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.
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.
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.”
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.
Standing over the still body of an intubated 5-year-old boy wearing nothing but a plastic diaper, an Iranian health care worker in a hazmat suit and mask begged the public for just one thing: Stop drinking industrial alcohol over fears about the new coronavirus. The boy, now blind after his parents gave him toxic methanol in the mistaken belief it protects against the virus, is just one of hundreds of victims of an epidemic inside the pandemic now gripping Iran. Iranian media report nearly 300 people have been killed and more than 1,000 sickened so far by ingesting methanol across the Islamic Republic, where drinking alcohol is banned and where those who do rely on bootleggers.
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%.
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.
China has denounced a U.S. act that increases American support for Taiwan internationally.
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.
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.
New York City has emerged as the center of the global coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, killed 134 people in New York over the past 24 hours, Gov. Cuomo said on Friday morning — the largest single-day increase since the outbreak began. The state's death toll is up to 519 people, with 7,377 new cases recorded overnight, bringing the total number up to 44,635.
Beyond just allowing congressmembers to get home, the voice vote would've prevented all House members from having to come together in the Capitol in a clear violation of the CDC's social distancing guidelines. The House only needs 216 members for a quorum, but others are worried about the optics of not showing up if it comes down to a roll call vote. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the House will have a roll call if there's a quorum on Friday, but Massie's disruption could push it to Saturday.
Here are the latest developments from Asia related to the novel coronavirus pandemic: - Wuhan eases travel rules - Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the coronavirus first emerged last year, partly reopened on Saturday after more than two months of near total isolation for its population of 11 million. People are now allowed to enter the city but not leave. AFP saw crowds of passengers arriving at Wuhan railway station on Saturday, most wheeling suitcases alongside them.
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.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday commuted 21 prison sentences and pardoned five people who had already served their time behind bars, citing the coronavirus pandemic as a factor in his decision. Among those who had sentences commuted were Suzanne Johnson, 75, of San Diego County, who had served 22 years for assaulting a child who died; 64-year-old Joann Parks of Los Angeles County who served 27 years for the deaths of her three young children who were killed in a house fire, which Parks denies setting; and Rodney McNeal, 50, of San Bernardino County, who served 22 years for fatally stabbing his pregnant wife, a crime he also denies.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday promised a massive unprecedented package of steps to cushion the economy from the coronavirus pandemic, saying the country was close to a national emergency as infections surged in Tokyo. Abe told a country that is seeing a rising number of deaths and cases from the outbreak that the "huge, powerful" measures would be greater than the response to the global financial crisis of 2008. "Japan is holding up barely, but it would not be strange if there were a rapid spread (of the virus) at any time," Abe told a nationally televised news conference, though he held back from declaring a state of emergency.
Three unaccompanied minor children in U.S. custody in New York have tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said Thursday. The children, whose ages and nationalities weren't released, are in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The agency said it is doing an evaluation of the children and will not release them from New York care provider facilities.
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.
Germany's death rate from the coronavirus is substantially lower than that seen in Italy, Spain, and the UK. Spain's rate is 7.6% and Italy's is 10.2%. This is because Germany is testing as many as 120,000 people a week, identifying many milder cases that don't end in death.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Thursday directed the Bureau of Prisons to increase the use of home confinement among older inmates with underlying conditions as a means to mitigate the spread of coronavirus within the country's prison system. As of Friday, 14 inmates and 13 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 in federal facilities. About 10,000 inmates are over the age of 60 years old, a third of which have pre-existing conditions.
Just about one month and a million years ago, the Democratic presidential contest was going full tilt. Voters in 14 states and American Samoa went to the polls — many standing less than a socially distant six feet apart — to cast Super Tuesday ballots and revive the fading presidential hopes of Joe Biden. The novel coronavirus has Biden and Bernie Sanders off the campaign trail.
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.
Los Angeles recorded its first case of coronavirus five weeks before New York City, yet it's New York that is now the U.S. epicenter of the disease. Public health officials are keeping a wary eye and warning that LA could end up being as hard hit as New York in coming weeks, in part because a planned increase in testing may uncover a dramatic surge in cases. Testing in Los Angeles County is expected to increase from 500 per day to 5,000 by the end of the week.
Rescuers scouring the rural plains of Alabama on Friday found a missing 4-year-old girl, nearly 48 hours after she initially vanished, authorities said. Evelyn Vadie Sides and her dog were located about 3:20 p.m. near Lee Road 65, Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones announced.
Three Korean coronavirus test-kit makers have won preliminary approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), paving the way for kits to be exported to the United States to help it battle the largest outbreak of the virus. South Korea's foreign ministry said that winning the preliminary approval under emergency use authorization will allow the products to be sold in the United States. U.S. President Donald Trump this week asked his Korean counterpart to supply the medical devices and promised to help Korean firms gain U.S. regulator approval.