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.
US Navy The Secretary of the Navy offered more details into his decision in relieving the commander of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier dealing with a coronavirus outbreak. Capt. Brett Crozier of the USS Theodore Roosevelt penned a letter to his superiors about the urgent situation aboard his ship, which was dealing with the spread of the coronavirus. "The letter was sent over non-secure, unclassified email even though that ship possesses some of the most sophisticated communications and encryption equipment in the fleet," the Navy Secretary said.
A Pennsylvania man “extremely upset” about losing his job amidst the coronavirus pandemic allegedly shot his girlfriend, before turning the gun on himself in an attempted murder-suicide, authorities said Wednesday. The Wilson Borough Police Department said in a statement to The Daily Beast that Roderick Bliss IV, 38, attempted to fatally shoot his girlfriend with a semi-automatic pistol on Monday afternoon, before dying by suicide, after he “had become increasingly upset over the COVID-19 pandemic. The 43-year-old girlfriend, who was shot once in the back, survived the attack and is in St. Luke's hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The two states have instituted increasingly restrictive measures and are among the 23 states with stay-at-home orders. Both states are led by Democratic governors who have earned praise from President Donald Trump for their response to the crisis. The disease is still spreading in both states, and the number of new cases and deaths reported each day is still climbing.
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.
Americans have responded to the coronavirus epidemic with a record-breaking number of gun purchases, according to new government data on the number of background checks conducted in March. More than 3.7m total firearm background checks were conducted through the FBI's background check system in March, the highest number on record in more than 20 years. An estimated 2.4m of those background checks were conducted for gun sales, according to adjusted statistics from a leading firearms industry trade group.
The Problem Solvers Caucus — 50 members of Congress, half Democrat and half Republicans, from across America — has met via video conference nearly every day to debate and govern during the coronavirus pandemic. In recent days, we've turned to a common theme in our Zoom meetings: the health challenges that must be overcome to safely and quickly reopen the country and minimize the economic hurricane coming ashore. The health and economic rescue package signed into law last week will certainly help people and businesses in the short run.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Migrant workers looking to finally travel back to their jobs in Beijing and other major cities must cope with constantly changing quarantine policies enforced by local officials whose decisions often seem arbitrary. Following Rules The move to end the lockdown in Wuhan -- the city at the epicenter of Covid-19 -- next week could spur even more problems. The opening of surrounding Hubei province last month spurred rare clashes between police from two different forces as authorities in neighboring regions sought to prevent a second wave of infections.
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday she will form a bipartisan select committee on the coronavirus crisis to oversee the spending of $2.3 trillion that Congress has approved to respond to the pandemic. In a conference call with reporters, the Democratic House leader also said she believed the administration of Republican President Donald Trump was "more inclined to be supportive" than Senate Republican leaders of her push for infrastructure spending as part of a fourth major bill in response to the coronavirus crisis. Congressional Democrats and the Trump administration have been clashing over how to implement the massive coronavirus rescue bill - the largest financial relief bill in U.S. history.
The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits has hit a record high for the second week in a row as the economic toll tied to the coronavirus intensifies. More than 6.6 million people filed jobless claims in the week ended 28 March, the Department of Labor said. Analysts at Bank of America warned that the US could see "the deepest recession on record" amid forecasts that the unemployment rate could hit more than 15%.
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.
Iran's parliament speaker has contracted the new coronavirus, the country's highest-ranking government figure yet to catch the disease, while in Israel, several top officials entered quarantine when the health minister tested positive on Thursday. Iran's parliament announced Ali Larijani's illness on its website, saying he was receiving treatment in quarantine. Iran, the regional epicenter of the virus, has been fighting one of the world's worst outbreaks.
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.
Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, made his debut at Trump's daily coronavirus briefing Thursday night. Kushner, recently put in charge of a parallel coronavirus panel working on supply lines, criticized governors who don't know how many masks and ventilators they have in store. "What a lot of the voters are seeing now is that when you elect somebody to be a mayor or governor or president, you're trying think about who will be a competent manager during the time of crisis," Kushner said.
Suddenly, Asian governments that appeared to be bringing the coronavirus under control are imposing new social restrictions as the numbers of infections — many from overseas — continue to rise. In places that took early, effective action against the COVID-19 outbreak, the stepped-up measures in recent days are a sign that fighting the disease will take much longer than anticipated. They also show that governments must adapt their responses as the threat from the virus evolves, epidemiologists say.