With the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 surging nationwide and health officials warning that, even in a best-case scenario, deaths from the disease could top 100,000 in the U.S., the government is reviewing its guidance on the use of face masks by the general population. Asked at Tuesday's press briefing of the White House coronavirus task force whether U.S. citizens should wear face masks, President Trump signaled that additional protection is “not a bad idea” and offered an alternative to medically approved masks, which are in short supply. My feeling is that if people want to do it, there's certainly no harm to it.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases across the globe reached one million on Thursday, according to tracking by Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 50,000 reported deaths from the virus so far, including thousands in the United States, China, Iran and large numbers in such European countries as Italy, Spain, France and the United Kingdom. Roughly half of the world's population has been in some kind of lockdown or settle-in-place order to limit movement and the spread of the pandemic, including all of India's 1.3 billion people.
Thomas Peter/Getty The US intelligence community has determined that the Chinese government concealed the extent of its coronavirus outbreak and gave false statistics to other countries, Bloomberg News reported, citing three US officials. Officials transmitted a classified report of their findings to the White House last week. Bloomberg described its sources as saying that the report's main conclusion was that China's public reporting of coronavirus cases was "intentionally incomplete" and that its numbers were fake.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tested negative for coronavirus on Thursday after his health minister was diagnosed with it, officials said, the 70-year-old leader's second infection scare this week. As a precaution, Netanyahu returned to self-isolation for six more days, they said. In between the two periods, Netanyahu went on national TV to announce new measures to curb the epidemic.
Washington state, early, about two weeks before New York or New Jersey ... California, a week before New York or New Jersey, really talked to their communities and decided to mitigate before they started seeing this number of cases. And now we know that makes a big difference.
House Democrats are drafting legislation that would create a bipartisan commission to study the U.S. government's response to the coronavirus pandemic, modeled on one that examined the 9/11 attacks. The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., are working on separate bills establishing a commission. Draft legislation from Thompson's committee says the commission would provide a “full and complete accounting” of the U.S. efforts.
The head of the World Health Organization has voiced deep concern over the “rapid escalation” and global spread of the new coronavirus pandemic, as the United States nears a grim milestone of 5,000 deaths. The stark warning comes as the United States barrels towards marking 5,000 coronavirus-related deaths, with more than 4,800 already recorded across the country as of early Thursday morning. Having first emerged in China in December, four months later it is the United States that has registered by far the highest number of coronavirus cases, more than 210,000 as of Thursday, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
A member of a protected tribe in the Amazon has been killed by gunmen, authorities in the Brazilian state of Maranhao say. The body of Zezico Guajajara, of the Guajajara tribe, was found near his village on Tuesday. The former teacher was a supporter of Guardians of the Forest, a group formed to combat logging gangs in the area.
Singapore will shutter schools and most workplaces as the city-state unveiled a raft of stricter measures to slow the spread of coronavirus, shifting away from an approach crafted to limit interruptions to daily life and commerce. Most workplaces, except for essential services and key economic sectors, will close starting on Tuesday, while the city-state will move to full home-based learning in its schools from Wednesday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in an address to the nation Friday afternoon. “We have decided that instead of tightening incrementally over the next few weeks, we should make a decisive move now, to preempt escalating infections,” said Lee.
Two years ago, some of the nation's top public health officials gathered in an auditorium at Emory University in Atlanta to commemorate the 1918 influenza pandemic — also known as “the Spanish flu” — which had killed as many as 40 million people as it swept the globe. Implicit was the understanding that while the 1918 pandemic was a singular catastrophe, conditions in the 21st century were ideal for another outbreak. Long before the coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China, and then soon spread to nearly every country on Earth, the 2018 conference offered proof that epidemiologists at the CDC and other institutions were aware that a new pandemic was poised to strike.
President Trump shied away Wednesday from issuing domestic travel restrictions or a national lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic that, in a best-case scenario, is expected to kill between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans. Asked at a White House briefing if he was considering limiting domestic air travel, Trump said he was thinking about it, a phrase he frequently applies to subjects he wishes to avoid discussing. We're thinking about doing that, but at the same time we just, to start these airlines and to start this whole thing over again is very tough, John [Roberts, Fox News reporter].
REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Picture Elon Musk was criticized on Thursday for apparently sending BiPAP machines, not the life-support ventilators most-needed to save coronavirus patients, to a New York hospital. New York City Hospitals thanked Musk and Tesla in a tweet for sending "40 ventilators" to a hospital in Queens, but the photo appears to show a BiPAP machine, which is more commonly used for sleep apnea. Some medical experts have warned that CPAP and BiPAP machines could be harmful in treating coronavirus patients by potentially spreading the disease.
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.
Hundreds of thousands of hoarded medical supplies, including 192,000 N95 respirator masks, are being sent to coronavirus hot spots New York and New Jersey, the departments of Justice and Human and Health Services announced Thursday. The FBI located the supplies on March 30, as part of its work under the department's Covid-19 hoarding and price gouging task force, which was announced last week. Along with the N95 respirator masks, the FBI also discovered 598,000 medical gloves, 130,000 surgical masks and other supplies like gowns, disinfectant towels, hand sanitizers and disinfectant sprays, materials the Justice Department said are being distributed to states.
Mosques were allowed to remain open in Pakistan on Friday, when Muslims gather for weekly prayers, even as the coronavirus pandemic spread and much of the country had shut down. Prime Minister Imran Khan is relying on restricting the size of congregations attending mosques and advice to stay at home from religious groups like the country's Islamic Ideology Council. In eastern Punjab province, where 60% of Pakistan's 220 million people live, checkpoints have been set up in major cities stopping people from congregating.
Wuhan doctor Ai Fen, who expressed early concerns about the coronavirus to the media, has disappeared and is believed detained by Chinese authorities. Fen, the head of emergency at Wuhan Central Hospital, was given a warning after she disseminated information about the coronavirus to several other doctors. The reprimand from her boss came after Fen took a photo of a patient's positive test results and circled the words 'SARS coronavirus' in red.
Canada faces "a critical week" in fighting the coronavirus, a senior official said on Thursday, as the death toll jumped and the most populous province said residents should brace for a stark scenario. Deaths surged to 161 from 105 on Wednesday while positive cases rose to 11,131 from 9,017, according to provincial announcements compiled by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Canada's public health agency is particularly worried by the spread of the coronavirus in seniors' residences, which are turning into hotspots in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia - the three biggest provinces by population.
Neurologists around the world say that a small subset of patients with COVID-19 are developing serious impairments of the brain. Although fever, cough and difficulty breathing are the typical hallmarks of infection with the new coronavirus, some patients exhibit altered mental status, or encephalopathy, a catchall term for brain disease or dysfunction that can have many underlying causes, as well as other serious conditions. The patient, who had chronic lung disease and Parkinson's, was flailing his arms and legs in jerky movements, and appeared to be having a seizure.
The US says it is sending warships to the Caribbean to stop illegal drugs. "We must not let the drug cartels exploit the [coronavirus] pandemic to threaten American lives," President Donald Trump said. The move comes a week after the US charged Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and other senior officials in the country with "narco-terrorism".
Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images The US Army assessed in February that the coronavirus could kill as many as 150,000 Americans, the Daily Beast reported Thursday, citing an unclassified briefing document. The "black swan" or worst-case scenario assessment has become nearly the best-case scenario for the US as the White House warns that the virus may kill 100,000 to 240,000 Americans. The number of coronavirus cases in the US has already topped 200,000, and more than 5,000 people have died.
At the coronavirus task force briefing, President Trump said he didn't want to issue a nationwide stay-at-home order to fight the pandemic because there are some states that don't have a large number of positive coronavirus cases.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a recommendation Thursday to wear face coverings when going outside, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reportedly set to do the same. The public should use homemade cloth face coverings when outside and reserve medical-grade masks for health care workers, a draft CDC document obtained by Stat News reveals. A CDC official later told The New York Times the same guidance would soon be issued.
When six Chinese doctors landed in Belgrade two weeks ago, Serbia's president greeted them with elbow-bumps before laying a kiss on their country's flag, a gesture of gratitude that sent Chinese social media aflutter. For weeks China has been showering European countries with millions of face masks, test kits and other aid, recasting itself as the hero in the battle against coronavirus. EU officials have started to warn against a Beijing propaganda campaign -- spun through the "politics of generosity" -- that is distorting China's initial missteps in managing a contagion that started on its soil and has now killed more than 40,000 people across the globe.