Former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis issued a rare public rebuke of President Trump Tuesday over his decision to fire Glenn Fine, the Pentagon inspector general charged with overseeing implementation of the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package. “Mr. Fine is a public servant in the finest tradition of honest, competent governance,” Mattis told Yahoo News in an email. “In my years of extensive engagement with him as our Department of Defense's acting Inspector General, he proved to be a leader whose personal and managerial integrity were always of the highest order.”
At Sunday's White House briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, suggested that hundreds of thousands — or even millions — of “silent carriers” may be unwittingly spreading the coronavirus across the United States because they don't realize they're infected. “It's somewhere between 25 and 50 percent” of the total, Fauci said. The first thing to note is that Fauci himself expressed a high degree of uncertainty about his own numbers.
The global epicenter of the coronavirus, the city of Wuhan in China, relaxed its 76-day lockdown on Wednesday. The day the lockdown ended, local couples flooded a local marriage-application app, causing it to crash. Wuhan, the Chinese city at the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, lifted its lockdown on Wednesday and couples living there rushed to take advantage.
The acting Secretary of the Navy, Thomas Modly, last week relieved my Naval Academy classmate and personal friend Brett Crozier from his position as commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt. On Monday, the secretary was recorded telling the crew of that ship that Capt. Crozier was either “too naïve or too stupid” to be in command. During his speech on the ship's public address system, he repeated the false narrative that Crozier himself may have leaked a letter he wrote pleading for help amid a wave of coronavirus cases on his vessel.
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.
Ethiopia, Africa's second most populous nation, and Liberia declared states of emergency on Wednesday to help curb the spread of the new coronavirus, a day after cases on the continent surged past 10,000. Various African governments have announced lockdowns or curfews in response to the virus, which was slow to reach many African countries but is now growing exponentially, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). As of Wednesday afternoon, Africa had over 10,900 confirmed infections and 550 deaths from the novel coronavirus, according to a Reuters tally based on government statements and WHO data.
Iran demanded on Wednesday that U.S. oil production levels must be known before an upcoming OPEC meeting with Russia and others seeking to boost global energy prices. The meeting of the so-called OPEC+ is scheduled to be held Thursday after officials delayed it following Saudi Arabia criticizing Russia over its comments about the price collapse. A meeting in March saw OPEC and other nations led by Russia fail to agree to a production cut as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has drastically cut demand for oil.
During a private conference call with Democrats on Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said at least $1 trillion will be needed for the next coronavirus relief package. Last month, Congress passed a $2.2 trillion stimulus package, and Pelosi said the next bill will build onto that, people on the call told Bloomberg News. Pelosi said there will have to be more direct payments to individuals, extended unemployment insurance, and additional funding for food stamps and the Payroll Protection Plan, which provides small business loans. One lawmaker told Bloomberg News Pelosi also said the bill should help state and local governments, particularly in areas with no more than 500,000 residents.
Trump used Monday's briefing of the coronavirus task force to lash out at several members of the press, despite having recently praised media coverage of his response to the crisis as “very fair.” After kicking off the briefing by praising his own administration for its response to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, Trump opened the briefing up to questions, during which he refused to acknowledge any criticism of his handling of the pandemic that has brought the United States to a virtual standstill. One point of contention was a report released today by the inspector general of the federal Department of Health and Human Services.
There's precedent for health care workers developing their own psychiatric symptoms, said Dr. Daniel Yohanna, the interim chair of the department of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at the University of Chicago. We know that patients who have psychiatric disorders will have more problems during this period. We also know health care workers, from data out of Singapore, have increased numbers of posttraumatic stress disorders, depression and anxiety,” Yohanna said.
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.
Alton, Illinois, Mayor Brant Walker wrote a lengthy apology statement to his constituents and berated his wife, Shannon, for her "stunning lack of judgment." Walker said he told Alton's police chief that his wife did not deserve any special treatment and should receive the same punishment as any other citizen who violated the state's stay-at-home order. Shannon Walker will face a criminal complaint of reckless conduct, along with each person at the party for violating the stay-at-home order.
The top human rights court in the Americas has found Peru responsible for the arbitrary detention and rape of an LGBT person. Azul Rojas Marín was stripped, hit and raped with a truncheon by three officers while in custody in 2008, her legal team said. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights said it was an act of torture.
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 China, where the pandemic broke out, claimed that 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.
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.
The leader of the remote Solomon Islands said Wednesday that 27 people had died after being washed overboard from a crowded ferry last week and the government is conducting a criminal investigation. But others say the government itself must take responsibility after it told people to leave the capital and return to their home islands ahead of a possible coronavirus lockdown. The ship MV Taimareho left Honiara on the evening of April 2 as a tropical cyclone was approaching.
After growing tenfold in the last decade, India's restaurant sector fears for the future when a nationwide lockdown is eventually lifted, with customer numbers and spending expected to plunge in the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. India, which has recorded more than 4,000 coronavirus cases and over 100 deaths, has been under a three-week lockdown since March 25, and officials say that may be extended in some hotspots. Even when the situation normalizes however, restaurateurs fear that business will not bounce back in a hurry and people will socialize less in crowded restaurants.
A speech by acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly to the aircraft carrier crew whose captain he relieved April 2 has exposed him to accusations of hypocrisy and led to calls for him to be fired. Modly said Thursday that he relieved Capt. Brett Crozier for circulating too widely a memo expressing the captain's concerns about how the Navy was handling a COVID-19 outbreak that had forced his ship, the USS Theodore Roosevelt, to remain docked in Guam. The acting secretary doubled down on that criticism in his remarks Monday to Crozier's crew, telling them that if the captain hadn't realized that emailing the memo to “over 20” people meant it was likely to go public, then Crozier was either “too naive or too stupid” to be left in command.
Alex Brandon/AP US Surgeon General Jerome Adams adopted a positive note Tuesday, saying he felt "a lot more optimistic" that the United States would emerge "stronger" from its battle with the coronavirus. On Sunday, he said he expected the virus "to be our Pearl Harbor moment and our 9/11 moment, only it's not going to be localized, it's going to be happening all over the country." Adams credited social distancing for his hopeful demeanor, stressing that Americans "have the power to change the trajectory of this epidemic if we come together like we have after past tragedies in this country."
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned Tuesday that donations of medical equipment by foreign companies like Huawei in the fight against the coronavirus will have no influence on future government policy. The prime minister was asked if donations to Canada by Huawei could influence his government's policies toward the Chinese telecoms giant, which is at the center of a protracted diplomatic crisis between Ottawa and Beijing. At a time when the world faces a shortage of masks, Huawei gave Canada more than a million masks, 30,000 face shields and 50,000 pairs of gloves, according to the Globe and Mail daily.
China has reported no new coronavirus deaths in the last 24 hours, the first time since January, as the death toll from the disease reached 75,000 people worldwide. Meanwhile, more than 160 current and former global leaders are urging the world's 20 major industrialised nations to approve $8bn (£6.5bn) in emergency global health funding to hasten the search for a vaccine, cure and treatment for Covid-19 and prevent a second wave of the pandemic. It comes after Boris Johnson was moved to intensive care as his Covid-19 symptoms worsened and Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, took over the government's response to the crisis.
The street gangs that have long terrorized El Salvador have now turned their attention from extortion and killing to a more pressing matter: enforcing social distancing restrictions, often with threats and baseball bats. The gangs assumed their role as public health thugs after President Nayib Bukele ordered a 30-day lockdown that started March 22. In many parts of the country, the gangs are more effective than government authorities, with tactics that include circulating recordings on messaging applications threatening people who break the rules.
More than 3,300 people reportedly have died in China due to COVID-19, including nearly 2,600 in the city of Wuhan alone. The official tallies are deemed by medical professionals in China and abroad to be much lower than the actual count. Intensive care units were, of course, where the most recorded deaths occurred; the mortality rate in Wuhan's ICUs was between 25 and 30 percent, according to Dr. Peng Zhiyong, who led two ICU teams in the city and maintained the lowest rates of fatalities and hospital transmissions at the facilities where he worked.
The closure of restaurants and the retreat by humans indoors is having an effect on the eating habits and behaviour of rats, say experts. Late last month, the French Quarter in New Orleans had new swarms of visitors wandering its famous streets. Not long after the coronavirus closed bars and restaurants in the Louisiana city, rats were coming out of hiding.