Louisiana is poised to become the next epicenter of the coronavirus crisis, White House officials said Thursday, citing new data that shows that 26 percent of the tests for COVID-19 in that state in recent days have come back positive. The New York area remains a “very clear and important hot zone,” Dr. Deborah Birx said at Thursday's briefing of the White House coronavirus task force as she revealed testing statistics on specific states. “What we're seeing finally is testing improving,” said Birx, a renowned veteran of the HIV/AIDS fight who is now serving as the response coordinator for the coronavirus task force.
Two years ago, some of the nation's top public health officials gathered in an auditorium at Emory University in Atlanta to commemorate the 1918 influenza pandemic — also known as “the Spanish flu” — which had killed as many as 40 million people as it swept the globe. Implicit was the understanding that while the 1918 pandemic was a singular catastrophe, conditions in the 21st century were ideal for another outbreak. Long before the coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China, and then soon spread to nearly every country on Earth, the 2018 conference offered proof that epidemiologists at the CDC and other institutions were aware that a new pandemic was poised to strike.
Yet President Donald Trump on Thursday referred to the shipment as “aid,” and said the United States had accepted “a very nice offer” from Russian President Vladimir Putin. Hours later, the State Department clarified its initial statement, saying the supplies were purchased — but at a discount. But even then there was a twist: The discount came because the supplies had been channeled through the Russian Direct Investment Fund — a government sovereign wealth fund that has been subject to U.S. sanctions for Ukraine-related activities since 2015.
Mr Sunak said that under changes to the Coronavirus Business Interuption Loan Scheme (CBILS): Applications will not be limited to businesses that have been refused a loan on commercial terms, extending the number who benefit. However, the Treasury has not capped the interest rates banks can charge. Banks will be banned from asking company owners to guarantee loans with their own savings or property when borrowing up to £250,000 Larger firms with a turnover of up to £500m will also be eligible for more help - with state-backed loans of up to £25m available to firms with revenues of between £45m-500m.
While announcing a statewide shelter-in-place order on Wednesday, Georgia governor Brian Kemp, a Republican, said that he had just been informed that asymptomatic individuals could spread the coronavirus. The illness “is now transmitting before people see signs….Those individuals could have been infecting people before they ever felt [symptoms],” Kemp said at a press conference. It has been widely known for months that the coronavirus can spread through asymptomatic transmission.
Forty-four students at the University of Texas at Austin tested positive for the disease after returning from spring break in Mexico, according to a state university spokeswoman. In March, the University of Tampa said five students traveling together during spring break had tested positive. In a statement, Vanderbilt said: "Just as for our peers around the country, COVID-19 has created unprecedented challenges for our community as we have sought, above all, to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff.
The president of the Philippines said Wednesday in a televised address that people who violate coronavirus lockdown rules could be shot.
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.
Israeli police on Friday have surrounded and established roadblocks around an ultra-Orthodox Jewish city that has become a coronavirus hotspot. Police officers established roadblocks to restrict the movement in and out of Bnei Brak, where a small number of the ultra-Orthodox residents' apparent failure to comply with government social distancing requirements has prompted a dangerously high rate of contagion. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Friday that if the ministry of health deemed it necessary the same restrictions could be placed on other locations within Israel.
As the worsening coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the country, millions of Americans living with diabetes face heightened risks from COVID-19. Around 30 million Americans have diabetes, mostly of the type II (previously called “adult-onset”) variety. A quarter of U.S. adults with diabetes are over 65, an age that has been shown to delineate increased COVID-19 mortality rates.
US Navy The Secretary of the Navy offered more details into his decision in relieving the commander of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier dealing with a coronavirus outbreak. Capt. Brett Crozier of the USS Theodore Roosevelt penned a letter to his superiors about the urgent situation aboard his ship, which was dealing with the spread of the coronavirus. "The letter was sent over non-secure, unclassified email even though that ship possesses some of the most sophisticated communications and encryption equipment in the fleet," the Navy Secretary said.
WASHINGTON – The Navy fired the captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt on Thursday, four days after he pleaded for help as the coronavirus ravaged his crew, the Navy announced. Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly announced that Navy Capt. Brett Crozier was relieved for loss of confidence. "I just know that he exercised extremely poor judgment," Modly said.
Russia is ready to cooperate with Saudi Arabia and the United States to cut oil production, President Vladimir Putin said Friday. Putin said Russia was willing to make agreements within the framework of the OPEC+ group and that "we are ready for cooperation with the United States of America on this issue," according to a statement published by the Kremlin. Oil prices have tumbled in recent weeks in the face of a drop in demand and global economic uncertainty over the new coronavirus pandemic.
It is understandable that many would be wary of the notion that the origin of the coronavirus could be discovered by some documentary filmmaker who used to live in China. Matthew Tye, who creates YouTube videos, contends he has identified the source of the coronavirus — and a great deal of the information that he presents, obtained from public records posted on the Internet, checks out. The Wuhan Institute of Virology in China indeed posted a job opening on November 18, 2019, “asking for scientists to come research the relationship between the coronavirus and bats.”
Pakistani Muslims at a Karachi mosque clashed with baton-wielding police trying to enforce new curbs on gatherings to prevent Friday prayers and contain coronavirus infections, officials said. TV footage showed dozens of people chasing two police vehicles and pelting them with stones as an officer fired in the air to disperse the crowd. After failing to persuade worshippers to pray at home last week, the government in Pakistan's southern province of Sindh, home to the financial hub of Karachi, enforced a lockdown for three hours beginning at noon on Friday, officials said.
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Top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci left the hosts of Fox & Friends disappointed and frustrated Friday when he threw cold water on their insistence that the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine is a game-changing cure for the coronavirus. Citing a recent poll showing that 37 percent of doctors around the world feel the drug is currently the most effective treatment of COVID-19, co-host Steve Doocy added that frequent Fox News guest Dr. Mehmet Oz recently touted a small Chinese study that found the drug had some efficacy in treating the virus. Doocy went on to play a clip of Dr. Oz wondering whether Fauci was impressed with the results of that study.
Firearms sales and federal background checks for purchases soared to all-time highs in March as the coronavirus pandemic brought buyers out in record numbers, even though gun dealers were included in orders shutting down businesses in some states. The FBI conducted 3.7 million background checks last month, according to its latest figures, the highest total since the national instant check system for buyers was launched in 1998 and 1.1 million higher than the number conducted in March 2019. The period of March 17-21 was an especially busy period for the background check system.
Joe Biden said Friday that he will announce a committee to oversee his vice presidential selection process and is already thinking about whom he'd choose to join his Cabinet. Biden, who holds a significant lead in delegates over Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary race but has yet to officially clinch the nomination, also said he's spoken to Sanders to let him know he'd be proceeding with the vice presidential vetting process. Biden, a former vice president himself, has previously committed to choosing a woman as his running mate.
Despite that, many in a Manila slum took to the streets Wednesday to protest a lack of supplies, arguing they had not received any food packs since the lockdown started two weeks ago. "I will not hesitate my soldiers to shoot you," Duterte said in forceful tones Wednesday. On Thursday, as often happens after Duterte makes these sorts of inflammatory public remarks, Filipino officials rushed to insist that the president was simply using hyperbole to communicate the gravity of the situation.
WASHINGTON – The second of three emergency assistance packages Congress recently approved to address the coronavirus pandemic will add $192 billion to the federal deficit, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office announced Thursday. Lawmakers last month approved both that package and a much larger one – estimated to cost at least $2 trillion – before the official budget scorekeeper was able to assess their costs. The second package included free testing for the virus, paid sick leave for some workers, expanded food assistance and unemployment insurance, and increased Medicaid funding.
Oil prices rocketed Thursday, posting the largeset percent increase ever, after US President Donald Trump said Russia and Saudi Arabia planned to end their price war by slashing output. But the initial surge cooled after Russia denied it had spoken with Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest exporter of crude. After Trump tweeted that Saudi and Russia could slash production by up to 15 million barrels, Brent hit $36.29 a barrel, up almost 46 percent, and West Texas Intermediate soared around 35 percent to $27.39.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Friday that 562 state residents had died in the past 24 hours of Wuhan coronavirus, the highest single-day increase in the state. As of Friday, 2,935 state residents had died of the illness. The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in New York also saw its highest single-day increase of 10,482, with the state now reporting 102,863 cases in total.
Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images The US Army assessed in February that the coronavirus could kill as many as 150,000 Americans, the Daily Beast reported Thursday, citing an unclassified briefing document. The "black swan" or worst-case scenario assessment has become nearly the best-case scenario for the US as the White House warns that the virus may kill 100,000 to 240,000 Americans. The number of coronavirus cases in the US has already topped 200,000, and more than 5,000 people have died.
Countries' procurement agents are fighting each other in China for access to the protective equipment that must play a key role in stemming the spread of the novel coronavirus, German Health Minister Jens Spahn said. He was responding to a spate of reports of consignments of protective masks destined for European countries being bought up by United States officials, sometimes even as aeroplanes stood ready for departure on the tarmac. "You hear stories of people fighting in the truest sense of the word over these masks in China," he told reporters on Friday during a visit to a logistics company that is acting for the German government.