Pentagon leaders expressed strong confidence Thursday that a coronavirus vaccine will be available by January, and perhaps as early as this fall — claims that were met with skepticism by scientific experts. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that he and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar “will be co-chairing Operation Warp Speed,” the effort by the administration of President Trump to produce 300 million vaccine doses by January. “I'm confident that we will be able to deliver a vaccine at scale in time” by partnering with other government agencies and the private sector, Esper said.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says contaminated surfaces are not the main way the virus is transmitted, the agency hasn't ruled surfaces out as a possible mode of infection. “If you want a reliable way to prevent yourself from getting the coronavirus, worry less about the surfaces you touch, and worry more about how frequently you wash your hands,” says Dr. Dara Kass, a Yahoo News Medical Contributor and associate professor of emergency medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. Confusion over how the virus is transmitted was reignited last week when the CDC edited the “How COVID-19 Spreads” page on their COVID-19 website to mention contaminated surfaces and objects under a new heading entitled, “The virus does not spread easily in other ways.”
The White House continued on Thursday to promote the use of hydroxychloroquine, the antimalarial drug that President Trump and some of his supporters have held out as a treatment for the coronavirus, against the advice of the Food and Drug Administration and in the face of studies that have shown it can be harmful in some cases. Routinely touted by prominent conservative allies of the president, including primetime Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham, it has been denounced by members of the medical establishment as an unproven therapy that poses the risk of potentially fatal heart complications. The FDA recommends that COVID-19 patients, if they choose to use it, do so only in a hospital or under medical supervision in a clinical trial.
SpaceX will have another chance at making history this weekend — if the weather cooperates. The company is scheduled to launch its first astronaut crew into orbit on Saturday aboard SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule, a landmark test flight that will mark the first time American astronauts blast off from U.S. soil in nearly a decade. The historic liftoff was originally scheduled to take place Wednesday at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The Minneapolis police officer who was filmed kneeling on George Floyd's neck for several minutes even as he said “I can't breathe” has previously been the subject of multiple complaints filed to the Minneapolis Police Department's Internal Affairs Division, it has emerged. Mr Chauvin, who has been fired along with the other three police officers who apprehended Mr Floyd, was reported to the division 18 times. According to a police summary, only two of the complaints were “closed with discipline”.
Israeli police officers fatally shot a Palestinian they suspected was carrying a weapon in Jerusalem's Old City on Saturday, a police spokesman said, but the man was later found to have been unarmed, Israeli media reported. "Police units on patrol there spotted a suspect with a suspicious object that looked like a pistol. They called upon him to stop and began to chase after him on foot, during the chase officers also opened fire at the suspect," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
Protesters nationwide should call for murder charges in the death of George Floyd, who died Monday while being arrested by Minneapolis police, Rev. Jesse Jackson said Thursday. Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was pinned down by a white police officer who held his knee to Floyd's neck. Jackson, 78, came to Minnesota on Thursday to speak with religious leaders and implored Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman to press charges against the four former Minneapolis Police department officers involved.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Wednesday that Hong Kong was no longer sufficiently autonomous from mainland China — an assessment that could threaten the city's trading relationship with the U.S. and deal a blow to both American and Chinese companies operating there. The news comes following Beijing's decision late last week to draw up a national security law for Hong Kong. The move came after Hong Kong's Legislative Council failed in its obligations to enact such a law since the former British colony was handed back to China in 1997.
Yet as Mexico's daily death toll rises to become one of the highest in the world – a record 501 fatalities were reported on Tuesday alone – the country is simultaneously preparing to reopen and weathering a politically charged battle over the true scale of the crisis. We're doing well, the pandemic has been tamed,” Mexico's populist president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, claimed on Thursday as he announced he would resume touring the country when a period of nationwide quarantine was wound down next week. Alejandro Macías, a leading infectious diseases specialist, said he understood and supported the need to plot out a return to some kind of normality for Mexico's 129 million citizens.
Democratic lawmakers in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives are demanding answers after learning that one of their Republican colleagues tested positive for COVID-19, shared that information with GOP leadership, but never informed them. On May 20, Republican Rep. Andrew Lewis learned he had tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Two other Republican House members who came in contact with Lewis were told to self-quarantine for 14 days, but Democratic lawmakers, some of whom also had contact with Lewis or with the two other Republicans before May 20, say they first learned of the positive test result on Wednesday.
The ongoing riots in Minnesota hurt Senator Amy Klobuchar's prospects for Democratic nomination as vice president, House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D., S.C.) said on Friday. Klobuchar declined to bring charges against multiple Minneapolis police officers involved in shootings over the course of her seven-year tenure as attorney for Hennepin County. Minneapolis has seen four days of riots after resident George Floyd, an African-American man, died following his arrest at the hands of white officers.
At a press briefing on Thursday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters President Trump said he's feeling “absolutely great” after completing his treatment with the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a preventive measure against the coronavirus. In April, the FDA cautioned against using the drug to treat COVID-19 outside of a hospital setting or clinical trial.
SpaceX's historic first crewed mission to the International Space Station was set to proceed as scheduled on Saturday, NASA said, although uncertainty remained over weather conditions. "We are moving forward with launch today," NASA chief Jim Bridenstine said in a tweet. "Weather challenges remain with a 50 percent chance of cancellation."
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell acknowledged Friday that the Fed faces a major challenge with the launch in the coming days of a program that will lend to companies other than banks for the first time since the Great Depression. The Fed's Main Street Lending is geared toward medium-sized companies that are too large for the government's small business lending program and too small to sell bonds or stock to the public. The individual loans, which could reach $600 billion, will technically be made by banks.
India extended its coronavirus lockdown until June 30 in high-risk zones but permitted restaurants, malls and religious buildings to reopen elsewhere from June 8 despite a record high number of cases detected nationwide on Saturday. The home ministry ordered state governments and local authorities to identify "containment zones", or areas that should remain under lockdown, as they continue to report high number of infections. India reported a record daily jump of 7,964 new COVID-19 infections on Saturday and has so far recorded 173,763 positive cases and 4,971 deaths, making the world's second-most populous country ninth on the list of most infections, Reuters data showed.
There is anger on the streets in Minneapolis. It is deserved anger fed by the death of George Floyd, yet another unarmed black man killed as police arrested him. The mature and reasoned response is, of course, to explore what went wrong Monday on that Minneapolis street.
The coronavirus began quietly spreading in the U.S. as early as late January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday — before President Donald Trump blocked air travel from China and a full month before community spread was first detected in the country. It was also the first media briefing from the CDC in more than two months. "As America begins to reopen, looking back at how COVID-19 made its way to the United States will contribute to a better understanding to prepare for the future," Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, said Friday during a call with reporters.
Testing, testing, testing Getty Images South Korea reported its first coronavirus case on January 20 — the same day as the US. At first, the number of infections remained low, but a super-spreader event at a Daegu church caused the country's case count to jump from 29 cases on February 15 to more than 2,900 two weeks later. But the country quickly implemented widespread testing, which helped health officials find and notify potentially infected people, then send them into quarantine.
Russia said on Thursday the United States was acting in a dngerous and unpredictable way, after Washington withdrew from a key military treaty and moved to ramp up pressure on Iran. Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova made the comments after Washington announced it would end sanctions waivers for nations that remain in a nuclear accord signed with Iran. The remaining parties to the deal include Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.
With its cast iron replica of Budapest's Liberty Bridge and its pale-stoned version of Versailles, visitors to Huawei's research centre in Dongguan could be forgiven for thinking they were in Europe. The Telegraph can disclose today that the controversial Chinese telecoms giant backed 17 scientific papers with UK universities, about cutting-edge “dual use” technologies – which can have civilian applications but can also be used in military technology. At least 15 of the papers focused on technology that experts claim could be used to communicate with swarms of drones or on highly advanced image recognition software that experts claim could be used for extreme levels of surveillance.
Five US pharmaceutical companies have been told to recall their versions of a type of diabetes medication after tests found worrying levels of a chemical linked to cancer. Several batches of metformin, which is widely used to reduce excess blood sugar in type 2 diabetes patients, tested positive for unsafe levels of N-Nitrosodimethylamine, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Thursday. The FDA advised that patients should continue to take metformin until a replacement can be prescribed, acknowledging the risks of discontinuing the medication for patients.
Israeli police in annexed east Jerusalem on Saturday shot dead a disabled Palestinian they mistakenly thought was armed with a pistol, prompting furious condemnation from the Palestinians. The incident happened in the alleys of the walled Old City near Lions' Gate, an access point mainly used by Palestinians. "Police units on patrol there spotted a suspect with a suspicious object that looked like a pistol," an Israeli police statement said.
Chancellor Angela Merkel will not personally attend a meeting in the U.S. with the leaders of the world's major economies if President Donald Trump goes ahead with it, unless the course of the coronavirus spread changes by then, her office said Saturday. After canceling the Group of Seven summit, originally scheduled for June 10-12 at Camp David, Trump said a week ago that he was again considering hosting an in-person meeting of world leaders because it would be a “great sign to all” of things returning to normal during the pandemic.
Law enforcement officials around the country are publicly condemning the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was seen on video gasping for breath as a white officer held him down with a knee on his neck for close to eight minutes.
Turkey may begin oil exploration in the eastern Mediterranean within three or four months under a deal it signed with Libya that was condemned by others in the region including Greece, Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said on Friday. Libya's internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) signed the maritime delimitation deal last year. Turkey says it creates an exclusive economic zone from its southern coast to Libya's northeast coast, and protects rights to resources.