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.
The pace of coronavirus deaths in Spain ticked up for the first time in five days on Tuesday, with 743 people succumbing overnight, but there was still hope the national lockdown might be eased soon. Tuesday's toll from the health ministry compared to 637 people who died during the previous 24 hours, taking the total to 13,798, the second highest in the world after Italy. Still, the proportional daily increase of 5.7% was about half that reported a week ago.
President Trump on Monday said he and former Vice President Joe Biden had a “really wonderful, warm conversation” on the phone.
Acting navy secretary Thomas Modly on Monday flew to Guam where he gave a speech to sailors on the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier, criticizing the former captain of the ship for his handling of a coronavirus outbreak onboard. Modly termed a letter sent by Captain Brett Crozier to superiors pleading for help with the ship's coronavirus outbreak, which was subsequently leaked to the press, a “betrayal of trust.” The navy secretary's speech was obtained by the Daily Caller.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell flexed his fundraising strength in the midst of a global pandemic, raising nearly $7.5 million in the first three months of 2020, his campaign said Tuesday. “Kentuckians know that at a time of great consequence, there is no substitute for the proven leadership of Mitch McConnell," the senator's campaign manager, Kevin Golden, said. McConnell, who is seeking his seventh term, has raised $25.6 million so far for the 2020 election cycle, and he had nearly $14.9 million on hand in what shapes up as a big-spending Senate race in Kentucky.
Japan is to declare a state of emergency in the capital Tokyo and six other regions in an attempt to tackle the rapid spread of coronavirus. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the move could come as early as Tuesday. Japan has a relatively small number of infections compared to other countries, but there are concerns a sudden surge in cases in Tokyo could lead to a major outbreak in the world's biggest city.
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.
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.
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.
AP Photo/David Zalubowski There's still a lot we don't know about the novel coronavirus and how it's transmitted from person to person. Virologist Don Milton said it's "not inconceivable" that you could catch the virus from someone you may pass on the street, like a breathless runner, but he's far more worried about being in close contact with other shoppers at the grocery store. "There's no exact cutoff between a large droplet and an aerosol, it's a continuum; as they get smaller, they stay in the air longer, and they have the potential to travel farther," Milton said.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday approved the extension of lockdown and home quarantine measures covering more than half of the population, a crisis panel official said, in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The Enhanced Community Quarantine was due to end next week but would be extended until April 30, Karlo Nograles, a cabinet secretary, told a regular news conference. Policies restricting movement and gatherings have been in place in and around the capital Manila since nearly a month ago, in response to confirmation of the first domestic transmission.
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.
New Zealand's health minister has been demoted and a star rugby player condemned for breaching strict nationwide lockdown rules aimed at eradicating the coronavirus. Just days after being criticized for going mountain biking during the isolation period, Health Minister David Clark admitted he had also driven 20 kilometers (12 miles) with his family to a beach for a walk. Clark, who labeled himself an “idiot,” was demoted and stripped of his role as associate finance minister.
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.
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.
As the number people killed by the coronavirus in the United States topped 10,000 by Monday night, the country's top medical officials warned that the worst was yet to come. The number of cases has ballooned to at least 364,167 — nearly three times higher than in the second-worst hit country, Spain — with 10,772 people killed as of 7:30 p.m. ET, according to NBC News' tracker. At the center of the outbreak in the U.S., New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said critical medical supplies and personnel have been secured but warned that the magnitude of the crisis equals that of the 1918-19 flu and the Great Depression.
Senator Bernie Sanders's (I., Vt.) campaign manager and other top advisers are urging him to consider dropping out of the Democratic presidential primary, the Washington Post reported on Saturday. Campaign manager Faiz Shakir and Sanders ally Representative Pramila Jayapal (D., Wash.) have reportedly come out in favor of exiting the race. Political stragetist Jeff Weaver, a longtime Sanders ally, has also made the case for dropping out, saying an exit now would leave the Vermont senator on friendlier terms with rival Joe Biden and secure more leverage for negotiations over the Democrats' political platform.
Under pressure from President Trump, the Indian government Tuesday lifted a ban on the export of hydroxychloroquine, paving the way for the anti-malaria drug to be shipped to the U.S. for use against the coronavirus. The decision came after Trump appealed to Indian Prime Minster Narendra Modi in a phone call, then told a White House news conference Monday that India could face “retaliation” if it didn't release the drug. "I said, 'We'd appreciate your allowing our supply to come out,'" Trump said of his call with Modi.
White House trade advisor Peter Navarro said Monday that during the early days of the coronavirus outbreak, China attempted toÂ “corner the world market” in personal protective equipment such as face masks and gloves “We know that China knew about the virus as early as mid-December. We know that for a period of about five to six weeks they hid the dangers from the rest of the world even as Chinese citizens were flying around the world seeding the world with the virus,” Navarro said on Fox News. Navarro added that he has not been part of any discussion about suing China regarding this matter.
The United States was preparing on Monday for what one official called the "peak death week" of the coronavirus, while across the Atlantic British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the most prominent person with COVID-19, was taken to intensive care. "Over the course of this afternoon, the condition of the Prime Minister has worsened and, on the advice of his medical team, he has been moved to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU)," Downing Street said on Monday, adding that the foreign secretary would deputize. A Reuters tally at 1400 GMT put the number of confirmed cases at 1.27 million - just three days after it crossed the 1 million mark - and deaths up by 17,000 over the same period to 70,395.
Flattening the curve does not necessarily mean seeing a decrease in total cases right away; it would first produce a decline in the number of new cases, which should result in fewer hospitalizations and death in the weeks that follow. With some of the most affected countries like Spain and Italy on lockdown for weeks, many are wondering if their efforts are actually working. Italy has been under a nationwide lockdown for about four weeks and the country has begun to flatten the curve.
Mohammed al-Dulfi's 67-year-old father died on March 21 after a brief struggle against the new coronavirus, but it would take nine days for his body to find a final resting place in the Shiite holy city of Najaf in southern Iraq. On two occasions, the family rejected remote burial plots proposed by the government outside Baghdad for him and seven other coronavirus victims, al-Dulfi said. A fight broke out between the families and the Health Ministry's team.
During a private conference call with Democrats on Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said at least $1 trillion will be needed for the next coronavirus relief package. Last month, Congress passed a $2.2 trillion stimulus package, and Pelosi said the next bill will build onto that, people on the call told Bloomberg News. Pelosi said there will have to be more direct payments to individuals, extended unemployment insurance, and additional funding for food stamps and the Payroll Protection Plan, which provides small business loans. One lawmaker told Bloomberg News Pelosi also said the bill should help state and local governments, particularly in areas with no more than 500,000 residents.