Dr. Jen Ashton on life as we now know it in this coronavirus crisis, including new data about who is being hit the hardest and good news from Wuhan.
Rep. Adam Schiff's proposal for a 9/11-style commission to study the nation's response to the coronavirus outbreak would give the president the power to appoint the chairman, and would not begin its work until after the 2020 election in November. Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, was the central Democratic figure in the impeachment trial of President Trump in January, serving as the prosecutor. As a result, his political profile has greatly increased but has also become much more sharply partisan.
Louisiana is poised to become the next epicenter of the coronavirus crisis, White House officials said Thursday, citing new data that shows that 26 percent of the tests for COVID-19 in that state in recent days have come back positive. The New York area remains a “very clear and important hot zone,” Dr. Deborah Birx said at Thursday's briefing of the White House coronavirus task force as she revealed testing statistics on specific states. “What we're seeing finally is testing improving,” said Birx, a renowned veteran of the HIV/AIDS fight who is now serving as the response coordinator for the coronavirus task force.
On Thursday, a gray and gloomy day in Barcelona — normally sunny and festive this time of year — residents awoke to unsettling news. According to regional newspaper LaVanguardia and other sources, a document circulated by the health department of Catalonia — the northeast region of Spain that has Barcelona as its capital — recommends that emergency teams and health care workers stop using ventilators for patients older than 80, and further recommends that extremely ill victims of COVID-19 be allowed to die at home rather than being taken to the hospital.
Firearms sales and federal background checks for purchases soared to all-time highs in March as the coronavirus pandemic brought buyers out in record numbers, even though gun dealers were included in orders shutting down businesses in some states. The FBI conducted 3.7 million background checks last month, according to its latest figures, the highest total since the national instant check system for buyers was launched in 1998 and 1.1 million higher than the number conducted in March 2019. The period of March 17-21 was an especially busy period for the background check system.
A group of prominent Democratic senators formally requested on Friday that the Pentagon's independent Inspector General investigate the Navy's firing of the commander of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, who called for stronger measures to halt a coronavirus outbreak on board. Captain Brett Crozier was relieved of his command on Thursday after his scathing letter was leaked to the media. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland led the push and were joined by 15 other U.S. senators, including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Kamala Harris.
If the country is to be believed, North Korea is one of maybe a dozen nations not yet invaded by a deadly virus that has spread across the globe from remote islands in the South Pacific to outposts nestled high in the Pyrenees or the Greater Himalayas. China, its erstwhile backer and most important trading partner, has more than 80,000. As recently as this week, a state health official rebuffed suspicions that the country was being less than forthcoming about its coronavirus situation, telling foreign reporters in Pyongyang that not a single person had come down with COVID-19 thus far.
The $2 trillion stimulus package contained a substantial pot of money for bailouts of large corporations and businesses. The coronavirus pandemic has effectively shut down the US economy over the last month, compelling the Trump administration to pass a $2 trillion stimulus package to rescue a collapsing economy. The hefty package — in addition to emergency federal aid for average people — included a $500 billion corporate fund to bail out distressed companies and industries.
Joe Biden said Friday that he will announce a committee to oversee his vice presidential selection process and is already thinking about whom he'd choose to join his Cabinet. Biden, who holds a significant lead in delegates over Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary race but has yet to officially clinch the nomination, also said he's spoken to Sanders to let him know he'd be proceeding with the vice presidential vetting process. Biden, a former vice president himself, has previously committed to choosing a woman as his running mate.
Two Mexican brewers, including the producers of Corona beer, have said they are reducing production because of the health emergency in the country over the COVID-19 pandemic. Grupo Modelo -- whose brands include Pacifico and Modelo as well as Corona -- said the measure was in line with the Mexican government's order to suspend all non-essential activities until April 30 to slow the spread of coronavirus. Dutch-Mexican brewer Heineken Cuauhtemoc Moctezuma -- which makes the Tecate and Dos Equis brands -- likewise said Friday it was "executing a plan to reduce our operations... safeguarding care for the environment and with the sole objective of avoiding irreversible effects that could make it impossible to reactivate our economic activity."
A 55-year-old infantry officer, Cloutier is formally the commander of U.S. Army Africa, but his headquarters' location in Vicenza makes him what the Defense Department calls the “senior responsible officer” for U.S. Army forces in Italy, meaning he has administrative control over all U.S. soldiers in the country, even though most of them belong to U.S. Army Europe, which is headquartered in Germany, for operational purposes. Cloutier is one of two generals that Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville have highlighted repeatedly in recent press conferences as examples of military leaders who have excelled in keeping their forces largely safe from the coronav...
As the worsening coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the country, millions of Americans living with diabetes face heightened risks from COVID-19. Around 30 million Americans have diabetes, mostly of the type II (previously called “adult-onset”) variety. A quarter of U.S. adults with diabetes are over 65, an age that has been shown to delineate increased COVID-19 mortality rates.
DETROIT – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has been a frequent guest on cable news networks during the coronavirus crisis and on Wednesday, she landed on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah." But it wasn't a comedy routine. She used the time on the television show to plead the state's case for needing more personal protection equipment, ventilators and health care professionals who are willing to relocate to southeast Michigan to help ease the hospital overcrowding that is leading to staffing shortages.
Vietnam has lodged an official protest with China following the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat it said had been rammed by a Chinese maritime surveillance vessel near islands in the disputed South China Sea. The Vietnamese fishing vessel, with eight fishermen onboard, was fishing near the Paracel Islands on Thursday when it was rammed and sunk by the Chinese vessel, Vietnam's foreign ministry said in a statement posted on a government website on Saturday. All the fishermen were picked up by the Chinese vessel alive and were transferred to two other Vietnamese fishing vessels operating nearby, the Vietnam Fisheries Society said in a statement posted to its website.
Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, listed several states that could be the next “hot spots” for large numbers of COVID-19 cases, based on how many positive cases they have now.
Some 118 people were newly infected with the novel coronavirus in the Japanese capital of Tokyo, NHK public broadcaster reported on Saturday, citing metropolitan government officials. It marked the first time that daily confirmed cases exceeded 100 in the Tokyo area, bringing the number of confirmed cases there to 891, NHK said. Tokyo's metropolitan government has strongly urged people to stay at home at the weekend as the mega-city faces a rising number of cases and as speculation simmers that Japan may declare a state of emergency, leading to lockdown.
Tom Brenner/Reuters Just 3,200 out of 100,000 ventilators being sourced by FEMA will be ready by the mid-April peak of the coronavirus outbreak, according to House Oversight Committee documents. President Trump had previously promised to deliver 100,000 ventilators over the next 100 days, but had not made clear that most of them would arrive after the moment of greatest need. The committee also released documents on Thursday showing massive shortfalls of PPE in six states, which have requested millions of items but have received just a fraction of them.
Russia is ready to cooperate with Saudi Arabia and the United States to cut oil production, President Vladimir Putin said Friday. Putin said Russia was willing to make agreements within the framework of the OPEC+ group and that "we are ready for cooperation with the United States of America on this issue," according to a statement published by the Kremlin. Oil prices have tumbled in recent weeks in the face of a drop in demand and global economic uncertainty over the new coronavirus pandemic.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage across the United States, it has, for the moment, brought the partisan investigations taking shape on Capitol Hill that could swing the balance of the 2020 election to a screeching halt. Absent a vote from his Senate Homeland Security Committee, Chairman Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, can't issue a subpoena for Hunter Biden or any of his former associates at Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings. In the House, Democratic chairmen and chairwomen can't call administration officials to testify before empty hearing rooms about the government's highly criticised response to the health crisis.
The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that the Chinese government does not know the full extent of the coronavirus outbreak within the country, the New York Times reported on Thursday. China's government has encountered difficulties collecting accurate data on the spread of the coronavirus because mid-level bureaucrats in Wuhan and elsewhere in China have been lying about the number of cases, current and former intelligence officials told the Times. Local administration officials in China fear that their superiors will punish and even fire them if they report high numbers of cases.
Health authorities changed their position Friday on the widespread use of non-medical masks and federal emergency workers say they are working around-the-clock to meet demand for medical supplies in an increasingly deadly COVID-19 outbreak in New York. "So it's voluntary, you don't have to do it," President Donald Trump said of the recommendation for wearing masks. Also Friday, a record streak of job growth in the United States ended as the Labor Department said over 700,000 jobs were lost in March, showing the widespread economic impacts of the growing coronavirus pandemic.
Temperature will top out near 70 in parts of the Ohio Valley by Tuesday, and Washington, D.C. may near 80 degrees F by Wednesday. "A sharp change in temperature is in store for the eastern half of the country next week," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Nicole LoBiondo. A cold front will sweep across the country from Wednesday through Friday, bringing the perception that winter has returned.
More people in New York State have died in the last 24 hours than in most of March, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday—but the Empire State, the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., is still struggling to find enough medical equipment to combat the pandemic. “The curve continues to go up,” Cuomo said at a Friday briefing in Albany, adding that, in the last day, the state saw its “highest single increase in the number of deaths since we started.” “New York is in crisis," he said.
The U.S. government on Friday sounded alarm about the surge in coronavirus cases in Japan, adding to a chorus of prominent domestic voices - including the governor of Tokyo - who have called for decisive action to avoid an explosive outbreak. Amid growing clamour for tighter curbs on people's movements to stem a rising tide of infections, the government has so far been reluctant to pull the trigger, warning of the heavy damage that could ensue in the world's third-biggest economy, already close to recession. Instead, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has urged school closures and called on citizens to avoid unnecessary and non-urgent gatherings and outings while preparing to roll out an economic stimulus plan next week - even as he acknowledged the country was barely avoiding a major jump in infections.
REUTERS/Marko Djurica The Chinese government is rebuffing the notion that its face masks exported to other countries were "defective" and suggested that the nations did not "double-check" the instructions. China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday claimed in a tweet that the "true story" behind the alleged faulty face masks imported by the Netherlands was that the Chinese manufacturer explicitly "stated clearly that they are non-surgical." Representatives from the Chinese government in recent weeks shifted the narrative surrounding the coronavirus's origins by questioning its validity.