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.
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.
Wisconsin's presidential primary remains scheduled for Tuesday with in-person voting even amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, an idea a group of mayors is calling "irresponsible and contrary to public health." Amid calls for Wisconsin to postpone its primary as other states have done in light of the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Tony Evers (D), who previously issued a safer-at-home order, recently called a special session of the GOP-held legislature to consider canceling in-person voting and extending the deadline to mail in ballots. Wisconsin general elections are also set for Tuesday.
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.
JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images) Sweden took the unusual step of not implementing a lockdown to halt the spread of the coronavirus. The country urged people to practice social distancing, but left places like shops and restaurants open, breaking the model followed by countries across Europe and around the world. Sweden has 477 deaths from the virus so far, but Stefan Löfven, the prime minister, is now warning that thousands will die from COVID-19 and the parliament may bring in more restrictive measures.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
President Trump on Monday said he and former Vice President Joe Biden had a “really wonderful, warm conversation” on the phone.
Hundreds of Venezuelans who fled to neighboring Colombia during their country's economic crisis are now returning home, pushed by the deadly novel coronavirus and Colombia's own pandemic woes. Colombian migration officials said Sunday that 600 people -- including 35 children and 167 women -- crossed the main border point at the Simon Bolivar International Bridge in the northeastern city of Cucuta, into Venezuela one day earlier. Although the border is officially closed as a measure taken to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus, Colombia has opened a "humanitarian corridor" to allow Venezuelans to return home.
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.
Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro roundly dismissed concerns from the nation's top infectious-disease expert on an unproven coronavirus drug while touting his own qualifications as a “social scientist” on Monday, adding that he knows “how to read statistical studies.” Over the weekend, it was reported that Navarro clashed with Dr. Anthony Fauci over the efficacy of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine. Navarro reportedly attacked the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director at the White House for questioning his knowledge of science as he promoted the drug's potential.
US President Donald Trump has labelled a Russian nationalist group as a terrorist organisation. The announcement marks the first time the US government has applied the label to a white supremacist group. "These actions are unprecedented," said Nathan Sales, assistant secretary of State for counterterrorism on Monday.