Louisiana is poised to become the next epicenter of the coronavirus crisis, White House officials said Thursday, citing new data that shows that 26 percent of the tests for COVID-19 in that state in recent days have come back positive. The New York area remains a “very clear and important hot zone,” Dr. Deborah Birx said at Thursday's briefing of the White House coronavirus task force as she revealed testing statistics on specific states. “What we're seeing finally is testing improving,” said Birx, a renowned veteran of the HIV/AIDS fight who is now serving as the response coordinator for the coronavirus task force.
As the worsening coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the country, millions of Americans living with diabetes face heightened risks from COVID-19. Around 30 million Americans have diabetes, mostly of the type II (previously called “adult-onset”) variety. A quarter of U.S. adults with diabetes are over 65, an age that has been shown to delineate increased COVID-19 mortality rates.
Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization's Health Emergencies Program, defended China on Thursday against accusations that the country has underreported cases and deaths from the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak. I think we need to be very careful also to not to be profiling certain parts of the world as being uncooperative or non-transparent, and we need to look at transparency across the board,” Ryan said at a Geneva press conference.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday gave the green light for soldiers to be deployed in a mostly ultra-Orthodox Jewish city considered the centre of Israel's novel coronavirus outbreak. "In light of the special situation in Bnei Brak following the restrictions due to the coronavirus, the IDF (army) will immediately present the necessary civil assistance to Bnei Brak municipality in fulfilling its responsibilities," Netanyahu's office said after talks with security and health officials. Authorities have enforced restrictions on access to Bnei Brak, a majority ultra-Orthodox city near Tel Aviv that is home to around 200,000 people.
Manufacturing giant 3M pushed back Friday against criticism from President Trump over production of face masks that are badly needed by American health care workers.
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Even as he is hailed as a hero by his crew, the fired commander of a coronavirus-stricken U.S. aircraft carrier is being reassigned while investigators consider whether he should face disciplinary action, acting U.S. Navy Secretary Thomas Modly told Reuters on Friday. Captain Brett Crozier was relieved of his command of the Theodore Roosevelt on Thursday after a scathing letter in which he called on the Navy for stronger action to halt the spread of the virus aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier was leaked to the media. Modly said in an interview that the letter was shared too widely and leaked before even he could see it.
DETROIT – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has been a frequent guest on cable news networks during the coronavirus crisis and on Wednesday, she landed on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah." But it wasn't a comedy routine. She used the time on the television show to plead the state's case for needing more personal protection equipment, ventilators and health care professionals who are willing to relocate to southeast Michigan to help ease the hospital overcrowding that is leading to staffing shortages.
New tests can identify people who have recovered from COVID-19 by searching for coronavirus antibodies in the blood. Experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci have expressed confidence that recovered coronavirus patients will be immune, though further research is needed to be sure. The restrictions promote social distancing to "flatten the curve," or keeping the number of coronavirus infections at a level that won't overwhelm healthcare systems.
The United States recorded nearly 1,500 deaths from the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the worst 24-hour death toll globally since the pandemic began. According to figures from Johns Hopkins University, 1,480 deaths were counted between Thursday morning and Friday morning, and the total number of people who have died since the start of the pandemic in the US is now 7,406. It comes as Donald Trump advised all Americans to wear masks in public to protect against the virus over fears that the illness that has infected more than one million people worldwide may be spreading by normal breathing.
Two months before the novel coronavirus is thought to have begun its deadly advance in Wuhan, China, the Trump administration ended a $200-million pandemic early-warning program aimed at training scientists in China and other countries to detect and respond to such a threat. The project, launched by the U.S. Agency for International Development in 2009, identified 1,200 different viruses that had the potential to erupt into pandemics, including more than 160 novel coronaviruses. The initiative, called PREDICT, also trained and supported staff in 60 foreign laboratories — including the Wuhan lab that identified SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
Senator Martha McSally on Thursday called on the director of the World Health Organization to step down, saying the organization covered up the extent of the spread of the coronavirus, which originated in China. The Arizona Republican called WHO director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus a “communist” and accused him of helping China conceal its underreporting of coronavirus case numbers. “I've never trusted a communist,” McSally said in an interview with Fox Business.
US politicians have voiced fury over Beijing's handling of the coronavirus crisis but they face a harsh truth -- the United States desperately needs China's supplies. China before the crisis produced nearly half of the face masks imported into the United States -- which in normal times cost less than a dollar but have disappeared from shelves amid growing calls for ordinary Americans wear them when outside. As China appears to have contained its own outbreak of SARS-CoV-1, which has infected more than one million people worldwide since first emerging late last year in Wuhan, it is now the first resort for protective gear sought across the world.
And it's necessary, said Dr. Steven Corwin, as the new coronavirus devastates communities and stretches hospitals and staffs to their limits in New York. "This has fundamentally altered the way we care for patients in the hospital," Corwin, the president and CEO of NewYork-Presbyterian, told USA TODAY. In his 40 years of medicine, Corwin said he's never seen this sort of response to a disease.
Outrage over a Muslim congregation that has sparked a new wave of Covid-19 cases in India has taken an Islamophobic turn. States across India have traced more than 300 positive cases to the weeks-long event. And Islamophobic hashtags have been trending on Twitter since the news first broke on Monday.
Thousands of National Guardsmen around the country are in contact with people who've contracted COVID-19. But while the federal government has called on them for frontline assistance in battling the pandemic, it's not giving them what they need to protect themselves: access to the military's health insurance. The approximately 20,000 guardsmen who have been called up to help states around the country deal with the spread of the coronavirus are federalized on what's called Title 32 status, which puts them in command of their various state governors but with the federal government paying costs.
A group of prominent Democratic senators formally requested on Friday that the Pentagon's independent Inspector General investigate the Navy's firing of the commander of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, who called for stronger measures to halt a coronavirus outbreak on board. Captain Brett Crozier was relieved of his command on Thursday after his scathing letter was leaked to the media. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland led the push and were joined by 15 other U.S. senators, including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Kamala Harris.
An emergency room nurse told Insider she wouldn't take a ventilator if she were to be infected with coronavirus and to save it for others who may need it more. An emergency room nurse working in Southern California told Insider, the pandemic had forced her to have some difficult conversations with her family. Paige, who asked to conceal her last name said while she's found it too difficult to have the conversation with her 86-year-old father, she's discussed how she wants her family to deal with her death if she were to be infected and die from the coronavirus with her sisters.
Tom Brenner/Reuters Just 3,200 out of 100,000 ventilators being sourced by FEMA will be ready by the mid-April peak of the coronavirus outbreak, according to House Oversight Committee documents. President Trump had previously promised to deliver 100,000 ventilators over the next 100 days, but had not made clear that most of them would arrive after the moment of greatest need. The committee also released documents on Thursday showing massive shortfalls of PPE in six states, which have requested millions of items but have received just a fraction of them.
While the U.S. and other countries are debating the potential value of a universal face mask rule in combating the spread of coronavirus, here in the Czech Republic that debate was settled weeks ago: it absolutely works! Last month, at the earliest appearance of Covid-19 cases in this central European country of 10 million, the Czech government was among the first on the continent to shut down all non-essential businesses, impose severe restrictions on public gatherings, and close its borders. This society quickly adopted the physical-distancing and hand-washing regimen that has now become standard all over the world.
Tokyo — The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo has warned Americans of a "significant increase" in the number of coronavirus infections in Japan, and urged them to leave the country now unless they plan to stay indefinitely. "If U.S. citizens wish to return to the United States, they should make arrangements to do so now," the embassy said in a notice posted to its website, "unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period." Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has called on the capital's 14 million residents to stay home this weekend, as she did last weekend.
Russia is ready to cooperate with Saudi Arabia and the United States to cut oil production, President Vladimir Putin said Friday. Putin said Russia was willing to make agreements within the framework of the OPEC+ group and that "we are ready for cooperation with the United States of America on this issue," according to a statement published by the Kremlin. Oil prices have tumbled in recent weeks in the face of a drop in demand and global economic uncertainty over the new coronavirus pandemic.
A potential vaccine for COVID-19 has been developed and tested successfully in mice, researchers reported Thursday. "We'd like to get this into patients as soon as possible," said Andrea Gambotto, associate professor of surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and co-author of a paper announcing the vaccine in the journal EBioMedicine. Thursday's announcement, more than three months into a pandemic that has killed 50,000 people and sickened almost 1 million worldwide, presents an urgent challenge to government regulators, who must weigh how much to speed up the vaccine approval process.
Photograph: Sergio Maldonado/Reuters Mexico s homicide rate raced to a new record in March, as violence raged even as Covid-19 spread across the country and authorities urged the population to stay home and practise social distancing. Mexico registered 2,585 homicides in March – the highest monthly figure since records began in 1997 – putting 2020 on track to break last year's record total for murders. The surge in killings comes as federal and state officials put resources into containing the Covid-19 crisis and confront the prospect of an already sluggish economy falling even further – potentially deepening the misery for the more than 40% of the population living in poverty.
Democrat Amy McGrath has punched back at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, accusing him of seeking a political windfall from an economic aid package while the coronavirus crisis worsens. McGrath's campaign released a TV ad Friday lambasting the Kentucky Republican for “taking a victory lap against the coronavirus." It's a quick response by his most well-funded Democratic challenger to a McConnell commercial in which he trumpeted his key role in passing the $2.2 trillion rescue package.