While the Washington State Department of Health had prepared a plan for the arrival of the virus that detailed how the state would obtain tests from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, what type of messaging it would release to citizens and how it would train staff at local health centers to handle the virus, it assumed it still had weeks before the disease would reach the U.S. To anticipate events like the coronavirus pandemic, the CDC established the Epidemic Intelligence Service, its elite “disease detective” training program. Over the course of two years, EIS officers receive immersive, on-the-job training — either at CDC headquarters, where they're assigned to focus on specific disease areas, or at state and local health departments around the country — to investigate every aspect of an outbreak like this one.
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].
The Chinese city of Shenzhen has banned the eating of dogs and cats as part of a wider clampdown on the wildlife trade since the emergence of the new coronavirus. Scientists suspect the coronavirus passed to humans from animals. Some of the earliest infections were found in people who had exposure to a wildlife market in the central city of Wuhan, where bats, snakes, civets and other animals were sold.
Tony Spell, an evangelical pastor at the Life Tabernacle Church in suburban Baton Rouge, Louisiana, faces six misdemeanor charges after continuing in-person church services despite the state's stay-at-home order. Spell has held several services with hundreds of people in attendance over the last several weeks, and on Tuesday hosted 300 people after being charged with violating the governor's order that bans large gatherings. As many churches turn to live streams to protect parishioners from the novel coronavirus, Spell told Insider he prefers in-person services, where he can "lay hands" on his congregation.
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.
On Wednesday Iran warned the U.S. it was “warmongering during the coronavirus outbreak,” after it deployed Patriot air defense missiles to Iraq.
Iran on Thursday reported 124 new deaths from the coronavirus, raising its total to 3,160, as President Rouhani warned that the country may still battle the pandemic for another year. Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour announced the latest toll in a news conference and confirmed 3,111 new infections over the past 24 hours, bringing Iran's total to 50,468. Iran has been scrambling to contain the COVID-19 outbreak since it reported its first cases on February 19.
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.
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.
The U.S. topped 1,000 coronavirus deaths in a single day for the first time Wednesday, a daily death toll more than double that of two of America's most deadly illnesses – lung cancer and the flu. Death counts from the virus are difficult to keep up to date, but the Johns Hopkins coronavirus database – whose sources include the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the European CDC and the National Health Commission of China – shows that the U.S. hit 1,040 cases Wednesday at 10:25 p.m. EDT. Since the virus' first appearance in the U.S. in late January, 5,116 people have died and more than 215,000 have been infected.
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.
At a tense cabinet meeting on Saturday in the Brazilian president's official residence, Jair Bolsonaro found himself isolated. The far-right leader convened the emergency meeting in Brasilia's modernist Alvorada Palace to resolve a dispute with Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta, who publicly opposed the president's calls to loosen quarantine restrictions for Brazil's 210 million people. Elected two years ago on a promise to revive growth, Bolsonaro has shocked health experts around the world by persistently playing down the gravity of the epidemic, calling COVID-19 "a little cold" exaggerated by the media and his opponents - even after his political idol U.S. President Donald Trump walked back his own skepticism about the outbreak.
A Pakistani provincial government Friday ordered a British Pakistani man whose conviction in the kidnapping and killing of a U.S. journalist was overturned to remain in custody for three months. The Superintendent of Karachi's Central Prison, Hasan Sehtoo, said he received an order from the Sindh provincial government saying Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh's release would threaten public safety. The government ordered him detained as it appeals to the Pakistan Supreme Court to have his murder conviction reinstated.
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.
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.
A Russian military plane carrying medical supplies arrived in the United States on Wednesday, the Russian mission to the UN said, as the Kremlin flexes its soft power during the coronavirus pandemic. The Antonov-124, landed at JFK Airport in New York -- the epicenter of America's coronavirus outbreak -- pictures and video posted on the mission's Twitter page showed. Russia's defense ministry had earlier announced that the plane "with medical masks and medical equipment on board," left for the US overnight, without providing further details.
Shenzhen has become the first Chinese city to ban the sale and consumption of dog and cat meat. It comes after the coronavirus outbreak was linked to wildlife meat, prompting Chinese authorities to ban the trade and consumption of wild animals. Shenzhen went a step further, extending the ban to dogs and cats.
The speaker of Iran's parliament, veteran politician Ali Larijani, has tested positive for coronavirus and is in quarantine, the legislature's public affairs office said Thursday. Larijani is the most senior Iranian official to contract the virus, joining two dozen MPs, a vice president and various ministry officials. After running parliament for 12 years, Larijani didn't contest this year's elections and is due to be replaced as speaker.
Donald Trump lashed out Thursday at Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who has been urging the president to put a military expert in charge of distributing medical gear to fight the coronavirus outbreak. The New York Democratic leader has been pushing Mr Trump to use the Defence Production Act more often to compel companies to produce items like ventilators and medical masks as the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths continues to rise. Most recently, Mr Schumer has urged the president to put someone with a military background in charge of distributing items produced under the law.
One of the first major reports on coronavirus symptoms was published by the World Health Organization in February, following their mission to China. That report, based on nearly 56,000 cases there, found the most common symptoms were fever (88 percent) and dry cough (68 percent). Nearly 40 percent of those patients experienced fatigue.
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.
Indonesia's coronavirus death toll rose to 170 on Thursday as the world's fourth most populous nation passed South Korea as the country with the highest number of recorded fatalities in Asia after China. Indonesia reported a further 13 deaths and 113 new cases, taking its total number of infections to 1,790. South Korea has reported 169 deaths and 9,976 infections, according to the latest figures released there.
Vice President Mike Pence conceded on Wednesday that the US' coronavirus outbreak may be "most comparable" to Italy, the hardest-hit country in the world. "We think Italy may be the most comparable area to the United States at this point," Pence told CNN on Wednesday. The White House announced on Tuesday that it predicts between 100,000 to 240,000 people could die in the US from the coronavirus even with strict social distancing measures in place.