TRUMP'S NEW CHIEF OF STAFF IMMEDIATELY TAKES TWO-WEEK VACATION: U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, who was named President Trump’s new chief of staff Friday, has tested negative for the coronavirus but will quarantine himself for 14 days “out of an abundance of caution,” his spokesman said Monday. Meadows, a Republican who represents far-western North Carolina, was tested over the weekend after coming into contact with a person at the Conservative Political Action Conference who tested positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus, said Ben Williamson, Meadows’ chief of staff, in a tweet Monday night. “Mark Meadows was advised this weekend that now 12 days prior at CPAC, he may have come in contact with the COVID-19 positive test individual. A precautionary test came back negative & he feels great. He’ll be self-quarantined till the 14 day period passes Wednesday,” the tweet said.
LACK OF PAID SICK DAYS IS COMPOUNDING CORONAVIRUS PROBLEMS: While white collar workers trying to avoid contagion can work from home or call in sick if they experience symptoms of the virus, that's not an option for the millions of waiters, delivery workers, cashiers, ride-hailing drivers, museum attendants and countless others who routinely come into contact with the public. Their dilemma is often compounded by spotty sick leave policies or inadequate health insurance coverage, leaving them vulnerable to the fast-spreading coronavirus that has already claimed thousands of lives and put them in a financially precarious position. In the United States, about 27% of private sector workers don’t have access to paid sick leave, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some countries, like Britain, are looking into helping out non-permanent workers. There is no federal sick leave policy in the U.S., but 12 of the 50 states and Washington D.C. require employers to offer paid sick leave. Some House and Senate Democrats have been pushing legislation that would require employers to allow workers to accrue seven days of paid sick leave and to provide an additional 14 days in the event of any public health emergency, including the current coronavirus crisis. President Donald Trump said he was seeking help for hourly-wage workers to ensure they’re “not going to miss a paycheck,” and he would outline the proposals Tuesday.
BIOGEN EMPLOYEES ARE FIGHTING A CORONAVIRUS CLUSTER: North Carolina health officials announced five new cases of coronavirus in Wake County Monday afternoon, saying the five residents all attended the same Biogen business conference in Boston last month. Earlier Monday, an Indiana resident tested positive for COVID-19, having also attended the Boston conference and then spending time at Biogen’s Research Triangle Park office last week. Health officials announced that the Indiana State Department of Health had alerted them that a person who tested positive for COVID-19 on March 8 was in Durham and Wake counties from March 2 through March 6 while symptomatic. The person is in isolation at home in Indiana, the state said. County health officials said the Indiana resident flew into Raleigh-Durham International Airport on March 1, and began to show symptoms of a respiratory illness on March 2, while working at Biogen in Research Triangle Park. Officials say the only place they think the patient would have been at high risk for exposing others was at Biogen. The person drove home to Indiana on March 6.
3 CAMP LEJEUNE MARINES QUARANTINED AFTER RETURNING FROM ITALY: Three Marines stationed aboard Camp Lejeune have recently been quarantined due to possible exposure to the coronavirus overseas. The three Marines have just returned to base from Sigonella, Italy. “The three Marines have been quarantined for the last 10 days after having returned home from Italy,” said Nat Fahy said, in a statement to The Daily News. “They are each self-quarantining at the direction of their unit leader out of an abundance of caution.” Fahy, the communications strategy and operations director for Marine Corp Installation East, also added the three Marines have been quarantined because they arrived home from an at-risk country, and not because they are showing any symptoms of the virus. “This is not a Naval Hospital quarantine, this is a unit directed quarantine due to the fact that the Marines have returned from an area in Italy that has been exposed to the virus,” Fahy said. It has not been confirmed as to whether the Marines were quarantined immediately upon arriving back to the United States or not, according to Faye.
BIDEN AND SANDERS BOTH HEAD TO OHIO, WHILE SIX MORE STATES VOTE TODAY: Voters are heading to the polls in Idaho, Mississippi, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota and Washington. On a day dubbed “Super Tuesday II,” no contest looms larger for Sanders than Michigan, a state he won in the 2016 primaries against Hillary Clinton and which also is likely to play a decisive role in the general election. Biden and Sanders both plan to converge on Cleveland on Tuesday night to addresses supporters — not in one of the states holding contests this Tuesday but in one that has a lot of delegates at stake next week. Ohio, which offers 136 delegates, is one of of four states with March 17 primaries. Voters will also go to to the polls in Arizona (67 delegates), Florida (219 delegates) and Illinois (155 delegates). Earlier Tuesday, Biden plans a stop in Columbus, Ohio. Sanders is scheduled to appear earlier in Rockford, Ill. Speaking at a gathering at the Detroit Athletic Club in downtown Detroit, Biden said that his stutter was “probably the greatest God ever gave me, because it gave me insight that I might not have had: Everyone has something that is beyond their control.” Biden seemed to tie his experiences to President Trump. “We have a president now who preys on people’s frailties, he preys on people’s fears. He’s a bully, and I’ve learned to handle bullies," Biden told a crowd of about 350 people, which included Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), NAACP Detroit President Rev. Wendell Anthony and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), among other high-profile supporters.