President Trump shied away Wednesday from issuing domestic travel restrictions or a national lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic that, in a best-case scenario, is expected to kill between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans. Asked at a White House briefing if he was considering limiting domestic air travel, Trump said he was thinking about it, a phrase he frequently applies to subjects he wishes to avoid discussing. We're thinking about doing that, but at the same time we just, to start these airlines and to start this whole thing over again is very tough, John [Roberts, Fox News reporter].
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.
A Pennsylvania man “extremely upset” about losing his job amidst the coronavirus pandemic allegedly shot his girlfriend, before turning the gun on himself in an attempted murder-suicide, authorities said Wednesday. The Wilson Borough Police Department said in a statement to The Daily Beast that Roderick Bliss IV, 38, attempted to fatally shoot his girlfriend with a semi-automatic pistol on Monday afternoon, before dying by suicide, after he “had become increasingly upset over the COVID-19 pandemic. The 43-year-old girlfriend, who was shot once in the back, survived the attack and is in St. Luke's hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
State and local officials have complained about insufficient protective equipment such as masks and gowns as well as ventilators, needed to help keep patients breathing. Meanwhile, US Vice-President Mike Pence warned the US appeared to be on a similar trajectory as Italy where the death toll has exceeded 13,000 - the worst in the world. The number of confirmed infections across the US rose by more than 25,000 in one day.
On Wednesday Iran warned the U.S. it was “warmongering during the coronavirus outbreak,” after it deployed Patriot air defense missiles to Iraq.
The two states have instituted increasingly restrictive measures and are among the 23 states with stay-at-home orders. Both states are led by Democratic governors who have earned praise from President Donald Trump for their response to the crisis. The disease is still spreading in both states, and the number of new cases and deaths reported each day is still climbing.
Thomas Peter/Getty The US intelligence community has determined that the Chinese government concealed the extent of its coronavirus outbreak and gave false statistics to other countries, Bloomberg News reported, citing three US officials. Officials transmitted a classified report of their findings to the White House last week. Bloomberg described its sources as saying that the report's main conclusion was that China's public reporting of coronavirus cases was "intentionally incomplete" and that its numbers were fake.
Wuhan doctor Ai Fen, who expressed early concerns about the coronavirus to the media, has disappeared and is believed detained by Chinese authorities. Fen, the head of emergency at Wuhan Central Hospital, was given a warning after she disseminated information about the coronavirus to several other doctors. The reprimand from her boss came after Fen took a photo of a patient's positive test results and circled the words 'SARS coronavirus' in red.
With the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 surging nationwide and health officials warning that, even in a best-case scenario, deaths from the disease could top 100,000 in the U.S., the government is reviewing its guidance on the use of face masks by the general population. Asked at Tuesday's press briefing of the White House coronavirus task force whether U.S. citizens should wear face masks, President Trump signaled that additional protection is “not a bad idea” and offered an alternative to medically approved masks, which are in short supply. My feeling is that if people want to do it, there's certainly no harm to it.
Bernie Sanders was riding high in Wisconsin just six weeks ago, powered by a double-digit polling lead and the widespread belief that he'd sail to victory just as he did in 2016. Now, Democratic activists and operatives on the ground expect Sanders to lose big in the crucial Midwestern swing state — a defeat that would likely lead to a deafening chorus of Democratic voices demanding he drop out of the race. “Up until Biden got his mojo going, it was presumed Sanders would win the state again,” said Patrick Guarasci, a Milwaukee-based Democratic strategist.
Early this week, the streets of the central Israeli city of Bnei Brak were bustling with shoppers as ultra-Orthodox residents, obeying their religious leaders, ignored pleas to stay home in the face of the coronavirus threat. The city has become a lightning rod for anger and frustration by some secular Israelis who allege insular Haredi communities — with disproportionately high numbers of confirmed cases — are undermining national efforts to contain the virus. The pandemic also has threatened to upend deep-seated customs in the religious world, including blind obedience to religious leaders and the belief that religious studies and traditions take precedence over the rules of a modern state.
Portugal's government cleared the way on Wednesday for extending the state of emergency by 15 days to combat the spread of the coronavirus as the number of deaths from the disease nears 200. President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa declared a 15-day nationwide state of emergency on March 18, which restricted non-essential travel and led thousands of businesses to close their doors. "This month is decisive for us to be able to control the pandemic," Prime Minister Antonio Costa told a news conference.
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.
The head of the World Health Organization has voiced deep concern over the “rapid escalation” and global spread of the new coronavirus pandemic, as the United States nears a grim milestone of 5,000 deaths. The stark warning comes as the United States barrels towards marking 5,000 coronavirus-related deaths, with more than 4,800 already recorded across the country as of early Thursday morning. Having first emerged in China in December, four months later it is the United States that has registered by far the highest number of coronavirus cases, more than 210,000 as of Thursday, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits has hit a record high for the second week in a row as the economic toll tied to the coronavirus intensifies. More than 6.6 million people filed jobless claims in the week ended 28 March, the Department of Labor said. Analysts at Bank of America warned that the US could see "the deepest recession on record" amid forecasts that the unemployment rate could hit more than 15%.
Vice President Mike Pence conceded on Wednesday that the US' coronavirus outbreak may be "most comparable" to Italy, the hardest-hit country in the world. "We think Italy may be the most comparable area to the United States at this point," Pence told CNN on Wednesday. The White House announced on Tuesday that it predicts between 100,000 to 240,000 people could die in the US from the coronavirus even with strict social distancing measures in place.
Suddenly, Asian governments that appeared to be bringing the coronavirus under control are imposing new social restrictions as the numbers of infections — many from overseas — continue to rise. In places that took early, effective action against the COVID-19 outbreak, the stepped-up measures in recent days are a sign that fighting the disease will take much longer than anticipated. They also show that governments must adapt their responses as the threat from the virus evolves, epidemiologists say.
The cult of the National Health Service has been key to so many political fortunes over the decades, but no leader has weaponized it more than Boris Johnson after years of austerity measures implemented by his Conservative Party. While peers across Europe come under strain fighting the pandemic, few have more to gain or lose from the ability of the health system to cope than the British prime minister. During the 2016 Brexit campaign, Johnson's message was that leaving the European Union would save 350 million pounds ($433 million) a week to pump into the NHS, a sum later discredited.
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.
Hundreds of thousands of hoarded medical supplies, including 192,000 N95 respirator masks, are being sent to coronavirus hot spots New York and New Jersey, the departments of Justice and Human and Health Services announced Thursday. The FBI located the supplies on March 30, as part of its work under the department's Covid-19 hoarding and price gouging task force, which was announced last week. Along with the N95 respirator masks, the FBI also discovered 598,000 medical gloves, 130,000 surgical masks and other supplies like gowns, disinfectant towels, hand sanitizers and disinfectant sprays, materials the Justice Department said are being distributed to states.
A Russian military transport plane was headed to the United States on Wednesday carrying tons of medical equipment and masks to help Washington fight the coronavirus outbreak, Russian state TV reported and a U.S. official said.
At a tense cabinet meeting on Saturday in the Brazilian president's official residence, Jair Bolsonaro found himself isolated. The far-right leader convened the emergency meeting in Brasilia's modernist Alvorada Palace to resolve a dispute with Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta, who publicly opposed the president's calls to loosen quarantine restrictions for Brazil's 210 million people. Elected two years ago on a promise to revive growth, Bolsonaro has shocked health experts around the world by persistently playing down the gravity of the epidemic, calling COVID-19 "a little cold" exaggerated by the media and his opponents - even after his political idol U.S. President Donald Trump walked back his own skepticism about the outbreak.
California has not seen the surge in coronavirus cases that have overwhelmed cities like New York and Detroit in the past week, which suggests that the state's early and restrictive shelter-in-place orders could be slowing the virus's spread. California implemented one of the earliest and strictest orders to stay at home in the United States in mid-March, and as of Wednesday, there were 8,584 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 183 deaths in the state compared with the 76,000 cases and 1,714 deaths in New York. Dr Deborah Birx, the White House's coronavirus taskforce coordinator, said on Tuesday that she was “reassured by what California has been able to do” to help control the virus with physical distancing orders.
According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, which tracked 200 corporations across all economic sectors for its analysis, companies have accessed credit lines for $154.79 billion through March 27. The consumer discretionary sector, which includes auto manufacturers, travel and tourism companies and retailers, led the way. GM and Ford were the biggest borrowers, each tapping more than $15 billion in credit.