The Trump administration said Sunday that it was “beginning to see the glimmers of progress” in the fight to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the United States and across the globe. “We are beginning to see the glimmers of progress,” Vice President Mike Pence said during a hastily called briefing of the White House coronavirus task force, adding, “The experts will tell me not to jump to any conclusions, and I'm not.” Dr. Deborah Birx, a leading expert in infectious disease on the task force, said that there were encouraging signs in Spain and Italy, two countries hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
Another approach is to harvest antibodies, protective substances produced in response to an infection, from the blood plasma of people who have been infected. Dr. Jacob Glanville, one of the researchers featured in the Netflix documentary “Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak,” thinks he has found a shortcut. Glanville is the president of Distributed Bio, a computational immunoengineering group that focuses on making antibody therapeutics and vaccines.
Wisconsin's local elections and presidential primaries will likely proceed on Tuesday after the conservative majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down an executive order Monday from Gov. Tony Evers (D) to delay the election to June 9 due to the coronavirus outbreak. There are open questions about how many polling places will be open and how many people will be able to vote by absentee ballot. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Monday night that Wisconsin voters must hand-deliver their absentee ballots by Tuesday evening or have them postmarked April 7, overruling a lower court that had extended absentee voting for six days.
7th FLEET COMMANDER VISITS CREW OF VIRUS-STRICKEN CARRIER WHOSE CAPTAIN WAS FIRED The commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet visited the leadership of the USS Theodore Roosevelt in Guam, where the aircraft carrier is being cleaned after an outbreak of COVID-19 among its crew. Vice Adm. Bill Merz arrived Sunday to meet with the crew of the Nimitz-class carrier and area leadership as part of efforts to provide support for work to make ship ready to return to service, the 7th Fleet said in a press statement. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Sunday that about half the carrier's nearly 5,000 sailors had been tested for the coronavirus so far.
As the number people killed by the coronavirus in the United States topped 10,000 by Monday night, the country's top medical officials warned that the worst was yet to come. The number of cases has ballooned to at least 364,167 — nearly three times higher than in the second-worst hit country, Spain — with 10,772 people killed as of 7:30 p.m. ET, according to NBC News' tracker. At the center of the outbreak in the U.S., New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said critical medical supplies and personnel have been secured but warned that the magnitude of the crisis equals that of the 1918-19 flu and the Great Depression.
Civil rights icon and Congressman John Lewis said Tuesday that former Vice President Joe Biden should pick a woman of color to be his running mate. Lewis made the comments as he announced he's formally endorsing Biden, a shot of energy for the likely Democratic presidential nominee as the primary season is currently on pause due to safety concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic. "I think Vice President Biden should look around — it would be good to have a woman of color," Lewis told reporters on a call when asked.
United Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta announced massive cuts to its New York City-area flights, as the region braces for the worst weeks of the coronavirus outbreak. United was left with just 17 flights a day from Newark and LaGuardia — down from 460 the previous year. American was down to a total of 14 from LaGuardia, JFK, and Newark, one of which will be cut later this week, down from 270 last April.
President Trump on Monday berated a reporter during the White House coronavirus task force briefing.
Cardinal George Pell is allowed to leave jail immediately after Australia's highest court overturned his conviction for sexually abusing two choir boys. “The High Court found that the jury, acting rationally on the whole of the evidence, ought to have entertained a doubt as to the applicant's guilt with respect to each of the offences for which he was convicted, and ordered that the convictions be quashed and that verdicts of acquittal be entered in their place,” the court said in a two-page summary of the ruling, according to The Guardian. Pell, 78, will now be released from Barwon Prison, near Melbourne, after spending more than 400 days behind bars.
Under pressure from President Trump, the Indian government Tuesday lifted a ban on the export of hydroxychloroquine, paving the way for the anti-malaria drug to be shipped to the U.S. for use against the coronavirus. The decision came after Trump appealed to Indian Prime Minster Narendra Modi in a phone call, then told a White House news conference Monday that India could face “retaliation” if it didn't release the drug. "I said, 'We'd appreciate your allowing our supply to come out,'" Trump said of his call with Modi.
A coronavirus projection used by the White House to warn that the country could face between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths in a “best case scenario” has dramatically reduced its estimates, cutting the number of hospital beds needed by 58 percent and the death forecast by 12 percent. The IHME model, produced by the University of Washington, updated its numbers overnight to show that projected deaths decreased from 93,531 to 81,766, and the projected total bed shortage fell from 87,674 to 36,654, after projected needed hospital beds fell 45 percent from 262,000 to 141,000 and needed ICU beds decreased 26 percent from almost 39,700 to 29,200. New Jersey's projection rose dramatically from 2,100 to 9,690, while the projection for Illinois remained essentially the same.
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said it's unlikely a congressional panel overseeing coronavirus relief will investigate the Trump administration's initial response to the pandemic that's claimed thousands of American lives. This committee will be forward-looking,” Clyburn told CNN's Jake Tapper on “State of the Union. We're not going to be looking back on what the president may or may not have done back before this crisis hit.
The Trump administration is seizing the opportunity of the coronavirus pandemic to push a cause that has long been an irritant in U.S. relations with China: Taiwan. The virus has added yet another dimension to U.S.-China tensions that were already wracked by a trade war and heated discussions over intellectual property, human rights and Chinese policies in Hong Kong and the South China Sea. And, while U.S.-China differences over Taiwan have waxed and waned for decades, they have persisted and are reaching new heights as the world grapples with the exponential spread of the COVID-19 virus.
At the start of what is expected to be the deadliest week of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, the White House tried to offer some hope that measures to contain the spread were working. The virus killed 1,264 over 24 hours in the U.S. as of 2:05 am ET on Tuesday, according to NBC New's tracker. Meanwhile in China, where the pandemic broke out, not a single new death was reported, and the city of Wuhan in Hubei province, where the new virus was first identified, prepared for lockdown measures to be lifted.
Flattening the curve does not necessarily mean seeing a decrease in total cases right away; it would first produce a decline in the number of new cases, which should result in fewer hospitalizations and death in the weeks that follow. With some of the most affected countries like Spain and Italy on lockdown for weeks, many are wondering if their efforts are actually working. Italy has been under a nationwide lockdown for about four weeks and the country has begun to flatten the curve.
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams on Sunday called the next week of the novel COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic the modern era's "Pearl Harbor moment." In other words, it'll be the "hardest moment" of many Americans' lives, and Adams hopes every person in every state does their part to slow the spread. But while Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) may agree with most of that assessment, he told NBC's Chuck Todd during Sunday's edition of Meet The Press that he isn't sure why the federal government is so intent on remaining as a backup for the states, especially if the White House believes we're in a war-like moment.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday approved the extension of lockdown and home quarantine measures covering more than half of the population, a crisis panel official said, in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The Enhanced Community Quarantine was due to end next week but would be extended until April 30, Karlo Nograles, a cabinet secretary, told a regular news conference. Policies restricting movement and gatherings have been in place in and around the capital Manila since nearly a month ago, in response to confirmation of the first domestic transmission.
Police say Patrick Jesernik shot his wife Cheryl Jesernik, then himself, on Thursday. Experts predicted the stresses of the pandemic and lockdown could lead to an uptick in domestic violence. On Thursday evening, police responded to a wellbeing check at the couple's home, where they found Patrick Jesernik, 54, and Cheryl Schriefer, 59, dead, NBC Chicago reported. An autopsy found that each died from a single gunshot wound to the head.
As the Trump administration scrambles to get a hand on the spread of the new coronavirus across the U.S., it is keeping one eye on developments in China, the country where the pandemic originated. According to two officials with knowledge of those efforts and cables reviewed by The Daily Beast, the administration is monitoring China's second wave of coronavirus cases, gathering data on the ground on the number of individuals newly infected and the reasons for the recent uptick. Over the past few days Chinese officials have noted an emergence of new cases, particularly in asymptomatic individuals.
For 10 patients severely ill with the new coronavirus, a single dose of antibodies drawn from the blood of people who had recovered from COVID-19 appeared to save lives, shorten the duration of symptoms, improve oxygen levels and speed up viral clearance, newly published research reports. The preliminary findings emerged from a “pilot study” published Monday in the journal PNAS, the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences. Conducted at three hospitals in China, it underscored the promise of harvesting immune antibodies from recovered people (a therapy also known as convalescent plasma) and administering them to people battling a severe case of COVID-19.
The Los Angeles Times warned in an editorial last month that the COVID-19 pandemic threatened not only the health of individuals but the democratic process. The Supreme Court exacerbated that infection Monday when the justices blocked a lower court's decision to extend the period in which Wisconsin voters could mail in absentee ballots. On Monday the state Supreme Court rebuffed an attempt by Wisconsin's Democratic governor to suspend in-person voting on Tuesday and expand voting by mail.
The U.S. military said Tuesday it has killed a high-ranking leader of the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group with an airstrike in Somalia. A statement by the U.S. Africa Command said Yusuf Jiis was one of three extremists killed in Thursday's airstrike near Bush Madina in the Bay region. The U.S. called Jiis a “foundational member” of al-Shabab, which controls parts of central and southern Somalia and frequently carries out attacks in the capital, Mogadishu.
The mounting number of New York's coronavirus deaths has stayed "effectively flat" over the past two days, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday, offering a glimmer of hope that the state may be at a peak even as the country braces for what the Trump administration is calling the "toughest week" yet in the fight against the pandemic. While the state has recorded 4,758 total deaths, with an additional 599 from the day before, it's only a slight uptick from the 594 added two days ago, Cuomo said, and shows a "possible flattening of the curve" that is "better than the increases we have seen."
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has condemned as "racist" the comments by two French doctors who suggested a vaccine for the coronavirus could be tested in Africa. "Africa can't and won't be a testing ground for any vaccine," said Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The doctors' remarks during a TV debate sparked outrage, and they were accused of treating Africans like "human guinea pigs".