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.
WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court refused Monday to hear the Catholic Church's challenge to a local ban on religious advertising. The case, brought by the Archdiocese of Washington against the District of Columbia region's mass transit system, would have been the latest example of religious freedom appeals heard by the conservative-leaning court. The justices already are considering four major religion cases, all brought to them by religious organizations after lower court losses: • School choice: Three Montana women challenged a Montana ban on state funds being used to pay for religious education.
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.
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.
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.
Wisconsin's presidential primary remains scheduled for Tuesday with in-person voting even amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, an idea a group of mayors is calling "irresponsible and contrary to public health." Amid calls for Wisconsin to postpone its primary as other states have done in light of the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Tony Evers (D), who previously issued a safer-at-home order, recently called a special session of the GOP-held legislature to consider canceling in-person voting and extending the deadline to mail in ballots. Wisconsin general elections are also set for Tuesday.
Data from atomic bomb tests conducted during the Cold War have helped scientists accurately age the world's biggest fish. Whale sharks are large, slow moving and docile creatures that mainly inhabit tropical waters. They are long-lived but scientists have struggled to work out the exact ages of these endangered creatures.
Power demand around India shows how many nationwide heeded Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call to switch off their lights on Sunday and burn candles instead to "challenge the darkness" of the coronavirus, with the north coming out clear winners. Data reviewed by Reuters shows that northern India's power demand fell almost twice as steeply as in the south in response to Modi's lights-off plan, indicating the north - a traditional stronghold for Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party - was more enthusiastic in its support. Modi had appealed to Indians to display solidarity amid the coronavirus crisis by turning off their lights for nine minutes at 2100 on Sunday and light candles, lamps and flashlights instead.
As the Trump administration scrambles to get a hand on the spread of the new coronavirus across the U.S., it is keeping one eye on developments in China, the country where the pandemic originated. According to two officials with knowledge of those efforts and cables reviewed by The Daily Beast, the administration is monitoring China's second wave of coronavirus cases, gathering data on the ground on the number of individuals newly infected and the reasons for the recent uptick. Over the past few days Chinese officials have noted an emergence of new cases, particularly in asymptomatic individuals.
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.
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 mounting number of New York's coronavirus deaths has stayed "effectively flat" over the past two days, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday, offering a glimmer of hope that the state may be at a peak even as the country braces for what the Trump administration is calling the "toughest week" yet in the fight against the pandemic. While the state has recorded 4,758 total deaths, with an additional 599 from the day before, it's only a slight uptick from the 594 added two days ago, Cuomo said, and shows a "possible flattening of the curve" that is "better than the increases we have seen."
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.
Wisconsin's local elections and presidential primaries will likely proceed on Tuesday after the conservative majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down an executive order Monday from Gov. Tony Evers (D) to delay the election to June 9 due to the coronavirus outbreak. There are open questions about how many polling places will be open and how many people will be able to vote by absentee ballot. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Monday night that Wisconsin voters must hand-deliver their absentee ballots by Tuesday evening or have them postmarked April 7, overruling a lower court that had extended absentee voting for six days.
Stark statistics from Chicago health officials have underscored the heavy toll of coronavirus on black Americans. Black Chicagoans account for half of all coronavirus cases in the city and more than 70% of deaths, despite making up 30% of the population. Other cities with large black populations, including Detroit, Milwaukee, New Orleans and New York, have become coronavirus hotspots.
Italian officials said Sunday they may soon have to consider easing restrictions after seeing the daily coronavirus death toll plunge to its lowest in over two weeks. The 525 official COVID-19 fatalities reported by the civil protection service were the Mediterranean country's lowest since 427 deaths were registered on March 19. "The curve has started its descent and the number of deaths has started to drop," Italy's ISS national health institute director Silvio Brusaferro told reporters.
President Donald Trump's top trade adviser, Peter Navarro, said Monday that Dr. Anthony Fauci's caution about the effectiveness of an anti-malaria drug that the president has been urging as a treatment for the coronavirus warrants a "second opinion." Asked about an Axios report that he and Fauci got into a heated argument about the drug during a coronavirus task force meeting Saturday, Navarro told CNN, "There was that discussion on Saturday, and if we didn't have disagreement and debate in the Trump administration, this administration would not be as strong as it is." A source told Axios that the dispute started when Navarro said the studies he'd seen on the effects of the drug, hydroxychloroquine, show "clear therapeutic efficacy."
Mainland China reported 39 new coronavirus cases as of Sunday, up from 30 a day earlier, and the number of asymptomatic cases also surged as the government vowed tighter controls at land borders. The National Health Commission said on Monday that 78 new asymptomatic cases had been identified as of the end of Sunday, compared with 47 the day before. Imported cases and asymptomatic patients, who show no symptoms but can still pass the virus on, have become China's chief concern after draconian containment measures succeeded in slashing the overall infection rate.
Senator Steve Daines (R., Mont.) has asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to investigate China's role in covering up the initial outbreak of coronavirus as the world continues to battle the global pandemic. “As you know, prior to China locking down Wuhan and Hubei Province on January 23, 2020, there were early indications that a SARS-type virus had jumped from an animal host and had begun to infect humans,” Daines wrote in the letter. “Additionally, we must discover the truth about the origins of this disease in order to better prepare ourselves against another future pandemic.”
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.
Lisa Marie David/NurPhoto / Getty Philippine police reportedly killed a man for disobeying President Rodrigo Duterte's strict quarantine rules. The man, 63, threatened local officials with a scythe after they told him to wear a face mask, a local police report said, according to Al Jazeera. This appears to be the first reported case of someone being shot dead in the Philippines for disobeying lockdown rules.
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.
Public health experts and government officials agree that the U.S. government's coronavirus death toll almost certainly understates how many Americans have actually died from the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention only counts deaths where the presence of the coronavirus is confirmed in a lab test, The Washington Post reports, and "we know that it is an underestimation," CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said. Strict criteria in the beginning of the outbreak kept many people from getting tested for coronavirus, and it's still difficult to get tested in some areas, for example.