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.
Alex Brandon/AP Dr. Anthony Fauci said that the United States might never get entirely back to where it was before the novel coronavirus outbreak, especially without a vaccine. "If you want to get back to pre-coronavirus, that might not ever happen in the sense that the threat is there," Fauci said, expressing optimism that new therapies and a vaccine will help the US recover. Fauci said that with "the therapies that will be coming online, and the fact that I feel confident that over a period of time we will get a good vaccine, that we will never have to get back to where we are right now."
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.
New York state has recorded its highest number of COVID-19 deaths in 24 hours, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Tuesday, adding though that hospitalizations appeared to be "plateauing." Cuomo said 731 people succumbed to the new coronavirus on Monday, bringing the state's total death toll to 5,489. New York has borne the brunt of America's deadly coronavirus pandemic, accounting for around half the number of deaths across the country.
The Taliban on Tuesday broke off talks with the Afghan government on a prisoner exchange, a main step in peace talks being brokered by the United States after it agreed on a troop withdrawal pact with the militants. The late February pact between the United States and the Taliban, under which U.S.-led international forces will withdraw in phases in exchange for Taliban security guarantees, is the best chance yet of ending the 18-year U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan. A prisoner exchange is meant to build confidence on both sides for those talks.
President Trump on Monday said he and former Vice President Joe Biden had a “really wonderful, warm conversation” on the phone.
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.
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.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is facing backlash after she violated her own quarantine advice over the weekend to go to a salon for a haircut. The controversy began on Sunday after a woman posted photos on Facebook saying she “had the pleasure of giving Mayor Lightfoot a hair trim.” Lightfoot insisted she is “practicing what I'm preaching” since the woman who did her haircut wore a mask and gloves.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In Florida, at Miami-Dade County's Jackson Memorial Hospital, executives say they're taking pay cuts, and other employees are being asked to go on temporary furloughs due to the financial strain. "We were required to take time off; we were required to take our personal leave time," said RN case manager Angela Freshly Fairchild, who was surprised to receive an email saying she would be mandated to take a week off – in the middle of the crisis. "I couldn't understand it, because all around the country they are asking for nurses right now," said Fairchild.
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.
President Trump hammered the World Health Organization on Tuesday over its response to the coronavirus pandemic, accusing it of being partial to China and endangering countries by recommending borders be kept open. “The W.H.O. really blew it,” Trump wrote on Twitter. Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on.
Although the $2 trillion stimulus bill passed last month includes payments of up to $1,200 for everyone who makes less than the limit, many Americans will fall through the cracks. Lawmakers opted to base eligibility on tax returns, even though many people don't file them. For those who qualify, payments will start going out from the IRS in mid-April.
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.
The coronavirus threatened Americans with their hardest week in memory on Monday and put Britain's prime minister in hospital, despite early signs that some of Europe's hardest-hit countries may be turning a corner. Japan announced an imminent state of emergency and a trillion-dollar stimulus package, after the US surgeon general compared the likely impact of the epidemic in the week ahead to 9/11 or Pearl Harbor. In London, virus-stricken Prime Minister Boris Johnson spent the night in hospital for tests, after Queen Elizabeth II delivered a rare emergency address in a 68-year reign to urge Britain to "remain united and resolute".
The Trump administration is pumping the brakes — for now — on calls for the Treasury Department to issue a second round of checks of up to $1,200 to American taxpayers to mitigate economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. The administration's position puts it at odds with Democrats in Congress, who have been eager to begin negotiating a fourth bill aimed at economic "recovery," but is in lockstep with the argument from House and Senate Republicans that the government should first see how effective the $2.2trn "phase three" coronavirus stimulus package passed in late March is before authorising more direct cash payments. "Our job is to execute what we've got," Larry Kudlow, the president's top economic adviser, told reporters Monday.
Millions of Indians turned off their lights and lit up balconies and doorsteps with lamps, candles and flashlights on Sunday, in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal to "challenge the darkness" spread by the coronavirus crisis. Modi, who imposed a three-week long nationwide lockdown on March 25, asked all citizens to turn out their lights for nine minutes at 9 p.m. local time on Sunday, and to display lamps and candles in a show of solidarity. Modi's call was met with a huge response, with many people lighting up their balconies.
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.