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Only One State Has Met Federal Criteria For Reopening

Only one state has met all of the criteria contained in guidelines issued by the federal government for safely reopening businesses and easing social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, according to an analysis by ProPublica. Despite the lack of progress by the overwhelming majority of states, Donald Trump is still pushing them to reopen.

ProPublica based its analysis on state-level data, updated daily, for five metrics stemming from the guidelines for reopening issued by the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its metrics are the number of positive tests per 100,000 people; the percentage of tests that are positive; the number of tests per 100,000 per day; the availability of ICU beds; and the number of hospital visits for "flu-like illness."

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Fourteen Dead In W. Virginia In State’s Worst Floods In A Century

By Laila Kearney and Barbara Goldberg

(Reuters) – At least 14 people in West Virginia have died and hundreds more have been rescued from swamped homes in the state’s worst flooding in more than a century, government officials said on Friday.

The mountainous state was pummeled by up to 10 inches of rain on Thursday, causing rivers and streams to overflow into neighboring communities.

“The damage is widespread and devastating,” Governor Earl Ray Tomblin said at a news conference. “Our biggest challenge continues to be high waters.”

Multiple rivers have risen to dangerous heights, including the Elk River, which reached 32 feet, the highest since 1888, Tomblin said.

Government officials are focusing resources on rescuing those trapped or swept away by the flooding, he said, adding that some 66,000 residences are without power.

The governor declared a state of emergency in 44 of 55 counties and deployed 200 members of the West Virginia National Guard to help rescue efforts on Friday.

Though rivers were expected to crest by Friday night, the rescue and recovery effort is likely to last through the weekend, said Tim Rock, spokesman for the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

“There have been towns that have been completely surrounded by water,” Rock said. “People say there is 8 to 9 feet of water in their house.

“It’s at least into the hundreds forced to get emergency shelter,” he said. “Even if you can get back into your home, who knows what kind of shape it’s in.”

West Virginia received one-quarter of its annual rainfall in a single day, National Weather Service meteorologist Frank Pereira said.

“It was multiple rounds of thunderstorms that continued to move across the same area, a relatively small area, and the mountainous terrain exacerbated theflooding,” Pereira said.

Rains eased on Friday with only scattered showers expected, he said.

The storms that drenched West Virginia were part of a severe weather system that has swept through the U.S. Midwest, triggering tornadoes.

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg and Laila Kearney in New York; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Leslie Adler)

Clinton Loses To Sanders In Coal State Of West Virginia

By Amanda Becker and Jonathan Allen

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders defeated Hillary Clinton on Tuesday in West Virginia’s primary, winning over voters deeply skeptical about the economy and signaling the difficulty Clinton may have in industrial states in the general election.

The loss slows Clinton’s march to the nomination, but she is still heavily favored to become the Democratic candidate in the Nov. 8 election.

In a November match-up with Donald Trump, Clinton will need to win over working-class voters in the U.S. Rust Belt, which includes key states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Trump, 69, won contests in West Virginia and Nebraska handily on Tuesday. The presumptive Republican nominee is set to meet with party leaders in the U.S. Congress on Thursday, including U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan.

After Ryan said last week that he was not yet ready to endorse Trump, Trump said on Sunday that he would have to decide whether he still wanted Ryan to preside over the party’s July convention.

Trump said in a Fox interview on Tuesday night that he would like Ryan to chair the convention as planned. “He’s a very good man, he wants what’s good for the party,” the New York billionaire said.

Trump has zeroed in on Clinton’s protracted battle with Sanders, a 74-year-old U.S. senator from Vermont. He has taunted Clinton in recent days by saying she “can’t close the deal” by beating Sanders, her only rival for the Democratic Party’s nomination since Feb. 1.

Clinton, 68, has said she will ignore Trump’s personal insults, including his repeated use of his new nickname for her, “Crooked Hillary,” and instead will criticize his policy pronouncements.

 

TOP CONCERNS: ECONOMY AND JOBS

Deep concerns about the economy underscored West Virginia’s Democratic primary. Roughly six in 10 voters said they were very worried about the direction of the U.S. economy in the next few years. The same proportion cited the economy and jobs was their most important voting issue, according to a preliminary ABC News exit poll.

A remark Clinton made at an Ohio town hall in March that the country would “put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business” at an Ohio town hall in a comment may have hurt her with voters in coal-mining states such as West Virginia.

During Clinton’s visit to West Virginia and Ohio last week she repeatedly apologized to displaced coal and steel workers for her comment, which she said had been taken out of context, and discussed her plan to help retrain coal workers for clean energy jobs.

To secure the Democratic nomination, a candidate needs 2,383 delegates. Going into West Virginia, Clinton, a former U.S. secretary of state, had 2,228 delegates, including 523 so-called superdelegates, elite party members who are free to support any candidate. Sanders had 1,454 delegates, including 39 superdelegates. Another 29 delegates will be apportioned based on West Virginia’s results.

Clinton and Sanders will compete in another primary contest on May 17. Both candidates are also looking ahead to the June 7 contests, the last in the long nominating season, in which nearly 700 delegates are at stake, including 475 in California, where Sanders is now focusing his efforts.

Sanders has vowed to take his campaign all the way to the Democrats’ July 25-28 convention in Philadelphia, and wants a say in shaping the party’s platform.

Sanders has repeatedly told supporters at packed rallies that most opinion polls indicate he would beat Trump in a general election match-up by a larger margin than polls show Clinton defeating Trump.

Trump, shifting into general election mode, has already begun to consider running mates. He told Fox on Tuesday night that he has narrowed his list to five people.

He did not rule out picking New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a former rival who ended his presidential bid in February. Christie, who endorsed Trump and then campaigned for him, on Monday was named to head Trump’s White House transition team.

 

(Additional reporting by Alana Wise, Megan Cassella, Timothy Ahmann and Susan Cornwell in Washington; Editing by Alistair Bell and Leslie Adler)

Photo: Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks at a campaign rally in Salem, Oregon, U.S., May 10, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart