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].
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.
One of the first major reports on coronavirus symptoms was published by the World Health Organization in February, following their mission to China. That report, based on nearly 56,000 cases there, found the most common symptoms were fever (88 percent) and dry cough (68 percent). Nearly 40 percent of those patients experienced fatigue.
The Chinese city of Shenzhen has banned the eating of dogs and cats as part of a wider clampdown on the wildlife trade since the emergence of the new coronavirus. Scientists suspect the coronavirus passed to humans from animals. Some of the earliest infections were found in people who had exposure to a wildlife market in the central city of Wuhan, where bats, snakes, civets and other animals were sold.
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.
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.
The corpses have been overwhelming Guayaquil, a port city of 2.8 million at the epicenter of the coronavirus crisis in Ecuador. The country has confirmed 2,700 infections and 93 deaths — 60 of them in Guayaquil and its immediate surroundings. Mayor Cynthia Viteri, who announced that she has tested positive for the virus, said the national government should be responsible for collecting the corpses.
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.
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.
President Trump sent a letter to Democratic leader Sen. Chuck Schumer on Thursday accusing him of leaving New York “unprepared” for the coronavirus pandemic now crippling the state because of the “impeachment hoax.” In a blistering personal attack on Schumer (“I never knew how bad a Senator you are for the state of New York”), the president lashed out over criticism of what many see as a delayed federal response to the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the country. In an earlier letter Thursday, Schumer criticized the administration's handling of the crisis, saying that “the existing federal leadership void has left America with an ugly spectacle in which States and cities are literally fending for themselves, often in conflict and competition with each other, when trying to procure precious medical supplies and equipment.”
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.
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.
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.
The United States Navy has removed the captain of an aircraft carrier who sounded the alarm over a COVID-19 outbreak aboard his ship, NBC News and Axios report. Capt. Brett Crozier, who commands the USS Theodore Roosevelt, had sent a stern four-page letter to his superiors on Monday begging for help containing the outbreak, in which some 150 to 200 sailors had reportedly tested positive out of his nearly 5,000-person crew. Crozier's letter leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle, and expressed fears that the Theodore Roosevelt was unable to follow quarantine social distancing guidelines when it was forced to dock in Guam.
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 -- later this 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.
Border closures and strict lockdowns prompted by the Covid-19 crisis have disrupted the migrant trail through Central America and Mexico, forcing some would-be migrants to postpone their journeys – and stopping many others in their tracks. The result has been a deterrent more effective than any wall Donald Trump could build. Activists across the region have reported a steep decline in the number of migrants coming from Central America since the restrictions were implemented.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) announced Thursday that she is tasking Majority Whip James Clyburn (D., S.C.) to lead a House oversight committee to ensure the government's coronavirus funds “are spent wisely and effectively.” “The panel will root out waste, fraud and abuse; it will protect against price-gouging, profiteering and political favoritism,” Pelosi told reporters on a press call.
Police in Pakistan will enforce a strict lockdown to prevent people from going to mosques to offer Friday prayers and fuel a rise in coronavirus infection, officials said, after failing to prevent large congregations last week. Health experts have warned of an epidemic in South Asia, home to a fifth of the world's population, that could easily overwhelm its weak public health systems. The government in Pakistan's southern province of Sindh, home to the country's largest city, Karachi, will enforce a "curfew-like" lockdown for three hours beginning 12 noon Friday to deter people from coming out of their homes for prayers, officials said.
Oil prices rocketed Thursday, posting the largeset percent increase ever, after US President Donald Trump said Russia and Saudi Arabia planned to end their price war by slashing output. But the initial surge cooled after Russia denied it had spoken with Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest exporter of crude. After Trump tweeted that Saudi and Russia could slash production by up to 15 million barrels, Brent hit $36.29 a barrel, up almost 46 percent, and West Texas Intermediate soared around 35 percent to $27.39.
California's governor on Thursday said small businesses can keep up to $50,000 in sales tax receipts for the next year as the COVID-19 outbreak has forced people to stay home and many shops to close. The move means businesses with $5 million in sales or less will get up to a year to give the state up to $50,000 in sales taxes they collect from customers. It's essentially an interest-free loan aimed at keeping small businesses afloat in a state where the governor has ordered everyone to stay home to prevent the spread of a virus that has so far killed 233 people.
Vice President Mike Pence conceded on Wednesday that the US' coronavirus outbreak may be "most comparable" to Italy, the hardest-hit country in the world. "We think Italy may be the most comparable area to the United States at this point," Pence told CNN on Wednesday. The White House announced on Tuesday that it predicts between 100,000 to 240,000 people could die in the US from the coronavirus even with strict social distancing measures in place.
Astronomers have revealed the best evidence yet for an elusive cosmic oddity: the intermediate black hole. These medium-sized black holes are smaller than supermassive black holes, but larger than stellar-mass black holes. Supermassive black holes, it turns out, may form from intermediate-mass black holes.
Shenzhen has become the first Chinese city to ban the sale and consumption of dog and cat meat. It comes after the coronavirus outbreak was linked to wildlife meat, prompting Chinese authorities to ban the trade and consumption of wild animals. Shenzhen went a step further, extending the ban to dogs and cats.
Singapore will shutter schools and most workplaces as the city-state unveiled a raft of stricter measures intended as a “circuit breaker” to slow the spread of coronavirus. Most workplaces, except for essential services and key economic sectors, will close starting on Tuesday, while the city-state will move to full home-based learning in its schools from Wednesday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in an address to the nation Friday afternoon. The action comes as confirmed cases of local transmission and unlinked infections in the country have risen in recent weeks.