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.
Another approach is to harvest antibodies, protective substances produced in response to an infection, from the blood plasma of people who have been infected. Dr. Jacob Glanville, one of the researchers featured in the Netflix documentary “Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak,” thinks he has found a shortcut. Glanville is the president of Distributed Bio, a computational immunoengineering group that focuses on making antibody therapeutics and vaccines.
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Monday issued an executive order suspending in-person voting for the state's primary the next day and delayed the election until June 9 in a move to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. “Today, I signed an executive order suspending in-person voting for tomorrow's election,” the Democratic governor said in a statement. In addition to the Democratic presidential primary, state and local elections, including the contest for a pivotal Wisconsin Supreme Court seat, were set to be held the same day.
India's 21-day lockdown is set to end next week but several state leaders have called for an extension or only a partial lifting of restrictions, saying is the only way to avoid a coronavirus epidemic that will be difficult to tackle. India has so far escaped a big surge in cases after Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked its 1.3 billion people to stay indoors in the world's biggest lockdown last month that authorities have enforced tightly. But shuttering down the $2.9 trillion economy has left millions of people without work and forced those who live on daily wages to flee to their homes in the countryside for food and shelter.
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.
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 in China, where the pandemic broke out, 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.
Cardinal George Pell is allowed to leave jail immediately after Australia's highest court overturned his conviction for sexually abusing two choir boys. “The High Court found that the jury, acting rationally on the whole of the evidence, ought to have entertained a doubt as to the applicant's guilt with respect to each of the offences for which he was convicted, and ordered that the convictions be quashed and that verdicts of acquittal be entered in their place,” the court said in a two-page summary of the ruling, according to The Guardian. Pell, 78, will now be released from Barwon Prison, near Melbourne, after spending more than 400 days behind bars.
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 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.
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly's impassioned 15-minute speech to the sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt on Sunday was met with dismay and anger. In a recording of Modly's speech obtained by Task & Purpose, one person could be heard saying "What the f---?" when Modly said Crozier was "too naive or too stupid to be commanding officer of a ship like this." The acting Navy secretary's impassioned 15-minute speech to the sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt on Sunday was met with anger from some people who supported its former commander, Capt. Brett Crozier, who was removed from command last week amid a coronavirus outbreak on the ship.
An elderly couple stuck on a coronavirus-infected cruise ship in the Mediterranean are back in Florida now, but have been "prisoners" in their West Palm Beach home for two weeks while awaiting their COVID-19 test results. Marin Pavkovic, 84, and his wife, Angela, 79, were passengers on the Costa Luminosa, which had a coronavirus outbreak days after leaving Fort Lauderdale on March 5 for a trans-Atlantic trip to Venice, Italy. An elderly couple from Fort Pierce were on the ship too, but their daughter asked that they remain anonymous and declined to talk about their experience.
To the extent the Democratic primaries are in the news, it's mostly as a public health story, thanks to Wisconsin's debate over whether to carry on with in-person voting Tuesday (ultimately nixed by Gov. Tony Evers) and questions of how to conduct a convention while social distancing. Bernie Sanders — who is still running, by the way — wants to debate the presumptive nominee Joe Biden again, but very few in the party are interested in that. Biden himself is running a pandemic version of a front porch campaign via teleconference from his home office.
There are many lessons to be learned from the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. Were China a more civilized nation, this outbreak would have been stopped early, and with far less harm, inside and outside of China. As Marion Smith wrote in these pages on Sunday, China's first response was to clamp down on reports of the then-new disease that had appeared in Wuhan.
Stark statistics from Chicago health officials have underscored the heavy toll of coronavirus on black Americans. Black Chicagoans account for half of all coronavirus cases in the city and more than 70% of deaths, despite making up 30% of the population. Other cities with large black populations, including Detroit, Milwaukee, New Orleans and New York, have become coronavirus hotspots.
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.
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.
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.
Italian officials said Sunday they may soon have to consider easing restrictions after seeing the daily coronavirus death toll plunge to its lowest in over two weeks. The 525 official COVID-19 fatalities reported by the civil protection service were the Mediterranean country's lowest since 427 deaths were registered on March 19. "The curve has started its descent and the number of deaths has started to drop," Italy's ISS national health institute director Silvio Brusaferro told reporters.
The UK government reportedly believes the coronavirus outbreak may have started in a Chinese laboratory. Most experts believe the outbreak began when animals passed COVID-19 onto humans in China. UK officials are not ruling out the possibility that a laboratory close to Wuhan accidentally leaked the virus.
Power demand around India shows how many nationwide heeded Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call to switch off their lights on Sunday and burn candles instead to "challenge the darkness" of the coronavirus, with the north coming out clear winners. Data reviewed by Reuters shows that northern India's power demand fell almost twice as steeply as in the south in response to Modi's lights-off plan, indicating the north - a traditional stronghold for Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party - was more enthusiastic in its support. Modi had appealed to Indians to display solidarity amid the coronavirus crisis by turning off their lights for nine minutes at 2100 on Sunday and light candles, lamps and flashlights instead.
President Donald Trump went after the acting inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at his daily coronavirus briefing on Monday, raging over a recent report highlighting “severe shortages of testing supplies” in some hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic. “Give me the name of the inspector general,” Trump said at one point. The president took the opportunity to lash out at reporters as he suggested the official, Christi Grimm, was biased.
Civil rights icon and Congressman John Lewis said Tuesday that former Vice President Joe Biden should pick a woman of color to be his running mate. Lewis made the comments as he announced he's formally endorsing Biden, a shot of energy for the likely Democratic presidential nominee as the primary season is currently on pause due to safety concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic. "I think Vice President Biden should look around — it would be good to have a woman of color," Lewis told reporters on a call when asked.
The number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 continues to grow in the US. Mike Pence, the vice-president, is overseeing the US response to the coronavirus. So far, 80% of patients experience a mild form of the illness, which can include a fever and pneumonia, and many of these cases require little to no medical intervention.
A coronavirus projection used by the White House to warn that the country could face between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths in a “best case scenario” has dramatically reduced its estimates, cutting the number of hospital beds needed by 58 percent and the death forecast by 12 percent. The IHME model, produced by the University of Washington, updated its numbers overnight to show that projected deaths decreased from 93,531 to 81,766, and the projected total bed shortage fell from 87,674 to 36,654, after projected needed hospital beds fell 45 percent from 262,000 to 141,000 and needed ICU beds decreased 26 percent from almost 39,700 to 29,200. New Jersey's projection rose dramatically from 2,100 to 9,690, while the projection for Illinois remained essentially the same.
Police in Bangladesh arrested a fugitive killer of the country's independence leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on Tuesday, nearly 45 years after the brutal assassination, the country's home minister said. Abdul Majed, a former military captain, was arrested in the capital, Dhaka, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said, adding that the arrest was “the biggest gift” for Bangladesh this year. Majed had publicly announced his involvement in the assassination after the killing and had reportedly been hiding in India for many years.