In his 2014 book “The Loudest Voice in the Room,” journalist Gabriel Sherman reported that top Fox News executives meet every morning to strategize about how the network can angle its daily coverage to advance the Republican Party's political agenda. After first downplaying the threat of the coronavirus, then accusing Democrats of overhyping it to hurt President Trump, then claiming the “cure” of shutting down the economy could be worse than the disease, Fox News' hosts now seem to be following a new set of marching orders when discussing the deadly pathogen: questioning whether all that many people are really dying from it. Like each of its predecessors, Fox's latest pandemic talking point — that the coronavirus death toll could be exaggerated because it includes individuals who had other health issues in addition to COVID-19 — doesn't stand up to scrutiny.
China this week officially reopened Wuhan, the city where the coronavirus pandemic was first detected, claiming that new infections were in the single digits. In recent days, however, everyone from the CIA to Chinese investigative journalists has accused Beijing of reporting inaccurate counts of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, pointing to patterns in other countries, to frequent unexplained changes in China's accounting, and even to pallets of urns being delivered to funeral homes in Wuhan. Rather, they evince a degree and type of weakness that may surprise some critics abroad, who think the Chinese government effectively controls all aspects of life in the country with an iron fist.
Images have emerged of coffins being buried in a mass grave in New York City, as the death toll from the coronavirus continues to rise. Workers in hazmat outfits were seen stacking wooden coffins in deep trenches in Hart Island. Officials say burials are being ramped up at site, which has long been used for people with no next-of-kin or families who cannot afford a funeral.
The Senate twisted itself into knots Thursday over President Donald Trump's new coronavirus aid request, as Democrats refused to rubber stamp his proposal for $250 billion more to boost small businesses, demanding modifications along with an additional $250 billion for health care providers and states. The standoff doesn't end the pursuit of more rescue funds, but it came as the government reported that 6.6 million more people filed for unemployment benefits last week, increasing worries that the economy is sliding toward a severe recession. GOP leader Mitch McConnell sought to keep Thursday's debate limited to Trump's request and wouldn't accept Democratic additions.
U.S. spy agencies collected raw intelligence hinting at a public health crisis in Wuhan, China, in November, two current and one former U.S. official told NBC News, but the information was not understood as the first warning signs of an impending global pandemic. The intelligence came in the form of communications intercepts and overhead images showing increased activity at health facilities, the officials said. The intelligence was distributed to some federal public health officials in the form of a "situation report" in late November, a former official briefed on the matter said.
Frank Gabrin, the first emergency-room doctor to die from the coronavirus in the US, said he faced a lack of personal protective equipment, forcing him to reuse what he could. After developing symptoms, he messaged a friend, "It was me using the same mask for four days in a row that infected me," The Guardian reported on Thursday. Frank Gabrin, the first emergency-room doctor to die from the coronavirus in the US, had told friends before his death last week that he was worried about the lack of personal protective equipment in the hospitals he worked at and that he was ultimately infected after having to wear the same mask four days in a row.
Some African countries could see a peak in coronavirus cases in the coming weeks and testing should be urgently increased in the region, World Health Organization officials said on Thursday. "During the last four days we can see that the numbers have already doubled," Michel Yao, the WHO Africa programme manager for emergency response, told a media teleconference on Thursday. "If the trend continues, and also learning from what happened in China and in Europe, some countries may face a huge peak very soon," he said, adding that it could arrive in the coming weeks, but without naming countries.
Pakistan's army said Thursday it had shot down a small Indian surveillance drone in Kashmir, as tensions rose over continued cross-border shelling in the disputed territory. According to a statement from the army media wing, the Indian quadcopter -- about the same size as a commercially available hobby drone -- had crossed 600 metres (650 yards) over the de facto border known as the Line of Control (LoC). "This blatant act was aggressively responded to by Pakistan Army troops shooting down Indian quadcopter," the statement read.
“And they're whistling past the graveyard, that's what they're doing.”The intensified fighting has closed down one of Tripoli's largest hospitals, which came under three days of shelling as the country reported at least 24 cases of coronavirus infections. It also followed the announcement of a humanitarian truce between the internationally recognized government in Tripoli and eastern strongman Khalifa Haftar, who controls the country's shuttered oil fields and had set off the fighting last year when he tried to take the capital.“Every call for a truce, even when it's accepted by both sides, seems to inevitably lead to an escalation, both by the parties on the ground but also foreign sponsors,” Williams said. Over the past few weeks, drone strikes in support of the government in the capital, which is backed primarily by Turkey, have intensified, destroying a command center and killing one of Haftar's top commanders, while also targeting supply convoys.
Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade called for the American economy to quickly reopen amid downward revisions of some models projecting the coronavirus death count, saying Thursday that a now-expected 60,000 victims shows just “how good we are doing.” With one influential and highly respected modeler moving its projections down over the past few days, Fox News hosts have been clamoring for President Donald Trump to quickly reverse social-distancing restrictions in order to jumpstart the economy, claiming public health experts exaggerated the impact of the virus. Noting that Trump had originally expressed hope that the country could get going again at Easter, Kilmeade said that one model shows that the peak of the coronavirus infections will now come around that time.
The leading British scientific journal Nature apologized in an article published on Tuesday for “associating” the coronavirus with its origin place in China on the grounds that the linkage had inspired racist attacks against people with Asian heritage across the world. The coronavirus outbreak originated in Wuhan, China and first appeared in bats thought to have infected wild animals that were sold in the city's wet markets. “It's clear that since the outbreak was first reported, people of Asian descent around the world have been subjected to racist attacks, with untold human costs – for example, on their health and livelihoods,” the article read.
President Trump's former personal attorney has reportedly been placed in solitary confinement at a federal prison.
A row has erupted after the chief of the World Health Organization (WHO) accused Taiwan's leaders of spearheading personal attacks on him. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he had been subjected to racist comments and death threats for months. But President Tsai Ing-wen said Taiwan opposed any form of discrimination, and invited Dr Tedros to visit the island.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams said Friday "most of the country" will not be able to reopen by May 1, despite suggestions from some Trump administration officials that next month may be a time to revisit strict social distancing guidelines. "Once we get past this thirty days, some places around the country can think about reopening," Adams said on Fox News, referring to the 30-day period for the White House social distancing guidelines. Asked about Dr. Anthony Fauci's comments about maintaining social distancing restrictions, Adams said, "now is the time to continue to lean into this (social distancing)."
Hamas-run security forces have arrested several peace activists in the Gaza Strip on treason charges after they took part in a web conference with Israeli activists, officials said Thursday. The Hamas-run Interior Ministry said the activists are accused of “holding a normalization activity with the Israeli occupation.” “Holding any activity or contact with the Israeli occupation under any cover is a crime punishable by law and a betrayal for the people and their sacrifices,” it said in a statement.
David Visnjic/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images Austrian officials plan to begin incrementally loosening coronavirus restrictions starting with small shops on April 14 and larger businesses from May 1. The country's government took aggressive steps to put the nation of nearly 9 million people on lockdown in mid-March. "Austria has reacted faster and more restrictively than other countries.
In the emergency rooms of virus hotspots around the world, medical staff are seeing a greater number of men than women suffering severe symptoms of COVID-19, with obesity emerging as another potentially aggravating factor. What first began to appear as a pattern in China, where the virus emerged at the end of last year, has echoed through hospitals in Europe and the United States as the pandemic spreads. "More men than women have serious problems, and patients who are overweight or have previous health problems are at higher risk," said Derek Hill, Professor of Medical Imaging Science at University College London.
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.
Donald Trump isn't benefiting from what political scientists refer to as a “rally 'round the flag” effect — a traditional surge in popularity as the nation unites behind its leader during an emergency situation. Throughout the first three years of his presidency, Trump's approval rating has traded in a narrow band. The mixed-to-negative views of Trump's handling of the coronavirus emergency also poses a significant threat to his reelection prospects, now that former Vice President Joe Biden has emerged as the presumptive Democratic nominee and the virus threatens to become the dominant issue of the 2020 campaign.
China's agriculture ministry has reclassified dogs, which it previously deemed livestock, as pets in response to the coronavirus pandemic. “As far as dogs are concerned, along with the progress of human civilization and the public concern and love for animal protection, dogs have been 'specialized' to become companion animals, and internationally are not considered to be livestock, and they will not be regulated as livestock in China,” the Ministry of Agriculture said in guidelines published on Wednesday that are now open to public comment. The new coronavirus is thought to have originated in bats that then infected wild animals that were sold in the so-called wet markets of Wuhan, where the outbreak began.
The CDC gathered data on those who were hospitalized from COVID-19 in 14 states from March 1-30, in efforts to get a clearer picture of those infected who needed the most serious medical care.
A woman suffering flu-like symptoms gave birth standing and fully clothed while detained near the Mexican-US border, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. The Guatemalan woman, 27, was being processed at the Chula Vista Border Patrol Station near San Diego when her complaints of pain and pleas for help were allegedly ignored by agents, according to a complaint filed on Wednesday by the ACLU and Jewish Family Service of San Diego with the US Department of Homeland Security's Office of the Inspector General. "This horrific case is just the most recent and one of the most egregious examples of this agency's abuse," said ACLU attorney Monika Y. Langarica.
Many Americans who didn't file taxes in 2018 or 2019 because they earned less than $12,000 a year can now provide the IRS with direct deposit information in order to more quickly receive their up to $1,200 economic stimulus payout, the IRS announced Friday. The new site -- largely targeted at low-income people, the homeless and others who it is feared may fall through the cracks in distributing the money -- is for people who: had gross income that did not exceed $12,200 for an individual or $24,400 for married couples for 2019; were not otherwise required to file a federal income tax return for 2019; and didn't plan to, the IRS said. Using the portal, people can submit basic personal information to the IRS, including full names and Social Security numbers for themselves and any spouse or children in the home, mailing address and bank account information for direct deposit.
As New York City deals with a mounting coronavirus death toll and dwindling morgue space, the city has shortened the amount of time it will hold unclaimed remains before they are buried in the city's public cemetery. Under the new policy, the medical examiner's office will keep bodies in storage for just 14 days before they're buried in the city's potter's field on Hart Island. In recent days, though, burial operations have increased from one day a week to five days a week, with around 24 burials each day, said Department of Correction spokesman Jason Kersten.
Denmark was the second country in Europe to announce a lockdown to limit the spread of the coronavirus, doing so before the country had even reported its first death. Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen warned that social distancing measures will remain, and that the country can't reopen too quickly. The Danish restrictions were never as stringent as many countries in Europe and beyond, but seem to have been adhered to very closely.