President Trump said Tuesday that he did not learn of two memos written in January and February by his own economic adviser warning that a COVID-19 pandemic could kill as many as 2 million Americans until “maybe a day ago.” On Jan. 29, Peter Navarro warned his colleagues at the White House that if the administration did not mount an aggressive containment strategy for the coronavirus, it could kill more than half a million Americans and cost the country nearly $6 trillion. Nearly a month later, on Feb. 23, Navarro distributed an even more dire second memo in which he said as many as 100 million Americans could be infected with COVID-19, which might kill upwards of 2 million U.S. citizens.
Many are concerned that as cases increase, COVID-19 will make its way to vulnerable populations in war zones, slums and sprawling refugee camps across the continent. Princeton University professor Jessica Metcalf, who specializes in infectious diseases and public policy and who has worked in Africa, warns that the introduction of the coronavirus into the “tsunami of other infectious diseases” across vulnerable populations in Africa might be catastrophic.
Brazil's health minister said on Wednesday that the country's attempts to purchase thousands of ventilators from China to fight the coronavirus epidemic fell through and the government is now looking to Brazilian companies to build the devices. "Practically all our purchases of equipment in China are not being confirmed," Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta said at a news conference. An attempt to buy 15,000 ventilators in China failed and Brazil was making a new bid, he said, but the outcome is uncertain in the intense competition for medical supplies in the global pandemic.
The acting Secretary of the Navy, Thomas Modly, last week relieved my Naval Academy classmate and personal friend Brett Crozier from his position as commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt. On Monday, the secretary was recorded telling the crew of that ship that Capt. Crozier was either “too naïve or too stupid” to be in command. During his speech on the ship's public address system, he repeated the false narrative that Crozier himself may have leaked a letter he wrote pleading for help amid a wave of coronavirus cases on his vessel.
Iran demanded on Wednesday that U.S. oil production levels must be known before an upcoming OPEC meeting with Russia and others seeking to boost global energy prices. The meeting of the so-called OPEC+ is scheduled to be held Thursday after officials delayed it following Saudi Arabia criticizing Russia over its comments about the price collapse. A meeting in March saw OPEC and other nations led by Russia fail to agree to a production cut as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has drastically cut demand for oil.
Sweden is resisting international trends by not implementing a lockdown or strict social distancing measures to fight the coronavirus. Researchers and scientists in Sweden have criticized the government's decision to allow businesses to remain open. More than 2,000 experts signed an open letter calling for stronger action, and some fear that a surge in coronavirus deaths is imminent.
At Sunday's White House briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, suggested that hundreds of thousands — or even millions — of “silent carriers” may be unwittingly spreading the coronavirus across the United States because they don't realize they're infected. “It's somewhere between 25 and 50 percent” of the total, Fauci said. The first thing to note is that Fauci himself expressed a high degree of uncertainty about his own numbers.
Diplomats from the 27-nation EU approved an upgrade to European legislation on enforcing international commercial rules. The envoys decided to let the EU impose penalties against countries that illegally restrict commerce and simultaneously block the World Trade Organization's dispute-settlement process. The deal on Wednesday in Brussels advances a proposal made by EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan in December -- before Europe became the epicenter of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic and governments across the region unleashed unprecedented economic stimulus.
Former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis issued a rare public rebuke of President Trump Tuesday over his decision to fire Glenn Fine, the Pentagon inspector general charged with overseeing implementation of the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package. “Mr. Fine is a public servant in the finest tradition of honest, competent governance,” Mattis told Yahoo News in an email. “In my years of extensive engagement with him as our Department of Defense's acting Inspector General, he proved to be a leader whose personal and managerial integrity were always of the highest order.”
A Texas teenager who police said announced on social media she would intentionally spread the coronavirus has been arrested and charged with making a terroristic threat. Police in Carrollton, near Dallas, arrested Lorraine Maradiaga, 18, late Tuesday morning after arranging her surrender to the city jail. "Maradiaga has stated that she is COVID-19 negative, and we currently have no proof that Maradiaga has tested positive," Carrollton police said in a statement.
During an Army Facebook Live on Tuesday, Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston said that soldiers should follow the face-covering guidance the service issued Monday evening until it can provide masks for them. "In the near term, we will get you something either black or camouflage to put on." Grinston gave no other details, but Army officials confirmed to Military.com that the service is working on a plan to eventually issue some type of masks to soldiers and will release details in the near future.
To the editor: Where is Joe Biden? Is he afraid that if spoke like a presidential candidate, he'd "let the cat out of the bag" and everyone would see he has nothing worthwhile to say? Or, are we to assume that Biden really does have good solutions but prefers to keep them to himself?
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that no victim of the coronavirus has died because the state could not provide health care for them, even as New York posted its highest number of deaths in one day. A record 731 New Yorkers died between Monday and Tuesday, Cuomo reported. The governor warned Thursday that New York state only had enough ventilators for six days and was considering how to increase the supply.
Top oil producers meeting later Thursday intend to cut production by between 10 and 15 million barrels per day, Kuwait's Oil Minister Khaled al-Fadhel reportedly said. The talks between OPEC and other major producers come as oil languishes at near-two decade lows, with Russia and Saudi Arabia's price war compounding slack demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic. "Through our continuous consultations in the past weeks, I confirm that the intention is to conclude an agreement to cut production by a large amount ranging between 10 million bpd and 15 million bpd," Fadhel said in an interview with Kuwaiti daily Al-Rai published Thursday.
Dr. David Clark, New Zealand's health minster, has been demoted after he admitted taking his family on a beach trip on the first weekend of the country's coronavirus lockdown. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the she would have sacked her minister for the lockdown abuse, but she needs him to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic threatening the country. New Zealand's health minister has been demoted after admitting that he took his family on a beach trip in the first weekend of the country's nationwide lockdown.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif. says he is considering using the teleconferencing software Zoom to hold hearings into foreign election interference and other key issues, including the firing of intelligence community inspector general Michael Atkinson, while social distancing restrictions remain in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A girl with a rare form of epilepsy whose recovery inspired the name of a medical marijuana oil that drew families of children with similar health problems to Colorado for treatment has died after being hospitalized and treated as a likely coronavirus patient, her mother said Wednesday. Charlotte Figi was 13. Charlotte, who lived in Colorado Springs, died Tuesday after suffering a seizure that resulted in cardiac arrest and respiratory failure, her mother, Paige Figi, said in a statement.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has hit back at Donald Trump after he threatened to stop US funding to the body as he seeks a scapegoat for the disaster wrought by the coronavirus pandemic, saying the WHO had "missed the call" -- despite himself ignoring a memo from trade adviser Peter Navarro in February warning of the coming storm. Mr Trump doubled down on his attacks of the WHO during the White House press briefing on Wednesday, saying his administering would "study" if it should pull funding from the group. When responding to questions about Peter Nevarro's memo alerting the administration to the threat of Covid-19, the president said he was not briefed in January or February about the warning.
The top human rights court in the Americas has found Peru responsible for the arbitrary detention and rape of an LGBT person. Azul Rojas Marín was stripped, hit and raped with a truncheon by three officers while in custody in 2008, her legal team said. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights said it was an act of torture.
The U.S. state has 149,316 reported cases compared with Spain at 146,690. In total, the United States has recorded over 417,000 cases and 14,100 deaths, according to the Reuters tally. European countries, including hardest-hit Italy and Spain, have started looking ahead to easing lockdowns but their coronavirus-related fatality rates have fluctuated after initially showing a decline.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has approved the withdrawal of 1 billion euros from the country's sovereign wealth fund to help fight the coronavirus epidemic, President Hassan Rouhani's official website said on Monday.
The coronavirus pandemic is affecting nearly everyone in the world in different ways, but for one Louisiana family, the deadly virus inflicted a particularly devastating blow. Four members of the same family died after contracting the virus, including the 86-year-old matriarch. Antoinette Franklin and three of her sons all died within days of each other.
On March 24, Timothy Wilson, 36, was shot and killed by the FBI as he prepared to attack a hospital in the Kansas City area where patients with the coronavirus were being treated. The FBI had previously identified Wilson as a “potentially violent extremist” who had considered attacking a mosque, a synagogue, and a school with a large number of black students before settling on the hospital. Hours before his death, Wilson had posted anti-Semitic messages on two white supremacist groups on the messaging app Telegram.
The top US health officials leading the response to the coronavirus pandemic shot down the numerous conspiracy theories about how the mortality rates were being misrepresented. "They are nothing but distractions," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the US's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said. "I would just hope we just put those conspiracy stuff — and let somebody write a book about it later on, but not now," he added, while waving his hand.