The Trump administration said Sunday that it was “beginning to see the glimmers of progress” in the fight to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the United States and across the globe. “We are beginning to see the glimmers of progress,” Vice President Mike Pence said during a hastily called briefing of the White House coronavirus task force, adding, “The experts will tell me not to jump to any conclusions, and I'm not.” Dr. Deborah Birx, a leading expert in infectious disease on the task force, said that there were encouraging signs in Spain and Italy, two countries hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
In Italy, new data show that 20 percent of health care workers tested positive for COVID-19. In the U.S., people in my age group, 20 to 44, who test positive for coronavirus have a one in five chance of requiring hospitalization, and about a fifth of those end up in an intensive care unit. If I get infected, my chance of dying is one in 500.
Mohammed al-Dulfi's 67-year-old father died on March 21 after a brief struggle against the new coronavirus, but it would take nine days for his body to find a final resting place in the Shiite holy city of Najaf in southern Iraq. On two occasions, the family rejected remote burial plots proposed by the government outside Baghdad for him and seven other coronavirus victims, al-Dulfi said. A fight broke out between the families and the Health Ministry's team.
The Taliban on Tuesday broke off talks with the Afghan government on a prisoner exchange, a main step in peace talks being brokered by the United States after it agreed on a troop withdrawal pact with the militants. Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Islamist insurgent group's political office in Qatar, said on Twitter a technical team would not participate in "fruitless meetings" and the release of their prisoners was being "delayed under one pretext or another". The late February pact between the United States and the Taliban, under which U.S.-led international forces will withdraw in exchange for Taliban security guarantees, is the best chance yet of ending the 18-year war.
At the start of what is expected to be the deadliest week of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, the White House tried to offer some hope that measures to contain the spread were working. The virus killed 1,264 over 24 hours in the U.S. as of 2:05 am ET on Tuesday, according to NBC New's tracker. Meanwhile China, where the pandemic broke out, claimed that not a single new death was reported, and the city of Wuhan in Hubei province, where the new virus was first identified, prepared for lockdown measures to be lifted.
China demanded an explanation from Brazil Monday after the far-right government's education minister linked the coronavirus pandemic to the Asian country's "plan for world domination," in a tweet imitating a Chinese accent. In the latest incident to strain ties between Brasilia and Beijing, Education Minister Abraham Weintraub insinuated China was behind the global health crisis. "Geopolitically, who will come out stronger from this global crisis?" he wrote on Twitter Saturday.
China has reported no new deaths from coronavirus anywhere in the country, for the first time since the beginning of the outbreak. For months now, every morning at 03:00, officials in China have put together the latest figures on the spread of the virus to share with the world. World Health Organization Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus hailed China for the "speed with which [it] detected the outbreak" and its "commitment to transparency".
The Trump administration is seizing the opportunity of the coronavirus pandemic to push a cause that has long been an irritant in U.S. relations with China: Taiwan. The virus has added yet another dimension to U.S.-China tensions that were already wracked by a trade war and heated discussions over intellectual property, human rights and Chinese policies in Hong Kong and the South China Sea. And, while U.S.-China differences over Taiwan have waxed and waned for decades, they have persisted and are reaching new heights as the world grapples with the exponential spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Dr. Deborah Birx, one of the two leading medical experts on the White House coronavirus task force, said that out of deference to social distancing rules she had stayed away from her daughter's house — despite her 10-month-old granddaughter having registered a fever of 105 degrees over the weekend. Birx said the child, who is recovering, probably had roseola, a common childhood infection, not COVID-19. Birx, who meets daily with President Trump and Vice President Pence, said she has been vigilant about avoiding social contact “because of you two.”
Surgeon General Jerome Adams and the director of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention are both voicing optimism that the United States' coronavirus death toll can end up lower than the projection previously shared by the White House. CDC director Robert Redfield in a Monday interview with KVOI Radio said the "large majority of the American public" is following social distancing guidelines, and he therefore anticipates "the numbers are going to be much, much, much, much lower than would have been predicted by the models," per Politico. The White House recently shared a forecast suggesting the U.S. coronavirus death toll could be between 100,000 and 240,000.
WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court refused Monday to hear the Catholic Church's challenge to a local ban on religious advertising. The case, brought by the Archdiocese of Washington against the District of Columbia region's mass transit system, would have been the latest example of religious freedom appeals heard by the conservative-leaning court. The justices already are considering four major religion cases, all brought to them by religious organizations after lower court losses: • School choice: Three Montana women challenged a Montana ban on state funds being used to pay for religious education.
The coronavirus pandemic is affecting nearly everyone in the world in different ways, but for one Louisiana family, the deadly virus inflicted a particularly devastating blow. Four members of the same family died after contracting the virus, including the 86-year-old matriarch. Antoinette Franklin and three of her sons all died within days of each other.
Police in India lodged a case this week against an unknown online fraudster who tried selling the world's largest statue for $4 billion, claiming the proceeds would be used to help the Gujarat state government fund its fight against the coronavirus. With scams ranging from free mobile recharges, to offers of free Netflix subscriptions, federal home ministry officials say there has been 86% percent rise in cyber crime in the past four weeks. Police and internal security officials said scammers have created fake versions of the flagship 'PM CARES Fund' payments interface that look deceptively similar to the original and many Indians and Non-Residents Indians (NRIs) have fallen prey.
Associated Press/John Locher The Bureau of Prisons placed an order for $60,000 worth of hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets in March, federal spending records show. A Bureau of Prisons spokesperson told Insider the drugs were intended to treat COVID-19 patients. The novel coronavirus has been spreading rapidly throughout federal prisons, and the BOP reported Monday that eight inmates have died so far, and at least 195 have tested positive.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has approved the withdrawal of 1 billion euros from the country's sovereign wealth fund to help fight the coronavirus epidemic, President Hassan Rouhani's official website said on Monday.
China lifted a travel ban on Tuesday on residents of Wuhan, where the coronavirus pandemic began last year, and reported no new deaths, but the situation remained grim elsewhere as Britain and New York State recorded their highest number of fatalities yet. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson remained in intensive care, meanwhile, after being admitted to a London hospital on Monday evening, 10 days after being diagnosed with the virus. The shocking hospitalization of a major world leader underscored the global reach of COVID-19, which has put more than four billion people -- over half of the planet -- on some form of lockdown, upended societies and battered economies worldwide.
Guatemala said Tuesday that a third deportee has tested positive for the coronavirus after being flown home by the United States. The report came a day after authorities announced they were suspending deportation flights from the U.S. over concerns about spreading the virus. The Health Ministry said the latest positive case was a 37-year-old man who was deported March 26 from Mesa, Arizona, and had been in quarantine since his return.
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff accused President Donald Trump's top intelligence official Tuesday of undermining "critical intelligence functions" by keeping Congress in the dark about organizational changes he's been implementing. "This effort appears to be proceeding despite the Coronavirus pandemic and amid indications ... of political interference in the production and dissemination of intelligence," Schiff wrote in a four-page letter to acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell. Schiff emphasized that under Grenell's management, every Senate-appointed official in the DNI's hierarchy had been removed.
All of the doors and windows were locked from the inside, according to the sheriff's office. Patrick Jesernik, 54, and Cheryl Schriefer, 59, were found dead in separate rooms with obvious signs of trauma to their heads, the sheriff's office said in a statement. The couple, who were not married, had been together for eight years, according to Cathy Hoffmeyer, a spokeswoman for the sheriff's office.
REUTERS/Lawrence Bryant The coronavirus pandemic has hit the African American community harder than the general US population, early data suggests. Michigan, Illinois, and North Carolina are the only states that have publicly broken down the data on coronavirus infections and deaths by race. Experts believe poverty and a lack of healthcare are hampering the fight against COVID-19 in the African American community.
A gun attack in a mining area in the Democratic Republic of Congo has killed three Chinese nationals, China's official Xinhua news agency reported, citing the Chinese embassy in the mineral-rich central African country.
The United States was preparing on Monday for what one official called the "peak death week" of the coronavirus, while across the Atlantic British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the most prominent person with COVID-19, was taken to intensive care. "Over the course of this afternoon, the condition of the Prime Minister has worsened and, on the advice of his medical team, he has been moved to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU)," Downing Street said on Monday, adding that the foreign secretary would deputize. A Reuters tally at 1400 GMT put the number of confirmed cases at 1.27 million - just three days after it crossed the 1 million mark - and deaths up by 17,000 over the same period to 70,395.
When the White House projected on March 31 that, even with social distancing measures, 100,000 to 240,000 Americans could die of COVID-19, the numbers were not necessarily shocking to those who had been paying attention. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, had already said he projected between 100,000 to 200,000 U.S. deaths, and estimates by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington are not much different, projecting 81,766 American deaths by Aug. 4, as of Monday afternoon. White House is now setting the goal posts at 100-200K dead as a good job.
Flattening the curve does not necessarily mean seeing a decrease in total cases right away; it would first produce a decline in the number of new cases, which should result in fewer hospitalizations and death in the weeks that follow. With some of the most affected countries like Spain and Italy on lockdown for weeks, many are wondering if their efforts are actually working. Italy has been under a nationwide lockdown for about four weeks and the country has begun to flatten the curve.