While the Washington State Department of Health had prepared a plan for the arrival of the virus that detailed how the state would obtain tests from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, what type of messaging it would release to citizens and how it would train staff at local health centers to handle the virus, it assumed it still had weeks before the disease would reach the U.S. To anticipate events like the coronavirus pandemic, the CDC established the Epidemic Intelligence Service, its elite “disease detective” training program. Over the course of two years, EIS officers receive immersive, on-the-job training — either at CDC headquarters, where they're assigned to focus on specific disease areas, or at state and local health departments around the country — to investigate every aspect of an outbreak like this one.
President Trump shied away Wednesday from issuing domestic travel restrictions or a national lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic that, in a best-case scenario, is expected to kill between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans. Asked at a White House briefing if he was considering limiting domestic air travel, Trump said he was thinking about it, a phrase he frequently applies to subjects he wishes to avoid discussing. We're thinking about doing that, but at the same time we just, to start these airlines and to start this whole thing over again is very tough, John [Roberts, Fox News reporter].
State and local officials have complained about insufficient protective equipment such as masks and gowns as well as ventilators, needed to help keep patients breathing. Meanwhile, US Vice-President Mike Pence warned the US appeared to be on a similar trajectory as Italy where the death toll has exceeded 13,000 - the worst in the world. The number of confirmed infections across the US rose by more than 25,000 in one day.
Reuters Amazon has implemented a number of social distancing policies amid the coronavirus pandemic, but employees say the reality does not always match the rhetoric. A worker at an Amazon warehouse in Indiana sent Business Insider a photo that they allege shows managers huddled at a table next to a sign that states, "Please work together to ensure social distancing is happening." Amazon told Business Insider that it will investigate the incident.
On Wednesday Iran warned the U.S. it was “warmongering during the coronavirus outbreak,” after it deployed Patriot air defense missiles to Iraq.
The two states have instituted increasingly restrictive measures and are among the 23 states with stay-at-home orders. Both states are led by Democratic governors who have earned praise from President Donald Trump for their response to the crisis. The disease is still spreading in both states, and the number of new cases and deaths reported each day is still climbing.
Wuhan doctor Ai Fen, who expressed early concerns about the coronavirus to the media, has disappeared and is believed detained by Chinese authorities. Fen, the head of emergency at Wuhan Central Hospital, was given a warning after she disseminated information about the coronavirus to several other doctors. The reprimand from her boss came after Fen took a photo of a patient's positive test results and circled the words 'SARS coronavirus' in red.
Early this week, the streets of the central Israeli city of Bnei Brak were bustling with shoppers as ultra-Orthodox residents, obeying their religious leaders, ignored pleas to stay home in the face of the coronavirus threat. The city has become a lightning rod for anger and frustration by some secular Israelis who allege insular Haredi communities — with disproportionately high numbers of confirmed cases — are undermining national efforts to contain the virus. The pandemic also has threatened to upend deep-seated customs in the religious world, including blind obedience to religious leaders and the belief that religious studies and traditions take precedence over the rules of a modern state.
The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has climbed by 760 to 13,915, the Civil Protection Agency said on Thursday, slightly higher than the daily rise of 727 registered a day earlier. The number of new cases was steady, growing by 4,668 from a previous 4,782, bringing total infections since the outbreak came to light on Feb. 21 to 115,242. Thursday was the fourth consecutive day in which the number of new cases remained within a range of 4,050-4,782, seeming to confirm government hopes that the epidemic has hit a plateau, ahead of a hoped-for decline in the near future.
With the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 surging nationwide and health officials warning that, even in a best-case scenario, deaths from the disease could top 100,000 in the U.S., the government is reviewing its guidance on the use of face masks by the general population. Asked at Tuesday's press briefing of the White House coronavirus task force whether U.S. citizens should wear face masks, President Trump signaled that additional protection is “not a bad idea” and offered an alternative to medically approved masks, which are in short supply. My feeling is that if people want to do it, there's certainly no harm to it.
At the top of the agenda will be having to make a decision about helping Italy. Homecoming Hopes | EU foreign ministers today will hold their second video conference in as many weeks as they seek to repatriate more than 200,000 European citizens still stranded abroad as result of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as weigh assistance for the world's weakest nations. Johnson's NHS | The cult of Britain's National Health Service has been key to so many political fortunes over the decades, but no other leader has weaponized it more than Boris Johnson after years of austerity measures implemented by his Conservative Party.
British Airways has reached a deal to temporarily suspend more than 30,000 of its cabin crew and ground staff. The airline, which has grounded most of its fleet due to the coronavirus, has been locked in talks with unions for more than a week. Explaining the decision, Mr Cruz said: "We need to act now to protect jobs and ensure that BA comes out the other side of this crisis in the best possible shape."
Iran on Thursday reported 124 new deaths from the coronavirus, raising its total to 3,160, as President Rouhani warned that the country may still battle the pandemic for another year. Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour announced the latest toll in a news conference and confirmed 3,111 new infections over the past 24 hours, bringing Iran's total to 50,468. Iran has been scrambling to contain the COVID-19 outbreak since it reported its first cases on February 19.
California has not seen the surge in coronavirus cases that have overwhelmed cities like New York and Detroit in the past week, which suggests that the state's early and restrictive shelter-in-place orders could be slowing the virus's spread. California implemented one of the earliest and strictest orders to stay at home in the United States in mid-March, and as of Wednesday, there were 8,584 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 183 deaths in the state compared with the 76,000 cases and 1,714 deaths in New York. Dr Deborah Birx, the White House's coronavirus taskforce coordinator, said on Tuesday that she was “reassured by what California has been able to do” to help control the virus with physical distancing orders.
Associated Press The IRS will begin sending out coronavirus stimulus checks as soon as April 9, according to an internal distribution plan obtained by The Washington Post. Electronic payments will be sent out next Friday, the internal document said, but paper checks will be mailed out to Americans on a weekly rotation. The plan set priority for paper check distribution to those with the lowest-income — individual taxpayers making $10,000 or less on April 24.
A Chinese county that was largely unscathed by the novel COVID-19 coronavirus went into lockdown Wednesday, signaling fears of a possible second wave in the country where the virus originated, The South China Morning Post reports. The county of Jia in Henan province, home to 600,000 people, is now in lockdown after infections reportedly spread at a local hospital. There were previously only 12 confirmed cases in Henan, despite it being situated just north of Hubei province, where China's epicenter, Wuhan, is located.
Canada faces "a critical week" in fighting the coronavirus, a senior official said on Thursday, as the death toll jumped and the most populous province said residents should brace for a stark scenario. Deaths surged to 161 from 105 on Wednesday while positive cases rose to 11,131 from 9,017, according to provincial announcements compiled by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Canada's public health agency is particularly worried by the spread of the coronavirus in seniors' residences, which are turning into hotspots in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia - the three biggest provinces by population.
Astronomers have revealed the best evidence yet for an elusive cosmic oddity: the intermediate black hole. These medium-sized black holes are smaller than supermassive black holes, but larger than stellar-mass black holes. Supermassive black holes, it turns out, may form from intermediate-mass black holes.
Iran's parliament speaker has contracted the new coronavirus, the country's highest-ranking government figure yet to catch the disease, while in Israel, several top officials entered quarantine when the health minister tested positive on Thursday. Iran's parliament announced Ali Larijani's illness on its website, saying he was receiving treatment in quarantine. Iran, the regional epicenter of the virus, has been fighting one of the world's worst outbreaks.
The U.S. recorded its deadliest day – more than 1,000 fatalities – since the coronavirus outbreak began, more than 215,000 overall infections have been reported, and public health officials may recommend that more Americans wear face masks to combat the pandemic that has brought the global economy to its knees. "Even if you do wear a mask, it can't be at the expense of social distancing," Surgeon General Jerome Adams said. The current U.S. death toll appears to be a tiny fraction of what the nation faces over the next few weeks, public health officials say.
Shenzhen has become the first Chinese city to ban the sale and consumption of dog and cat meat. It comes after the coronavirus outbreak was linked to wildlife meat, prompting Chinese authorities to ban the trade and consumption of wild animals. Shenzhen went a step further, extending the ban to dogs and cats.
A Russian military plane carrying medical supplies arrived in the United States on Wednesday, the Russian mission to the UN said, as the Kremlin flexes its soft power during the coronavirus pandemic. The Antonov-124, landed at JFK Airport in New York -- the epicenter of America's coronavirus outbreak -- pictures and video posted on the mission's Twitter page showed. Russia's defense ministry had earlier announced that the plane "with medical masks and medical equipment on board," left for the US overnight, without providing further details.
Border closures and strict lockdowns prompted by the Covid-19 crisis have disrupted the migrant trail through Central America and Mexico, forcing some would-be migrants to postpone their journeys – and stopping many others in their tracks. The result has been a deterrent more effective than any wall Donald Trump could build. Activists across the region have reported a steep decline in the number of migrants coming from Central America since the restrictions were implemented.
Half of the EU governments urged Orban to respect the rule-of-law while the EU's largest political group again revived calls to expel his party. In less than 24 hours, Hungary's central bank swung from monetary easing to tightening to arrest the forint's free fall. The government in Budapest rescinded a plan to strip power from mayors during the pandemic.