In an interview Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said President Trump has not taken the COVID-19 crisis seriously enough from day one. ’As the president fiddles, people are dying’, said Pelosi, adding that the White House is still lagging when it comes to getting testing kits and medical equipment to where they are needed.
An 108-year-old woman, who survived the Spanish Flu and two World Wars, has died of the COVID-19 in the UK. Hilda Churchill, who was to celebrate her birthday on April 5, started showing mild symptoms of the virus on Tuesday. She passed away on Saturday, less than 24 hours after testing positive for COVID-19.
In an attempt to protect himself from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn has been self-isolating in a luxury hotel in the Alpine resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. He is said to have booked a four-star hotel that received ’special permission’ to accommodate his party. Some reports suggest his entourage includes a ’harem’ of 20 concubines and numerous servants.
Globally the number of COVID-19 cases has risen to 678K with over 30K deaths and 146K recoveries. The cases in the US (123K) constitute nearly 20% of cases reported globally. The death toll in Italy has crossed 10K and is followed by Spain at over 6500. New Zealand recorded its first death related to the coronavirus.
China has warned that the rising number of imported coronavirus cases have raised the possibility that the country will undergo a second wave of infections. As per the National Health Commission, ’China already has an accumulated total of 693 cases entering from overseas’. China reported 45 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday, of which 44 were patients entering the country from overseas.
North Korea has reportedly fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the ocean off its east coast on Sunday. Decrying the test as ’inappropriate’ amid the global COVID-19 outbreak, South Korea urged the North for an ’immediate halt’. Japan’s Ministry of Defense said they appeared to be ballistic missiles.
An infant in Illinois diagnosed with COVID-19 may be the first baby killed in the US by the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the infant’s death on Saturday. However the cause of death is yet to be confirmed. ’If you haven’t been paying attention, maybe this is your wake-up call’, said the state’s Department of Public Health Director.
Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez on Saturday announced stricter lockdown measures that will force all non-essential workers to stay at home for the next two weeks. This comes as the country continues to record a surge in cases around COVID-19. So far there have been 78,797 cases in Spain with 6,528 deaths and 14,709 recoveries. Workers would receive their usual salaries, Sanchez said.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe warned on Saturday that the next two weeks will be the toughest yet in the fight against coronavirus in the country. As per latest reports, the virus had claimed 2,314 lives in France, with more than 37,575 confirmed cases. A decision would be taken in a week on a further extension of a lockdown beyond April 15, Philippe said.
As per reports, the toll of the COVID-19 on the news media could be worse than the 2008 financial crisis, which saw newspapers experience a 19% decline in revenue. Local newspapers, heavily dependent on ad revenues from business, in the US and Canada are unlikely to survive. Among the bigger names, BuzzFeed has instituted pay cuts.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo reported that the presidential primary election in New York will be delayed from April 28 to June 23. It is due to the coronavirus outbreak. New York is the epicenter of the virus in the U.S., with 52,000 of the 110,000 cases. Ten other states and Puerto Rico have postponed their primaries, as well.
After suggesting, earlier in the day, that he was considering imposing a quarantine on three US states including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, President Trump said later that, ’A quarantine will not be necessary’. Instead, Trump said that based on the recommendation of the Coronavirus Task Force, and consultation with Governor’s, he has asked the CDC to issue a strong travel advisory.
The UK will have done well if it comes through the COVID-19 crisis with lesser than 20,000 deaths, warned Stephen Powis, the national medical director of the National Health Service. Powis said the NHS had been working to increase the intensive care capacity beyond the 4,000 beds it typically had. Currently the UK has reported 17,089 with 1,019 deaths.
Wuhan, the Chinese city where the coronavirus was first detected, has begun to re-open after more than two months under strict quarantine. Crowds of people were seen arriving at the Wuhan train station on Saturday. Authorities have also allowed civilian air travel in its Hubei region. The first domestic passenger flight took off at midnight on Sunday as most cities in Hubei resumed air travel.
Malaysia’s Karex Bhd, the world’s biggest condom producer, has said that a global shortage of condoms is looming after a COVID-19 lockdown forced it to shut down production. Karex produces 20% of condoms globally. It has not produced a single condom from its three Malaysian factories for more than a week due to a lockdown. The company was given permission to restart 50% production on Friday.
Edward Snowden has warned that high-tech surveillance measures governments use to fight the outbreak of COVID-19, will have a long-lasting impact. Snowden said that governments can extend access to people’s personal information and use it to monitor their actions. ’They know what your heart rate is, what your pulse is. What happens when they start to intermix these and apply AI to it?’, he asked.
President Trump approved four new facilities in New York to serve as hospitals. They will provide additional 4,000 beds during the coronavirus crisis. Cuomo mentioned that New York will also designate certain hospitals as ’COVID-only’. Around 52,000 people in the state have COVID-19, which is nearly half of all the cases in the United States.
Spain has recorded another record breaking day for Covid-19 deaths as 832 people died from the disease in 24 hours and the number of cases surged by over 8,000. Spanish health officials announced on Saturday morning that 5,690 people have now died from the coronavirus in the Mediterranean country and a total of 72,248 people have contracted the illness.
China has sent a plane loaded with medical personnel and supplies to help Pakistan fight the spread of the COVID-19. Pakistan has reported 1,526 cases with 13 deaths. While the country has closed its borders with Iran and Afghanistan, it has come under widespread criticism for its initial lax response to the virus. PM Imran Khan has refused a lockdown saying it will devastate the country’s poor.
Scores of urn deliveries in Wuhan have raised fresh skepticism of China’s COVID-19 reporting. Photos online show vast numbers of urns at Wuhan funeral homes. As per Chinese media outlet Caixin, one funeral home received two shipments of 5,000 urns over the course of two days. It’s not clear how many of the urns were filled. Workers at several funeral parlors declined to provide any details.
The FDA on Friday approved a coronavirus test that can provide results in less than 15 minutes, using the same technology that powers rapid flu tests. The new diagnostic test could accelerate testing in the United States, allowing for rapid results in doctors’ offices. The test’s maker, Abbott Laboratories, said it expects to deliver 50,000 tests per day beginning next week.
There are now more 104,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1,700 deaths from the coronavirus in the US, according to Johns Hopkins University. The situation is grim in various state with NY could be just weeks away from reaching its peak in hospitalizations, California cases grew 26% in one day, with 65,000 test results pending and New Orleans could run out of key medical supplies by early April.
President Trump took aim at Michigan Gov. Whitmer on Friday, claiming she was ’way in over her head’ amid the COVID-19 outbreak and ’doesn’t have a clue’. Michigan so far has more than 2,200 confirmed cases of the virus. Earlier, Whitmer’s alleged that medical-supply vendors were being told ’not to send stuff here to Michigan’. Trump accused Whitmer of ’blaming everyone for her own ineptitude’.
The US said Friday that China has retreated from spreading conspiracy theories alleging the US involvement in the coronavirus pandemic. The State Department’s Global Engagement Center said China, after finding little success in that, has now shifted to praising its own successes in containing the virus. The department said Russia continued to be the major concern around spread of misinformation.