British PM Boris Johnson has refused to sack his senior adviser Dominic Cummings, despite calls from within his party for the aide to resign for driving 400 kilometres during the lockdown. The PM said that Cummings had ’no alternative’ but to drive across England to stay with his parents while his wife was sick with Covid-19 symptoms, insisting he acted ’responsibly, legally and with integrity.’
Republican Florida Senator Rick Scott said Sunday that all Americans have the right to ’worship at a church service’, no matter what any government leader may say. Scott said the Bill of Rights protects people in the US from having to wear masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. He added that leaders from all levels should realize their input is still just guidance rather than law.
Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the FDA, urged Americans observing Memorial Day weekend to follow federal guidelines aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, saying the virus ’is not yet contained.’The commissioner’s warning comes as some states begin to reopen, allowing people to go to beaches, and bars as they observe one of the more popular holidays that’s to take place amid the pandemic.
Underground production at AngloGold Ashanti’s Mponeng mine in South Africa will remain closed until further notice after 164 employees tested positive for the coronavirus. The mine, like all others in the country, resumed operations last month after being closed in March. It had been operating at 50% capacity but some workers have reportedly raised concerns about their safety.
According to the Center for Disease Control, measles vaccination orders have dropped by more than 400,000 doses since January 1st, 2020. The United Kingdom has its first measles cases 3 years after being declared measles-free.
As per Chinese state media, the virology institute in Wuhan has confirmed that it had three live strains of bat coronavirus on-site, but none of them match the one that has caused the COVID-19 pandemic. The director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology said that claims made by US President Trump and others the virus could have leaked from the facility were ’pure fabrication’.
The front page of the New York Times paper for Sunday listed the names of 1,000 people who have died of COVID-19. The Times revealed the layout on Saturday as the death toll in the US inches toward 100,000. ’The 1,000 people here reflect just 1 percent of the toll. None were mere numbers’, the Times wrote.
According to the Civil Protection Agency Italy saw 130 deaths due to COVID-19 on Friday and 119 on Saturday. Reports showed 32,735 deaths since the outbreak in February and a total of 229,327 confirmed cases, the sixth-highest global tally. 138,840 of the previous cases were declared recovered. In total, they have tested over 2 million people, more than 3% of Italy’s 60 million population.
A hair stylist in Missouri has potentially exposed 91 people to Covid-19, after the state’s governor allowed businesses to reopen on 4 May. The stylist who tested positive went to work in a salon in Springfield while showing symptoms from May 12 to May 20. Because the stylist and the customers wore face coverings, health officials said, they hoped the interactions would lead to no additional cases
A research study of four strains of coronavirus from the Univ. of Amsterdam finds immunity fades after a period of six months. The research conducted for 35 years (n=10) for 4 coronaviruses causing common cold showed that antibody levels drop 6 months post-recovery. The study did not include the virus that causes COVID-19
A 77-year-old woman who entered Gaza via the Egyptian border on May 19 was in self-quarantine until she succumbed to the virus on Saturday. Gaza, which is run by Hamas, an Islamist group has ever been short on medical facilities. The city was not under a complete lockdown unlike the West Bank. The latter has seen two deaths and 423 cases while Gaza has had only 55.
Jaguar Land Rover, UK’s largest auto manufacturer is in talks with government to borrow more than £1 billion ($1.2 billion) through the UK’s emergency coronavirus lending program. Owner Tata Motors Ltd. may be required to back part of the UK government loan to secure the funding.
New York Gov. Cuomo doubled down on his state’s now-scrapped nursing home policy. Cuomo was responding to a question around a report by AP that over 4,500 recovering COVID-19 patients were sent to New York’s already vulnerable nursing homes under a controversial state directive. ’New York followed the president’s agencies’ guidance’, Cuomo said pointing to the CMS and CDC.
On Friday, WHO announced that the number of cases in Africa had risen to 100,000. However, the mortality rate has been relatively low with 3,100 deaths. The organization claimed that this could be an effect of the fact that the continent has a greater number of individuals aged below 25. Most African countries also followed strict guidelines during the outbreak.
Hertz Global Holdings filed for bankruptcy protection on Friday. Burdened with about $19 billion in debt and nearly 700,000 vehicles that have been largely idled because of the coronavirus, the company had challenges even before the current economic crisis.
May 22 marks the first day in which the Chinese authorities reported 0 deaths since the pandemic began in January. Reports show a decline in asymptomatic cases from 34 to 25, a major improvement in the situation in China.
Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick will be granted early release from a federal prison where he is serving a 28-year sentence for corruption. State Rep. Karen Whitsett said she was notified by President Trump of Kilpatrick’s impending release during his Thursday visit to Michigan. Kilpatrick will be among 3,000 inmates granted release due to the spread of the COVID-19.
New York Knicks former player Patrick Ewing has tested positive for COVID-19. Ewing, 57, played 17 seasons in the NBA and is currently the head coach of the Georgetown University men’s basketball team. Georgetown Athletics said Ewing is under care and isolated at a local hospital and added that he is the only member of the Georgetown men’s basketball program to have tested positive.
Dr. Fauci has warned that stay-at-home orders intended to curb the spread of the COVID-19 could end up causing ’irreparable damage’ if imposed for too long. Fauci stressed that he has never advocated ’staying locked down for a prolonged period of time is the way to go’. He said states must take a prudent approach cautioning against reducing social distancing measures too quickly.
Kayleigh McEnany, White House Press Secretary reported that Trump is set to donate $100,000 to the Health and Human Services (HHS) in order ’to develop new therapies for treating and preventing COVID-19.’ He had also donated his fourth-quarter salary to the HHS in March to help overcome the virus.
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University suspect that almost half of the Twitter accounts pushing misinformation about COVID-19 and calling for ’reopening America’ may actually be bots. The study examined more than 200 million tweets discussing the virus since January and found that about 45% were sent by accounts that behave more like computerized robots than humans.
Deborah Birx said that the Washington, D.C., metro area currently has the highest COVID-19 positivity rate. The D.C. metro area includes Northern Virginia and Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland. The D.C. metro region is followed by Baltimore, Chicago and Minneapolis. Birx said the areas have positivity rates under 20% compared to 42 states where positivity rates are under 10%.
The state Department of Health will be investigating whether thousands of deaths in Washington from previous respiratory illnesses were possibly linked to undiagnosed COVID-19 cases, health officials said Thursday.
A vaccine candidate from China has finished its phase-1 trial on humans. As per reports, the trials show the vaccine is ’safe’ and ’induces rapid immune response’. The research injected the potential vaccine into 108 volunteers. Antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 started to surge two weeks after the injection and reached its peak on day 28. A phase-2 clinical trial has begun with 508 volunteers.