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.
The governor of Wisconsin has issued an executive order to postpone the state's embattled elections on Tuesday for at least two months due to the coronavirus pandemic, following mounting criticism over the upcoming in-person vote. Governor Tony Evers (D-WI) delayed the presidential primary until 9 June, saying in a statement about the executive order: “Frankly, there's no good answer to this problem—I wish it were easy. I have been asking everyone to do their part to help keep our families, our neighbors, and our communities safe, and I had hoped that the Legislature would do its part—just as the rest of us are—to help keep people healthy and safe.
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 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.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has approved the withdrawal of one billion euros from the country's sovereign wealth fund to help fight the coronavirus epidemic, President Hassan Rouhani's official website said on Monday. Iran is the Middle Eastern country worst-affected so far by the coronavirus, with 3,739 deaths and 60,500 people infected as of Monday, official data showed. Shut out of international capital markets and facing a further hit to its finances with the collapse in global oil prices coming on top of U.S. sanctions, Iran is struggling to shield its economy from the coronavirus pandemic.
The body of Maeve Kennedy McKean, granddaughter of assassinated presidential candidate Robert F Kennedy, has been found in Maryland. The 40-year-old and her eight-year-old son were last seen on Thursday evening riding in a canoe off Chesapeake Bay. After an extensive search operation, police said on Monday that her body had been found in water about 2.5 miles (4km) south of where they had set off.
JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images) Sweden took the unusual step of not implementing a lockdown to halt the spread of the coronavirus. The country urged people to practice social distancing, but left places like shops and restaurants open, breaking the model followed by countries across Europe and around the world. Sweden has 477 deaths from the virus so far, but Stefan Löfven, the prime minister, is now warning that thousands will die from COVID-19 and the parliament may bring in more restrictive measures.
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.
White House trade advisor Peter Navarro said Monday that during the early days of the coronavirus outbreak, China attempted toÂ “corner the world market” in personal protective equipment such as face masks and gloves “We know that China knew about the virus as early as mid-December. We know that for a period of about five to six weeks they hid the dangers from the rest of the world even as Chinese citizens were flying around the world seeding the world with the virus,” Navarro said on Fox News. Navarro added that he has not been part of any discussion about suing China regarding this matter.
Under pressure from President Trump, the Indian government Tuesday lifted a ban on the export of hydroxychloroquine, paving the way for the anti-malaria drug to be shipped to the U.S. for use against the coronavirus. The decision came after Trump appealed to Indian Prime Minster Narendra Modi in a phone call, then told a White House news conference Monday that India could face “retaliation” if it didn't release the drug. "I said, 'We'd appreciate your allowing our supply to come out,'" Trump said of his call with Modi.
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.
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.
President Trump on Monday said he and former Vice President Joe Biden had a “really wonderful, warm conversation” on the phone.
Wisconsin's local elections and presidential primaries will likely proceed on Tuesday after the conservative majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down an executive order Monday from Gov. Tony Evers (D) to delay the election to June 9 due to the coronavirus outbreak. There are open questions about how many polling places will be open and how many people will be able to vote by absentee ballot. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Monday night that Wisconsin voters must hand-deliver their absentee ballots by Tuesday evening or have them postmarked April 7, overruling a lower court that had extended absentee voting for six days.
The declaration would cover seven regions including Tokyo and Osaka and last for about a month. Due to civil liberties enshrined in Japan's postwar constitution, the government cannot send police to clear people off the streets, as has happened in places including France, Italy and the U.K. The country's strongest enforcement measure could be public obedience -- and it remains to be seen whether that will be enough. The prevalence of the virus varies widely among the country's 47 regions and prefectures, with Tokyo seeing a rapid surge and three regions yet to confirm any cases as of April 5.
United Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta announced massive cuts to its New York City-area flights, as the region braces for the worst weeks of the coronavirus outbreak. United was left with just 17 flights a day from Newark and LaGuardia — down from 460 the previous year. American was down to a total of 14 from LaGuardia, JFK, and Newark, one of which will be cut later this week, down from 270 last April.
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.
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.
For 10 patients severely ill with the new coronavirus, a single dose of antibodies drawn from the blood of people who had recovered from COVID-19 appeared to save lives, shorten the duration of symptoms, improve oxygen levels and speed up viral clearance, newly published research reports. The preliminary findings emerged from a “pilot study” published Monday in the journal PNAS, the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences. Conducted at three hospitals in China, it underscored the promise of harvesting immune antibodies from recovered people (a therapy also known as convalescent plasma) and administering them to people battling a severe case of COVID-19.
Hours after President Donald Trump warned of "retaliation" if Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi refused to allow the export of an anti-malarial drug being tested as a possible treatment for the new coronavirus, India said it would supply , with the number of confirmed patients doubling in four days. Nearly 4,800 people have been infected so far and 124 have died despite an ongoing three-week nationwide lockdown set to end on April 14. The lockdown seems to have slowed the spread of the coronavirus to a large extent, given the population densities of the world's second most populous nation, but experts believe the number of cases could still swell to hundreds of thousands.
Hundreds of Venezuelans who fled to neighboring Colombia during their country's economic crisis are now returning home, pushed by the deadly novel coronavirus and Colombia's own pandemic woes. Colombian migration officials said Sunday that 600 people -- including 35 children and 167 women -- crossed the main border point at the Simon Bolivar International Bridge in the northeastern city of Cucuta, into Venezuela one day earlier. Although the border is officially closed as a measure taken to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus, Colombia has opened a "humanitarian corridor" to allow Venezuelans to return home.
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.
The Los Angeles Times warned in an editorial last month that the COVID-19 pandemic threatened not only the health of individuals but the democratic process. The Supreme Court exacerbated that infection Monday when the justices blocked a lower court's decision to extend the period in which Wisconsin voters could mail in absentee ballots. On Monday the state Supreme Court rebuffed an attempt by Wisconsin's Democratic governor to suspend in-person voting on Tuesday and expand voting by mail.
As the number people killed by the coronavirus in the United States topped 10,000 by Monday night, the country's top medical officials warned that the worst was yet to come. The number of cases has ballooned to at least 364,167 — nearly three times higher than in the second-worst hit country, Spain — with 10,772 people killed as of 7:30 p.m. ET, according to NBC News' tracker. At the center of the outbreak in the U.S., New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said critical medical supplies and personnel have been secured but warned that the magnitude of the crisis equals that of the 1918-19 flu and the Great Depression.