Unemployment benefits claims surge
Louisiana is poised to become the next epicenter of the coronavirus crisis, White House officials said Thursday, citing new data that shows that 26 percent of the tests for COVID-19 in that state in recent days have come back positive. The New York area remains a “very clear and important hot zone,” Dr. Deborah Birx said at Thursday's briefing of the White House coronavirus task force as she revealed testing statistics on specific states. “What we're seeing finally is testing improving,” said Birx, a renowned veteran of the HIV/AIDS fight who is now serving as the response coordinator for the coronavirus task force.
As the worsening coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the country, millions of Americans living with diabetes face heightened risks from COVID-19. Around 30 million Americans have diabetes, mostly of the type II (previously called “adult-onset”) variety. A quarter of U.S. adults with diabetes are over 65, an age that has been shown to delineate increased COVID-19 mortality rates.
President Donald Trump is nominating a 37-year-old judge and former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh to a seat on the powerful U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Justin Walker of Kentucky has been on the federal bench less than six months and is one of the youngest federal judges in the country, with deep ties to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican who hailed Trump's nomination of "a rising Kentucky star, born and raised in Louisville, to refresh the second-most-important federal court in the country.
Pakistani Muslims at a Karachi mosque clashed with baton-wielding police trying to enforce new curbs on gatherings to prevent Friday prayers and contain coronavirus infections, officials said. TV footage showed dozens of people chasing two police vehicles and pelting them with stones as an officer fired in the air to disperse the crowd. After failing to persuade worshippers to pray at home last week, the government in Pakistan's southern province of Sindh, home to the financial hub of Karachi, enforced a lockdown for three hours beginning at noon on Friday, officials said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday gave the green light for soldiers to be deployed in a mostly ultra-Orthodox Jewish city considered the centre of Israel's novel coronavirus outbreak. "In light of the special situation in Bnei Brak following the restrictions due to the coronavirus, the IDF (army) will immediately present the necessary civil assistance to Bnei Brak municipality in fulfilling its responsibilities," Netanyahu's office said after talks with security and health officials. Authorities have enforced restrictions on access to Bnei Brak, a majority ultra-Orthodox city near Tel Aviv that is home to around 200,000 people.
DETROIT – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has been a frequent guest on cable news networks during the coronavirus crisis and on Wednesday, she landed on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah." But it wasn't a comedy routine. She used the time on the television show to plead the state's case for needing more personal protection equipment, ventilators and health care professionals who are willing to relocate to southeast Michigan to help ease the hospital overcrowding that is leading to staffing shortages.
It was the first time he has publicly acknowledged private conversations with his only remaining rival in the Democratic primary race. “I am in the process and I've actually had this discussion with Bernie because he's a friend,” Biden said during a virtual fundraiser. Biden said he's likely going to start the process of vetting running mates in mid-April.The Sanders campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.The fundraiser was hosted by Brad Smith, the president of Microsoft Corp., and his wife, Kathy Surace-Smith, the senior vice president of Nanostring Technologies Inc. The event was live-streamed, and the Biden campaign said 181 people attended.
Senator Martha McSally on Thursday called on the director of the World Health Organization to step down, saying the organization covered up the extent of the spread of the coronavirus, which originated in China. The Arizona Republican called WHO director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus a “communist” and accused him of helping China conceal its underreporting of coronavirus case numbers. “I've never trusted a communist,” McSally said in an interview with Fox Business.
Outrage over a Muslim congregation that has sparked a new wave of Covid-19 cases in India has taken an Islamophobic turn. States across India have traced more than 300 positive cases to the weeks-long event. And Islamophobic hashtags have been trending on Twitter since the news first broke on Monday.
Courtesy of the Goldsmith family Michael Goldsmith, a 34-year-old husband, dad, and IT professional in New Jersey, has been on a respirator and in a medically induced coma from COVID-19 for two weeks. His doctors first said he'd be able to try remdesivir, a drug the World Health Organization has called the "most promising" treatment for the disease, under a compassionate-use program. But the pharmaceutical company that makes remdesivir, Gilead, pulled back that program right before Goldsmith was sick enough to qualify.
The captain of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier facing a growing outbreak of the coronavirus on his ship was fired by Navy leaders who said he created a panic by sending his memo pleading for help to too many people. Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said the ship's commander, Capt. Brett Crozier, “demonstrated extremely poor judgment” in the middle of a crisis. Modly's decision to remove Crozier as ship commander was immediately condemned by members of the House Armed Services Committee, who called it a “destabilizing move” that will “likely put our service members at greater risk and jeopardize our fleet's readiness."
U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday announced plans to nominate a vocal ally of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh to an influential federal appeals court in Washington. Justin Walker, 37, who has served as a federal district court judge in Kentucky since October, would replace Republican appointee Judge Thomas Griffith on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit if approved by the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate. Griffith, appointed by former President George W. Bush, had previously announced his plans to retire.
The week ending on March 21 had the greatest explosion of new unemployment claims in American history, with 3.3 million people filing for benefits — surpassing the previous weekly record by a factor of nearly five. A Federal Reserve economist estimated America could be seeing over 30 percent unemployment in a few months — more than the nadir of the Great Depression. Thanks to America's uniquely boneheaded insistence on tying health insurance to employment, a great many of these people also suddenly find themselves without health coverage — one of several ways the novel coronavirus pandemic is hammering the insurance system.
Israeli police on Friday have surrounded and established roadblocks around an ultra-Orthodox Jewish city that has become a coronavirus hotspot. Police officers established roadblocks to restrict the movement in and out of Bnei Brak, where a small number of the ultra-Orthodox residents' apparent failure to comply with government social distancing requirements has prompted a dangerously high rate of contagion. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Friday that if the ministry of health deemed it necessary the same restrictions could be placed on other locations within Israel.
Russia is ready to cooperate with Saudi Arabia and the United States to cut oil production, President Vladimir Putin said Friday. Putin said Russia was willing to make agreements within the framework of the OPEC+ group and that "we are ready for cooperation with the United States of America on this issue," according to a statement published by the Kremlin. Oil prices have tumbled in recent weeks in the face of a drop in demand and global economic uncertainty over the new coronavirus pandemic.
France reported its deadliest day from the coronavirus amid tentative signs that the pandemic may be easing in Spain and Italy. The health ministry in Paris reported 588 hospital deaths, the most yet, bringing the figure to 5,091 since the beginning of the outbreak. In contrast, new infections slowed and fatalities declined in Spain for the first time in four days, as infections stabilized in Italy.
At a press briefing, Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said the use of face masks should not be a substitute for social distancing and washing hands to prevent contracting the coronavirus.
And it's necessary, said Dr. Steven Corwin, as the new coronavirus devastates communities and stretches hospitals and staffs to their limits in New York. "This has fundamentally altered the way we care for patients in the hospital," Corwin, the president and CEO of NewYork-Presbyterian, told USA TODAY. In his 40 years of medicine, Corwin said he's never seen this sort of response to a disease.
Navy sailors gave Capt. Brett Crozier, the USS Theodore Roosevelt commanding officer who was fired after a letter he wrote about a coronavirus outbreak on the carrier was leaked to news outlets, an emotional send-off on Friday. "He stuck his neck out for us, so we had and have to do the same for him," one sailor aboard the aircraft carrier told Insider. Sailors aboard the US Navy aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt on Friday said goodbye to Capt. Brett Crozier, the carrier's commanding officer who was fired after raising alarms about a coronavirus outbreak on board, with cheers, whistles, and applause, videos first reported by Stars and Stripes showed.
Mosques were allowed to remain open in Pakistan on Friday, when Muslims gather for weekly prayers, even as the coronavirus pandemic spread and much of the country had shut down. Prime Minister Imran Khan is relying on restricting the size of congregations attending mosques and advice to stay at home from religious groups like the country's Islamic Ideology Council. In eastern Punjab province, where 60% of Pakistan's 220 million people live, checkpoints have been set up in major cities stopping people from congregating.
President Trump on Thursday lashed out after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a bipartisan committee overseeing his administration's handling of the coronavirus pandemic. He said it was another partisan "witch hunt" against him — even as, in the same address, he called for avoiding partisanship during the crisis. "You see what happens, it's witch hunt after witch hunt after witch hunt," he said, returning to the phrase he frequently directed at the Mueller investigation and impeachment inquiry.
The number of funerals in Jakarta rose sharply in March, a development the governor of Indonesia's capital city said suggested that deaths from the new coronavirus may be higher than officially reported. The city has been at the epicentre of novel coronavirus infections in Indonesia, accounting for 971 cases and 90 deaths, according to central government data, or roughly half the country's total for both. Jakarta's governor, Anies Baswedan, and some public health experts suspect the number of infections and deaths in Jakarta has been significantly under-reported due to one of the world's lowest rates of testing.
The first cases of coronavirus were detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei province last year. Since then, the virus has swept the globe, infecting more than one million people and killing nearly 60,000 in 181 countries. In pictures: Wuhan partially reopens Confirmed global cases pass one million Tracking the global outbreak In Wuhan, the epicentre of China's outbreak, all traffic lights in urban areas were turned red at 10:00, ceasing traffic for three minutes.
Photograph: Sergio Maldonado/Reuters Mexico s homicide rate raced to a new record in March, as violence raged even as Covid-19 spread across the country and authorities urged the population to stay home and practise social distancing. Mexico registered 2,585 homicides in March – the highest monthly figure since records began in 1997 – putting 2020 on track to break last year's record total for murders. The surge in killings comes as federal and state officials put resources into containing the Covid-19 crisis and confront the prospect of an already sluggish economy falling even further – potentially deepening the misery for the more than 40% of the population living in poverty.