series of meetings on Zoom, dozens of key leaders at the university debated whether and how to reopen the campus in Lexington, Ky., amid an active outbreak. Similar discussions have taken place at almost every American college and university over the last few weeks.
On Monday, Notre Dame became one of the first major universities in the country to announce detailed plans for bringing back students, saying it would implement a regimen of testing and contact tracing, put quarantine and isolation protocols in place, and require students to maintain social distancing and wear masks in public.
Notre Dame’s decision is in contrast to an announcement last week by the California State University System, which will keep its 23 campuses largely shut and teach nearly half a million students remotely. Most other universities have said they are planning to reopen in the fall, but have yet to announce specific plans.
The University of Kentucky allowed a reporter from The New York Times to listen in on its discussions, in part to show how deliberately administrators were working through the possibilities in such fraught times for the country.
“This is a moonshot, to do something this quickly,” said Eli Capilouto, the university’s president.
Data released on Monday offered the most granular picture yet of the pandemic’s lethal rampage through New York City, reinforcing earlier signs that the coronavirus has affected immigrant, black and Hispanic residents disproportionately.
The data reported deaths in the city by ZIP code for the first time. The breakdown showed that of the 10 ZIP codes with the highest death rates, eight had populations that were predominantly black or Hispanic; three of the ZIP codes in Queens had populations that were mostly foreign-born.
The data was released several hours after Mayor Bill de Blasio reiterated that he did not expect the city to meet the state’s criteria for beginning to reopen until “the first half of June.” Some businesses in five of New York State’s 10 regions were able to reopen, with restrictions, on Friday; another region, western New York, was poised to begin reopening on Tuesday.
Also on Monday, police officers answering a complaint found about 60 students studying at a Hasidic yeshiva in Brooklyn, the latest of several episodes that have ignited tensions between the authorities and Hasidic Jews over enforcement of social-distancing rules.
Restaurants, offices and retailers in Connecticut can reopen on Wednesday, with restrictions, but the reopening of hair salons and barbershops was delayed until June. In New Jersey, batting cages, golf-driving ranges, horse riding and private tennis clubs can start up again on Friday.
Tips for talking to your kids.
Parents are learning how to navigate difficult conversations with their children about death, job loss and sickness, all while trying to answer questions they barely understand. Hopefully, we can help.
Keep up with Times correspondents around the globe.
The residents of Wuhan, China, are getting back to normal. But in other places, like Ecuador, the situation is growing dire.
Reporting was contributed by Michael Shear, Eileen Sullivan, Alan Blinder, Benedict Carey, Anemona Hartocollis, Andrew Jacobs, Annie Karni, Dan Levin, Eduardo Porter, Alan Rappeport, Michael D. Shear, Natasha Singer, Jeanna Smialek, Kaly Soto, Matt Stevens, Katie Thomas, Karen Weise, Edward Wong, Anemona Hartocollis and David Yaffe-Bellany.