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].
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.
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.
State and local officials have complained about insufficient protective equipment such as masks and gowns as well as ventilators, needed to help keep patients breathing. Meanwhile, US Vice-President Mike Pence warned the US appeared to be on a similar trajectory as Italy where the death toll has exceeded 13,000 - the worst in the world. The number of confirmed infections across the US rose by more than 25,000 in one day.
California and Washington were among the first wave, and there are signs that their social distancing measures are working. It wasn't until his state had about 8,000 confirmed cases that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday finally relented to pressure to issue a statewide order. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp wasn't just boneheadly stubborn, his staff went to far as to chastise local governments for issuing their own stay-at-home orders to quell surges in COVID-19 cases.
The first N95 medical masks to be imported to the U.S. since February started arriving this week as shortages continued to hamper hospitals overwhelmed with coronavirus patients. Twenty-four pallets of masks imported by 3M from Singapore arrived at the port of Los Angeles; the Federal Emergency Management Agency brought in another 130,000 of the masks on a cargo plane that arrived in New York City from Southeast Asia; and humanitarian group DirectRelief is awaiting a shipment of 80,000 due to arrive in Los Angeles. Skyrocketing demand for the masks and other protective gear has sparked a furious scramble to find stockpiles all over the world as hospitals, governments, and businesses rush to buy masks needed to protect medical personnel and workers.
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.
Early this week, the streets of the central Israeli city of Bnei Brak were bustling with shoppers as ultra-Orthodox residents, obeying their religious leaders, ignored pleas to stay home in the face of the coronavirus threat. The city has become a lightning rod for anger and frustration by some secular Israelis who allege insular Haredi communities — with disproportionately high numbers of confirmed cases — are undermining national efforts to contain the virus. The pandemic also has threatened to upend deep-seated customs in the religious world, including blind obedience to religious leaders and the belief that religious studies and traditions take precedence over the rules of a modern state.
Police in Pakistan will enforce a strict lockdown to prevent people from going to mosques to offer Friday prayers and fuel a rise in coronavirus infection, officials said, after failing to prevent large congregations last week. Health experts have warned of an epidemic in South Asia, home to a fifth of the world's population, that could easily overwhelm its weak public health systems. The government in Pakistan's southern province of Sindh, home to the country's largest city, Karachi, will enforce a "curfew-like" lockdown for three hours beginning 12 noon Friday to deter people from coming out of their homes for prayers, officials said.
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.
Bernie Sanders was riding high in Wisconsin just six weeks ago, powered by a double-digit polling lead and the widespread belief that he'd sail to victory just as he did in 2016. Now, Democratic activists and operatives on the ground expect Sanders to lose big in the crucial Midwestern swing state — a defeat that would likely lead to a deafening chorus of Democratic voices demanding he drop out of the race. “Up until Biden got his mojo going, it was presumed Sanders would win the state again,” said Patrick Guarasci, a Milwaukee-based Democratic strategist.
American Airlines forced passengers to sit next to each other even though their flight was virtually empty, according to a report by Mother Jones. The incident took place on a flight on March 24, which had only 11 passengers, all in basic economy, according to the outlet, citing an unnamed flight attendant. Although there were plenty of seats, none were moved because "that would be an upgrade," according to a flight attendant on the plane, who did not give their name.
Spain reported an increase in coronavirus deaths and new cases, suggesting severe containment measures have yet to bring the outbreak under control. The Health Ministry recorded its deadliest day on Thursday, with 950 fatalities lifting the total to more than 10,000. The country is dealing with the second-most severe outbreak in Europe after Italy and the government has struggled to check the spread of the disease.
A Russian military transport plane was headed to the United States on Wednesday carrying tons of medical equipment and masks to help Washington fight the coronavirus outbreak, Russian state TV reported and a U.S. official said.
California has not seen the surge in coronavirus cases that have overwhelmed cities like New York and Detroit in the past week, which suggests that the state's early and restrictive shelter-in-place orders could be slowing the virus's spread. California implemented one of the earliest and strictest orders to stay at home in the United States in mid-March, and as of Wednesday, there were 8,584 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 183 deaths in the state compared with the 76,000 cases and 1,714 deaths in New York. Dr Deborah Birx, the White House's coronavirus taskforce coordinator, said on Tuesday that she was “reassured by what California has been able to do” to help control the virus with physical distancing orders.
According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, which tracked 200 corporations across all economic sectors for its analysis, companies have accessed credit lines for $154.79 billion through March 27. The consumer discretionary sector, which includes auto manufacturers, travel and tourism companies and retailers, led the way. GM and Ford were the biggest borrowers, each tapping more than $15 billion in credit.
The Tablighi Jamaat have come into the spotlight after an event they held in the Indian capital Delhi has spawned a number of Covid-19 clusters across the country. Who are the Tablighi Jamaat? The organisation was founded in 1926 in the northern Indian region of Mewat by prominent Islamic scholar Maulana Mohammed Ilyas Kandhlawi.
After poring over various academic and scientific studies over the last two weeks, President Donald Trump's coronavirus task force is expected to announce new guidelines that Americans wear masks or other protective facial cloth to prevent the spread of the virus, according to three individuals familiar with those conversations, including two senior administration officials. The decision to announce, first reported by Stat News, had been delayed, in part, by fears inside the White House over the optics of issuing new guidelines that directly contradicted those previously pushed out by the federal government, those same sources said. In internal deliberations, members of the administration's coronavirus taskforce have worried that changing the messaging on masks could raise questions about whether the government made a mistake in its original guidelines, officials say.
South Korea's fierce battle against the coronavirus has turned the pandemic into an unlikely boon for President Moon Jae-in and his ruling party as campaign season kicks off on Thursday ahead of parliamentary elections on April 15. By the time South Korea was hit by the first major outbreak outside of China in February, approval ratings for Moon and his Democratic Party of Korea were already battered by a stagnant economy and more than a year of domestic political scandals. The government's stringent response to the epidemic, which was praised by the World Health Organisation and other nations, appears to have reversed this downtrend: Moon's approval ratings hit a 16-month high last week, a poll by researchers Realmeter showed while his party's popularity was 15% higher than the conservative main opposition United Future Party.
An investigation by the Chinese Communist Party found on March 19 that the actions of law enforcement in Wuhan was "irregular" and "improper." "Martyr" is the highest honor the Communist Party of China can bestow on a citizen killed working to serve the country. The country will honor him with three minutes of silence on Saturday.
Singapore will shutter schools and most workplaces as the city-state unveiled a raft of stricter measures intended as a “circuit breaker” to slow the spread of coronavirus. 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. The action comes as confirmed cases of local transmission and unlinked infections in the country have risen in recent weeks.
On Wednesday Iran warned the U.S. it was “warmongering during the coronavirus outbreak,” after it deployed Patriot air defense missiles to Iraq.
Astronomers have revealed the best evidence yet for an elusive cosmic oddity: the intermediate black hole. These medium-sized black holes are smaller than supermassive black holes, but larger than stellar-mass black holes. Supermassive black holes, it turns out, may form from intermediate-mass black holes.
Border closures and strict lockdowns prompted by the Covid-19 crisis have disrupted the migrant trail through Central America and Mexico, forcing some would-be migrants to postpone their journeys – and stopping many others in their tracks. The result has been a deterrent more effective than any wall Donald Trump could build. Activists across the region have reported a steep decline in the number of migrants coming from Central America since the restrictions were implemented.