Eric Fisher has your latest weather forecast.
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.”
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.
Other officials said the number of infected sailors has risen sharply — from initial reports of three to "dozens" as of Thursday. "Our medical team aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt is performing testing for the crew consistent with CDC guidelines, and we are working to increase the rate of testing as much as possible," said the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Mike Gilday. Priority will be given to those showing symptoms or who had been in close contact with sailors who have tested positive already, as well as to essential crew members.
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.
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 long lines and stacks of ash urns greeting family members of the dead at funeral homes in Wuhan are spurring questions about the true scale of coronavirus casualties at the epicenter of the outbreak, renewing pressure on a Chinese government struggling to control its containment narrative. The families of those who succumbed to the virus in the central Chinese city, where the disease first emerged in December, were allowed to pick up their cremated ashes at eight local funeral homes starting this week. As they did, photos circulated on Chinese social media of thousands of urns being ferried in.
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.
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.
A Kentucky Congressman said he would vote against the Senate's phase-three economic relief package that passed 96-0 on Wednesday night, citing concerns that the $2-trillion-dollar bill would worsen the already-growing national debt. Representative Thomas Massie (R., Ky.) told 55 KRC radio Thursday morning that the bill, although it includes direct payments of $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for married couples, is less concerned with Americans. This won't go to the men, women and children.
India has been criticised for its poor record of testing people in the battle against coronavirus. That, however, is set to change, thanks in large part to the efforts of one virologist, who delivered on a working test kit, just hours before delivering her baby . On Thursday, the first made-in-India coronavirus testing kits reached the market, raising hopes of an increase in screening of patients with flu symptoms to confirm or rule out the Covid-19 infection.
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.
South Africa came under a nationwide military-patrolled lockdown on Friday, joining other African countries imposing strict curfews and shutdowns in an attempt to halt the spread of the coronavirus across the continent. Some 57 million people are to be restricted to their homes during South Africa's three-week total lockdown which began at midnight. Kenya, Rwanda and Mali are some of the African countries that have imposed restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which has been confirmed to have infected 3,203 people and killed 87.
Paul Frishkorn, a Philadelphia-based American Airlines flight attendant and union representative, died Monday from coronavirus, the airline confirmed Thursday. "Earlier this week, we lost a respected, longtime member of the American Airlines family, who tested positive for COVID-19," a statement from American Airlines released Thursday read. Lori Bassani, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents 27,000 flight attendants at American Airlines, said in a statement, "It is with deep sadness we report that one of our own … has passed away from Covid-19."
STR/AFP via Getty Images Wei Guixian, a 57-year-old seafood vendor in Wuhan, China, was among the first 27 people to be diagnosed with the coronavirus, which originated from the wet market where she worked. Wei first began exhibiting coronavirus symptoms on December 10 and was admitted to the hospital less than a week later, with doctors describing her illness as "very serious" and "ruthless." Other vendors from the same market began to check into the hospital soon after.
Twelve analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had forecast the cut, five expected a quarter-point drop, five forecast no change and one predicted a larger reduction of 0.75 percentage point. The bank said it has room for further cuts if needed, and also announced additional measures to boost liquidity via auctions of non-deliverable forwards and currency swaps. “The country and the economy are facing a situation without precedent,” central bank Governor Juan Jose Echavarria said in a statement after the meeting.
Last year, South Korean biotech firm SolGent made diagnostic kits for 300,000 tests. SolGent, which is one of the five firms that have received fast-track approval to make test kits for South Korea, is capitalizing on the country's success in containing its outbreak to boost exports, with cases slowing down at home. SolGent has even got offers from three U.S. biotech firms to license its technology so that they can manufacture test kits in the United States, You said, adding nothing has been decided.
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.
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.
The government has urged people not to move house to try to limit the spread of coronavirus across the UK. Buyers and renters should delay moving while emergency stay-at-home measures are in place, it said. Its comments come amid reports banks are pressing for a full suspension of the UK housing market.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo hit back at Donald Trump on Friday after the president said he “felt” that New York, the struggling epicenter of the coronavirus, did not need the 30,000 ventilators officials have demanded. With 519 deaths and 44,635 confirmed cases, of which 6,481 require hospitalization, the coronavirus pandemic has put New York's medical facilities on the brink. Cuomo has been practically begging for ventilators for days, slamming the federal government for initially sending 400 from the national stockpile when the state needed 30,000.
After more than a year of bitter political dispute and maneuvering, Israel is about to have a coalition government. Benny Gantz, a former chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces and the leader of the opposition Blue and White Party, was faced with a choice this week. The price of that decision, which Gantz described as a patriotic duty at a time of national distress, was the destruction of the Blue and White.
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.
A new CDC report found that 23 residents at a nursing home in King County, Washington, tested positive for COVID-19. Half of those infected had not yet shown symptoms, but the report said they were highly contagious. High-risk populations, particularly in close quarters, may need greater precautions to prevent the virus, including stricter distancing efforts and personal protective equipment for residents and staff at care facilities, the CDC report said.
The International Monetary Fund will slash its projection for economic growth for one of the world's fastest expanding regions due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus. A “very significant downward revision” of sub-Saharan Africa's growth forecast is inevitable as the pandemic curbs global expansion and containment measures hit domestic output, the lender's Africa department Director Abebe Aemro Selassie said in a phone interview. While the lender hasn't adjusted its estimate for South Africa, the country's central said last week the economy will contract this year.