It's Academic: March 14, Part 2
In late November 2018, just over a year before the first coronavirus case was identified in Wuhan, China, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at Detroit Metro Airport stopped a Chinese biologist with three vials labeled “Antibodies” in his luggage. The biologist told the agents that a colleague in China had asked him to deliver the vials to a researcher at a U.S. institute. “Inspection of the writing on the vials and the stated recipient led inspection personnel to believe the materials contained within the vials may be viable Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) materials,” says an unclassified FBI tactical intelligence report obtained by Yahoo News.
President Trump on Monday criticized attempts by Democrats in Congress to expand voting access for the presidential election in the fall, saying increased voter turnout would keep Republicans from getting elected. Trump said that Democrat-proposed voting reforms to the $2.2 trillion rescue package passed last week by Congress — which were largely cut from the deal — would have led to “levels of voting, that if you ever agreed to it you'd never have a Republican elected in this country again.” Democrats have pushed to mandate that states make plans to expand early voting and mail-in balloting for the fall election, in the event that the coronavirus pandemic makes in-person voting unsafe.
The Justice Department inspector general said it does “not have confidence” in the FBI's FISA application process following an audit that found the Bureau was not sufficiently transparent with the court in 29 applications from 2014 to 2019, all of which included “apparent errors or inadequately supported facts.” Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a report in December which found that the FBI included “at least 17 significant errors or omissions in the Carter Page FISA applications and many errors in the Woods Procedures” during its Crossfire Hurricane investigation of the 2016 Trump campaign.
The Russian capital, Moscow, on Monday woke up to a lockdown obliging most of its 13 million residents to stay home, and many other regions of the vast country quickly followed suit to stem the spread of the new coronavirus. A stern-looking President Vladimir Putin warned his envoys in Russia's far-flung regions that they will be personally responsible for the availability of beds, ventilators and other key equipment. “We have managed to win time and slow down an explosive spread of the disease in the previous weeks, and we need to use that time reserve to the full,” Putin said.
The body of a 5-year-old boy was discovered near an Alaskan trail after his mother said they got lost during a hike. A ground search team found the child, Jaxson Brown, around 2:45 p.m. on Saturday, three days after he and his mother went for a hike along Lunch Creek Trail in Ketchikan. The boy's mother, Jennifer Treat, told Alaska State Troopers that she and Jaxson went on a hike Wednesday afternoon.
Associated Press Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Tuesday that the US is starting to see "glimmers" that social distancing is having a dampening effect on the spread of the coronavirus. There's a "reasonably good chance" that a second wave of the virus hits later this year, he said in an interview with CNN. Fauci said that while people who survive the virus are likely to be immune, there won't be enough of them to provide "herd immunity" to prevent community spread.
South Africa has announced its first deaths from coronavirus infection, and said cases there have passed the 1,000 mark. "This morning, we South Africans wake up with sad news that we now have our first deaths resulting from Covid-19," the health ministry said on Friday. Both deaths took place in hospitals in the southern province of Western Cape.
PHOENIX – A 31-year Phoenix police veteran was killed and two other officers were injured when a man opened fire on them during a call about a disturbance between roommates in northwest Phoenix Sunday night, authorities said. Commander Greg Carnicle has died after being shot, police said. The shooting drew a massive police response at the scene, with dozens of police vehicles and tactical trucks.
Restricted visa services, quickly evolving regulations and increased border controls risk wider labor shortages in the United States produce industry that may leave grocery stores scrambling for fruits and vegetables as spring and summer harvests spread across the United States. On Thursday, more than 100 workers waited in a stifling park in the center of Monterrey, Mexico, backpacks and rolling suitcases in hand, for news about their H-2A temporary agriculture worker visas.
A large religious gathering in New Delhi has sparked a manhunt across India for suspected coronavirus cases after being linked to dozens of infections and several deaths. The gathering emerged as one of India's major virus hotspots after thousands flocked to an Islamic religious centre in the Nizamuddin West neighbourhood of Delhi. Some returned home to other states after the gathering, but many remained in the vicinity, saying they were trapped because public transport had been shut down due to the virus.
At the first formal press briefing with his coronavirus task force on Feb. 26, President Trump said he didn't agree with the assessment of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that an outbreak was “inevitable” in the United States, noting that the country had just 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and no deaths attributed to the virus. “When you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that's a pretty good job we've done,” Trump said at the time. Ever since, Trump has been moving the goalposts on the pandemic, and on Sunday, with coronavirus cases and deaths mounting, Trump said that keeping the U.S. death toll between 100,000 and 200,000 would be “a very good job.”
Wuhan residents are increasingly skeptical of the Chinese Communist Party's reported coronavirus death count of approximately 2,500 deaths in the city to date, with most people believing the actual number is at least 40,000. “Maybe the authorities are gradually releasing the real figures, intentionally or unintentionally, so that people will gradually come to accept the reality,” a Wuhan resident, who gave only his surname Mao, told Radio Free Asia. A city source added that, based on the aggregation of funeral and cremation numbers, authorities likely know the real number and are keeping it under wraps.
Still, Napoli, a lawyer in Rome, developed a cough and fever less than a week after Italy's premier locked down the entire nation, including the capital which had continued life as usual while the virus raged in the north. Until that day, Napoli was following his routine of work, jogging and swimming. He received a positive diagnosis for COVID-19 three days later.
In late November 2018, just over a year before the first coronavirus case was identified in Wuhan, China, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at Detroit Metro Airport stopped a Chinese biologist with three vials labeled “Antibodies” in his luggage.
Rep. Nydia Velazquez said Monday that she's been "diagnosed with presumed coronavirus infection," three days after she spoke on the House floor and stood near 80-year-old House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during the signing of the $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill. In a statement, Velazquez, D-N.Y., 67, said she first started feeling sick "in the wee hours of Sunday morning." At the advice of The Attending Physician, neither COVID 19 laboratory testing nor a doctor's office visit was recommended.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images The Justice Department is investigating the actions of US lawmakers who dumped stocks before the market plunged amid coronavirus fears, CNN reported. According to the report, the investigation is still in its early stages and the DOJ is working with the Securities and Exchange Commission on the matter. As part of the probe, the FBI has reportedly reached out to North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, who dumped up to $1.72 million in stocks before the market tanked.
Dr Marc Lipsitch: What makes seasonal viruses seasonal is a combination of opportunities for transmission – whether school is in term, which facilitates transmission – and what proportion of the population is immune, combined with weather. Humidity is lower in the winter, which is good for transmission. Low humidity makes [virus-carrying] droplets settle more slowly because they shrink to smaller sizes and then friction keeps them in the air, whereas high humidity doesn't do that.
Iran said on Tuesday its natural gas exports to Turkey have stopped after an attack on a pipeline inside the neighbouring country, an Iranian official told state TV. This morning, terrorists attacked a natural gas pipeline inside Turkey near Iran's Bazargan border with Turkey ... Flow of gas has been halted," said Mehdi Jamshidi-Dana, director of National Iranian Gas Co. "The pipeline has exploded several times in the past.
Still, the nation's top health expert found some reason for hope, saying social distancing was working and that the rate of increase of New York City cases might be starting to slow down. More than 500 deaths were reported nationwide Monday, the highest daily total since the the first American died six weeks ago. Cities and states tightened stay-at-home restrictions.
A US group representing immigration attorneys sued the US federal government on Monday to stop in-person immigration hearings and to obtain better protection for the duration of the coronavirus crisis. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) said that the government has refused to guarantee the safety of their members as well as due process for immigrants. The United States has the most cases of the new coronavirus, ahead of China and Italy, with more than 3,000 deaths and some 163,000 confirmed cases reported.
MOSCOW—Amid a growing uproar in newly locked-down Russia, news broke on Tuesday that a doctor President Vladimir Putin met with just a week ago during a highly publicized visit to a coronavirus treatment facility has now tested positive for the infection himself. Widely disseminated photos of the visit showed Putin donning an orange hazmat suit, but he had also talked to Dr. Denis Protsenko extensively without protection and photographs show them together with very little "social distancing." Putin's spokesman says the Russian president is tested frequently for coronavirus infection and is just fine.
The owner of a bar in New York City has been arrested for operating in contravention of the city's coronavirus lockdown measures. New York police confirmed on Monday that 56-year-old Vasil Pando had been arrested on Saturday night at an address in Brooklyn. Around a dozen people were found drinking, gambling, and flouting guidelines on social distancing when NYPD officers arrived.
While officials from Montreal to Moscow have placed populations under some form of lockdown designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, one man continues to hold firm to the notion that the rest of the world has lost its mind: Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. “It is better to die on your feet than live on your knees!” Lukashenko told a Belarusian television reporter Saturday when asked whether the coronavirus could stop him from hitting the rink for a propaganda-filled hockey game. Lukashenko, one of the longest-serving leaders in the former Soviet Union, has been in power for over 25 years.
Associated Press Officials in Wuhan, China, reported that 2,535 people in the city have died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. But some residents contest the official death toll, citing an increase in the shipment of urns to the city's eight funeral homes. "The incinerators have been working round-the-clock," one resident told Radio Free Asia.