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  • Trump now says if 100,000 Americans die from coronavirus he will have done 'a very good job'

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    The president repeatedly cited a projection that as many as 2.2 million people would have died if the administration had “done nothing” to mitigate COVID-19’s spread.

    Mon, 30 Mar 2020 11:33:53 -0400
  • Are pot and guns essential in a pandemic?

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    As states and cities shut down all nonessential businesses to stop the spread of coronavirus, pot shops and gun stores are staying open in some places. Are they really essential?

    Mon, 30 Mar 2020 15:44:57 -0400
  • Suspected SARS virus and flu samples found in luggage: FBI report describes China's 'biosecurity risk'

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    An FBI report about China’s involvement with scientific research in the U.S. has raised alarms. While the report refers broadly to foreign researchers, all three cases cited involve Chinese nationals.

    Mon, 30 Mar 2020 10:45:26 -0400
  • Cuomo Says Coronavirus Is ‘More Dangerous’ Than We Thought as N.Y. Cases Jump Overnight

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    New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday acknowledged that the coronavirus is “more dangerous” than officials initially thought after more than 300 died across the state overnight.“I’m tired of being behind this virus. We’ve been behind this virus from day one,” Cuomo said at a Tuesday press conference in Albany. “We underestimated this virus. It’s more powerful, it’s more dangerous than we expected.” More than 1,500 people have died and 75,795 more have been infected with the virus in New York State, accounting for a 14 percent increase in the last 24 hours, Cuomo said. About 43,139 of those cases are in New York City, where the daily number of newly infected patients has fortunately dipped below 6,000 across the five boroughs over the last 24 hours.To date, more than 3,416 people have died and 174,467 individuals have been infected with the virus nationwide—a death toll that has eclipsed China’s official count.New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Implements ‘Stay at Home’ Order Amid Coronavirus PandemicCuomo said it could be weeks before New York sees the worst of the pandemic, stating that the apex may not be for 21 days. “We’re all anxious, we’re all tired, we’re all fatigued. It’s been all bad news for a long time. Our whole lifestyle has been disrupted. Everybody wants to know one thing, when will it end. Nobody knows,” Cuomo said. “We’re dealing with a war we’ve never dealt with before. We need a totally different mindset and organizational transformation.”  New York City’s hospitals have been struggling over the last week to keep up with the influx of patients. With over 10,900 residents hospitalized with the virus, including 2,700 patients in ICUs, Cuomo said that the health-care system still needs more supplies, space, and personnel. The state has ordered 17,000 ventilators from China to help hospitals, paying about $25,000 per machine.“It’s like being on Ebay with 50 other states bidding on a ventilator. How inefficient,” Cuomo said, noting that he only expects to receive about 2,500 machines from China because other states, the federal government, and Italy have also placed orders from the foreign government. “And then FEMA gets involved and FEMA starts bidding. And now FEMA is bidding on top of the 50. So FEMA is driving up the price. What sense does this make?” Cuomo asked.‘This Is a War’: Cuomo Pleads for Help From Doctors Across U.S. as Coronavirus Death Toll SurgesTo further combat the shortage, Cuomo reiterated his Monday plea to health-care workers across the United States for help with the increasing number of infected patients, promising the Empire State would return the favor whenever it’s over the “bell curve.” The governor said that while the state is working to get ahead of the virus, several projections indicate the “main battle at the apex” will occur anywhere between one week and 21 days from now. “We’re still going up the mountain," Cuomo said, adding that New York is struggling to curtail the surge and “you don’t win by playing catch up.”  “The main battle is at the top of the mountain, the apex of the curve.”So far, government officials have already taken extraordinary steps to combat the pandemic. On Monday, local officials opened the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center as a makeshift, 3,000-bed overflow hospital facility. The same day, a naval hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, arrived in Manhattan to help relieve hospitals of patients not infected with the virus. The ship, which was previously used as a floating base for rescue workers after 9/11, is currently equipped with 1,000 beds, 12 operating rooms, a medical laboratory, and over 1,000 officers.Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, in conjunction with a Christian aid organization, also converted a section of Central Park into a field hospital to help house the influx of COVID-19 patients. The tent-hospital, which holds 68 regular hospital beds, along with 10 ICU beds, opened on Tuesday.Despite the emergency steps that have already been taken, the chair of the department of surgery at Columbia University said Monday the toll of the virus at New York City hospitals is getting so serious that medical professionals could soon be forced to decide who gets treatment—and who doesn’t.One Mask Only: Coronavirus Docs and Nurses Forced to Make Terrifying CompromisesAccording to Dr. Craig Smith, the apex of the virus will be too overwhelming for the amount of beds currently in New York, forcing doctors and nurses to shift to using a triage method as a “fundamental operating principle in field hospitals.”“Triage determines who should be treated first, how they should be treated (surgery, fluid resuscitation, etc), and who should be kept comfortable,” Smith said in an update to Columbia faculty and staff about the pandemic response. “Broadly construed, we will all be operating more and more on field hospital principles as we move through the next few weeks.”NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Smith said, will have to “carefully ” select which COVID-19 patients to send home with oxygen, an oxygen saturation monitor, and a strict follow-up system. “Does this entail incompletely understood risk? It certainly does, but triage is an essential part of the resource/utility-balancing situation in which we find ourselves,” he said.The devastating effects of the pandemic in New York have rippled from health care to law enforcement. New York City Police Commissioner Dermont Shea said Tuesday that the virus has greatly affected the city’s law enforcement, as approximately 15 percent of the 37,000-member force has called out sick. NYC Is on the Brink as Patients Flood Hospitals Already ‘Under Siege’“We have the reserves, we have the contingency plans,” Shea said, stating that while about 5,500 officers are out sick, the NYPD is not extending shifts. He added that 17 NYPD members who tested positive for COVID-19 have since recovered.Seeming to take a jab at President Donald Trump’s failed prediction that the United States would be able to return to normal life by April 21, Cuomo later emphasized that it is unclear when things in his state will return to normal.“It is not going to be soon,” he said, urging residents to stay home and stressing there will not be “an Easter surprise.” “So calibrate yourself and your expectations, so you’re not disappointed every morning you get up.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 13:04:37 -0400
  • 'Sailors do not need to die,' warns captain of coronavirus-hit U.S. aircraft carrier

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    The captain of the U.S. aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, in a blunt letter, has called on Navy leadership for stronger measures to save the lives of his sailors and stop the spread of the coronavirus aboard the huge ship. The four-page letter, the contents of which were confirmed by U.S. officials to Reuters on Tuesday, described a bleak situation onboard the nuclear-powered carrier as more sailors test positive for the virus. Captain Brett Crozier, the ship's commanding officer, wrote that the carrier lacked enough quarantine and isolation facilities and warned the current strategy would slow but fail to eradicate the highly contagious respiratory virus.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 13:00:37 -0400
  • IG Horowitz Found ‘Apparent Errors or Inadequately Supported Facts’ in Every Single FBI FISA Application He Reviewed

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    The Justice Department inspector general said it does “not have confidence” in the FBI’s FISA application process following an audit that found the Bureau was not sufficiently transparent with the court in 29 applications from 2014 to 2019, all of which included “apparent errors or inadequately supported facts.”Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a report in December which found that the FBI included “at least 17 significant errors or omissions in the Carter Page FISA applications and many errors in the Woods Procedures” during its Crossfire Hurricane investigation of the 2016 Trump campaign. After releasing the report, Horowitz said that he would conduct a further investigation to see if the errors identified in the Page application were widespread.“The concern is that this is such a high-profile, important case. If it happened here, is this indicative of a wider problem — and we will only know that when we complete our audit — or is it isolated to this event?” Horowitz told lawmakers during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing. “Obviously, we need to do the work to understand that.”Horowitz’s office said in a report released Tuesday that of the 29 applications — all of which involved U.S. citizens – that were pulled from “8 FBI field offices of varying sizes,” the FBI could not find Woods Files for four of the applications, while the other 25 all had “apparent errors or inadequately supported facts.”"While our review of these issues and follow-up with case agents is still ongoing—and we have not made materiality judgments for these or other errors or concerns we identified—at this time we have identified an average of about 20 issues per application reviewed, with a high of approximately 65 issues in one application and less than 5 issues in another application," the report reveals.The Woods Procedure dictates that the Justice Department verify the accuracy and provide evidentiary support for all facts stated in its FISA application. The FBI is required to share with the FISA Court all relevant information compiled in the Woods File when applying for a surveillance warrant.“FBI and NSD officials we interviewed indicated to us that there were no efforts by the FBI to use existing FBI and NSD oversight mechanisms to perform comprehensive, strategic assessments of the efficacy of the Woods Procedures or FISA accuracy, to include identifying the need for enhancements to training and improvements in the process, or increased accountability measures,” the report states.The OIG concludes by recommending that the FBI "systematically and regularly examine the results of past and future accuracy reviews to identify patterns or trends in identified errors" relating to the Woods Procedure, as well as double-checking "that Woods Files exist for every FISA application submitted to the FISC in all pending investigations."In a letter acknowledging the audit, FBI Associate Deputy Director Paul Abbate said that the issues "will be addressed" by the Bureau's already-issued correctives after the Carter Page review, and added that "the FBI fully accepts the two recommendations."President Trump has relentlessly attacked the FBI's FISA process and the abuses it allowed during the surveilling of his 2016 campaign. He has argued that the FISA abuses invalidate the entire investigation, which he has referred to as an “illegal attempted coup,” and slammed the officials involved, including former FBI director James Comey and former acting FBI director Andy McCabe.McCabe admitted in January that the FBI has an “inherent weakness in the process” of obtaining FISA warrants.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 11:13:29 -0400
  • Venezuela prosecutor's office summoned Guaido for 'attempted coup'

    Golocal247.com news

    State prosecutors in Venezuela have summoned opposition leader Juan Guaido for an alleged "attempted coup d'etat" and attempted assassination, Attorney General Tarek William Saab announced Tuesday. In a statement broadcast on state television, Saab said Guaido had been summoned to appear before prosecutors next Thursday following an investigation last week into the seizure of a weapons cache in neighboring Colombia that he said was to be smuggled into Venezuela.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 11:16:54 -0400
  • FBI report describes China’s ‘biosecurity risk’

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    In late November 2018, just over a year before the first coronavirus case was identified in Wuhan, China, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at Detroit Metro Airport stopped a Chinese biologist with three vials labeled “Antibodies” in his luggage.

    Mon, 30 Mar 2020 11:43:33 -0400
  • 12 Buildings That Show the Beauty of Deconstructed Architecture

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    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 18:59:05 -0400
  • Trump says Democrats' push for expanded voting threatens Republicans

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    President Trump on Monday criticized attempts by Democrats in Congress to expand voting access for the presidential election in the fall, saying increased voter turnout would keep Republicans from getting elected.

    Mon, 30 Mar 2020 13:26:01 -0400
  • Democratic lawmakers call for racial data in virus testing

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    Democratic lawmakers are calling out an apparent lack of racial data that they say is needed to monitor and address disparities in the national response to the coronavirus outbreak. In a letter sent Friday to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, both from Massachusetts, said comprehensive demographic data on people who are tested or treated for the virus that causes COVID-19 does not exist. “Any attempt to contain COVID-19 in the United States will have to address its potential spread in low-income communities of color, first and foremost to protect the lives of people in those communities, but also to slow the spread of the virus in the country as a whole,” the lawmakers wrote to Azar.

    Mon, 30 Mar 2020 17:11:39 -0400
  • One country is refusing to shut down to stop the coronavirus

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    “It is better to die on your feet than live on your knees!” Lukashenko, who hit the ice for a weekend hockey game, said.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 12:35:28 -0400
  • Stabbing of Asian-American 2-Year-Old and Her Family Was a Virus-Fueled Hate Crime: Feds

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    The vicious stabbing of an Asian-American family, including a 2-year-old girl, at a Sam’s Club in Texas earlier this month has been deemed a hate crime by the feds, as authorities continue to raise alarm bells about a potential surge in racially motivated crimes amid the coronavirus outbreak.Jose L. Gomez, 19, confessed to authorities that he attempted to murder three Asian-American family members, including the toddler and a 6-year-old, on March 14 at the Midland, Texas store, according to the Midland Police Department. Gomez, who stabbed the individuals and a Sam’s Club employee, is now facing several charges, including three counts of attempted capital murder and one count of aggravated assault. He is being held on several bonds totaling $1 million.“The suspect indicated that he stabbed the family because he thought the family was Chinese, and infecting people with coronavirus,” according to an FBI analysis report obtained by ABC News.Inside the Ugly Uber and Lyft Driver Freakout Over CoronavirusThe Texas incident was used in the report as one example of a recent surge in hate crimes and racially fueled violence targeting Asian-Americans as the coronavirus pandemic continues to sweep the United States. According to an arrest affidavit obtained by the Midland Reporter-Telegram, Gomez attempted to kill the Asian-American family of four inside the wholesale store at about 7:30 p.m. When a Sam’s Club employee and another patron intervened, Gomez allegedly stabbed the patron in the leg and fingers with a knife. At one point, the customer was able to knock the knife away from Gomez during the struggle before the teenager was finally subdued by Border Patrol Agent Bernie Ramiez, who was off-duty and just leaving the store after shopping for groceries, the affidavit states.Ramirez later told CBS7 that during the altercation, he saw the store employee had managed to put Gomez in a chokehold after he had stabbed multiple people.“My initial thought was it was just the shortage of items that they were fighting over,” Ramirez told the local outlet. “So I just started making my way over there to break it up.”The agent added, “I’ve got close to 19 years in law enforcement. It’s crazy and it’s sad the way certain individuals think, their mindset. It’s a sad deal.”When authorities arrived at the Sam’s Club, investigators immediately began to question Gomez. The teenager then admitted to trying to kill the family and assaulting the patron with a knife, the affidavit states. Ramirez did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment and a spokesperson for Midland Mayor Patrick Payton’s office declined to comment, stating that the case has now been turned over to the FBI. According to the intelligence report that was compiled by the FBI’s Houston office and distributed to local law enforcement agencies across the nation, federal officials believe hate crimes will only increase as COVID-19 continues to spread.‘We’re Scared’: Doctors in New Coronavirus Hotspots Brace for ‘Tsunami’ of Patients“The FBI assesses hate crime incidents against Asian Americans likely will surge across the United States, due to the spread of coronavirus disease... endangering Asian American communities,” the report states. “The FBI makes this assessment based on the assumption that a portion of the US public will associate COVID-19 with China and Asian American populations.”To date, more than 3,416 people have died and 174,467 individuals have been infected with the virus nationwide—a death toll that has eclipsed China’s official count and put much of the United States on lockdown.Since then, several political and media commentators, including President Donald Trump, have adopted the practice of calling the pandemic the “China virus” or the “Wuhan virus.”“It did come from China,” Trump said at a March 19 White House briefing. “It is a very accurate term.”Many experts and political figures believe that officials using racial terms for the virus has contributed to discrimination against members of the Asian-American community. “This is a global emergency that should be met with both urgency and also cultural awareness that COVID-19 is not isolated to a single ethnic population,” Jeffrey Caballero, executive director of the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations, said in a statement to The Daily Beast. “Xenophobic attacks and discrimination towards Asian American communities are unacceptable and will not make our families safer or healthier.”California Gov. Gavin Newsom reiterated the FBI’s report findings, stating he has seen a “huge increase” in assaults targeting the Asian-American community in his state. In New York, Attorney General Leticia James launched a hotline for victims of coronavirus-related bias crimes. Since the surge, even Trump tried to backtrack on his language, tweeting on March 23, “It is very important that we totally protect our Asian American community in the United States, and all around the world. They are amazing people, and the spreading of the Virus is NOT their fault in any way, shape, or form. They are working closely with us to get rid of it. WE WILL PREVAIL TOGETHER!”‘This Is a War’: Cuomo Pleads for Help From Doctors Across U.S. as Coronavirus Death Toll SurgesAccording to one New York City medical social worker, racism is also rampant in the health-care system as Asian-American doctors and nurses struggle to care for patients who don’t want to be touched. “I get yelled at down the street coming into work from people in their cars saying all these really nasty things and telling me I should be punished for bringing the virus here,” the social worker told The Daily Beast last week. “Inside the hospital, I have heard from several Asian-American doctors and nurses that some patients don’t want to be treated by them because they think they already have the virus. It’s like we are the virus or something.”“It’s scary and it’s dangerous. We’re already putting ourselves on the line to help others. Don’t make it harder for us than it is,” she added. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 15:03:24 -0400
  • China zeroes in on coronavirus patients with no symptoms as new infections rise

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    SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) - China will start releasing information from Wednesday on coronavirus patients who show no disease symptoms, ordering them into quarantine for 14 days, a health official said, after the mainland witnessed its first rise in infections in five days. As local infections peter out and new cases surface among travelers returning home, the existence of virus carriers with no symptoms is fuelling public concern that people could be spreading it without knowing they are ill. From April 1, the daily report of the National Health Commission will include details of such cases for the first time, Chang Jile, a commission official, told a briefing.

    Mon, 30 Mar 2020 20:54:20 -0400
  • AOC Drifts Away from Activist Left, Toward a More Conventional Staff and Political Strategy

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    Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has taken steps recently to collaborate more with the Democratic establishment, taking a less contentious approach and allying with fellow Democratic members.After urging fellow progressives in 2018 to run for office with the support of the progressive group the Justice Democrats, which supported her, the New York Democrat has declined to endorse most of the candidates the group is backing to oust incumbent Democrats in 2020.Of the six candidates the group is backing this time around, Ocasio-Cortez has endorsed Jessica Cisneros in Texas and Marie Newman in Illinois, both of whom are running against conservative Democrats who oppose abortion and were subsequently supported by several other high-profile Democrats.The move comes as the Justice Democrats are recruiting progressive candidates to run against liberals and moderate Democrats."We don’t usually endorse so far out," Ocasio-Cortez's communications director, Lauren Hitt said of the congresswoman's lack of endorsements for the group of candidates, according to Politico.Meanwhile, Ocasio-Cortez, who shot to notoriety in 2018 when she ousted powerful Democratic congressman Joe Crowley, is also replacing some of her more radical, progressive top aides with more conventional political professionals, Politico reported.The freshman congresswoman has also struck a more conciliatory tone towards Democratic leadership in recent months, in February calling Pelosi the “mama bear of the Democratic Party.”She also criticized supporters of her progressive ally, 2020 presidential contender Bernie Sanders, for their antagonistic behavior online.“There’s so much emphasis on making outreach as conflict-based as possible,” she said. “And sometimes I even feel miscast and understood. Because it’s about what tools you use, and conflict is one tool but not the only tool.”Nevertheless, Ocasio-Cortez has largely maintained her status as a progressive standard-bearer. Earlier this year, she endorsed a group of progressive women running for Congress on Friday through her political action committee, Courage to Change.In January, she announced that she would not pay dues to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which works to elect Democrats to the House.

    Mon, 30 Mar 2020 09:59:52 -0400
  • The top infectious disease expert in the US says we're seeing 'glimmers' that social distancing is helping, but says a turnaround is yet to come

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    Dr. Anthony Fauci said in an interview with CNN on Tuesday that social distancing seems to be dampening the spread of the coronavirus.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 11:12:55 -0400
  • Australia’s Banking Chiefs Warn of Extreme Economic Pain Ahead

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    (Bloomberg) -- Australia’s banking chiefs are braced for a nightmare scenario of a 10% economic contraction, “shockingly high” unemployment and spiraling loan losses as shockwaves from the coronavirus ripple through the economy.As Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s administration follows other countries in shutting down large segments of the economy to try to stem the virus’s spread, signs of individual and business tolls are starting to multiply.Tens of thousands of workers have already been sent home as retailers and airlines all-but close and queues outside job centers lengthen. Australia’s lenders are watching this play out in real time, with hardship telephone numbers ringing off the hook as consumers and businesses try to access relief packages.Banks are the “ICU unit of the economy,” Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Shayne Elliott said Monday at an Australian Financial Review event -- conducted online due to the pandemic. “Corporates and households will come into care and we will have this unfortunate role at some point of having to decide who comes out at the end.”A week ago, Commonwealth Bank of Australia Chief Executive Officer Matt Comyn said he would have estimated the economy would shrink by about 5% in the first quarter. Now, a 10% contraction is a “reasonable assumption,” Comyn said at the same event. “No question there are going to be higher loan losses.”The nation’s banks have special dispensation from the competition authority to co-operate throughout the crisis and have banded together to launch a range of hardship measures, including allowing consumers to suspend mortgage payments for up-to six months.National Australia Bank Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Ross McEwan echoed his counterparts on the dire outlook for the economy.“I think you will see very, very large GDP drops,” he told the the same forum. “Unemployment will also go shockingly high for a period of time.”NAB’s economics research team said Friday the jobless rate could soar to 12% and hold there for the remainder of the year.Right now, the three CEOs emphasized that the focus is on getting through the crisis and being prepared to help the economy reboot on the other side. In the medium term, that’s likely to mean tough choices about who gets help.“There is no playbook for this,” McEwan said. “We’ve not seen this sort of health and financial crisis at the same time.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sun, 29 Mar 2020 22:38:00 -0400
  • India’s coronavirus emergency just beginning as lockdown threatens to turn into human tragedy

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    A week after Narendra Modi ordered the largest national lockdown the planet has ever seen and Delhi's Bhogal market is little quieter than usual. Rather than being confined to home to stop the spread of Covid-19, large groups of residents instead huddle together in the shade, drinking tea and playing cards. Street vendors continue to hawk fresh fruit and vegetables and the police watch as daily life in the capital's backstreets continues, apparently content to enforce movement restrictions only on the capital's major thoroughfares. The failure to abide by the prime minister's decree is due to necessity, rather than defiance, said Muhammad Asif, 21, a cycle-rickshaw driver scanning the crowd for customers. The three-week-long social distancing precautions ordered by Mr Modi are an unaffordable luxury for tens of millions of daily-wage labourers.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 15:08:51 -0400
  • Trump, Cuomo and the mystery of the missing masks

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    Earlier this month, Cuomo said that people were stealing face masks and other equipment needed to fight the coronavirus from area hospitals. On Monday, the New York governor dismissed a similar claim by the president.

    Mon, 30 Mar 2020 15:08:39 -0400
  • 29 Best Closet Organization Ideas to Maximize Space and Style

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    Mon, 30 Mar 2020 19:06:00 -0400
  • New coronavirus death rate estimates show how sharply the risk rises with age

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    The fatality rate for people infected with the novel coronavirus is estimated to be less than 1%, according to a new study. It's 1.38% for those with COVID-19.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 17:21:59 -0400
  • Meet Candy Sterling, a fierce drag queen at night and a corporate professional by day

    Golocal247.com news

    This is Candy Sterling – a fierce drag queen who lights up the New York City nightlife while maintaining a professional day job. Get to know her both in and out of drag on this week's episode of Behind the Drag.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 14:26:09 -0400
  • 'Best they can get' or more 'politics than policy?' U.S. offers Venezuela a deal

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    A former senior U.S. government official says it's the "best" deal they can get, while an analyst said this is more about "politics than policy."

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 17:00:00 -0400
  • US warship captain seeks crew isolation as virus spreads

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    The captain of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier facing a growing outbreak of the coronavirus is asking for permission to isolate the bulk of his roughly 5,000 crew members on shore, which would take the warship out of duty in an effort to save lives. In a memo to Navy leaders, the captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt said that the spread of the disease is ongoing and accelerating and that removing all but 10% of the crew is a “necessary risk” in order to stop the spread of the virus. Navy leaders on Tuesday were scrambling to determine how to best respond to the extraordinary request as dozens of crew members tested positive.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 12:35:42 -0400
  • After more than 10,000 coronavirus deaths — the worst in the world — Italy is showing signs that its 3-week lockdown is working

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    Italy's counts of new coronavirus deaths and infections are starting to fall, though the country is likely still in for an extended lockdown.

    Mon, 30 Mar 2020 07:25:02 -0400
  • Why Taiwan has become a problem for WHO

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    Taiwan is effectively locked out of the World Health Organization - and tensions are rising.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 01:23:24 -0400
  • India and Pakistan crack down on Muslim group emerging as COVID-19 cluster

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    India and Pakistan sealed off centers belonging to a Muslim missionary group on Tuesday and began investigating how many coronavirus cases were linked to its activities. Tablighi Jamaat is a Deobandi Sunni Muslim missionary movement that preaches worldwide. India has so far registered 32 deaths from 1,251 confirmed infections, and Pakistan 20 from 1,914.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 04:21:17 -0400
  • Barack Obama takes veiled swipe at Donald Trump's handling of coronavirus pandemic

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    Barack Obama appeared to take a swipe at Donald Trump, saying there are steep consequences because of 'those who denied warnings of a pandemic.'

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 16:27:14 -0400
  • A Doctor Who Met Putin Just Tested Positive, and Russia’s COVID-19 Crackdowns Could Get Real Ugly.

    Golocal247.com news

    MOSCOW—Amid a growing uproar in newly locked-down Russia, news broke on Tuesday that a doctor President Vladimir Putin met with just a week ago during a highly publicized visit to a coronavirus treatment facility has now tested positive for the infection himself. Widely disseminated photos of the visit showed Putin donning an orange hazmat suit, but he had also talked to Dr. Denis Protsenko extensively without protection and photographs show them together with very little "social distancing."Putin's spokesman says the Russian president is tested frequently for coronavirus infection and is just fine. But the news is bound to shake a country already racked by uncertainty, fear, and not a little anger.“You should find abandoned cells used to punish prisoners, cold ones with no food in them, lock them up there,” Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov declared as the Russian Federation went into a nationwide lockdown over the weekend. He was telling his security force commanders how to treat those who disobeyed the curfew and quarantine orders. “Throw them in a big hole, bury them, let them die in it."Most Russian officials are not as blunt and brutal as Kadyrov, a Putin protégé and the point man for some of the more ruthless actions carried out in support of the president. But the coronavirus crisis has brought to the fore the grim authoritarian instincts of several leaders in what was once the Soviet Bloc. As their people try to find masks and rubber gloves to protect themselves, dictators are raising their iron fists, not least, to protect their regimes. Others are still trying to pretend there's no problem at the moment. The crackdowns will come later.One of the most stunning moves was taken in Hungary, a member of the European Union, where the parliament passed a bill giving Prime Minister Viktor Orbán—one of Putin’s closest EU soulmates—virtually unlimited powers to rule by decree; suspending parliament; canceling elections; threatening up to five years in prison for those who spread “fake new” and rumors (read, criticism of the regime); and up to eight years in prison for those who break the quarantine. All this for as long as Orbán wants. “And there it is,” tweeted historian and columnist Anne Applebaum, “The European Union's first dictatorship. None of these powers is needed to fight the virus. But they will help distract and deter opposition, especially when it becomes clear that the government has no better plan.”Here in the Russian capital the picture is more mixed, because Putin himself has sent messages to the public almost as confusing and contradictory as those of President Donald J. Trump in the United States.For weeks and months, as thousands began dying from the disease in China—then Italy, France, Spain, around the world and now with a vengeance in the United States—many epidemiologists warned COVID-19 will kill millions if drastic measures are not taken to stop it. But Russia delayed the actions needed to prevent the worst outbreak scenarios.Putin Worries Coronavirus Could Screw Up His Constitutional ‘Coronation’It was obvious, as we reported, that President Vladimir Putin and his supporters did not want anything to interfere with a planned April 22 referendum to ratify his continued rule for at least another 16 years. It was also apparent that Russia did not want to let anything interfere with its May 9 Victory Day celebrations marking 75 years since the defeat of the Nazis. So the official number of infections in this country that borders the Chinese and European epicenters of the spreading plague remained implausibly low.Last week, the numbers caught up with the Kremlin, as cases became too numerous to deny, and Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said flatly the infection rate was much higher than the government was admitting. The number of officially diagnosed Muscovites now exceeds 1,000, with at least nine people killed by the virus. On Tuesday last week, Russia’s Channel One announced: “Our president is on the front lines of the main war on the planet, the war with coronavirus.” Over the last two decades, Russians have seen Putin as a self-styled man of action mobilizing resources to make Russia stronger, richer, greater. TV channels showed the commander-in-chief in the cockpit of a fighter jet wearing a pilot’s uniform. His shirtless shots became iconic. He even appeared to guide migrant birds as he flew an ultra-light aircraft. And now the country watched Putin in a bright yellow hazmat suit touring Moscow’s new coronavirus hospital, although it appears he did not actually meet any coronavirus patients. Putin was giving the public its cue, once again, to follow the leader. And he did meet with the hospital’s chief physician, Dr. Denis Protsenko, whose positive test for coronavirus was just announced this Tuesday.Protsenko, 44, sounded straightforward when he spoke to the BBC last week. He said he was convinced that Russia should be ready for the “Italian scenario,” and that he personally was prepared to put diapers on and work 12 hours a day in intensive care units, like Chinese doctors did at the peak of the epidemic. “I personally would put Moscow on quarantine,” he declared, adding with tact worthy of Trump advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, “The question is about the price for closing down.”But in Putin’s address to the nation the next day, he did not use the word “quarantine” at all. To the relief of many, he announced that nobody would have to go to work until April 5, but they would be paid, and nobody would have to go to the polls to vote for constitutional changes on April 22. The referendum would be postponed.“If Putin made Russians go to polling stations next month, that would threaten thousands of lives; he is careful choosing his words now, he tries to secure his reputation,” Ilya Yashin, a Moscow municipal deputy, told The Daily Beast.After coronavirus cases tripled in many Russian regions on Thursday, Putin ordered most public places closed, including city parks.“If Russia’s epidemics develop like the Italian scenario, which is quite possible, there will be no way for him to secure his reputation—the entire responsibility will be on the government,” said Yashin. If that happens, one can expect even Putin himself to show the iron fist. But for the moment in the nation’s capital that has not yet hammered down. And many Russians, a famously fatalistic people, appear unimpressed with the twin threats of tyranny and pandemic.On Sunday, most of the Russian capital’s downtown was still open, and public transport as well. Bars were closed, but young people continued to hang out in hidden corners. Skateboarders focused on their kickflips, as if no epidemic mattered. A group of hipsters outside a still-open bookstore listened to a girl read aloud, her face pink in the light of sunset. The poem was one of Joseph Brodsky’s: “They loved to sit together on a hillside...” Then on Sunday night, Russia slammed its doors a little harder, in a pattern now familiar to countries around the world: governments first try to persuade, and when that fails, as it usually does, they try to enforce the quarantines and distancing. A few hours before midnight Sunday night, authorities finally announced a complete lockdown for the capital and its 11 million residents. Police cars with loudspeakers began to order pedestrians to hurry back home: everyone in the city now had to stay in their apartments, leaving only for the closest grocery or drug store, or to walk a dog no more than 100 meters from home—the kinds of restrictions imposed in much of Western Europe for weeks now, and in Italy for more than a month. Moscow was joining the club of almost three billion self-isolating people around the globe. Moscow Mayor Sobyanin declared that the epidemic was entering “a new phase.”Yet, as of Monday, authorities reported every fifth Muscovite violated the new regime. Even pro-Kremlin Russian experts said the measures came too late—with all the terrifying examples in the West to prove the point. “It was great we closed down Russia’s border with China in January, but Moscow should have given people a week off from work earlier this month, and authorities should have banned all travel by trains and airplanes from Moscow to other regions,” pro-Kremlin political analyst Sergei Markov told The Daily Beast on Monday morning. “That would have protected more than 55 regions, which are now also infected.”  By Monday afternoon, 71 out of 85 Russian regions had reported coronavirus cases—the epidemic is spreading around the world’s largest country like windblown fire through dry grass, affecting its poorest and most vulnerable people even in remote corners of the federation.An infected resident who apparently contracted the disease on a trip to Cuba brought it to the remote town of Apatity, about 1,000 miles north of Moscow, in the Murmansk region. By the weekend, according to television reports, dozens of people in Apatity and nearby Kurskiy were checking into hospitals with coronavirus symptoms, so authorities had to shut down both towns for self-isolation on Monday.The sale of alcohol, wine as well as vodka, has jumped by at least 20 percent compared to March 2019. As for protection from the virus, there was none available. As happened in so many other countries, every pharmacy in town was out of masks and hand sanitizer. Yet many Russians found a kind of perverse courage by comparing what seemed the hypothetical threat of the virus with all too substantive difficulties and dangers of everyday life.A video clip of a song steeped in slavic fatalism mocked the pandemic. Russia is used to nightmares, it proclaimed: “First, our blood is full of alcohol, the whole of life is folded into a black hole; Authorities hypnotize us and sell us out, but we have no infected fellas in our favelas.” Why be worried about COVID-19 if you risk being eaten by a bear or getting killed by a policeman, the authors say. “We lost all our ability to be afraid,” the song concluded: “We don’t give a shit.” The polls reflect that sort of attitude. According to social research by Romir Holding, 54 percent of Russians do not believe in the danger of the COVID-19 pandemic. And, even now, the only man Russians listen to, commander of the coronavirus war Vladimir Putin, still has not given clear instructions about the deadly outbreak, or how to avoid getting infected. Nobody clearly predicted the scale of the epidemic’s storm coming to Russia, nobody talked about the exponential growth of the outbreak in the United States and Europe except to crow as if Russia somehow were exempt.In announcing the week off, Putin did ask Russians not to rely on  traditional “avos,” the typical carelessness and fatalism traditional in the nation’s approach to the dark promise of the future, but the message seems to have been taken with, well, fatalism and carelessness.Moscow is still in the early stages of the inevitable nightmare, when confusion and defiance mingle with fear. So hairdressers are still working, and without masks. Women are going to them without taking the slightest precautions. This, even as thousands of people who suspect they’ve been infected are calling a coronavirus hotline.Russia Claimed It Created a Coronavirus Cure, but It’s an American Malaria DrugEarlier this week Yulia Galyamina, a Moscow politician and scientist lost her sense of smell, developed a fever, and felt weak. Those are all signs of infection. But as in other countries, she found it impossible to get a test unless she could prove she was at death’s door. She called a doctor and the agency supervising tests, but they said they could do nothing for her. “A district [government] doctor said since I was not terribly sick, I could not get tested,” Galyamina told The Daily Beast. “Private labs ask you not to show up if you have had symptoms in the past week.” On Saturday, authorities admitted that 166,000 Russians are on a coronavirus watch list—not confirmed with infection, but suspected of having the contagion or of being at risk. That’s a worrisome number. It suggests the observable cases are vastly higher than those confirmed, and again raises the question of why no clear determination had been made about many of them weeks ago.“Moscow Mayor Sobyanin had guts to tell Putin right into his face on Tuesday that the real situation is much worse than the official reports say,” Vladimir Ryzhkov, professor at the Higher School of Economics, told The Daily Beast. Earlier this month, Putin said that the situation with coronavirus was “under control.” Authorities told Russians not to spread fake news about the pandemic threat. When there were still just a few cases of COVID-19 in Russia, Anastasia Kirilenko, The Insider’s investigative reporter, heard tragic news from Novosibirsk: her 34-year-old cousin died of pneumonia. The Russian health system is in miserable shape in the regions, dozens of district clinics closed in rural remote towns all across the country in the past few years.“Regional paramedics diagnosed my cousin, a young and healthy man, with acute respiratory viral infection but did not do an x-ray to check why he had a high temperature during the last month of his life,” Kirilenko told The Daily Beast. “Now we wonder if my cousin had coronavirus just like thousands of other Russians who are said to have only pneumonia.”  Christopher Dickey also contributed to this article.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 04:49:57 -0400
  • Some doctors are telling patients to switch from contact lenses to glasses to lower their risk of contracting the coronavirus

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    Evidence suggests the coronavirus can enter the body through the eyes, so some eye doctors say glasses are safer.

    Mon, 30 Mar 2020 12:23:00 -0400
  • Saudis Start to Unleash Oil Wave Despite U.S. Pressure

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    (Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia has made good on its pledge to ramp up oil exports in April, with a first wave of crude already on its way toward Europe and the U.S., a clear sign the price war remains in full swing.The kingdom has loaded several of the supertankers it hired earlier this month to boost its ability to increase exports, according to ship-tracking data. In addition, Riyadh has used the last few weeks to shuttle large amounts of crude into storage in Egypt, a stepping stone to the European market.The movements suggest that Riyadh is ramping up its oil production toward its target of supplying a record 12.3 million barrels a day in April, up from about 9.7 million in February, despite American pressure to end the price war.Saudi Arabia earlier this month slashed its official selling prices and announced the output hike after Russia refused to join other nations inside the OPEC+ alliance to cut output. The announcement, interpreted in the market as an oil price war, sent Brent and West Texas Intermediate crudes tumbling. Since then, the collapse in oil demand due to lockdowns to stop the spread of the coronavirus has depressed prices even more.In a sign that Riyadh is opening the valves, oil shipments have already surged in late March. For the first three weeks of March, Saudi Arabia was exporting at a rate of around 7 million barrels a day, but that jumped to more than 9 million barrels a day in the fourth week of the month.With oil prices at the lowest in nearly two decades, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo last week directly asked the kingdom to “rise to the occasion and reassure” the energy market, diplomatic language for ending the oil price war.American President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, agreed in a phone call Monday that “current oil prices aren’t in the interests of our countries,” according to a Kremlin spokesman, though he declined to say what might be done to change the situation.Trump earlier indicated that he was concerned about the impact of low oil prices on the American petroleum industry. In an interview on “Fox & Friends,” he said Russia and Saudi Arabia “both went crazy” and started an oil price war.Despite the diplomatic pressure, Saudi Arabia is preparing to export more in the next few days. At least 16 very large crude carriers, collectively able to carry about 32 million barrels, are stationed near the Saudi oil terminals of Ras Tanura and Yanbu, according to shipping data tracked by Bloomberg.“Regardless of the recent headlines about the U.S. pressuring Saudi Arabia, we do not see any change in Saudi or Russian policy for now,” said Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at Energy Aspects Ltd., a London-based consultant.Riyadh has already loaded three supertankers that are likely to head to the U.S., and it’s loading a fourth right now, according to oil market intelligence firm Vortexa Inc. The tankers, all hired by the Saudi national tanker company in the past few weeks to boost its shipping capacity, include the Dalian, the Agios Sostis I, the Maran Canopus, and the Hong Kong Spirit.Shipments to EgyptAlready through March, Saudi Arabia has exported about 1.3 million barrels a day into Egypt -- the highest level in at least three years -- to pre-position crude for re-export into Europe, according to shipping tracking data compiled by Bloomberg and people familiar with the operation.The surge in shipments to Egypt was so large that the African nation may become the largest destination for Saudi crude in March, displacing China and Japan, which traditionally top the ranking every month.The cargoes have gone to a terminal at the south end of the Suez Canal before getting pumped via pipeline across the country to a storage and export facility called Sidi Kerir on the Mediterranean Sea. From there, the crude will then get re-exported as part of Saudi Arabia’s plan to supply as much as it can, at deep discounts, into a market that doesn’t need the supply. The world’s largest oil tankers, known as VLCCs, cannot sail the Suez Canal fully loaded due to draft limitations.The next sign of whether the oil price war continues will come around April 5, when state-owned Saudi Aramco is expected to release its monthly official selling prices for May. Oil refiners and traders believe that Riyadh will have to deepen its discounts to sell all the oil the kingdom wants. If Aramco does indeed deepen the discounts, it will trigger a fresh round of tit-for-tat actions with other oil producing nations, piling further pressure on prices.(Updates with statement from Kremlin in seventh paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 09:47:56 -0400
  • Rep. Velazquez has presumed COVID-19 infection, was near Pelosi, other lawmakers last week

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    Rep. Nydia Velazquez spoke on the House floor Friday and stood near Speaker Nancy Pelosi during the signing of the $2 trillion stimulus bill.

    Mon, 30 Mar 2020 15:28:00 -0400
  • US outlines plan for Venezuela transition, sanctions relief

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    The Trump administration is prepared to lift crippling sanctions on Venezuela in support of a new proposal to form a transitional government requiring both Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaidó to step aside in favor of a five-person governing council, U.S. officials said. The one-page “Democratic Transition Framework for Venezuela” was presented Tuesday by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. It echoes a proposal made over the weekend by Guaidó that shows how growing concerns about the coronavirus, which threatens to overwhelm the South American country's already collapsed health system and economy, are reviving U.S. attempts to pull the military apart from Maduro.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 07:08:13 -0400
  • 28 Texas spring breakers who just returned from Cabo have tested positive for the coronavirus

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    The spring breakers reportedly got on a chartered plane with 70 people. It shows why spring break is such a problem during the coronavirus pandemic.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 17:28:50 -0400
  • Mexican president flouts coronavirus protocol to shake hands with mother of 'El Chapo'

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    Mexican President Andres Lopez Obrador angered many when he shook hands with the mother of notorious drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

    Mon, 30 Mar 2020 19:22:00 -0400
  • Britain names new MI5 chief: the spy who investigated 2018 Novichok attack

    No description related. Click here to go to original article.

    Mon, 30 Mar 2020 06:30:14 -0400
  • US airlines must continue flying if they accept coronavirus relief

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    The U.S. Department of Transportation has proposed minimum service requirements for airlines based on schedules before the coronavirus outbreak.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 12:59:43 -0400
  • U.S. is swiftly deporting migrant children at the border

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    "Despite everything I experienced along the way, they deported me the next day," one indigenous teenager from Guatemala told CBS News.

    Mon, 30 Mar 2020 22:23:41 -0400
  • Coronavirus Erupts in Africa—Along With Deadly Rumors and Fear

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    ABUJA, Nigeria—Since late February, when Nigeria recorded its first case of COVID-19, taxi driver Ola Yusuf has been picking up passengers arriving at the busy Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos who are coming from countries badly hit by the coronavirus."Sometimes I carry up to four people, who are either friends or from the same family," Yusuf told The Daily Beast over the phone. "I'm often paid in cash" (a potential vector of disease).A day after the country's 12th case of coronavirus was reported on March 18, Yusuf began to develop fever, cough and fatigue but he refused to make any move to get himself tested. Like many Nigerians, he likes to believe the virus cannot survive in the country because of its hot weather, even though there is no empirical proof that's the case with this new disease."The story all over Lagos is that the weather will kill the virus so fast," said Yusuf, who continues to work despite his symptoms and contacts with multiple potential carriers. "If what I have is coronavirus, it will go before you know it."Across Africa, according to the most recent report by the World Health Organization on Sunday, more than 3,005 novel coronavirus infections have been reported in 42 sub-Saharan nations and territories, with another 1,317 in North Africa, and the number is now rising dramatically. There have been some 124 deaths, according to the WHO, but virtually all these numbers are vast undercounts since testing has been very limited, and some countries—notably Libya and Somalia—are in the middle of conflicts that make any public health initiatives difficult or impossible to carry out. Meanwhile the ability of the coronavirus to spread exponentially once it appears is all too well established. Ken Ofori-Atta, Ghana’s finance minister and chairman of the joint World Bank-IMF Development Committee told the Financial Times in an interview published Sunday that Africa has reached a “break the glass moment,” that is, an emergency where drastic action is needed from the international community in order to avert catastrophe. But with the richest nations in the world suffering their own enormous crises, help for the poorest continent may be hard to come by.The fear here is that if the disease gets into Africa's poorest neighborhoods, overcrowding and miserable sanitation could cause extremely rapid community transmission. And already the belated, panicked reaction of some governments is creating some hideous spectacles.In South Africa, the country’s health minister announced 10 days ago that the number of infections had increased from 52 to 202 in just a few days. Now the number of infections stands at 1,187, according to the WHO on Sunday, and 1,280 as of Monday on the Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracking site.The country’s security forces began to enforce a three-week nationwide lockdown last Thursday in an attempt to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Those efforts turned wild on Saturday as soldiers trying to curb the spread of the virus fired rubber bullets at hundreds of grocery shoppers in Johannesburg in a bid to keep them at safe distance. Many scared pedestrians reportedly crowded together in fear when confronted with the firearms.A similar scenario occurred in Kenya on Friday when police reportedly fired tear gas at a crowd of ferry commuters in the coastal city of Mombasa before the 7 p.m.-to-5 a.m. curfew came into force. Several human rights groups, including Amnesty International, said in a statement that they have continued to receive “testimonies from victims, eyewitnesses and video footage showing police gleefully assaulting members of the public in other parts of the country."The Coronavirus Disaster You’re Not Paying Attention ToThe rapid jump in the number of infections in the last few days means it's only a matter of time before COVID-19 moves from big cities, which have welcomed travelers infected in foreign nations, to rural areas where primary health care is almost non-existent.In Nigeria, for example, the government announced 94 new cases between March 17 and 28 despite recording only three cases between February 24 and March 16.Nigeria’s fight to contain the spread of the disease, difficult to begin with, was not helped by comments from United States President Donald Trump who claimed at a press briefing last week that chloroquine, a widely known anti-malarial drug, had been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat COVID-19. Despite the FDA’s subsequent denial that it had approved the use of the drug to treat the virus, Trump’s remarks that chloroquine had shown “very, very encouraging early results” in patients who tested positive for the coronavirus pushed thousands of anxious people in Nigeria to gather at pharmacies and patent medicine stores to buy the drug. A CNN report said at least three people in the city of Lagos overdosed on chloroquine and had to be hospitalized.“We do not have any hard evidence that chloroquine is effective in preventing or managing COVID-19,” the Lagos State government said in a statement, and expectations of a miracle treatment have made its efforts to promote social distancing even more difficult.Nigerian authorities also have huge problems getting people showing symptoms of the coronavirus to come out for testing or self isolate. About two-third of the cases so far recorded (111 by the Johns Hopkins count) are people who returned to the country from Italy, Canada, France, Netherlands, Spain, the U.S., and Britain, according to authorities. Tracing their contacts has been largely impossible, leaving open the probability that Africa's most populous nation may have far more coronavirus infections than has been reported.“Contact tracing is extremely important,” Nigeria’s minister of health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, told a press conference in Abuja, the nation’s capital, over a week ago. He estimated then that there were about 1,300 people who need to be found. Now the number would be many multiples higher.Most countries in West Africa have temporarily banned travel from places worst hit by the virus, but travel across the region under the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) protocol on free movement of people remains unrestricted for nationals from most of the area. There has already been one reported case of a COVID-19 carrier—an American citizen—entering Nigeria through its land border. Population mobility in West African countries is seven times higher than elsewhere in the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) noted in a report released in 2015 that the high degree of population movement across "exceptionally porous borders" in the region "created two significant impediments" to controlling the deadly Ebola outbreak of 2014, which killed over 11,000 people, mostly in West Africa."Cross-border contact tracing is difficult," the report said of the challenge it faced containing the spread of Ebola in the region six years ago. "Second, as the situation in one country began to improve, it attracted patients from neighboring countries seeking unoccupied treatment beds, thus reigniting transmission chains."As the coronavirus spreads, West Africa is highly likely to see a repeat of the huge challenges the region faced during the Ebola outbreak, which lasted for two years, infecting more than 28,000 people and killing over one-third of that number. While governments in the region may have learned valuable lessons from that ugly experience, the health systems will definitely not be able to cope with a massive outbreak of the more highly contagious COVID-19.Across the African continent, hospitals face enormous burdens already as high numbers of cases of infectious diseases and common ailments like malaria and measles are coupled with poor infrastructures and inadequate numbers of medical personnel. In Nigeria, there are only 40,000 doctors in a country of nearly 200 million people, according to the country's medical association. Nigeria's doctor-to-patient ratio is four physicians per 10,000 patients, according to the World Health Organization (PDF), which also said Nigeria has only five hospital beds for every 10,000 people.In Ghana, one of Africa’s most politically stable countries, the situation isn’t much better. Available statistics put the country’s hospital beds at 19,907. Ghana has nine beds per 10,000 thousand people, which is grossly inadequate.The ratio of hospital beds to population is even worse in Senegal, where data compiled by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) put the figure at three per 10,000 people, and Mali, which reportedly had only one hospital bed for every 10,000 people as of 2010.Of the continent's 54 countries, only 36 have the means to test for the coronavirus, according to a report by Bloomberg. A drastic increase in the number of suspected infections will make it extremely tough for laboratories to cope."It's clear that the health systems on the continent cannot handle a spike in coronavirus infections," says Dr. Collins Anyachi of the Department of Family Medicine, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital in southern Nigeria, where thousands of Cameroonians fleeing the Anglophone crisis in their country have sought refuge. "African governments have to put a lot of effort into educating their citizens on the benefits of maintaining good hygiene, social distancing, and the importance of self-isolating if experiencing symptoms of COVID-19."Another concern dealing with the virus in Africa is the issue of discrimination against sufferers of the disease. In Kenya, a man suspected of being infected with the coronavirus reportedly was beaten to death by a group of young men who threw stones at him after accusing him of having the respiratory illness.In Ethiopia, anti-foreigner sentiment began to emerge following the outbreak of the coronavirus that has now infected six people. A security alert from the U.S. embassy has warned that “foreigners have been attacked with stones, denied transportation services, being [sic] spat on, chased on foot, and been accused of being infected with COVID-19.”Public health and infectious disease experts in Africa, like their counterparts elsewhere in the world, are calling on their fellow citizens with symptoms of the coronavirus to self-quarantine. But such a simple request is unlikely to be followed in many places, where families squeeze in a single room and hundreds of people share a communal water pump.While a focus on promoting good hygiene is important to preventing the spread of the virus, it is less likely it can be widely achieved in a continent where, according to the WHO, in 34 African countries fewer than 50 percent of the people have access to basic hand washing facilities where they live.As for Ola Yusuf, the cab driver in Lagos, he says he is feeling a little better now. He’s not so tired. But he’s still coughing. And the passengers he has carried these last two weeks? Are they infected? Are they carriers? Nobody knows.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Mon, 30 Mar 2020 04:42:40 -0400
  • Trump Says He Could See Recommending All Americans Wear Masks in Public

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    President Donald Trump said Monday he could foresee a scenario where all Americans are recommended to wear masks in public to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 14:45:59 -0400
  • Women who left N.Y. for China amid U.S. coronavirus outbreak document their journey

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    “Because we're kind of in between these two cultures, we also understand both. So it feels like our experience could speak to both of the audiences.”

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 14:20:17 -0400
  • Florida governor loses latest bid to curtail felon voting

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    Florida officials have lost their latest bid to enforce a state law denying the right to vote for felons who have not paid all court fines and fees. Tuesday's decision by the entire bench of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was the latest setback for Gov. Ron DeSantis and fellow Republicans who have tried to limit the reach of Amendment 4, a ballot measure approved overwhelmingly by voters in 2018 that restores the vote to felons who have served their sentences. After voters approved Amendment 4, the Republican-controlled Legislature passed a bill signed by the governor stipulating that felons must pay all fines, restitution and other financial obligations before their sentences will be considered fully served.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 14:44:02 -0400
  • J&J just sped up the timeline for its coronavirus vaccine, and said it could be ready for emergency use early next year

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    The drugmaker said human testing will start no later than September on the potential coronavirus shot.

    Mon, 30 Mar 2020 09:13:00 -0400
  • The coronavirus is spreading quickly through Israel's ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities

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    In Israel, the coronavirus is spreading in ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities up to eight times faster than anywhere else in the country.Ultra-Orthodox Jews account for 12 percent of Israel's population, but they make up 40 to 60 percent of coronavirus patients at four of the country's largest hospitals, officials told Israeli media. Health experts said the virus is moving so quickly in these communities because the ultra-Orthodox have large families, don't trust the government, and pay little to no attention to secular media. Many are also still gathering for prayers and funerals, despite all Israelis being ordered to stay home.Bnei Brak is a suburb of Tel Aviv, and 95 percent of the population is ultra-Orthodox. On Friday, there were 267 confirmed coronavirus cases, and by Monday, that number climbed to 508. Several hundred mourners gathered in Bnei Brak on Saturday night for the funeral of a rabbi, prompting furious secular Israelis to call on the government to place Bnei Brak under curfew. On Monday, a New York Times journalist and photographer were told to leave a synagogue in the suburb where morning services were being held, and they walked past several groups meeting furtively for prayers.Bnei Brak has just one hospital, and its director general, Dr. Moti Ravid, told the Times he would like authorities to prohibit residents from leaving for at least one week, to slow down the coronavirus' spread. There are lots of small children living in the town, and "if they help to infect others, the result will be that many old people will die," he said.More stories from theweek.com Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is what real coronavirus leadership looks like Trump invoked the DPA 'hundreds of thousands of times' in his presidency before forcing GM to make ventilators USS Theodore Roosevelt captain says 'decisive action' is required to keep sailors safe from coronavirus

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 02:07:00 -0400
  • Armenia extends emergency restrictions until April 10

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    Armenia is extending emergency restrictions for another 10 days until April 10 in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Tuesday. The tiny former Soviet republic of around 3 million people has reported 532 cases of the virus, the highest number in the South Caucasus region. "We are doing this (extending the restrictions) to keep the situation under control," Pashinyan said during a live session on Facebook.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 10:44:07 -0400
  • Romanian Virus Death Toll Rises to Worst in EU’s Eastern Wing

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    (Bloomberg) -- Romania is suffering a surge in fatalities caused by the coronavirus after tens of thousands of its citizens returned from Italy and Spain, making it the worst-hit nation in central and eastern Europe.The death toll surged to 69 in the past 24 hours, with more than 2,100 people infected with COVID-19. That’s almost the combined number of deaths in Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic. The latter two countries -- along with Romania -- were among the European Union’s first after Italy to impose strict lockdowns on most aspects of public life earlier this month.A small historical town in the north of the country, Suceava, is the epicenter, with almost half of the deaths originating from a hospital where most doctors and nurses contracted the illness. The town, renowned for its UNESCO religious heritage status, was placed in full lockdown on Tuesday to try to limit the contagion. Authorities estimate that more than 1,000 more potentially positive cases are still unidentified.Ukraine also recorded the first cases in its western region bordering Romania. Authorities suspect a woman who returned from working in Italy passed the virus to 15 people in her village. Ukraine has currently registered 549 coronavirus cases and 13 deaths.Years of underfunding left Romania’s health-care system -- ranked one of Europe’s worst -- among the most exposed to the virus. In the face of the recent outbreak, medical staff at some small hospitals resigned, saying they don’t want to take the risk because they don’t have the proper equipment to treat infected patients.“I can’t issue a decree to force people to stay and fight on the front lines,” Health Minister Nelu Tataru said late Monday. “We’re making efforts to send equipment everywhere. This will give people the confidence they need to stay and fight.”Romania is trying to boost local production of face masks and protective suits, with companies switching production lines with help from the government. The cabinet of Prime Minister Ludovic Orban plans to boost the budget of the Health Ministry and will try to use all funds available at the EU level to confront the crisis.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 06:57:41 -0400
  • No, America’s Response to Coronavirus Isn’t the Worst in the World

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    The coronavirus pandemic is already a catastrophe. How we fare in comparison to the rest of the world is hardly of paramount importance. Once the Chinese government hid the outbreak, failed to contain it, and then misled the world, there remained little possibility that any nation, much less an enormous and open society like the United States, was going to be spared its devastation.Yet, when the political media isn’t preoccupied with a gotcha du jour, pundits, partisans, and journalists have seemed downright giddy to let their minions know that the United States now has the most coronavirus cases in the world. It took a six-siren-emoji tweet from MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough to tell us that fact.Here is how the New York Times’ Paul Krugman framed the number:> America's response to the coronavirus is the worst in the world, which is shocking and has a lot to do with a leader who is completely unfit, temperamentally and intellectually, for the job 1/ pic.twitter.com/sGZuFUukgr> > -- Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) March 29, 2020A Nobel Prize–winning economist surely understands that we don’t have enough data to definitively declare the United States the world leader in cases. Even if we did, it doesn’t necessarily follow that this is the fault of public policy. There are plenty of unexplained coronavirus disparities around the world.The Financial Times chart that that is circulated by Krugman and his fellow pundits, and sometimes cynically deployed as a means of attacking the administration’s response, is largely useless as a point of comparison. For one thing, a graph illustrating per capita cases in all the nations that the Financial Times chart includes looks different. A chart that combined all the cases in European nations — the continent has approximately the same population as the United States — would also look dramatically different. The known cases in Spain and Italy alone are nearly twice as many as the United States right now.Cross-country comparisons at a given point in time fail to account for many things, including density and time. Iceland is not like Italy, and New York is not like Alaska. And simply because nations such as Italy and Spain experienced outbreaks earlier and more deadly than nations such as Germany and Sweden does not mean the disparities are destined to last.Moreover, testing in the United States began slowly before being ratcheted up quickly (and criticism of that delay is a fair one). Thus, the curve reflects the reality of expanded testing as much as it reflects reality of the disease. And though I’m not a statistician, I do know that nations have varied criteria for testing, varied standards of testing, and varying effectiveness in the testing they do perform. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese coronavirus tests sent to European nations, for example, have turned out to faulty. The data are incomplete. Krugman’s claim lacks vital context.Speaking of China, accepting the veracity of numbers offered by the ChiCom government without any skepticism might be good enough for The New York Times and other outlets, but it shouldn’t be enough for anyone who values facts.It’s also worth mentioning that the timeline of these charts are also uncertain. It’s unlikely we know when the tenth or hundredth case was actually transmitted in China or Iran or even here -- and it’s possible that some people had died and some others had recovered before most people understood the magnitude of the future pandemic.All of this is worth keeping in mind when as we see journalists harping on the overall case number without context. If you want to continue to utilize this once-in-a-century pandemic as a cudgel against your political adversaries, have fun. But the most important gauges of success right now are flattening the curve so that hospitals aren’t overwhelmed with new patients, ramping up our testing capacity to get a better handle on the virus’s properties, and measuring the number of recoveries from coronavirus. Not owning Donald Trump.The United States has already dealt with coronavirus far better than the Chinese government. The fatality rate in the U.S., so far, is nowhere near that of Italy. Our dynamism is one of the reasons why an early high case count is a not a measure of either national success or failure. It’s not our nature to allow the state to close down borders, travel, or trade, or to stop interactions with the world — or with each other, for that matter. And yet, many of same people who incessantly and cynically warned of the coming Fourth Reich are now blaming the administration for not acting like a dictatorship. It’s difficult to keep up.

    Mon, 30 Mar 2020 16:02:37 -0400
  • What does furlough mean? Can I leave my home under shelter-in-place? Coronavirus terms, explained

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    What does it mean when you hear New York is the coronavirus "epicenter" in the United States? Do doctors say they need ventilators or respirator?

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 09:18:55 -0400
  • Coronavirus: Anger as migrants sprayed with disinfectant in India

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    Footage shared thousands of times shows a group of workers in India being sprayed with chemicals.

    Tue, 31 Mar 2020 09:33:59 -0400
  • U.S. set to lose title as top oil producer as demand plunges and gas drops below $1 per gallon

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    Gas has dipped below $1 a gallon in Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Wisconsin — but most people are not driving.

    Mon, 30 Mar 2020 12:57:27 -0400
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