Early data shows African Americans have contracted and died of coronavirus at an alarming rate

The coronavirus entered Milwaukee from a white, affluent suburb. Then it took root in the city’s black community and erupted.

As public health officials watched cases rise in March, too many in the community shrugged off warnings. Rumors and conspiracy theories proliferated on social media, pushing the bogus idea that black people are somehow immune to the disease. And much of the initial focus was on international travel, so those who knew no one returning from Asia or Europe were quick to dismiss the risk.

Then, when the shelter-in-place order came, there was a natural pushback among those who recalled other painful government restrictions — including segregation and mass incarceration — on where black people could walk and gather.

“We’re like, ‘We have to wake people up,’” said Milwaukee Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik.

As the disease spread at a higher rate in the black community, it made an even deeper cut. Environmental, economic and political factors have compounded for generations, putting black people at higher risk of chronic conditions that leave lungs weak and immune systems vulnerable: asthma, heart disease, hypertension and diabetes. In Milwaukee, simply being black means your life expectancy is 14 years shorter, on average, than someone white.

As of Friday morning, African Americans made up almost half of Milwaukee County’s 945 cases and 81% of its 27 deaths in a county whose population is 26% black. Milwaukee is one of the few places in the United States that is tracking the racial breakdown of people who have been infected by the novel coronavirus, offering a glimpse at the disproportionate destruction it is inflicting on black communities nationwide.

In Michigan, where the state’s population is 14% black, African Americans made up 35% of cases and 40% of deaths as of Friday morning. Detroit, where a majority of residents are black, has emerged as a hot spot with a high death toll. As has New Orleans. Louisiana has not published case breakdowns by race, but 40% of the state’s deaths have happened in Orleans Parish, where the majority of residents are black.

Illinois and North Carolina are two of the few areas publishing statistics on COVID-19 cases by race, and their data shows a disproportionate number of African Americans were infected.

“It will be unimaginable pretty soon,” said Dr. Celia J. Maxwell, an infectious disease physician and associate dean at Howard University College of Medicine, a school and hospital in Washington dedicated to the education and care of the black community. “And anything that comes around is going to be worse in our patients. Period. Many of our patients have so many problems, but this is kind of like the nail in the coffin.”

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracks virulent outbreaks and typically releases detailed data that includes information about the age, race and location of the people affected. For the coronavirus pandemic, the CDC has released location and age data, but it has been silent on race. The CDC did not respond to ProPublica’s request for race data related to the coronavirus or answer questions about whether they were collecting it at all.

Experts say that the nation’s unwillingness to publicly track the virus by race could obscure a crucial underlying reality: It’s quite likely that a disproportionate number of those who die of coronavirus will be black.

The reasons for this are the same reasons that African Americans have disproportionately high rates of maternal death, low levels of access to medical care and higher rates of asthma, said Dr. Camara Jones, a family physician, epidemiologist and visiting fellow at Harvard University.

“COVID is just unmasking the deep disinvestment in our communities, the historical injustices and the impact of residential segregation,” said Jones, who spent 13 years at the CDC, focused on identifying, measuring and addressing racial bias within the medical system. “This is the time to name racism as the cause of all of those things. The overrepresentation of people of color in poverty and white people in wealth is not just a happenstance. … It’s because we’re not valued.”

Five congressional Democrats wrote to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, whose department encompasses the CDC, last week demanding the federal government collect and release the breakdown of coronavirus cases by race and ethnicity.

Without demographic data, the members of Congress wrote, health officials and lawmakers won’t be able to address inequities in health outcomes and testing that may emerge: “We urge you not to delay collecting this vital information, and to take any additional necessary steps to ensure that all Americans have the access they need to COVID-19 testing and treatment.”

Milwaukee, one of the few places already tracking coronavirus cases and deaths by race, provides an early indication of what would surface nationally if the federal government actually did this, or locally if other cities and states took its lead.

Milwaukee, both the city and county, passed resolutions last summer that were seen as important steps in addressing decades of race-based inequality.

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“We declared racism as a public health issue,” said Kowalik, the city’s health commissioner. “It frames not only how we do our work but how transparent we are about how things are going. It impacts how we manage an outbreak.”

Milwaukee is trying to be purposeful in how it communicates information about the best way to slow the pandemic. It is addressing economic and logistical roadblocks that stand in the way of safety. And it’s being transparent about who is infected, who is dying and how the virus spread in the first place.

Kowalik described watching the virus spread into the city, without enough information, because of limited testing, to be able to take early action to contain it.

At the beginning of March, Wisconsin had one case. State public health officials still considered the risk from the coronavirus “low.” Testing criteria was extremely strict, as it was in many places across the country: You had to have symptoms and have traveled to China, Iran, South Korea or Italy within 14 days or have had contact with someone who had a confirmed case of COVID-19.

So, she said, she waited, wondering: “When are we going to be able to test for this to see if it is in our community?”

About two weeks later, Milwaukee had its first case.

The city’s patient zero had been in contact with a person from a neighboring, predominately white and affluent suburb who had tested positive. Given how much commuting occurs in and out of Milwaukee, with some making a 180-mile round trip to Chicago, Kowalik said she knew it would only be a matter of time before the virus spread into the city.

A day later came the city’s second case, someone who contracted the virus while in Atlanta. Kowalik said she started questioning the rigidness of the testing guidelines. Why didn’t they include domestic travel?

By the fourth case, she said, “we determined community spread. … It happened so quickly.”

Within the span of a week, Milwaukee went from having one case to nearly 40. Most of the sick people were middle-aged, African American men. By week two, the city had over 350 cases. And now, there are more than 945 cases countywide, with the bulk in the city of Milwaukee, where the population is 39% black. People of all ages have contracted the virus and about half are African American.

The streets are quiet with very few people moving about in the 53206 zip code which is the cities hardest hit area for the corona virus Wednesday, April, 1, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wis.  

The county’s online dashboard of coronavirus cases keeps up-to-date information on the racial breakdown of those who have tested positive. As of Thursday morning, 19 people had died of illness related to COVID-19 in Milwaukee County. All but four were black, according to the county medical examiner’s office. Records show that at least 11 of the deceased had diabetes, eight had hypertension and 15 had a mixture of chronic health conditions that included heart and lung disease.

Because of discrimination and generational income inequality, black households in the county earned only 50% as much as white ones in 2018, according to census statistics. Black people are far less likely to own homes than white people in Milwaukee and far more likely to rent, putting black renters at the mercy of landlords who can kick them out if they can’t pay during an economic crisis, at the same time as people are being told to stay home. And when it comes to health insurance, black people are more likely to be uninsured than their white counterparts.

African Americans have gravitated to jobs in sectors viewed as reliable paths to the middle class — health care, transportation, government, food supply — which are now deemed “essential,” rendering them unable to stay home. In places like New York City, the virus’ epicenter, black people are among the only ones still riding the subway.

“And let’s be clear, this is not because people want to live in those conditions,” said Gordon Francis Goodwin, who works for Government Alliance on Race and Equity, a national racial equity organization that worked with Milwaukee on its health and equity framework. “This is a matter of taking a look at how our history kept people from actually being fully included.”

Fred Royal, head of the Milwaukee branch of the NAACP, knows three people who have died from the virus, including 69-year-old Lenard Wells, a former Milwaukee police lieutenant and a mentor to others in the black community. Royal’s 38-year-old cousin died from the virus last week in Atlanta. His body was returned home Tuesday.

Royal is hearing that people aren’t necessarily being hospitalized but are being sent home instead and “told to self-medicate.”

“What is alarming about that,” he said, “is that a number of those individuals were sent home with symptoms and died before the confirmation of their test came back.”

Health Commissioner Kowalik said that there have been delays of up to two weeks in getting results back from some private labs, but nearly all of those who died have done so at hospitals or while in hospice. Still, Kowalik said she understood why some members in the black community distrusted the care they might receive in a hospital.

A elderly couple wearing face mask and wearing rubber gloves leave a Walgreens in the 53206 zip code which is the cities hardest hit area for the corona virus Wednesday, April, 1, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wis.

In January, a 25-year-old day care teacher named Tashonna Ward died after staff at Froedtert Hospital failed to check her vital signs. Federal officials examined 20 patient records and found seven patients, including Ward, didn’t receive proper care. The report didn’t reveal the race of those whose records it examined at the hospital, which predominantly serves black patients. Froedtert Hospital declined to speak to issues raised in the report, according to a February article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and it had not submitted any corrective actions to federal officials.

“What black folks are accustomed to in Milwaukee and anywhere in the country, really, is pain not being acknowledged and constant inequities that happen in health care delivery,” Kowalik said.

The health commissioner herself, a black woman who grew up in Milwaukee, said she’s all too familiar with the city’s enduring struggles with segregation and racism. Her mother is black and her father Polish, and she remembers the stories they shared about trying to buy a house as a young interracial couple in Sherman Park, a neighborhood once off-limits to blacks.

“My father couldn’t get a mortgage for the house. He had to go to the bank without my mom,” Kowalik said.

It is the same neighborhood where fury and frustration sparked protests that, at times, roiled into riots in 2016 when a Milwaukee police officer fatally shot Sylville Smith, a 23-year-old black man.

And it is the same neighborhood that has a concentration of poor health outcomes when you overlay a heat map of conditions, be it lead poisoning, infant mortality — and now, she said, COVID-19.htpps://www.theopinionpoll.com

Knowing which communities are most impacted allows public health officials to tailor their messaging to overcome the distrust of black residents.

“We’ve been told so much misinformation over the years about the condition of our community,” Royal, of the NAACP, said. “I believe a lot of people don’t trust what the government says.”

Kowalik has met — virtually — with trusted and influential community leaders to discuss outreach efforts to ensure everyone is on the same page about the importance of staying home and keeping 6 feet away from others if they must go out.

Police and inspectors are responding to complaints received about “noncompliant” businesses forcing staff to come to work or not practicing social distancing in the workplace. Violators could face fines.

“Who are we getting these complaints from?” she asked. “Many people of color.”

Residents have been urged to call 211 if they need help with anything from finding something to eat or a place to stay. And the state has set up two voluntary isolation facilities for people with COVID-19 symptoms whose living situations are untenable, including a Super 8 motel in Milwaukee.

Despite the work being done in Milwaukee, experts like Linda Sprague Martinez, a community health researcher at Boston University’s School of Social Work, worry that the government is not paying close enough attention to race, and as the disease spreads, will do too little to blunt its toll.

“When COVID-19 passes and we see the losses … it will be deeply tied to the story of post-World War II policies that left communities marginalized,” Sprague said. “Its impact is going to be tied to our history and legacy of racial inequities. It’s going to be tied to the fact that we live in two very different worlds.”

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Americans Brace For ‘Hardest, Saddest’ Week Of Their Lives

US surgeon general calls Indianapolis an 'emerging hotspot' for ...

The surgeon general warned the coronavirus pandemic would bring the “hardest and saddest” week of most Americans’ lives.

Americans braced for what the nation’s top doctor warned Sunday would be “the hardest and saddest week” of their lives while Britain assumed the unwelcome mantle of deadliest coronavirus hot spot in Europe after a record 24-hour jump in deaths that surpassed even hard-hit Italy’s.

Britain’s own prime minister, Boris Johnson, was hospitalized, 10 days after testing positive for COVID-19 in what his office described as a “precautionary step.”

Amid the dire news, there were also glimmers of hope — the number of people dying appeared to be slowing in New York City, Spain and Italy. The news was cautiously welcomed by leaders, who also noted that any gains could easily be reversed if people did not continue to adhere to strict lockdowns.

And U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams offered a stark warning about the expected wave of virus deaths.

“This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment,’’ he told “Fox News Sunday.”

In a rare televised address to her country, meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth II also appealed to Britons to rise the occasion, while acknowledging enormous disruptions, grief and financial difficulties.

“I hope in the years to come, everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge,” she said. “And those who come after us will say that the Britons of this generation were as strong as any.”

In New York City, the U.S. epicenter of the pandemic, daily deaths dropped slightly, along with intensive care admissions and the number of patients who needed breathing tubes inserted, but New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned that it was “too early to tell” the significance of those numbers.

Italy and Spain also got some encouraging news. Italy registered its lowest day-to-day increase in deaths in more than two weeks — 525, said Angelo Borrelli, the head of the national Civil Protection agency. The pace of infection also seemed to be slowing.

Even so, Borrelli warned, “This good news shouldn’t make us drop our guard.”

Confirmed infections fell in Spain, too, and new deaths declined for the third straight day, dropping to 674 — the first time daily deaths have fallen below 800 in the past week.

“We are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said.

The outlook, however, remained bleak in Britain, which reported more than 600 deaths Sunday, surpassing Italy’s increase. Italy still has by far the world’s highest coronavirus death toll — almost 16,000.

Johnson, meanwhile, has been hospitalized, though his office said it was not an emergency and that the 55-year-old Conservative will undergo tests.

There are concerns that Johnson’s government did not take the virus seriously enough at first and that spring weather will tempt Britons and others to break social distancing rules.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the U.K. might even ban outdoor exercise if people still ’’flout the rules.″

“The vast majority of people are following the public health advice, which is absolutely critical, and staying at home,” Hancock told Sky TV. “But there are a small minority of people who are still not doing that — it’s quite unbelievable, frankly, to see that.”

As the numbers of infections rose, the deputy head of Britain’s National Health Service Providers said the agency needed to focus on quickly increasing ventilator capacity and getting more protective equipment for health care workers.

“I think that we are just a week away from the surge of this,’’ Saffron Cordery told Sky TV.

Italians have not been immune to lure of the good weather either. Top Italian officials took to national television after photos were published showing huge crowds out shopping in Naples, Rome, Genoa and even the hard-hit Veneto city of Padua. Lombardy Vice Gov. Fabrizio Sala said cellphone data showed 38% of the region’s people were out and about — the highest figure since March 20.

Health Minister Roberto Speranza told RAI state television that all the sacrifices Italians have made since the nationwide lockdown began on March 10 risked being reversed.

Restrictions on movement vary from country to country. In Germany and Britain, residents can get out to exercise and walk their dogs, as well as go to the supermarket, the post office and do other essential tasks. Yet in Serbia and South Africa, dog walking is not allowed.

In France, heat-seeking drones have been whizzing over Fontainebleau forest to identify rule-breakers after the former royal estate in the Paris suburbs was closed to the public.

In Sweden, authorities have advised the public to practice social distancing, but schools, bars and restaurants are still open.

At the Vatican, Pope Francis celebrated Mass and blessed palms for Palm Sunday in a near-empty St. Peter’s Basilica. Usually tens of thousands of faithful would have crowded the square outside.

In New Orleans, Rev. Emmanuel Mulenga blessed palm fronds and put them on a table near the back of his Saint Augustine Catholic Church — so people could get them while also observing social distancing.

Worldwide, more than 1.2 million people have been confirmed infected and nearly 70,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. The true numbers are certainly much higher, due to limited testing, different ways nations count the dead and deliberate under-reporting by some governments.

The vast majority of infected people recover from the virus, which is spread by microscopic droplets from coughs or sneezes. For most people, the virus causes mild to moderate symptoms such as fever and cough. But for some, especially older adults and the infirm, it can cause pneumonia and lead to death. The World Health Organization says 95% of the known coronavirus deaths in Europe have been in people over 60.

The rapid spread of the virus in the United States has prompted a chaotic scramble for medical equipment and protective gear.

An Associated Press review of federal purchasing contracts showed that federal agencies largely waited until mid-March — more than two months after the first warnings of a potential pandemic — to begin placing bulk orders of N95 respirator masks, mechanical ventilators and other equipment needed by front-line health care workers.

By that time, hospitals in several states were treating thousands of infected patients without adequate equipment and pleading for shipments from the national stockpile. Now that stockpile is nearly drained just as the numbers of patients requiring critical care is surging.

Rebekah Gee, who heads the Louisiana State University’s health care services division, would like to the federal government to be more involved and warned that the private and public sector have been competing with each other, leading to price increases.

Gee, who once ran the state’s Department of Health, said one of her colleagues went on eBay to buy gowns, while equipment her department ordered from China got stalled for weeks in Hong Kong.

“Our whole country is at war with this virus,” she said. “There’s only a certain number of ventilators in the world. This needs a coordinated approach, and right now that’s not happening.”

Louisiana and the New Orleans area have been hard hit by the virus, and Gov. John Bel Edwards has repeatedly warned of looming shortages for ventilators and intensive care unit beds.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday that he hoped the pace of new infections would plateau soon, but that the virus is unlikely to be completely eradicated this year.

Speaking on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Fauci said the prospect of a resurgence is why the U.S. is working so hard to be better prepared, including working to develop a vaccine and conducting clinical trials on treatments.

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Trump Org Reportedly Seeking Debt Help From Deutsche As Bank Is Probed By DOJ

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Former White House ethics chief Walter Shaub called it the “absolute nightmare” he has warned against.

In another tangled ethics situation for Donald Trump, the president’s Trump Organization is reportedly asking to postpone its loan payments to Deutsche Bank — which is being investigated by the Department of Justice to determine if it complied with anti-money laundering regulations.

The situation highlights the unique power of Trump as president to maneuver a deal for his business hurt by the COVID-19 crisis, particularly with a bank under investigation by his own administration.

Trump did not divest from his businesses when he moved into the White House as other presidents have done to avoid conflicts of interest. The current scenario is the “absolute nightmare that someone (ahem) warned about” when Trump took office, tweeted Walter Shaub, the former head of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics under both Barack Obama and Trump.

The Trump Organization has been hit hard amid the coronavirus pandemic as consumers slash their stays in hotels and trips to golf resorts. The company has laid off or furloughed some 1,500 employees in several hotels, The Washington Post reported. As of Friday, 17 of the Trump Organization’s hotels and clubs were closed, according to the Post. The shuttered operations amounted to some $650,000 a day in lost revenue, the newspaper reported.

Loans from Deutsche Bank, the Trump Organization’s biggest creditor,  have reportedly been used for Trump’s Chicago Tower, the Trump National Doral Miami golf resort — which is now shuttered — and his Washington, D.C., hotel, which has closed its bar and restaurant, The New York Times reported. The loans are backed by a personal guarantee from Trump himself, according to the Times. Deutsche Bank has loaned the Trump Organization some $2 billion since 1998, and there are currently an estimated $350 million in loans outstanding, the newspaper reported.

Trump Organization representatives reached out to Deutsche Bank’s private banking unit in New York last month for preliminary talks to discuss new loan arrangements, according to the Times. Company officials are also taking to Palm Beach County about delaying payments of rent owed on land leased from the county, the Post reported.

David Enrich, a Times business reporter who recently authored a book on Deutsche Bank, “Dark Towers,” told NPR that the bank has been “worried” about a situation like this.

Bank officials are now “forced to choose between doing what seems like it’s financially right for the bank and for its regulators, versus doing what’s right to protect the relationship with someone who has the ability to inflict enormous damage on the institution if he is so inclined,” Enrich explained.

This “highlights for ... the umpteenth time here, the perils of having someone in the Oval Office who ... owns huge swaths of businesses and has refused to divest” from them, Enrich noted. “It a very tricky, messy situation.”

Deutsche Bank is currently being investigated by the Justice Department over whether it failed to report suspicious activity that may have been linked to money laundering, the Times and Reuters have reported. A bank whistleblower said that she flagged transactions involving Jared Kushner’s family business and Trump’s former charitable foundation — since closed amid an ethics investigation — for suspicious activity in 2016 and 2017. But the whistleblower said the bank never reported her suspicions to authorities. Trump and a representative of Kushner Cos. have denied any wrongdoing.

The bank, which was linked to a massive $20 billion money-laundering operation headquartered in Russia, paid millions of dollars in fines last year to the U.S. and Germany for other corruption and compliance violations. It’s also at the center of a court battle as the House of Representatives seeks to obtain its records on Trump’s loans.

Neither the Trump Organization nor Trump have commented on his business problems and possible debt rearrangement. But son Eric Trump, who helps manage the Trump Organization, told the Times: “These days everybody is working together. Tenants are working with landlords, landlords are working with banks. The whole world is working together as we fight through this pandemic.”

Andrew Cuomo: China Sending 1,000 Ventilators To New York

The governor said the Chinese government was sending the ventilators as the state faces a shortage of medical equipment amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is seen during a press conference at the field hospital site at the Javits Center on March 30 in New York C

The Chinese government is facilitating the shipment of 1,000 ventilators to the state of New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday.

The ventilators are expected to arrive at John F. Kennedy International Airport the same day. The state of Oregon is also donating an additional 140 ventilators to New York.

“This is a big deal and it’s going to make a significant difference for us,” Cuomo said at a press conference.

“Also, the state of Oregon contacted us and is going to send 140 ventilators, which is, I can tell you, just astonishing and unexpected,” Cuomo said. “And I want to thank Gov. [Kate] Brown, I want to thank all of the people in the state of Oregon for their thoughtfulness.”

As New York scrambles to set up makeshift morgues to deal with the growing number of dead bodies, Cuomo says the state is expecting to hit its peak of the crisis in the coming week.

Also on Saturday, the governor announced plans to sign an executive order that would allow medical students in the state who were slated to graduate this spring to begin practicing now. The new graduates are expected to respond to a staff shortage in hospitals and medical centers in the state.

“Nobody can tell you the number at the top of the mountain,” Cuomo said of the total number of expected deaths at the peak of the pandemic.

As of Saturday, 3,560 people in the state had died from the virus and there were 113,704 confirmed COVID-19 cases. However, two-thirds of people who had been hospitalized after reporting symptoms have since been discharged.

There were a total of 7,826 deaths and 297,575 cases in the U.S. as of Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins’ coronavirus resource center.

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Trump Organization has laid off about 1,500 employees as pandemic hits business

The coronavirus pandemic has forced borrowers and lenders across the globe to discuss ways to pay debts

With most of U.S. President Trump’s hotels and clubs closed amid stay-at-home orders around the world, the Trump Organization has responded by cutting costs, like other companies in the hospitality and tourism industries.

The family business of President Trump is also in informal discussions with Deutsche Bank AG about delaying some loan payments as the coronavirus forces widespread disruptions to the economy, Bloomberg reported Friday.

Trump Organization representatives reached out to the Deutsche Bank’s private banking unit in New York late last month and the talks are ongoing, according to the New York Times.

The global coronavirus pandemic has forced borrowers and lenders across the globe to discuss ways to pay debts while admitting the huge pressure on company bottom lines. But the request from the Trump Organization is especially delicate after Deutsche Bank decided to keep Trump’s business dealings at arms length when he took office.

The Trump Organization has laid off or furloughed employees at hotels in New York, the District of Columbia, Miami, Chicago, Las Vegas, Vancouver and Honolulu, according to public filings and people familiar with the properties, including union officials.

Seventeen of Trump’s clubs and hotels have closed. The remainder of Trump properties are operating at a fraction of their normal capacity: hotels running with restaurants closed, golf clubs operating with clubhouses shut down, and golfers warned not to share carts or touch the flagsticks.

All told, the closed properties generated an average of $650,000 in revenue for Trump per day, according to Trump’s past financial disclosures.

That economic strain has pushed Trump Organization officials to inquire about possible relief, at least temporarily, from the company’s financial obligations at one of its properties.

In Palm Beach County, Fla., the Trump Organization has not paid rent of $54,534.25 that was due April 1 on land it leases from the county government for the Trump International Golf Club West Palm Beach, a county representative said Friday. The Trump Organization said it has until April 10 to make the monthly payment without penalty.

“Because payment has not become due, and in light of Governor’s DeSantis’ executive order shutting down businesses throughout the State of Florida as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic, the County advised us to refrain from making payment until they have finalized their policy for the handling of their numerous leases,” Alan Garten, a Trump Organization executive, said in a statement. “As soon as the County finalizes its guidance, we will, of course, fully and timely comply with its directives as well as continue to comply with the requirements of the lease.”

Palm Beach County officials did not respond to a question about Garten’s comment that the company was advised not to make the payment.

As of Friday, 17 of Trump’s 24 clubs and hotels around the world were closed. The latest to close was Trump’s hotel in Vancouver, Canada — which announced its closure Thursday.

In Chicago, the Trump hotel told investors on Friday that it had made the “heartbreaking decision to” lay off two-thirds of its staff, required the remaining staff to work on two to three days a week, and suspended 401(k) contributions for all.

The company also has to pay an April bill to New York City, related to ice rinks, a carousel and a golf course that the company runs under city contracts. A representative of the city parks department said Friday that “they do not have a past due payment at this time” but declined to say more.

The company has been trying to sell its D.C. hotel lease since late last year, an effort that has been sidelined by the pandemic.

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