A speech by acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly to the aircraft carrier crew whose captain he relieved April 2 has exposed him to accusations of hypocrisy and led to calls for him to be fired. Modly said Thursday that he relieved Capt. Brett Crozier for circulating too widely a memo expressing the captain's concerns about how the Navy was handling a COVID-19 outbreak that had forced his ship, the USS Theodore Roosevelt, to remain docked in Guam. The acting secretary doubled down on that criticism in his remarks Monday to Crozier's crew, telling them that if the captain hadn't realized that emailing the memo to “over 20” people meant it was likely to go public, then Crozier was either “too naive or too stupid” to be left in command.
At Sunday's White House briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, suggested that hundreds of thousands — or even millions — of “silent carriers” may be unwittingly spreading the coronavirus across the United States because they don't realize they're infected. “It's somewhere between 25 and 50 percent” of the total, Fauci said. The first thing to note is that Fauci himself expressed a high degree of uncertainty about his own numbers.
Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, said Wednesday that there are encouraging signs that parts of the U.S. may be flattening their curves but she warned that people shouldn't start going out and socially interacting. In an interview with Savannah Guthrie on the “TODAY” show, Birx said that California and Washington state began social distancing very early and said their curves are “persistently flat and that's very encouraging.” “We're seeing that stabilizing and that gives us great encouragement,” Birx said.
The global epicenter of the coronavirus, the city of Wuhan in China, relaxed its 76-day lockdown on Wednesday. The day the lockdown ended, local couples flooded a local marriage-application app, causing it to crash. Wuhan, the Chinese city at the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, lifted its lockdown on Wednesday and couples living there rushed to take advantage.
The top human rights court in the Americas has found Peru responsible for the arbitrary detention and rape of an LGBT person. Azul Rojas Marín was stripped, hit and raped with a truncheon by three officers while in custody in 2008, her legal team said. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights said it was an act of torture.
Ethiopia, Africa's second most populous nation, and Liberia declared states of emergency on Wednesday to help curb the spread of the new coronavirus, a day after cases on the continent surged past 10,000. Various African governments have announced lockdowns or curfews in response to the virus, which was slow to reach many African countries but is now growing exponentially, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). As of Wednesday afternoon, Africa had over 10,900 confirmed infections and 550 deaths from the novel coronavirus, according to a Reuters tally based on government statements and WHO data.
New York recorded a new single-day high for coronavirus deaths on Wednesday but Governor Andrew Cuomo said the epidemic appeared to be stabilizing. Cuomo said 779 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the total death toll in New York state from COVID-19 to 6,268. New York is bearing the brunt of America's deadly coronavirus pandemic, accounting for around half the number of deaths across the country.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has approved the withdrawal of 1 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 demanded on Wednesday that U.S. oil production levels must be known before an upcoming OPEC meeting with Russia and others seeking to boost global energy prices. The meeting of the so-called OPEC+ is scheduled to be held Thursday after officials delayed it following Saudi Arabia criticizing Russia over its comments about the price collapse. A meeting in March saw OPEC and other nations led by Russia fail to agree to a production cut as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has drastically cut demand for oil.
Trump used Monday's briefing of the coronavirus task force to lash out at several members of the press, despite having recently praised media coverage of his response to the crisis as “very fair.” After kicking off the briefing by praising his own administration for its response to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, Trump opened the briefing up to questions, during which he refused to acknowledge any criticism of his handling of the pandemic that has brought the United States to a virtual standstill. One point of contention was a report released today by the inspector general of the federal Department of Health and Human Services.
There's precedent for health care workers developing their own psychiatric symptoms, said Dr. Daniel Yohanna, the interim chair of the department of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at the University of Chicago. We know that patients who have psychiatric disorders will have more problems during this period. We also know health care workers, from data out of Singapore, have increased numbers of posttraumatic stress disorders, depression and anxiety,” Yohanna said.
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.
Dr. David Clark, New Zealand's health minster, has been demoted after he admitted taking his family on a beach trip on the first weekend of the country's coronavirus lockdown. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the she would have sacked her minister for the lockdown abuse, but she needs him to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic threatening the country. New Zealand's health minister has been demoted after admitting that he took his family on a beach trip in the first weekend of the country's nationwide lockdown.
China has reported no new deaths from coronavirus anywhere in the country, for the first time since the beginning of the outbreak. For months now, every morning at 03:00, officials in China have put together the latest figures on the spread of the virus to share with the world. World Health Organization Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus hailed China for the "speed with which [it] detected the outbreak" and its "commitment to transparency".
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is facing criticism for creating a new coronavirus relief fund when about $500 million was lying unspent in an older fund, even as top businesses and celebrities pledge millions of dollars in new donations. Modi launched the "PM CARES" fund to provide relief to those affected by the coronavirus that has infected more than 5,000 people in India, and killed 149. The fund is expected to help millions of day labourers, many of whose lives were devastated by a nationwide lockdown ordered by Modi to stem the epidemic.
More than 3,300 people reportedly have died in China due to COVID-19, including nearly 2,600 in the city of Wuhan alone. The official tallies are deemed by medical professionals in China and abroad to be much lower than the actual count. Intensive care units were, of course, where the most recorded deaths occurred; the mortality rate in Wuhan's ICUs was between 25 and 30 percent, according to Dr. Peng Zhiyong, who led two ICU teams in the city and maintained the lowest rates of fatalities and hospital transmissions at the facilities where he worked.
Bernie Sanders ended his presidential campaign, he announced on Wednesday, leaving former Vice President Joe Biden as the apparent Democratic presidential nominee. "I have concluded that this battle for the Democratic nomination will not be successful, and so today I am announcing the suspension of my campaign," Sanders told supporters in a livestream, saying he wished he could provide supporters with "better news" but "I think you know the truth." "We are now some 300 delegates behind Vice President Biden and the path to victory is virtually impossible," he said.
The coronavirus pandemic is affecting nearly everyone in the world in different ways, but for one Louisiana family, the deadly virus inflicted a particularly devastating blow. Four members of the same family died after contracting the virus, including the 86-year-old matriarch. Antoinette Franklin and three of her sons all died within days of each other.
Dr. Deborah Birx, one of the two leading medical experts on the White House coronavirus task force, said that out of deference to social distancing rules she had stayed away from her daughter's house — despite her 10-month-old granddaughter having registered a fever of 105 degrees over the weekend. Birx said the child, who is recovering, probably had roseola, a common childhood infection, not COVID-19. Birx, who meets daily with President Trump and Vice President Pence, said she has been vigilant about avoiding social contact “because of you two.”
Ellen Pompeo's 5-year-old daughter, Sienna May, has had it with her little brother Eli. In an adorable video the "Grey's Anatomy" star shared to Instagram over the weekend, Sienna May tells her mom that 3-year-old Eli has been "testing" her patience while the family quarantines together during the coronavirus pandemic. The video shows the precocious little girl — who looks adorable with her mop of curly hair and sweet rainbow T-shirt — calmly telling her mom that Eli is "so annoying."
South Korea's flag carrier Korean Air will put 70 percent of its 19,000 staff on furlough, it said, as it scrambles to cope with the coronavirus pandemic that has brought global aviation to a standstill. The airline industry is among the sectors worst hit by the virus and the ensuing travel restrictions, with thousands of flights cancelled, routes cut, and companies facing financial turmoil. Korean Air is the flagship of the Hanjin group, one of the multifaceted, family-controlled conglomerates known as chaebols that dominate business in South Korea and played a key part in its rise to become the world's 12th-largest economy.
Alex Brandon/AP US Surgeon General Jerome Adams adopted a positive note Tuesday, saying he felt "a lot more optimistic" that the United States would emerge "stronger" from its battle with the coronavirus. On Sunday, he said he expected the virus "to be our Pearl Harbor moment and our 9/11 moment, only it's not going to be localized, it's going to be happening all over the country." Adams credited social distancing for his hopeful demeanor, stressing that Americans "have the power to change the trajectory of this epidemic if we come together like we have after past tragedies in this country."
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.
The Philippines on Wednesday expressed solidarity with Vietnam after Hanoi protested what it said was the ramming and sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat by a Chinese coast guard ship in the disputed South China Sea. The Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila expressed deep concern over the reported April 3 sinking of the boat carrying eight fishermen off the Paracel Islands. China claims virtually the entire South China Sea and has built several islands equipped with military installations in the area, one of world's busiest shipping lanes.
Interviews with more than 20 British scientists, key officials and senior sources in Johnson's Conservative Party, and a study of minutes of advisory committee meetings and public testimony and documents, show how these scientific advisers concluded early the virus could be devastating. But the interviews and documents also reveal that for more than two months, the scientists whose advice guided Downing Street did not clearly signal their worsening fears to the public or the government. Until March 12, the risk level, set by the government's top medical advisers on the recommendation of the scientists, remained at "moderate," suggesting only the possibility of a wider outbreak.