Hours after a Fox News interview in which he downplayed a national shortage of hospital ventilators to treat patients infected with the coronavirus, President Trump fired off a number of tweets Friday blaming General Motors and its CEO, Mary Barra, for not manufacturing more of them. The president explained in a later tweet that “P” stood for the Defense Production Act, which many U.S. governors have been demanding Trump use to compel businesses to produce badly needed medical supplies and equipment. Although he invoked the act as a standby, Trump hasn't issued any specific orders under it, claiming that just the threat of it has prompted companies to step up production on their own.
As the House of Representatives prepares to pass a historic $2 trillion coronavirus relief package, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi faces a bigger challenge: figuring out a way for 435 members to cast votes in the time of social distancing. The pandemic has left multiple members of Congress in quarantine and led to restrictions on movement that could prevent the House from voting. While House leadership has indicated they hope to pass the initial coronavirus aid bill quickly using a voice vote, the likely need for further relief and other legislation has led Pelosi to consider new procedures, including measures for remote voting that a report from the House Rules Committee described as “one of the biggest rule changes in the last century.”
STR/AFP via Getty Images Wei Guixian, a 57-year-old seafood vendor in Wuhan, China, was among the first 27 people to be diagnosed with the coronavirus, which originated from the wet market where she worked. Wei first began exhibiting coronavirus symptoms on December 10 and was admitted to the hospital less than a week later, with doctors describing her illness as "very serious" and "ruthless." Other vendors from the same market began to check into the hospital soon after.
Chinese state-run media are citing an American conspiracy theorist to push claims that coronavirus was brought to China by a U.S. military athlete. The Global Times claimed in an article Wednesday that the coronavirus, which was first discovered in Wuhan, was in fact manufactured in a U.S. military lab and brought to China by a cyclist who took part in the World Military Games in Wuhan in October. The CCP-run paper cites known U.S. conspiracy theorist George Webb as the source for the claim, which it admits lacks “strong evidence” but still raises questions about the U.S. athletes who traveled to Wuhan.
Compared to other countries, the number of deaths caused by the novel coronavirus in Germany has been surprisingly low. According to the country's federal health agency, The Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the mortality rate is currently at less than 0.5%. Italy has reported more than 86,000 confirmed cases and over 9,000 deaths, which would seem to work out to a mortality rate of roughly 10%.
Italy on Friday recorded the most daily deaths of any country since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and Spain had its deadliest day, as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson became the first major world leader to test positive. Italy reported 969 new deaths, Spain 769 and France 299 as Europe reeled from a crisis that led the United States on Friday to finalise an unprecedented $2 trillion stimulus package. In other grim milestones, AFP tallies showed more than 26,000 deaths worldwide, and a total of 300,000 cases now recorded in Europe, after the United States overtook China as the country with the most infections.
The Kremlin confirmed a coronavirus case in President Vladimir Putin's administration on Friday and the government said measures imposed in Moscow to fight the virus should be extended across Russia. The Kremlin said it was taking measures to stop the virus spreading further after a staff member in the presidential administration contracted the virus. It said the person had not come into contact with Putin, but declined to identify them.
A Connecticut doctor was arrested on suspicion of coughing and hugging two co-workers in spite of social distancing measures to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. Cory Edgar, 48, was charged with a breach of peace misdemeanor, according to local news outlets. A doctor at the University of Connecticut Health Center was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor for coughing and hugging coworkers, local news outlets reported.
A woman who played a "twisted prank" at a Pennsylvania grocery store Wednesday by purposely coughing on about $35,000 worth of food that had to be thrown out, was charged with four felonies, including counts of making terrorist threats, police said "Today was a very challenging day," Joe Fasula wrote Wednesday on the Facebook page of the Gerrity's supermarket chain, which he co-owns. "A woman, who the police know to be a chronic problem in the community," walked into the chain's Hanover Township store and "proceeded to purposely cough on our fresh produce, and a small section of our bakery, meat case and grocery," Fasula said.
It's been less than a week since Rio Giardinieri claimed his coronavirus was cured overnight by an antimalarial drug touted by President Trump and by Fox News, and he has no complaints. “Man, I'm alive and kickin',” Giardinieri told Yahoo News over the phone on Wednesday. The story of Giardinieri's remarkable recovery, which was first reported Monday by a local Fox affiliate in Los Angeles, quickly became the subject of national news — and speculation — after it was picked up by the New York Post and tweeted by Trump, who hailed the news as a “great early result” from the drug, which has yet to be approved as a treatment for the coronavirus.
The leader of Yemen's Houthi rebels on Thursday declared his willingness to free several Saudi captives in exchange for the release of Hamas members recently detained in the kingdom, an unprecedented statement that signaled Iran's regional reach. In a lengthy televised speech to mark the five-year anniversary of Yemen's devastating war, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi announced the rebels' “complete readiness” to release a pilot abducted in the downing of a Saudi warplane last month, along with four other soldiers and officers. “Unfortunately, the regimes of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have generally presented as worse than Israel,” he said, demanding the release of dozens of Palestinian Hamas members and supporters on trial in Saudi Arabia.
Four passengers have died aboard a cruise ship now anchored off the coast of Panama and two people aboard the ship have tested positive for the coronavirus, the cruise line said on Friday, with hundreds of passengers unsure how long they will remain at sea. Families of the British passengers onboard have called for them to be allowed of the ship after Holland America Line said in a post on its Facebook page that more than 130 people aboard the Zaandam had reported flu-like symptoms. "Holland America Line can confirm that four older guests have passed away on Zaandam," the statement said.
Canada's Official Opposition Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer took aim at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for shipping tons of medical supplies to China in February, calling the move “outrageous” with current concerns that Canada is running short on supplies amid its own fight against coronavirus. Drs. across the country are facing urgent shortages of critical supplies.
Paul Frishkorn, a Philadelphia-based American Airlines flight attendant and union representative, died Monday from coronavirus, the airline confirmed Thursday. "Earlier this week, we lost a respected, longtime member of the American Airlines family, who tested positive for COVID-19," a statement from American Airlines released Thursday read. Lori Bassani, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents 27,000 flight attendants at American Airlines, said in a statement, "It is with deep sadness we report that one of our own … has passed away from Covid-19."
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Anthony J. Rivera The US Navy is presently dealing with a serious coronavirus outbreak aboard a deployed US Navy aircraft carrier — USS Theodore Roosevelt. The ship is in port in Guam, and the Navy is working to test all 5,000 crew members. At the current pace of 200 tests per day, it would take 25 days to complete testing, acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly said Friday.
At a televised meeting with Vladimir Putin, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin flatly told the President that official figures on COVID-19 cases were far from the reality. That's because people are staying home sick and because there has not been enough testing, he said Tuesday, so "no one knows the real picture". After that reality check, the official narrative changed swiftly: Putin, who had called the situation "under control", on Wednesday gave a grim-faced address to the nation.
China has denounced a U.S. act that increases American support for Taiwan internationally.
Pope Francis said the coronavirus had put everyone "in the same boat" as he held a dramatic, solitary prayer service in St. Peter's Square on Friday, urging the world to see the crisis as a test of solidarity and a reminder of basic values. "Thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets and our cities," he said, speaking from the steps of St. Peter's Basilica into an eerily empty and rainy square before delivering an extraordinary "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) blessing - something he normally does only twice a year. The Vatican called the service "An Extraordinary Prayer in the Time of Pandemic," a sombre echo of an announcement by Italian officials minutes earlier that the coronavirus death toll in the country had surged past 9,000.
For some, the president's suggestion about an Easter reopening was a subset of his seeming over-eagerness to revive the economy by easing social distancing and other restrictions introduced to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, a North Carolina pastor and activist, thundered: “It is the height of hypocrisy for Trump to suggest that Easter is a time to defy public health recommendations and 'reopen' America.”
The coronavirus relief package dramatically expands unemployment insurance to for the jobless during the outbreak, aimed at easing the suffering imposed by the crisis as claims last week topped 3 million and shattered records. The second is an extra $600 per week over the next four months for those who are out of work and getting jobless benefits in their state. The unemployment benefits are worth an estimated $260 billion, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
A Georgia couple who traveled to India to adopt a child have had to delay bringing their new daughter back to the United States after Indian authorities locked down the country because of the coronavirus. India's Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, on Tuesday announced a three-week lockdown in the country of 1.3 billion people, meaning that citizens and visitors alike may only leave their homes or hotels for food, medicine or other essential needs. The order is meant to keep the virus from surging and overwhelming an already strained health care system, but it has also left Mike and Whitney Saville of Auburn, Georgia, with little hope of getting back home with their daughter Grace anytime soon.
Both countries are in almost complete lockdown, with their governments counting on limited social interactions to help contain the spread of the disease. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez convened an emergency cabinet meeting to try to chart a way out of the crisis rapidly engulfing the nation. We may be entering a phase of stabilization, but we haven't reached the peak yet,” Health Minister Salvador Illa said at a news conference in Madrid.
As more families stock up on supplies to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), the demand for hand sanitizer—one of the most essential items of all—has absolutely skyrocketed, resulting in price hikes and product scarcity, not to mention major headaches for shoppers. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintain that good old-fashioned hand-washing for at least 20 seconds is the most effective way to protect against COVID-19, using hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol when there's no soap and water around can also be an effective way to eliminate germs. Here are the best places online where you can still buy hand sanitizer right now, plus key things to keep in mind as you look for other options.
A new CDC report found that 23 residents at a nursing home in King County, Washington, tested positive for COVID-19. Half of those infected had not yet shown symptoms, but the report said they were highly contagious. High-risk populations, particularly in close quarters, may need greater precautions to prevent the virus, including stricter distancing efforts and personal protective equipment for residents and staff at care facilities, the CDC report said.
Huge numbers had crammed onto trains and buses before the country of 1.3 billion people ground to a halt for three weeks, but many others were left stranded. "Rather than die hungry, we decided to walk," said Dilipji Thakor, who worked at a now-shuttered shopping mall in Ahmedabad in Gujarat state, as he trudged along a road. South Korea recoveries - More than 50 percent of South Korea's 9,478 confirmed coronavirus cases have now recovered, authorities said Saturday.