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.
Senator Bernie Sanders's (I., Vt.) campaign manager and other top advisers are urging him to consider dropping out of the Democratic presidential primary, the Washington Post reported on Saturday. Campaign manager Faiz Shakir and Sanders ally Representative Pramila Jayapal (D., Wash.) have reportedly come out in favor of exiting the race. Political stragetist Jeff Weaver, a longtime Sanders ally, has also made the case for dropping out, saying an exit now would leave the Vermont senator on friendlier terms with rival Joe Biden and secure more leverage for negotiations over the Democrats' political platform.
Between April 9 and May 6, American will operate a total of 13 daily flights from New York's JFK and LaGuardia airports and New Jersey's Newark, it said, down from an average of 271 daily flights across all three airports in April 2019. David Seymour, American's senior vice president of Operations, told employees that demand for flights to the New York area "is rapidly evaporating" following an increase in COVID-19 cases and a recent advisory from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warning against all non-essential travel to and from New York, Connecticut and New Jersey.
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.
Italian officials said Sunday they may soon have to consider easing restrictions after seeing the daily coronavirus death toll plunge to its lowest in over two weeks. The 525 official COVID-19 fatalities reported by the civil protection service were the Mediterranean country's lowest since 427 deaths were registered on March 19. "The curve has started its descent and the number of deaths has started to drop," Italy's ISS national health institute director Silvio Brusaferro told reporters.
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.
Queen Elizabeth II delivered a brief speech on Sunday during the growing coronavirus crisis.
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.
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.
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.
Stark statistics from Chicago health officials have underscored the heavy toll of coronavirus on black Americans. Black Chicagoans account for half of all coronavirus cases in the city and more than 70% of deaths, despite making up 30% of the population. Other cities with large black populations, including Detroit, Milwaukee, New Orleans and New York, have become coronavirus hotspots.
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.
The declaration would cover seven regions including Tokyo and Osaka and last for about a month. Due to civil liberties enshrined in Japan's postwar constitution, the government cannot send police to clear people off the streets, as has happened in places including France, Italy and the U.K. The country's strongest enforcement measure could be public obedience -- and it remains to be seen whether that will be enough. The prevalence of the virus varies widely among the country's 47 regions and prefectures, with Tokyo seeing a rapid surge and three regions yet to confirm any cases as of April 5.
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 Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal from a Catholic church in Washington, D.C., that sought to place religious-themed ads on public buses. The justices are leaving in place a federal appeals court ruling that found no fault with the Washington transit agency policy that banned all issue-oriented advertisements on the region's rail and bus system. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington sought to place an ad on the outside of public buses in the fall of 2017.
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.
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.
The number of deaths in the U.S. topped 10,700 by Monday night, according to NBC News' tally. The rising toll comes as Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious diseases expert, said Sunday that the U.S. is "struggling" to get the coronavirus outbreak under control. The number of confirmed cases in the U.S. has passed 337,000.
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.
After calling on his Democrats to avoid "playing politics" during the coronavirus outbreak, Donald Trump lashed out at Joe Biden as he continues to find ways to raise questions about his likely general election foe's competence. The former vice president floated a "virtual" Democratic Party nominating convention in August, should the pandemic not allow American life to return to normal -- including large gatherings -- by then. He also said he intends to wear a mask in public, unlike the president, who says it's "okay" if Americans do but it's just not for him.
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.
There are many lessons to be learned from the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. Were China a more civilized nation, this outbreak would have been stopped early, and with far less harm, inside and outside of China. As Marion Smith wrote in these pages on Sunday, China's first response was to clamp down on reports of the then-new disease that had appeared in Wuhan.
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.