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.
WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court refused Monday to hear the Catholic Church's challenge to a local ban on religious advertising. The case, brought by the Archdiocese of Washington against the District of Columbia region's mass transit system, would have been the latest example of religious freedom appeals heard by the conservative-leaning court. The justices already are considering four major religion cases, all brought to them by religious organizations after lower court losses: • School choice: Three Montana women challenged a Montana ban on state funds being used to pay for religious education.
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.
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.
The Taliban on Tuesday broke off talks with the Afghan government on a prisoner exchange, a main step in peace talks being brokered by the United States after it agreed on a troop withdrawal pact with the militants. The late February pact between the United States and the Taliban, under which U.S.-led international forces will withdraw in phases in exchange for Taliban security guarantees, is the best chance yet of ending the 18-year U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan. A prisoner exchange is meant to build confidence on both sides for those talks.
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.
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.
A court in India's Kerala state said Tuesday it wanted to avoid "a CATastrophe" by allowing a man to break a coronavirus lockdown to buy food for his furry felines. The pun was included in a ruling by Kerala's High Court on a petition brought by N. Prakash, a Kochi-based owner of three cats, who said he was denied a pass by police to leave his home. The lockdown was imposed from March 25 for 21 days, with residents permitted to leave their homes only for essential services such as buying groceries and medicine.
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.
Researchers have been investigating the stability of the novel coronavirus on different surfaces to try and figure out how it can be transmitted. A new report published in the journal Lancet found the virus lasted on the outside of a surgical mask for 7 days. The study reinforced existing recommendations for people to not touch the outside of their masks after putting it on.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has approved the withdrawal of 1 billion euros from the country's sovereign wealth fund to help fight the coronavirus epidemic, President Hassan Rouhani's official website said on Monday.
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.
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.
Earlier on Monday, O Globo newspaper reported that Bolsonaro had decided to fire him, and would publish his decision in the official gazette by the end of the day. While Mandetta has encouraged Brazilians to adopt the World Health Organization's guidance on social distancing and self-quarantining, Bolsonaro has said such a response will destroy the economy and do more harm to the population than the virus itself. The relationship between the two has deteriorated just as the pandemic heads toward a peak in Brazil.
The Los Angeles Times warned in an editorial last month that the COVID-19 pandemic threatened not only the health of individuals but the democratic process. The Supreme Court exacerbated that infection Monday when the justices blocked a lower court's decision to extend the period in which Wisconsin voters could mail in absentee ballots. On Monday the state Supreme Court rebuffed an attempt by Wisconsin's Democratic governor to suspend in-person voting on Tuesday and expand voting by mail.
Power demand around India shows how many nationwide heeded Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call to switch off their lights on Sunday and burn candles instead to "challenge the darkness" of the coronavirus, with the north coming out clear winners. Data reviewed by Reuters shows that northern India's power demand fell almost twice as steeply as in the south in response to Modi's lights-off plan, indicating the north - a traditional stronghold for Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party - was more enthusiastic in its support. Modi had appealed to Indians to display solidarity amid the coronavirus crisis by turning off their lights for nine minutes at 2100 on Sunday and light candles, lamps and flashlights instead.
The mounting number of New York's coronavirus deaths has stayed "effectively flat" over the past two days, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday, offering a glimmer of hope that the state may be at a peak even as the country braces for what the Trump administration is calling the "toughest week" yet in the fight against the pandemic. While the state has recorded 4,758 total deaths, with an additional 599 from the day before, it's only a slight uptick from the 594 added two days ago, Cuomo said, and shows a "possible flattening of the curve" that is "better than the increases we have seen."
President Trump hammered the World Health Organization on Tuesday over its response to the coronavirus pandemic, accusing it of being partial to China and endangering countries by recommending borders be kept open. “The W.H.O. really blew it,” Trump wrote on Twitter. Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on.
As of Monday, 33 of New York City's transit workers have died from the novel coronavirus, a Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider. A total of 5,600 MTA workers are self-quarantined, including more than 1,100 employees who have tested positive for the virus. The above numbers have since been updated, and as of late on Monday, the MTA reported 33 deaths, more than 1,100 cases, and 5,600 employees in quarantine.
Zoom has been banned from government business in Taiwan in the latest setback for the hugely popular video-calling app. It follows revelations that some Zoom traffic was "mistakenly" routed through China, which does not recognise Taiwan's independence. Taiwan's government said public bodies should not use products with security concerns "such as Zoom".
The number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 continues to grow in the US. Mike Pence, the vice-president, is overseeing the US response to the coronavirus. So far, 80% of patients experience a mild form of the illness, which can include a fever and pneumonia, and many of these cases require little to no medical intervention.
Israel's domestic security agency said Tuesday it arrested an Israeli citizen alleged to have spied for Iran. The Shin Bet alleged in a statement the man was in contact with Iranian agents abroad, where he was given money, guidance and encryption tools. The Shin Bet said the man was expected to provide information on strategic Israeli sites, ways to promote division in Israeli society, carry out attacks against Israeli targets and enlist Arab citizens of Israel to assist Iran.
Spain reported the lowest number of new coronavirus cases in more than two weeks and German infections were the fewest in six days, tentative signs that the spread of the deadly disease is slowing in Europe's worst-hit countries. The most recent figures from Spain, Italy, Germany and France suggest containment measures that have idled millions of workers are having an effect. While most leaders pleaded for patience, Austria became the first country in Europe to ease restrictions and Denmark may follow later.
President Trump on Monday berated a reporter during the White House coronavirus task force briefing.