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.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is facing backlash after she violated her own quarantine advice over the weekend to go to a salon for a haircut. The controversy began on Sunday after a woman posted photos on Facebook saying she “had the pleasure of giving Mayor Lightfoot a hair trim.” Lightfoot insisted she is “practicing what I'm preaching” since the woman who did her haircut wore a mask and gloves.
The governor of Wisconsin has issued an executive order to postpone the state's embattled elections on Tuesday for at least two months due to the coronavirus pandemic, following mounting criticism over the upcoming in-person vote. Governor Tony Evers (D-WI) delayed the presidential primary until 9 June, saying in a statement about the executive order: “Frankly, there's no good answer to this problem—I wish it were easy. I have been asking everyone to do their part to help keep our families, our neighbors, and our communities safe, and I had hoped that the Legislature would do its part—just as the rest of us are—to help keep people healthy and safe.
India's 21-day lockdown is set to end next week but several state leaders have called for an extension or only a partial lifting of restrictions, saying is the only way to avoid a coronavirus epidemic that will be difficult to tackle. India has so far escaped a big surge in cases after Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked its 1.3 billion people to stay indoors in the world's biggest lockdown last month that authorities have enforced tightly. But shuttering down the $2.9 trillion economy has left millions of people without work and forced those who live on daily wages to flee to their homes in the countryside for food and shelter.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell flexed his fundraising strength in the midst of a global pandemic, raising nearly $7.5 million in the first three months of 2020, his campaign said Tuesday. “Kentuckians know that at a time of great consequence, there is no substitute for the proven leadership of Mitch McConnell," the senator's campaign manager, Kevin Golden, said. McConnell, who is seeking his seventh term, has raised $25.6 million so far for the 2020 election cycle, and he had nearly $14.9 million on hand in what shapes up as a big-spending Senate race in Kentucky.
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.
Former Vice President Joe Biden argued Monday that November's presidential election should not be delayed, even if the coronavirus pandemic forces changes to the way voting is conducted. The remarks from the likely Democratic presidential nominee represent his most firm insistence yet that the general election be administered as scheduled. The disease's rapid spread in the U.S. has already upended voting in more than a dozen states where local elections officials have delayed their primaries, prolonging Biden's quest to seal his party's nomination.
China demanded an explanation from Brazil Monday after the far-right government's education minister linked the coronavirus pandemic to the Asian country's "plan for world domination," in a tweet imitating a Chinese accent. In the latest incident to strain ties between Brasilia and Beijing, Education Minister Abraham Weintraub insinuated China was behind the global health crisis. "Geopolitically, who will come out stronger from this global crisis?" he wrote on Twitter Saturday.
The US has abruptly lost 47% of its supply of hydroxychloroquine, the drug touted by the president as a potential treatment and preventive measure for COVID-19. Much of the drug has been produced in India, which banned exporting it. The US has abruptly lost about half its incoming supply of hydroxychloroquine, the drug President Donald Trump touts with little evidence as a drug to fight COVID-19.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), N95 masks are only recommended for health care workers protecting themselves from the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends using a face mask if you are taking care of a person suspected of having coronavirus, and the CDC is recommending that people wear “do-it-yourself cloth covering” while they're out and about. This video from the Detroit Free Press shows that you can fasten together your own mask by sewing together two pieces quilting fabric and elastic.
Public health experts and government officials agree that the U.S. government's coronavirus death toll almost certainly understates how many Americans have actually died from the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention only counts deaths where the presence of the coronavirus is confirmed in a lab test, The Washington Post reports, and "we know that it is an underestimation," CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said. Strict criteria in the beginning of the outbreak kept many people from getting tested for coronavirus, and it's still difficult to get tested in some areas, for example.
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.
Mohammed al-Dulfi's 67-year-old father died on March 21 after a brief struggle against the new coronavirus, but it would take nine days for his body to find a final resting place in the Shiite holy city of Najaf in southern Iraq. On two occasions, the family rejected remote burial plots proposed by the government outside Baghdad for him and seven other coronavirus victims, al-Dulfi said. A fight broke out between the families and the Health Ministry's team.
All of the doors and windows were locked from the inside, according to the sheriff's office. Patrick Jesernik, 54, and Cheryl Schriefer, 59, were found dead in separate rooms with obvious signs of trauma to their heads, the sheriff's office said in a statement. The couple, who were not married, had been together for eight years, according to Cathy Hoffmeyer, a spokeswoman for the sheriff's office.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has approved the withdrawal of one billion euros from the country's sovereign wealth fund to help fight the coronavirus epidemic, President Hassan Rouhani's official website said on Monday. Iran is the Middle Eastern country worst-affected so far by the coronavirus, with 3,739 deaths and 60,500 people infected as of Monday, official data showed. Shut out of international capital markets and facing a further hit to its finances with the collapse in global oil prices coming on top of U.S. sanctions, Iran is struggling to shield its economy from the coronavirus pandemic.
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.
New York state has recorded its highest number of COVID-19 deaths in 24 hours, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Tuesday, adding though that hospitalizations appeared to be "plateauing." Cuomo said 731 people succumbed to the new coronavirus on Monday, bringing the state's total death toll to 5,489. New York has borne the brunt of America's deadly coronavirus pandemic, accounting for around half the number of deaths across the country.
Trump said on Saturday that he had spoken to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and revealed that India is giving “serious consideration” to the release of shipments U.S. has already ordered. A Bloomberg News analysis found that 47 percent of the U.S. supply of hydroxychloroquine last year came from Indian manufacturers, including the top U.S. supplier, Zydus Pharmaceuticals Inc. which is a subsidiary of Ahmedabad, India-based Cadila Healthcare Ltd. It sold over 167 million units of the anti-malarial in 2019, and has supplied 28 million to the U.S. market so far this year.
When the White House projected on March 31 that, even with social distancing measures, 100,000 to 240,000 Americans could die of COVID-19, the numbers were not necessarily shocking to those who had been paying attention. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, had already said he projected between 100,000 to 200,000 U.S. deaths, and estimates by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington are not much different, projecting 81,766 American deaths by Aug. 4, as of Monday afternoon. White House is now setting the goal posts at 100-200K dead as a good job.
It has taken between three and four weeks since the countries ordered lockdowns for daily new infections and deaths to begin to decline. On Sunday, each country had recorded at least a two-day consecutive decline in deaths from the virus, and new recorded cases also appear to be dropping, according to figures on Worldometer. The numbers from China, however, suggest it may take more like a month for the impact on coronavirus deaths to really be felt.
The military branches are requiring troops to make their own cloth face masks after the Pentagon's latest policy directed face coverings for all personnel during the novel coronavirus outbreak. The Defense Department announced Sunday that troops, DoD civilian employees, contractors and family members are encouraged to make simple coverings out of clean T-shirts and other household materials. The do-it-yourself face coverings are mandatory whenever people cannot maintain six feet of social distance in public areas or places of work, according to the policy, signed by Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
Japan is poised to declare a state of emergency, while the government prepares a $990 billion stimulus package to soften the economic blow of the coronavirus pandemic. Infections are on the rise in Japan - particularly in Tokyo which has seen an explosive increase in cases. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said an emergency would last about a month, and will give governors authority to call on people to stay at home and businesses to close.
Police in Bangladesh arrested a fugitive killer of the country's independence leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on Tuesday, nearly 45 years after the brutal assassination, the country's home minister said. Abdul Majed, a former military captain, was arrested in the capital, Dhaka, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said, adding that the arrest was “the biggest gift” for Bangladesh this year. Majed had publicly announced his involvement in the assassination after the killing and had reportedly been hiding in India for many years.