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.
Jan Hetfleisch/Getty Images As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread around the world at different rates, some countries have begun considering lifting lockdown measures. Several countries that were once hotspots for the disease, including Italy and China, have voiced cautious optimism about slowly lifting restrictions in place. Denmark and Austria have also said they are aiming to begin lifting their lockdowns after Easter, should the number of coronavirus cases continue to decline.
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 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 military branches are requiring troops to make their own cloth face masks after the Pentagon's latest policy directed face coverings for all personnel during the novel coronavirus outbreak. The Defense Department announced Sunday that troops, DoD civilian employees, contractors and family members are encouraged to make simple coverings out of clean T-shirts and other household materials. The do-it-yourself face coverings are mandatory whenever people cannot maintain six feet of social distance in public areas or places of work, according to the policy, signed by Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
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.
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.
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.
Trump said on Saturday that he had spoken to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and revealed that India is giving “serious consideration” to the release of shipments U.S. has already ordered. A Bloomberg News analysis found that 47 percent of the U.S. supply of hydroxychloroquine last year came from Indian manufacturers, including the top U.S. supplier, Zydus Pharmaceuticals Inc. which is a subsidiary of Ahmedabad, India-based Cadila Healthcare Ltd. It sold over 167 million units of the anti-malarial in 2019, and has supplied 28 million to the U.S. market so far this year.
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 UK government reportedly believes the coronavirus outbreak may have started in a Chinese laboratory. Most experts believe the outbreak began when animals passed COVID-19 onto humans in China. UK officials are not ruling out the possibility that a laboratory close to Wuhan accidentally leaked the virus.
In Illinois, black people make up about 30% of the state's cases and about 40% of its coronavirus-related deaths, according to statistics provided by the state's public health agency. In Michigan, black people account for 40% of the state's reported deaths, according to data released by the state, but its population is only 14% African American. Many U.S. states, including hardest-hit New York, have not released demographic data showing the virus' toll on different racial groups.
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.
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.
The U.S. Supreme Court reinstated a deadline for mailing absentee ballots in Tuesday's presidential primary in Wisconsin, backing Republicans in the first coronavirus-related case to reach the justices. Partially blocking a trial judge's ruling, the justices required that all absentee ballots be postmarked by Tuesday in an election that also includes a hotly disputed battle over a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented.
President Trump on Monday said he and former Vice President Joe Biden had a “really wonderful, warm conversation” on the phone.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has condemned as "racist" the comments by two French doctors who suggested a vaccine for the coronavirus could be tested in Africa. "Africa can't and won't be a testing ground for any vaccine," said Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The doctors' remarks during a TV debate sparked outrage, and they were accused of treating Africans like "human guinea pigs".
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.