Trump adviser warned of millions of virus deaths in January. Trump says he saw the memo only this week.

Trump adviser warned of millions of virus deaths in January. Trump says he saw the memo only this week.President Trump said Tuesday that he did not learn of two memos written in January and February by his own economic adviser warning that a COVID-19 pandemic could kill as many as 2 million Americans until “maybe a day ago.”


'It is an existential threat': As coronavirus spreads to Africa, health experts warn of catastrophe

'It is an existential threat': As coronavirus spreads to Africa, health experts warn of catastropheSo far, African countries have been spared the high death tolls seen in Italy, Spain, and the U.S., but officials are bracing for the worst in the coming weeks.


Photos show thousands packing into cars, planes, and trains in a rush to get out of Wuhan as China lifts the coronavirus lockdown

Photos show thousands packing into cars, planes, and trains in a rush to get out of Wuhan as China lifts the coronavirus lockdownChina ended the near-11-week lockdown of the city of Wuhan at midnight on Wednesday, sending floods of people out of the city.


Azul Rojas Marín: Peru found responsible for torture of LGBT person

Azul Rojas Marín: Peru found responsible for torture of LGBT personAzul Rojas Marín was beaten and raped in custody in Peru, a top human rights court rules.


Donations pour in but India's 'PM CARES' coronavirus fund faces criticism

Donations pour in but India's 'PM CARES' coronavirus fund faces criticismIndian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is facing criticism for creating a new coronavirus relief fund when about $500 million was lying unspent in an older fund, even as top businesses and celebrities pledge millions of dollars in new donations. Modi launched the "PM CARES" fund to provide relief to those affected by the coronavirus that has infected more than 5,000 people in India, and killed 149. The fund is expected to help millions of day labourers, many of whose lives were devastated by a nationwide lockdown ordered by Modi to stem the epidemic.


EU Nations Upgrade Trade Arsenal to Offset U.S. Attack on WTO
Bernie drops out, as Democrats pick pragmatism over consistency

Bernie drops out, as Democrats pick pragmatism over consistencyIn many ways, Bernie Sanders is the anti-Trump. And, in important ways, he ran his campaign as the anti-Biden.Sanders bowed out of the Democratic nomination race on April 8, repeating his runner-up status from four years earlier. His two runs at the White House have cemented his legacy as a consistent standard-bearer for progressive policies. The veteran democratic socialist possessed a rare quality for a political candidate in this age of Trumpian fickleness. He is a politician whose actions and beliefs have remained steadfast over time and across campaigns. But in the current political moment, it appears the Democratic electorate longs less for a politician who is consistent from day to day than one who can provide pragmatic leadership to unseat the vacillating Trump. Same ol’ SandersSanders ran his campaign as the antithesis of a political showman, who says one thing today and another tomorrow with little regard for facts and consistency. He has exhibited throughout his career what anthropologist Alessandro Duranti calls “existential coherence” – he is a political figure “whose past, present, and future actions, beliefs, and evaluations follow some clear basic principles, none of which contradicts another.” As a linguistic anthropologist who studies language and politics, I know that traditionally, candidates have worried about how to project a consistent political persona, and they have often gone to great pains to do so. But Trump shattered that expectation, excelling in self-contradictions and inconsistencies – often within a single sitting.Sanders, instead, has put forth a consistent vision that has remained more or less the same since his early days in politics as mayor of Burlington, Vermont. Rather than moving toward the electorate and shifting positions based on perceptions of what the electorate desired, the electorate has moved toward Sanders to join his vision for universal health care and other progressive causes. A CNBC survey in 2019 found that a majority of Americans supported progressive policies, including a higher minimum wage and Medicare for All – key issues that Sanders has been advocating throughout his decades-long political career. In an episode of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” last year, host Trevor Noah unearthed footage from 1987 of Sanders discussing politics on a local public access channel in his hometown of Burlington. The Bernie Sanders of 1987 talked of the unfair tax system that placed a large burden on working people and the need for universal health care. “We are one of two nations in the industrialized world that does not have a national health care system,” declared Sanders in 1987. Three decades later, in both his 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns, Sanders continued with that theme. In 2016, he released his Medicare for All plan by declaring, “It is time for our country to join every other major industrialized nation on Earth and guarantee health care to all citizens as a right, not a privilege.” His 2020 campaign website further echoed this sentiment, stating that “the United States will join every other major country on Earth and guarantee health care to all people as a right.” A consistent candidate often comes across as a more authentic candidate – someone who is staying true to his core self rather than pandering to the latest polling data or saying whatever will attract the most dramatic news coverage. Sanders’ authenticity as a candidate who has fought for working people and progressive ideals his entire life made him appealing to many liberals. He attracted an unshakable following of core supporters because of it. ‘Results, not revolution’Biden’s pragmatic approach, however, trumped Sanders’ often dogmatic consistency. In their debates, Sanders hammered Biden over what he saw as shifting stances on Social Security, Medicare and veterans’ programs. And then there was Biden’s 2003 vote for the Iraq war before he turned against it.But this is not the 2004 presidential election, where accusations of flip-flopping can sink a candidate, like it did John Kerry in his race against George W. Bush. Perhaps Donald Trump’s fickleness has changed what voters look for in a candidate. Maybe it’s simply that nobody cares about Biden’s apparent lack of judgment in 2003, which occurred well before he spent eight years as vice president in arguably one of the most popular Democratic administrations in U.S. history.Biden easily parried Sanders’ accusations of inconsistency by pointing to an underlying consistency of principles that have guided his varying positions over time. Voters ultimately decided to support someone who exhibits a practical sense of how to govern in a way that gets things done. As Biden said in his last debate with Sanders, “People are looking for results, not revolution.”On health care, one might have expected Sanders to have an advantage with his Medicare for All proposal, a consistent theme across his time as mayor, congressman, senator and presidential candidate. Polling done by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that for the first time a majority of Americans began to support a single government plan for health care in 2016, corresponding to the Sanders campaign push for Medicare for All.But in the same Kaiser poll, more Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents said they would prefer a candidate who would build on the Affordable Care Act rather than replace it. Biden’s campaign argued precisely for this more pragmatic approach, and he positioned himself as the right person to get the job done in a contentious political environment. An overtureAfter sweeping the primaries in Florida, Illinois and Arizona in March – putting the wheels in motion for the eventual withdrawal of Sanders from the race – Biden then struck the right chord in his speech after the Florida primary by making an appeal to Sanders voters. “I hear you,” he said. “I know what’s at stake. I know what we have to do. Our goal as a campaign and my goal as a candidate for president is to unify this party and then to unify the nation.” Biden’s appeal to Sanders voters suggests he may be willing to absorb some of the best ideas from Sanders – and other candidates. It’s a pragmatic approach, rather than a dogmatic consistency, that may bring along their supporters, too. That may be exactly what he will need to do to beat Trump in November.[You’re smart and curious about the world. So are The Conversation’s authors and editors. You can read us daily by subscribing to The Conversation’s newsletter.]This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts.Read more: * Biden’s big night with moderates, African Americans and baby boomers * Biden’s resurrection was unprecedented – and well-timedAdam Hodges does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.


The White House is reportedly developing a plan to get back to 'normality'

The White House is reportedly developing a plan to get back to 'normality'Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, told Democratic lawmakers during a phone call Wednesday that the Trump administration is developing a framework for getting the United States back into a state of "normality" in the wake of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Politico reports.Fauci didn't provide any possible timeline, but he did say the White House will likely issue some guidance in the coming days about transitioning society out of lockdown eventually.The cautious forward thinking is likely a result of some optimism among the White House coronavirus task force. Vice President Mike Pence, who heads the unit, told lawmakers there have been early signs that new cases are stabilizing in some areas, echoing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (D) comments earlier in the day.That doesn't mean Fauci, Pence, or lawmakers are relaxing, of course. "They're starting to see, they think, this virus in some of these known hot spots begin to maybe top out," Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) told Politico. "There are some hopeful signs in New York and other places. But we all know there's a long way to go." Read more at Politico.More stories from theweek.com Dr. Anthony Fauci cautiously predicts kids will return to school next fall, 'but it's going to be different' The coming backlash against the public health experts Trump says he doesn't know who Joe Exotic is, but he'll 'take a look' at pardoning him


JetBlue suspends flights at eight airports, including New York LaGuardia, Baltimore, San Jose
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown blasts Trump but praises Republican governor's response to coronavirus

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown blasts Trump but praises Republican governor's response to coronavirusSen. Sherrod Brown defeated Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine in 2006, but now praises his old political foe's response to the coronavirus pandemic.


As coronavirus spreads, mentally ill Americans are left scrambling for options

As coronavirus spreads, mentally ill Americans are left scrambling for optionsThe rapid spread of the coronavirus has dramatically affected the one in five Americans who deal with mental health in any given year, as well as those who work tirelessly to keep those individuals well.


One chart shows how long the coronavirus lives on surfaces like cardboard, plastic, wood, and steel

One chart shows how long the coronavirus lives on surfaces like cardboard, plastic, wood, and steelRecent research shows that the coronavirus lives longest on glass, paper money, and the outside of surgical masks.


Your Home (and Mind) Needs One of These High-Design Mobiles
Coronavirus: Why China's claims of success raise eyebrows

Coronavirus: Why China's claims of success raise eyebrowsChina has claimed its first day without a virus death, but faces lingering scepticism over its data.


Texas teen accused of threatening to spread coronavirus is charged

Texas teen accused of threatening to spread coronavirus is chargedMaradiaga claimed in a series of Snapchat videos to have tested positive and threatened to willfully spread COVID-19, according to police.


India's financial hub Mumbai set to extend coronavirus lockdown: sources

India's financial hub Mumbai set to extend coronavirus lockdown: sourcesIndia's financial hub Mumbai is set to extend lockdown measures until at least April 30 as authorities race to expand testing to stem the spread of coronavirus cases in the city, three senior officials said. A 21-day nationwide lockdown that Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared in late March to fight the epidemic is officially set to end on April 14. The Mumbai municipal authority and the state government in the western state of Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital, both declined to comment.


Iran supreme leader approves withdrawal of 1 billion euros from sovereign wealth fund to fight coronavirus

Iran supreme leader approves withdrawal of 1 billion euros from sovereign wealth fund to fight coronavirusIran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has approved the withdrawal of 1 billion euros from the country's sovereign wealth fund to help fight the coronavirus epidemic, President Hassan Rouhani's official website said on Monday.


The Supreme Court’s Misunderstood Ruling on Wisconsin’s Coronavirus Primary

The Supreme Court’s Misunderstood Ruling on Wisconsin’s Coronavirus PrimaryThere seems to be some confusion about the Supreme Court’s ruling on Monday in connection with Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary. This owes to reporting that suggests, or at least could lead its audience to believe, that the Court’s five conservative-leaning, Republican-appointed justices, over the strident objection of its four left-leaning, Democratic-appointed justices, directed that the primary proceed with in-person voting, despite the coronavirus threat.That is not what happened.The state government of Wisconsin, led by Governor Anthony Steven Evers, a Democrat, made the decision to go forward with the primary, and with in-person voting. As the Court’s majority emphasizes, that was not the Court’s call, nor is it the Court’s place to opine on the wisdom of the state government’s decision.The majority’s unsigned opinion explains that the issue the Court was called upon to decide was a narrow one, pertaining to absentee ballots. Specifically, at the urging of Democratic Party organizations concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on voting, federal district judge William Conley (an Obama appointee) extended the deadline for receipt of mail-in ballots from Tuesday April 7 (the primary-election day) to Monday afternoon, April 13. That aspect of the district court’s ruling was not in dispute. Judge Conley, however, directed that that absentee ballots were eligible to be counted regardless of when they were mailed in or otherwise delivered, as long as they came in by the April 13 deadline. In effect, that meant absentee ballots could be cast after in-person primary voting had closed on April 7.Obviously, this could mean the election would be materially altered by events occurring after formal conclusion of the primary election -- not least, news about the apparent election result. To address this problem, Judge Conley further ordered the Wisconsin Election Commission and election inspectors to suppress any report of the voting results until after the new April 13 deadline for the receipt of absentee ballots.There were at least three problems with this resolution. First, when they filed their lawsuit, the Democratic plaintiffs had not asked the district court to permit the mailing of ballots after the polls were closed on April 7. Second, the Wisconsin Election Commission and election inspectors were not parties to the lawsuit, and thus did not have a right to be heard before Judge Conley gagged them. Finally, the district court’s resolution worked a significant change in election rules. This ran afoul of Supreme Court precedent, particularly the 2006 Purcell v. Gonzalez decision, which instructed lower federal courts to resist altering rules on the eve of an election.Consequently, the majority (Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh) ruled that in order for votes to count, the absentee ballots must be postmarked by Election Day (April 7) and received by the Election Commission by April 13.Justice Ginsburg dissented (joined by Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan). She argued that the coronavirus crisis had backlogged the Election Commission with mail-in-ballot requests, meaning that many such ballots (potentially thousands of them) would not be provided to voters in time to comply with the April 7 deadline. Ergo, the Court’s ruling needlessly placed voters in the quandary of risking disease by voting in person or forfeiting their right to vote -- in an important election in which not only the Democratic presidential nomination but many seats on the Wisconsin state courts, including its highest court, are at stake.Justice Ginsburg has a good point about the majority’s reliance on Democratic organizations’ failure to ask for an extension of the mail-in deadline. Oddly, the majority asserts that Ginsburg’s dissent “entirely disregards the critical point that the plaintiffs themselves did not ask for this additional relief in their preliminary injunction motions.” To the contrary, Justice Ginsburg counters that, while the plaintiffs omitted that request from their written motions, they explicitly argued for it at the hearing. They did this on their own, unbidden by Judge Conley, because by then the pandemic had caused a surging demand for absentee ballots. Given the majority’s concession that it is not “necessarily” concluding that Democrats forfeited this relief, Ginsburg is persuasive in rebutting their argument.On the other hand, Justice Ginsburg is at her least persuasive in turning the Purcell precedent on its head. She argues that it is not Judge Conley but the Court itself that runs afoul of Purcell: On the eve of the election, it has altered the election rules that were in place -- i.e., the ones fashioned by Conley. The point of Purcell, however, is to instruct the lower courts not to alter election rules. If federal judges ignore binding Supreme Court guidance, the Court obviously must overrule them -- otherwise, what is the point of having the guidance?If I had my druthers, absentee balloting would not be permitted except in extraordinary circumstances. Voting is a sufficiently important privilege that we should all troop to the polling place and cast our ballots on Election Day. This way, we all vote based on the same available information, and the chances of fraud -- which is what you should worry about if you are truly concerned about disenfranchisement -- are minimized.Still, I’m sympathetic to the dissent in this case. My views notwithstanding, voting by mail is widely permitted. Even for traditionalists, moreover, absentee balloting is permissible in extraordinary circumstances. What could be more extraordinary than the ongoing health crisis? It is being demanded of Americans that they shut down their livelihoods for the greater good of stopping the spread of a deadly infectious disease. How ridiculous, then, that Wisconsin state officials have not canceled in-person voting as other states have done. They should have either made it easier for people to vote by mail or postponed the election until it could safely be held.Regardless of what one thinks about the ruling, though, the Supreme Court is getting a bad rap. Their case is about nothing more than whether ballots mailed in the six-day period after Election Day should count. It was not the justices’ decision to go forward with Wisconsin’s primary during a pandemic. Nor is the Court any way responsible for the risks entailed by in-person voting.


Mattis rebukes Trump over removal of Pentagon inspector general

Mattis rebukes Trump over removal of Pentagon inspector generalIn Donald Trump’s latest salvo in an ongoing bid to reshape government oversight of his administration, the president fired the Pentagon inspector general charged with overseeing implementation of the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package. 


Column: 'Pharma bro' Martin Shkreli wants out of prison to find a cure for coronavirus

Column: 'Pharma bro' Martin Shkreli wants out of prison to find a cure for coronavirusIn act of chutzpah, 'Pharma bro' Shkreli seeks prison release to find a coronavirus cure.


86-year-old and three sons die after contracting COVID-19

86-year-old and three sons die after contracting COVID-19The mother and three sons all died within days of each other, the New Orleans Coroner's Office confirmed.


Sweden, which refused to implement a coronavirus lockdown, has so far avoided a mass outbreak. Now it's bracing for a potential surge in deaths.

Sweden, which refused to implement a coronavirus lockdown, has so far avoided a mass outbreak. Now it's bracing for a potential surge in deaths.Sweden urged people to practice social distancing but left shops and restaurants open, contrasting with many countries across Europe and the world.


Japan to Fund Firms to Shift Production Out of China

Japan to Fund Firms to Shift Production Out of China(Bloomberg) -- Japan has earmarked $2.2 billion of its record economic stimulus package to help its manufacturers shift production out of China as the coronavirus disrupts supply chains between the major trading partners.The extra budget, compiled to try to offset the devastating effects of the pandemic, includes 220 billion yen ($2 billion) for companies shifting production back to Japan and 23.5 billion yen for those seeking to move production to other countries, according to details of the plan posted online.The move coincides with what should have been a celebration of friendlier ties between the two countries. Chinese President Xi Jinping was supposed to be on a state visit to Japan early this month. But what would have been the first visit of its sort in a decade was postponed a month ago amid the spread of the virus and no new date has been set.China is Japan’s biggest trading partner under normal circumstances, but imports from China slumped by almost half in February as the disease shuttered factories, in turn starving Japanese manufacturers of necessary components.That has renewed talk of Japanese firms reducing their reliance on China as a manufacturing base. The government’s panel on future investment last month discussed the need for manufacturing of high-added value products to be shifted back to Japan, and for production of other goods to be diversified across Southeast Asia.“There will be something of a shift,” said Shinichi Seki, an economist at the Japan Research Institute, adding that some Japanese companies manufacturing goods in China for export were already considering moving out. “Having this in the budget will definitely provide an impetus.” Companies, such as car makers, that are manufacturing for the Chinese domestic market, will likely stay put, he said.Testing TimesJapan exports a far larger share of parts and partially finished goods to China than other major industrial nations, according to data compiled for the panel. A February survey by Tokyo Shoko Research Ltd. found 37% of the more than 2,600 companies that responded were diversifying procurement to places other than China amid the coronavirus crisis.It remains to be seen how the policy will affect Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s years-long effort to restore relations with China.“We are doing our best to resume economic development,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a briefing Wednesday in Beijing, when asked about the move. “In this process, we hope other countries will act like China and take proper measures to ensure the world economy will be impacted as little as possible and to ensure that supply chains are impacted as little as possible.”The initial stages of the Covid-19 outbreak in China appeared to warm the often chilly ties between the two countries. Japan provided aid in the form of masks and protective gear -- and in one case a shipment was accompanied by a fragment of ancient Chinese poetry. In return, it received praise from Beijing.In another step welcomed in Japan, China declared Avigan, an anti-viral produced by Japan’s Fujifilm Holdings Corp. to be an effective treatment for the coronavirus, even though it has yet to be approved for that use by the Japanese.Yet many in Japan are inclined to blame China for mishandling the early stages of the outbreak and Abe for not blocking visitors from China sooner.Meanwhile, other issues that have deeply divided the neighbors -- including a territorial dispute over East China Sea islands that brought them close to a military clash in 2012-13 -- are no nearer resolution.Chinese government ships have continued their patrols around the Japanese-administered islands throughout the crisis, with Japan saying four Chinese ships on Wednesday entered what it sees as its territorial waters.(Updates with comment from economist in sixth 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.


Congo mine gun attack kills three Chinese nationals: Xinhua

Congo mine gun attack kills three Chinese nationals: XinhuaA gun attack in a mining area in the Democratic Republic of Congo has killed three Chinese nationals, China's official Xinhua news agency reported, citing the Chinese embassy in the mineral-rich central African country.


U.S. reports 1,200 coronavirus deaths in one day as China lifts lockdown

U.S. reports 1,200 coronavirus deaths in one day as China lifts lockdownNation's top infectious diseases expert said he is "cautiously optimistic" that worst projections may be avoided "if we keep our foot on the accelerator."


Coronavirus wreaks havoc in African American neighbourhoods

Coronavirus wreaks havoc in African American neighbourhoodsBlack Chicagoans account for 70% of coronavirus deaths, despite making up 30% of the population.


VP talk could intensify with Harris fundraising moves

VP talk could intensify with Harris fundraising movesCalifornia Sen. Kamala Harris made two notable fundraising moves Wednesday that are sure to fuel speculation about her prospects to be Joe Biden's running mate on the Democratic presidential ticket. Harris, who dropped out of the White House race in December, set up a joint fundraising operation with the Democratic National Committee, an arrangement that is typically reserved for nominees trying to attract large donations from the party’s biggest boosters. Hours later, she made a surprise appearance on a virtual fundraiser, introducing Biden to donors.


Jewish world marks start of 'strange' Passover

Jewish world marks start of 'strange' PassoverJews marked the start of a "strange" Passover holiday on Wednesday as the coronavirus pandemic prevented the large family gatherings usually organised for the traditional Seder meal. In Israel, which has more than 9,000 confirmed cases of the deadly virus, a nationwide curfew was in effect, with security forces deployed on the streets to prevent anyone seeking to visit relatives in violation of social-distancing measures. In an English language message to Jews across the world, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged that this year's Passover was "strange" and "different from all other Passovers."


Obesity is major COVID-19 risk factor, says French chief epidemiologist

Obesity is major COVID-19 risk factor, says French chief epidemiologistBeing overweight is a major risk for people infected with the new coronavirus and the United States is particularly vulnerable because of high obesity levels there, France's chief epidemiologist said on Wednesday. Professor Jean-François Delfraissy, who heads the scientific council that advises the government on the epidemic, said as many as 17 million of France's 67 million citizens were seriously at risk from the coronavirus because of age, pre-existing illness or obesity. "That is why we're worried about our friends in America, where the problem of obesity is well known and where they will probably have the most problems because of obesity."


India drops drug export ban after Trump threatens "retaliation"

India drops drug export ban after Trump threatens "retaliation"As it's tested as a possible treatment for COVID-19, India had barred exports of hydroxychloroquine, until Trump weighed in.


More than 90,000 cruise crewmembers left to battle coronavirus – at times without pay

More than 90,000 cruise crewmembers left to battle coronavirus – at times without payCrew members are having just as trouble as passengers in getting off ships once their skills are no longer needed.


Dems Demand Half of $251 Billion in Additional Small Business Loans Be Targeted to Minority, Women-Owned Companies

Dems Demand Half of $251 Billion in Additional Small Business Loans Be Targeted to Minority, Women-Owned CompaniesThe White House is requesting an additional $251 billion for additional small business lending as part of the government’s coronavirus response, eliciting a counter from congressional Democrats asking for $125 billion in targeted aid for farmers, women, minorities, and veteran-owned businesses.“I’ll be asking Congress to provide an additional $250 billion for the paycheck protection, which will help keep Americans employed, to facilitate a quick and full recovery,” President Trump said on Tuesday at the White House during a coronavirus task force briefing.The Senate’s phase-three package, which passed last month, earmarked $350 billion to make small business loans through commercial banks to companies with 500 or fewer employees, provided the companies agree to keep workers on the payroll. As part of the “Paycheck Protection Program,” most or all of the loan would be written off if the borrower retained its workers and didn’t cut their wages, with the government repaying the banks for the forgiven portions of the loans.In a letter to Capitol Hill, the White House Office of Management and Budget said that the program, conducted through the Small Business Administration (SBA), has administered over 220,000 loans — totaling approximately $66 billion. “Given the level of demand for the program, the Administration believes the funds appropriated for this program will soon be exhausted,” the letter reads.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said in a statement on Tuesday that he hoped to approve the additional funding with unanimous consent or a voice vote during a procedural session on Thursday, without the full chamber present.“It is quickly becoming clear that Congress will need to provide more funding or this crucial program may run dry,” McConnell said. “That cannot happen. Nearly 10 million Americans filed for unemployment in just the last two weeks. This is already a record-shattering tragedy, and every day counts.”Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) — who said she was open to “an interim package” — countered with their own proposal Wednesday, which placed a number of conditions on the new funding to make sure 50 percent of it goes to farmers, women, minorities, and veteran-owned businesses. The proposal also called for an additional $100 billion in hospital funding and $150 billion more for state and local governments.


Surgeon General says he's 'optimistic' the coronavirus impact can be slowed if US keeps up social distancing for 30 days

Surgeon General says he's 'optimistic' the coronavirus impact can be slowed if US keeps up social distancing for 30 daysThe US is not in the clear: More than 378,200 coronavirus cases and 11,800 deaths have been reported as of Tuesday.


Wuhan Shows the World Its Post-Coronavirus Future

Wuhan Shows the World Its Post-Coronavirus FutureHONG KONG—Trains are leaving Wuhan for the first time since January 23, carrying 55,000 people out of the city in one day. Long-haul buses are moving passengers across provinces. Planes are taking off at the airport again. Roadblocks on outbound highways have been removed, and cars have been streaming through since midnight. The lockdown of the first epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic—after doctors who flagged the unusual virus were gagged by authorities—was lifted at midnight local time on Wednesday. U.S. Eyes Second Coronavirus Outbreak in ChinaIt’s difficult to look back at the lockdown without feeling like it was an 11-week internment. More than 3,300 people reportedly have died in China due to COVID-19, including nearly 2,600 in the city of Wuhan alone. (The official tallies are deemed by medical professionals in China and abroad to be much lower than the actual count.) Intensive care units were, of course, where the most recorded deaths occurred; the mortality rate in Wuhan’s ICUs was between 25 and 30 percent, according to Dr. Peng Zhiyong, who led two ICU teams in the city and maintained the lowest rates of fatalities and hospital transmissions at the facilities where he worked.Now, after daily—hourly, constant—checks on the epidemic curve, there is an uneasy mixture of relief and apprehension as life in Wuhan crawls back to a normal pace and Hubei province reconnects with the rest of the country.There are lessons here for the hard-hit United States, where to date almost four times as many people have died as in China, judging by official numbers. But, sadly, those lessons are limited. Other countries may benefit more from what has been learned in Wuhan.In the United States, the Trump administration apparently expects 50 states to compete with each other, and with the federal government, for vital resources. In China, the all-powerful Chinese Communist Party poured everything it could into Wuhan and Hubei after the very strict province-wide lockdown. It flew in medical workers from all over the country, military assistance, construction workers to build hospitals, and others to enforce the quarantines while enhancing survival rates.For two and a half months, Hubei’s 60 million people—roughly the population of Italy—have been confined to their homes. To venture out in public for crucial supply runs, they had to pass through checkpoints manned by private security guards, neighborhood-level Chinese Communist Party custodians, or police officers. The population’s material needs were taken care of, but there was a constant air of uncertainty about what might happen next. Might there be a surge in infection numbers and deaths the next day? Could one’s neighbor, parent, friend fall ill and fail to find medical assistance at the packed hospitals? What if the pandemic does not end?Today, the physical signs of those weeks of worry remain present. Barbed wire still runs along the tops of walls surrounding some residential complexes, installed to prevent people from leaping over the barriers to cure their cabin fever. Many older buildings—those with only two or three floors—are still boarded up.So far, it hasn’t been a smooth transition for Wuhan. There were plenty of dead car batteries. Social distancing was difficult to achieve on public transportation. Frequent temperature checks and pauses to disinfect slowed down movement across the city—although few were in a rush to begin with.Even at the beginning of the week, Wuhan and the rest of Hubei were coming back to life slowly. Some restaurants lit their stove fires again—patrons couldn’t always dine in, but they placed orders and waited patiently for their takeout, standing five or six feet apart from each other. Sounds and smells of human activity were returning. You could spot people strolling along the quiet waterfront—just a handful, but enough to give the impression that things could go back to normal, that maybe not all of spring was lost. Now, across mainland China, it’s common enough to see people wearing latex gloves and plastic goggles when they are outside of their homes. Masks are mandatory in public areas, meant to limit significantly the virus’ spread in case you are a carrier. This curtails the footprint of the coronavirus—a particularly important act because medical professionals believe that many people who carry the virus are asymptomatic, meaning they may not even realize that they can cause severe illness in others.When much of China was still under lockdown, people spoke of “revenge spending,” a term that harks back to the spike in consumption after the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976, now appropriated to outline the urge to splurge after shops reopen when the COVID pandemic subsides. But while businesses in Wuhan, Hubei, and the rest of the country have spun up operations again, consumers have been cautious about their expenditures. Many have drained significant chunks of their savings, and the likelihood of a second wave of infections hitting later this year has people worrying that they will have to hunker down again, this time with even tighter purse strings.China Hijacked This American Mom’s Tweets for Coronavirus PropagandaIn the first three months of this year, nearly half a million businesses in China went belly up. More are expected to declare bankruptcy in the coming weeks. Companies that ship goods to other countries are being hit hard as foreign clients seek delays in shipments or are canceling orders altogether.Firms involved in mass-scale surveillance, however, are more active than ever. Throughout China, smartphone-based tracking measures are now used to indicate a person’s health status and location history. Whip out your phone and call up your assigned QR code—if it’s green, then you can access public transportation, as well as facilities like shopping malls, restaurants, and parks. The same tools are used to determine whether a person can travel throughout the country. The exception is the capital, Beijing, where all arrivals must commit to 14 days of quarantine.This isn’t a policy that is unique to China. Around the world, at least 24 countries are tracking their citizens’ locations using applications that went online during the COVID-19 pandemic, and at least 14 nations have rolled out apps for contact tracing or as part of quarantine protocols, according to information compiled by Human Rights Watch, Privacy International, and more than 100 other organizations.Yet even with a digital dragnet over the country, our lack of understanding of the coronavirus and COVID-19 brings about intense uneasiness. It is still unclear how common asymptomatic transmission is, but classified Chinese documents seen by reporters of Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post suggest that up to one-third of people who test positive could be carrying the virus without showing any symptoms. People I spoke to in Wuhan, Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou were all anxious about how every human body—including their own—has the potential to become a walking bio-bomb that could kill a friend or loved one. It’s a distressing thought that is compounded when a nation is being steered by its central government to return to the tempo from three months ago.The weekend was a reminder that the pandemic has left indelible imprints on China—and the rest of the world. Last Saturday was a day of mourning for those who died in China due to COVID-19. At 10:00 a.m., people stopped what they were doing to observe three minutes of silence. Sirens wailed. Drivers sounded their vehicles’ horns. Flags flew at half-mast. In every city, town, and village, tears fell. Chinese Communist Party leaders, including President Xi Jinping, gathered at Zhongnanhai, the headquarters of the CCP and central government in the capital, where a banner reading “deeply mourn for martyrs and compatriots” now hangs. The party has claimed every casualty as one of its own.Yet none of this implies that China is on the other side of this viral calamity. Last week, Zeng Guang, the chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said the country “has not reached the end [of the pandemic], but is merely entering a new phase.” The main worry, for now, is that asymptomatic carriers will infect others as people travel across the country to get back to work, ultimately negating the months-long containment efforts that have placed life on hold for many millions of people.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.


'It's like nothing else': Klobuchar, husband talk about his battle with coronavirus

'It's like nothing else': Klobuchar, husband talk about his battle with coronavirus"It's one of the hardest, hardest things," Klobuchar told NBC News in an exclusive interview about her family's ordeal.


Bernie Sanders speaks on 'painful' decision to exit the 2020 race, says he'll keep gathering delegates

Bernie Sanders speaks on 'painful' decision to exit the 2020 race, says he'll keep gathering delegatesSen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Wednesday officially conceded the Democratic presidential primary to former Vice President Joe Biden but said he will still stay on the ballot and continue to gather delegates through the party's convention. After suspending his campaign for president, Sanders addressed supporters in a live stream, describing his decision to exit as "very difficult and painful." But he admitted it has become "virtually impossible" for him to win the Democratic nomination and he "cannot in good conscience continue" running, especially in light of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. "If I believed that we had a feasible path to the nomination, I would certainly continue the campaign, but it's just not there," Sanders said.Sanders also congratulated Biden, who is now the only Democratic candidate left in the race, describing him as a "very decent man." At the same time, Sanders said he will remain on the ballot in all remaining states and not stop gathering delegates."While Vice President Biden will be the nominee, we must continue working to assemble as many delegates as possible at the Democratic convention, where we will be able to exert significant influence over the party platform and other functions," Sanders said. Biden in a lengthy statement on Wednesday praised Sanders and told his supporters, "I see you, I hear you. and I understand the urgency of what it is we have to get done in this country. I hope you will join us." > Sanders says he will stay on the ballot in remaining primary states so that he can keep winning delegates, in hopes of exerting "significant influence" on the Democratic Party platform> > But he says he'll also work with presumptive nominee, Joe Biden https://t.co/9GZS7qcBFb pic.twitter.com/qEXyCg4ZMt> > -- CBS News (@CBSNews) April 8, 2020More stories from theweek.com Dr. Anthony Fauci cautiously predicts kids will return to school next fall, 'but it's going to be different' The coming backlash against the public health experts Trump says he doesn't know who Joe Exotic is, but he'll 'take a look' at pardoning him


Korean Air puts 70 percent of staff on leave

Korean Air puts 70 percent of staff on leaveKorean Air is the flagship of the Hanjin group, one of the multifaceted, family-controlled conglomerates known as chaebols that dominate business in South Korea and played a key part in its rise to become the world's 12th-largest economy. Most of its staff will go on leave from April 16 for six months in response to "deteriorating business circumstances", Korean Air said in a statement. Korean Air's labour union agreed to participate as part of a "burden-sharing" initiative, the company said -- executives have also agreed to take pay cuts.


Speed of coronavirus deaths shock doctors as New York toll hits new high

Speed of coronavirus deaths shock doctors as New York toll hits new highNew York state, epicenter of America's coronavirus crisis, set another single-day record of COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, as veteran doctors and nurses voiced astonishment at the speed with which patients were deteriorating and dying. The number of known coronavirus infections in New York state alone approached 150,000 on Wednesday, even as authorities warned that the official death tally may understate the true number because it omits those who have perished at home. "Every number is a face, " said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who ordered flags flown at half-staff across New York in memory of the victims.


China investigates party member critical of government's handling of coronavirus outbreak

China investigates party member critical of government's handling of coronavirus outbreakChina is investigating a prominent Communist Party member who criticized leader Xi Jinping’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.


U.K. Records Highest Daily Deaths With Johnson in Intensive Care

U.K. Records Highest Daily Deaths With Johnson in Intensive Care(Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Boris Johnson was still being monitored in a critical care unit as the U.K.’s coronavirus crisis deepened, with the highest daily rise in deaths so far.After he was taken into intensive care Monday, Johnson, 55, remained in a stable condition receiving oxygen treatment, and has not been diagnosed with pneumonia or put on a ventilator, his officials said. A statement Tuesday evening said this was unchanged.But the prime minister’s personal struggle to recover from Covid-19 leaves the U.K. without its leader at a critical time as the country prepares for cases to increase over the next 10 days. The death toll rose by 786, the Department for Health said Tuesday, bringing the total to 6,159.Asked why the U.K.’s death rates were so much higher than Germany’s, England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty appeared to blame the British government’s lack of wide testing for the virus.There were hints of better news elsewhere in the U.K. data, according to a televised briefing shortly after the death figures were published. There is no acceleration in the number of new cases, and it is “possible” that the infection curve is starting to flatten, said Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser. The trend won’t be clear for about another week, he said.With Johnson out of action, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is deputizing at the head of the government, with the peak of the outbreak expected in the days ahead. “I’m confident he’ll pull through because if there’s one thing I know about the prime minister, he’s a fighter,” Raab said at the same press conference on Tuesday evening.The cabinet is working collectively to deliver Johnson’s instructions on fighting the pandemic, Raab said when asked how much power he has over government policy.Johnson was taken to St. Thomas’ Hospital in London on Sunday evening after struggling to shake off virus symptoms for 10 days.Adding to the government’s woes, Cabinet Minister Michael Gove -- a key member of Johnson’s top team -- said he is in self-isolation after a family member displayed symptoms of coronavirus at the weekend. Gove has no symptoms himself and is continuing to work, he said in a Twitter post on Tuesday.Raab and the rest of the Cabinet face a series of key decisions in the days ahead -- on the process for easing the national lock down, and whether restrictions on people’s movements should be lifted, extended or tightened even further.Trump SupportIt’s an extraordinary turn of events for Johnson. Just over two months ago, he was at the peak of his powers, celebrating Britain’s departure from the European Union after scoring an emphatic election victory.U.S. President Donald Trump, a supporter of Johnson, said at a press briefing that he has told pharmaceutical companies to get in touch with London to offer help. Trump cited “rather complex” therapeutic treatments for the virus with “really incredible results,” but didn’t specify them.“When you get brought into intensive care, that gets very, very serious with this particular disease,” Trump said.With Johnson out of action, the untested Raab will now need to get a grip on the government machine and coordinate the pandemic response. Britain’s strategy for defeating coronavirus has already come under strain, with ministers accepting they had not done enough to test people for infections.Johnson himself was criticized by medical experts and members of his own Conservative Party for failing to act quickly enough to close schools and ban public gatherings.Cabinet DivisionsThere have been divisions among Johnson’s officials during his period of isolation already, a situation that risks getting worse with Raab, who was a leadership rival to Johnson last year, now in charge. Gove and Health Secretary Matt Hancock also stood for party leader and are now in lead roles in the virus strategy.On Tuesday, Gove told the BBC the government is working “in a team way” and taking decisions “completely by consensus,” as Raab chairs key meetings. “Physically, Boris is full of life and fit -- he is a keen tennis player and runner and he’s a man of great zest and appetite for life,” Gove told LBC radio later. “We hope and pray that he enjoys a quick recovery.”Johnson revealed on March 27 he had tested positive for coronavirus and was going into isolation in his Downing Street apartment. His meals and official papers were left outside his door, but he continued to chair daily crisis meetings via video link.The premier recorded several “selfie” video messages for social media in recent days in which he insisted he was doing well and remained in charge. At times, though, he appeared short of breath and visibly unwell.After being taken into intensive care, the premier received well wishes from colleagues including his predecessors Theresa May and David Cameron, as well as his chief opponent, Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer. International leaders including Irish premier Leo Varadkar and President Emmanuel Macron of France also sent messages of support.Johnson’s fiancee, Carrie Symonds, who is pregnant, also had symptoms of the virus and had been isolating.(Adds Downing Street statement on Johnson’s health in second 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.


Will we ever take cruise holidays again?

Will we ever take cruise holidays again?The cruise line industry faces a long journey back from the coronavirus pandemic.


A super-spreader believed to be at the center of Chicago's coronavirus outbreak shows the importance of social distancing

A super-spreader believed to be at the center of Chicago's coronavirus outbreak shows the importance of social distancingA case study traced the cases from one infected individual after they attended a funeral and birthday party, infecting 16 people and killing three.


'A lot of pain.' NY has biggest 1-day jump in virus deaths

'A lot of pain.' NY has biggest 1-day jump in virus deathsNew York state reported 731 new COVID-19 deaths Tuesday, its biggest jump since the start of the outbreak, dampening some of the cautious optimism officials have expressed about efforts to stop the spread of the virus. Cuomo said the death tally is a “lagging indicator” that reflects the loss of critically ill people hospitalized earlier. While Cuomo said New York could be reaching a “plateau” in hospitalizations, he warned that gains are dependent on people continuing to practice social distancing.


CDC loosens guidelines for some exposed to virus to return to work

CDC loosens guidelines for some exposed to virus to return to workUnder the guidance, people who are exposed to someone infected are allowed back on the job if they are asymptomatic.


Chinese Official Tries to Walk Back Claim U.S. Military Brought Virus to Wuhan

Chinese Official Tries to Walk Back Claim U.S. Military Brought Virus to WuhanChina Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian held his first press conference in several weeks on Tuesday, attempting to walk back his earlier claim that the U.S. military had brought the novel coronavirus to the city of Wuhan.“The virus [is] a scientific question that requires scientific opinions,” Zhao told reporters. He was then asked if he stood behind a March 12 tweet in which he wrote that, “It might be the U.S. Army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan.”“The questions raised on my personal Twitter account are a response to U.S. politicians' stigmatization of China, which also reflects the righteous anger of many Chinese people over these stigmatizing acts,” Zhao responded.China blocks Twitter within its borders, although certain citizens and companies may use the app with government approval. Twitter has said that using the platform to claim that the U.S. brought coronavirus to Wuhan does not violate its rules and terms of service.The Chinese government and state-owned media outlets have repeatedly tried to portray President Trump's use of the term “Chinese virus” as stigmatizing. On March 17, Trump was asked during a White House press conference whether he thought calling the coronavirus the “Chinese virus” created a “stigma.”“No, I don’t think so. I think saying that our military gave it to them creates a stigma,” Trump replied.The coronavirus pandemic that began in Wuhan has now claimed over 81,000 lives and seen 1,400,000 people infected.


NYPD releases video of moments before $1.3 million jewellery burglary

NYPD releases video of moments before $1.3 million jewellery burglaryNew York Police Department has released footage of the moments before a $1.3 million jewellery burglary in the Bronx.Four individuals broke into 50 East Fordham Road on the 31 March at around 1am, police said.


Smoking marijuana could make the lungs more susceptible to COVID-19, experts say as cannabis sales spike

Smoking marijuana could make the lungs more susceptible to COVID-19, experts say as cannabis sales spikeMarijuana smoking could make a person's lungs and immune system more susceptible to disease, existing coronavirus patient data shows.


New York state reports more coronavirus cases than any country except the U.S.: Reuters tally

New York state reports more coronavirus cases than any country except the U.S.: Reuters tallyThe U.S. state has 149,316 reported cases compared with Spain at 146,690. Italy is now in third place with 139,422 cases reported on Wednesday. In total, the United States has recorded over 417,000 cases and 14,100 deaths, according to the Reuters tally.


Trump’s Fox News Cabinet Tells Him the Coronavirus Crisis Is Over

Trump’s Fox News Cabinet Tells Him the Coronavirus Crisis Is OverThroughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump’s decisions and stances have seemingly been influenced by the unofficial advisers he treasures most: Fox News primetime hosts.After downplaying for weeks the threat of the virus, just as many on Fox News did the same, the president began taking it seriously last month after Tucker Carlson personally confronted him before delivering an on-air monologue calling for action. Elsewhere, Fox stars have been the primary driving force behind Trump’s incessant promotion of an unproven anti-malarial drug as the miracle COVID-19 cure.And in recent days, it seems, the president has been receiving his newest coronavirus intel briefing from Fox News. This time, they say, the pandemic is over and it’s time to move on.Throughout Tuesday night’s primetime stretch, Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham were in lockstep in telegraphing to Trump a message that the pandemic’s threat has been overstated, death counts have been inflated, and the U.S. is already on the downside of the curve.Carlson, who received mainstream plaudits for his “admirable” early coronavirus coverage, kicked off his show by declaring that the crisis “may have passed,” noting that health-care systems across the country haven’t come close to collapsing—“except in a handful of places.”“Patients are not dying alone in the hallways of emergency rooms with physicians too overwhelmed to treat them,” he asserted. “That was the concern. It happens in other countries, it's not happening here. Thank God for that.”There have been numerous reports and testimonials from health-care workers expressing horror over the conditions of overcrowded hospitals and the stress it has placed on both medical staffers and patients. Much reporting has also been done on how many patients are dying alone and away from family members and friends from the disease.But despite nearly 13,000 U.S. deaths and at least 400,000 confirmed cases, with portions of the country having yet to suffer the worst effects of the outbreak, Carlson called for a quick reversal of social-distancing restrictions in order to jumpstart the economy, citing downward revisions of coronavirus models as the key reason.“Before we go ahead and alter our lives and our country forever, it is fair to ask about the numbers, their numbers, the ones we acted on the first time, that turned out to be completely wrong,” the Fox star fumed. “How did they screw that up so thoroughly? That is a fair question.”Adjustments of expected death tolls in some models—which, weeks ago, showed as many as 240,000 American deaths—have largely occurred due to the widespread adoption of social-distancing guidelines and the assumption that school and business closures will stay in place through the summer. Even factoring all that in, the models still project roughly 80,000 deaths.Nevertheless, over the past few days, Carlson has been pushing the president to ignore medical expertise and quickly move forward with economic activity. “Is there a single person who sincerely expects the coronavirus itself will hurt more people in the end than the damage we're causing in our response to it? Probably not,” he said on Monday night. “Mass unemployment is almost certain to cause far more harm, including physical harm, to the average family than this disease.”Carlson has also railed against top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has urged Americans to embrace social distancing in order to flatten the curve. Calling it “bewildering” that the U.S. is allowing medical “experts” to make policy decisions, Carlson claimed last week that Fauci is proposing “national suicide” by pushing aggressive social distancing. “We should never let someone like that run this country,” he said.Fox News senior analyst Brit Hume, who has recently been at the forefront of right-wing media’s questioning of coronavirus deaths, has also joined the chorus of Fox stars agitating against medical expertise. The official COVID-19 death count has been inflated, he declared Carlson on Tuesday evening.“Dr. Birx said tonight during the briefing at the White House that all deaths from anyone who died with coronavirus is counted as if the person died from coronavirus,” Hume said. “Now, we all know that isn’t true.”“And if everybody is being automatically classified, if they're found to have COVID-19, as a COVID-19 death, we’re going to get a very large number of deaths that way and we’re probably not going to have an accurate count of what the real death total is,” he added.Besides the fact that flu deaths—which Trump and Fox figures have constantly used as a comparison point to downplay the pandemic—are tracked the exact same way, and coronavirus disproportionately impacts people with pre-conditions, it is actually far more likely that the COVID-19 death count has been understated so far.Hannity, meanwhile, kicked off his Tuesday evening broadcast by claiming there is a “ton of good news” surrounding the pandemic, touting revised downward estimates of the death count to suggest that regular economic activity should restart very soon.In a phone interview with the president, Hannity—who has served as an unofficial Trump adviser and confidant—noted that the “cure can’t be worse than the problem” and nudged the president to reveal when he’d roll back social-distancing policies.“I’d love to open with a big bang, one beautiful country and just open,” Trump declared, adding, “We’re looking at two concepts. We’re looking at the concept where you open up sections and we’re also looking at the concept where you open up everything.”In a Wednesday morning tweet, Trump further hinted that he is looking to end restrictions “sooner rather than later,” adding that the “horror” of coronavirus “must be quickly forgotten” and predicting that the economy “will BOOM” going forward.Laura Ingraham, however, may have been the most aggressive among her primetime colleagues in openly pushing Trump to view the pandemic threat as completely neutralized.Claiming the experts were “wrong” with their modeling and that it caused undue panic for Americans, Ingraham echoed Carlson by railing against medical officials, claiming this pandemic should “make us less willing to rely on the same experts to help determine when and how we should reopen our economy.”“We didn’t vote for doctors,” exclaimed Ingraham, who recently sat with the president to tout the unproven coronavirus cure hydroxychloroquine. “We voted for political leadership that sees the big picture. That means the whole picture of America.”She continued to hammer away at that message Wednesday on her Twitter account.Tucker Carlson Wants to Have It Both Ways on Coronavirus“At some point, the president is going to have to look at Drs. Fauci and Birx and say, we're opening on May 1,” she wrote on Wednesday morning. “Give me your best guidance on protocols, but we cannot deny our people their basic freedoms any longer.”“America must get back to work,” Ingraham blared in another tweet. “‘Experts’ were wrong on fatalities by a factor of 30 now want to dictate when we reopen.”While Trump’s Fox News cabinet is declaring the crisis over, the network’s brass is still taking the pandemic seriously, implementing strict social-distancing policies for its employees. In a memo sent last week, Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott announced the company would distribute thermometers to all essential workers and suggested the use of face masks for anyone who had to come into one of Fox’s offices. Additionally, Scott said that Fox was targeting May 4 as a possible return date for employees currently telecommuting.And as Fox News’ biggest stars tried to convince the president to ditch social distancing altogether, one of Trump’s own health officials rebuked the network’s faux-populist manipulation of the expert data and projections.“Physical distancing is incredibly important—remember the projections,” Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir said Wednesday on Fox & Friends. “I have seen people twist that like this was not going to be that bad after all and we didn’t need to do it. That’s a complete misinterpretation. The estimate of deaths going down is the result of the fact that we have listened to the president and vice president and task force.”“I do want to emphasize the point, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but don’t keep your foot—don’t take your foot off the gas,” Giroir continued. “Because we really need to continue these efforts because we could see another peak, a second peak, a third peak if people don’t do the physical distancing or they think it’s all over.“It’s not over yet.”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.


Covid-19 Is Trapping Ecuador Between Death and Debt

Covid-19 Is Trapping Ecuador Between Death and Debt(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Sometime late last month the bodies began to turn up on the streets of Guayaquil. Some of the dead were abandoned in dumpsters. Others had been bundled in plastic and left on the sidewalks of this seaside Ecuadoran city, the yellow and black plastic cordon suggesting an unsolved crime scene.While most of Latin America is bracing for the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, Ecuador is already overwhelmed. The Andean nation of 17.5 million people is proportionately South America’s most afflicted: Only Brazil has a higher death count, with three times the fatalities for a population 12 times larger than Ecuador’s. (But as Bloomberg News reports, the continent is woefully behind in testing populations for the virus.) In Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city, with 70% of the nation’s stricken, coffins are scarce, families wait days for funeral homes to collect their dead and morgues are overflowing, forcing city authorities to store the bodies in industrial refrigerators. This is not just a tragedy of human health. As Covid-19 claims lives, it also menaces an economy that is already failing. While emerging markets everywhere are in trouble, Ecuador comes to the pandemic with some serious co-morbidities: a huge foreign debt, sinking oil prices, deepening poverty and political fratricide. The only question is whether public health or the economy is in a more precarious state.The slump in oil prices has gutted winnings from Ecuador’s signature commodity even as public debt has risen to nearly 52% of gross domestic product, well over the nationally stipulated maximum of 40%. That level of red ink can be hard for many countries to handle. For dollarized Ecuador, the surging greenback makes its signature non-oil exports even less competitive and forces the country to pile on even more debt, default on its loans or slash spending even as it battles the pandemic.Ecuador’s plight is in part the product of collective responses to prior emergencies. One reason Ecuador proved to be so accommodating to coronavirus was its diaspora. Propelled by political instability and a banking crisis in the late 1990s and early 2000s, up to 1 million Ecuadorans have migrated. More than 400,000 settled in Spain, becoming Latin America’s largest expatriate community there, while another 100,000 moved to Italy. Just as these global Ecuadorans nurtured their native economy with remittances, the returnees and frequent fliers have helped spread the contagion back home. Ecuador’s patient zero reportedly was an elderly Ecuadoran who returned to Guayaquil in February and may have infected up to 180 patients. By the time national lockdown orders were in place in March, the virus was already loose.Dollarization is another two-edged sword. Runaway prices and a banking crisis forced Ecuador to jettison the worthless national currency for the greenback in early 2000. Dollarization stabilized the economy and shielded Ecuadorans from inflation and the economic fallout from political turmoil which routinely ravaged neighboring economies. However, the stronger dollar not only makes Ecuador’s exports less competitive, but ties the nation’s hands in a crisis. Since the central bank cannot print dollars, government can’t monetize its swollen public deficit. With plunging oil prices (crude oil is 29% of exports), Ecuador’s gross financing needs this year are on track to hit an “unmanageable” $8.1 billion this year, according to Oxford Economics. Unless multilateral lenders come to the rescue, the government will have to raise taxes or double down on austerity, a strategy that nearly unseated President Lenin Moreno last year.While some Latin American leaders have stepped up during the outbreak and seen their approval ratings climb, Moreno has struggled. Once heralded as a reformer, he has seen his credibility shattered by partisan caviling, aggravated by his own well-intentioned bumbling. Nationwide protests late last October forced him to roll back fiscal measures, including a cut in fuel subsidies, prescribed by the International Monetary Fund, whose largesse his government needs even more today. The economy is likely to contract by 6% this year, said Norman McKay of the Economist Intelligence Unit.Now he faces the country’s worst crisis in memory with approval ratings below 20% (compared with 77% when he first took office in 2017), junk-rated sovereign debt and little fiscal firepower. “Moreno was already isolated and has little national support and little cash to buy political support,” Andres Mejia Acosta, a lecturer in political economy at Kings College London, told me. A weak central government is a cue for opportunists to weaponize the pandemic for political ends. “We are likely to see Moreno’s political problems escalate because his government has no national support.”An emergency fund in the works will offer a modicum of relief to some of the most vulnerable families. However under fiscal constraints Ecuador revised its registry of cash transfer recipients in 2014, restricting eligibility to all but those in extreme poverty (eliminating 600,000 recipients) and leaving out many more potential beneficiaries who are now in harm’s way. ”If you are part of the population at risk, but didn’t make the official registry, you are invisible to the state,” said Mejia Acosta.For those who toil in Ecuador’s vast shadow economy and live by peddling their wares and services day by day, sheltering is penury. The state has no plan for them, nor refrigerators for their rising body count.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Mac Margolis is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Latin and South America. He was a reporter for Newsweek and is the author of “The Last New World: The Conquest of the Amazon Frontier.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Trump adviser warned of millions of virus deaths in January. Trump says he saw the memo only this week.

Trump adviser warned of millions of virus deaths in January. Trump says he saw the memo only this week.President Trump said Tuesday that he did not learn of two memos written in January and February by his own economic adviser warning that a COVID-19 pandemic could kill as many as 2 million Americans until “maybe a day ago.”


'It is an existential threat': As coronavirus spreads to Africa, health experts warn of catastrophe

'It is an existential threat': As coronavirus spreads to Africa, health experts warn of catastropheSo far, African countries have been spared the high death tolls seen in Italy, Spain, and the U.S., but officials are bracing for the worst in the coming weeks.


Photos show thousands packing into cars, planes, and trains in a rush to get out of Wuhan as China lifts the coronavirus lockdown

Photos show thousands packing into cars, planes, and trains in a rush to get out of Wuhan as China lifts the coronavirus lockdownChina ended the near-11-week lockdown of the city of Wuhan at midnight on Wednesday, sending floods of people out of the city.


Azul Rojas Marín: Peru found responsible for torture of LGBT person

Azul Rojas Marín: Peru found responsible for torture of LGBT personAzul Rojas Marín was beaten and raped in custody in Peru, a top human rights court rules.


Donations pour in but India's 'PM CARES' coronavirus fund faces criticism

Donations pour in but India's 'PM CARES' coronavirus fund faces criticismIndian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is facing criticism for creating a new coronavirus relief fund when about $500 million was lying unspent in an older fund, even as top businesses and celebrities pledge millions of dollars in new donations. Modi launched the "PM CARES" fund to provide relief to those affected by the coronavirus that has infected more than 5,000 people in India, and killed 149. The fund is expected to help millions of day labourers, many of whose lives were devastated by a nationwide lockdown ordered by Modi to stem the epidemic.


EU Nations Upgrade Trade Arsenal to Offset U.S. Attack on WTO
Bernie drops out, as Democrats pick pragmatism over consistency

Bernie drops out, as Democrats pick pragmatism over consistencyIn many ways, Bernie Sanders is the anti-Trump. And, in important ways, he ran his campaign as the anti-Biden.Sanders bowed out of the Democratic nomination race on April 8, repeating his runner-up status from four years earlier. His two runs at the White House have cemented his legacy as a consistent standard-bearer for progressive policies. The veteran democratic socialist possessed a rare quality for a political candidate in this age of Trumpian fickleness. He is a politician whose actions and beliefs have remained steadfast over time and across campaigns. But in the current political moment, it appears the Democratic electorate longs less for a politician who is consistent from day to day than one who can provide pragmatic leadership to unseat the vacillating Trump. Same ol’ SandersSanders ran his campaign as the antithesis of a political showman, who says one thing today and another tomorrow with little regard for facts and consistency. He has exhibited throughout his career what anthropologist Alessandro Duranti calls “existential coherence” – he is a political figure “whose past, present, and future actions, beliefs, and evaluations follow some clear basic principles, none of which contradicts another.” As a linguistic anthropologist who studies language and politics, I know that traditionally, candidates have worried about how to project a consistent political persona, and they have often gone to great pains to do so. But Trump shattered that expectation, excelling in self-contradictions and inconsistencies – often within a single sitting.Sanders, instead, has put forth a consistent vision that has remained more or less the same since his early days in politics as mayor of Burlington, Vermont. Rather than moving toward the electorate and shifting positions based on perceptions of what the electorate desired, the electorate has moved toward Sanders to join his vision for universal health care and other progressive causes. A CNBC survey in 2019 found that a majority of Americans supported progressive policies, including a higher minimum wage and Medicare for All – key issues that Sanders has been advocating throughout his decades-long political career. In an episode of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” last year, host Trevor Noah unearthed footage from 1987 of Sanders discussing politics on a local public access channel in his hometown of Burlington. The Bernie Sanders of 1987 talked of the unfair tax system that placed a large burden on working people and the need for universal health care. “We are one of two nations in the industrialized world that does not have a national health care system,” declared Sanders in 1987. Three decades later, in both his 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns, Sanders continued with that theme. In 2016, he released his Medicare for All plan by declaring, “It is time for our country to join every other major industrialized nation on Earth and guarantee health care to all citizens as a right, not a privilege.” His 2020 campaign website further echoed this sentiment, stating that “the United States will join every other major country on Earth and guarantee health care to all people as a right.” A consistent candidate often comes across as a more authentic candidate – someone who is staying true to his core self rather than pandering to the latest polling data or saying whatever will attract the most dramatic news coverage. Sanders’ authenticity as a candidate who has fought for working people and progressive ideals his entire life made him appealing to many liberals. He attracted an unshakable following of core supporters because of it. ‘Results, not revolution’Biden’s pragmatic approach, however, trumped Sanders’ often dogmatic consistency. In their debates, Sanders hammered Biden over what he saw as shifting stances on Social Security, Medicare and veterans’ programs. And then there was Biden’s 2003 vote for the Iraq war before he turned against it.But this is not the 2004 presidential election, where accusations of flip-flopping can sink a candidate, like it did John Kerry in his race against George W. Bush. Perhaps Donald Trump’s fickleness has changed what voters look for in a candidate. Maybe it’s simply that nobody cares about Biden’s apparent lack of judgment in 2003, which occurred well before he spent eight years as vice president in arguably one of the most popular Democratic administrations in U.S. history.Biden easily parried Sanders’ accusations of inconsistency by pointing to an underlying consistency of principles that have guided his varying positions over time. Voters ultimately decided to support someone who exhibits a practical sense of how to govern in a way that gets things done. As Biden said in his last debate with Sanders, “People are looking for results, not revolution.”On health care, one might have expected Sanders to have an advantage with his Medicare for All proposal, a consistent theme across his time as mayor, congressman, senator and presidential candidate. Polling done by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that for the first time a majority of Americans began to support a single government plan for health care in 2016, corresponding to the Sanders campaign push for Medicare for All.But in the same Kaiser poll, more Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents said they would prefer a candidate who would build on the Affordable Care Act rather than replace it. Biden’s campaign argued precisely for this more pragmatic approach, and he positioned himself as the right person to get the job done in a contentious political environment. An overtureAfter sweeping the primaries in Florida, Illinois and Arizona in March – putting the wheels in motion for the eventual withdrawal of Sanders from the race – Biden then struck the right chord in his speech after the Florida primary by making an appeal to Sanders voters. “I hear you,” he said. “I know what’s at stake. I know what we have to do. Our goal as a campaign and my goal as a candidate for president is to unify this party and then to unify the nation.” Biden’s appeal to Sanders voters suggests he may be willing to absorb some of the best ideas from Sanders – and other candidates. It’s a pragmatic approach, rather than a dogmatic consistency, that may bring along their supporters, too. That may be exactly what he will need to do to beat Trump in November.[You’re smart and curious about the world. So are The Conversation’s authors and editors. You can read us daily by subscribing to The Conversation’s newsletter.]This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts.Read more: * Biden’s big night with moderates, African Americans and baby boomers * Biden’s resurrection was unprecedented – and well-timedAdam Hodges does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.


The White House is reportedly developing a plan to get back to 'normality'

The White House is reportedly developing a plan to get back to 'normality'Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, told Democratic lawmakers during a phone call Wednesday that the Trump administration is developing a framework for getting the United States back into a state of "normality" in the wake of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Politico reports.Fauci didn't provide any possible timeline, but he did say the White House will likely issue some guidance in the coming days about transitioning society out of lockdown eventually.The cautious forward thinking is likely a result of some optimism among the White House coronavirus task force. Vice President Mike Pence, who heads the unit, told lawmakers there have been early signs that new cases are stabilizing in some areas, echoing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (D) comments earlier in the day.That doesn't mean Fauci, Pence, or lawmakers are relaxing, of course. "They're starting to see, they think, this virus in some of these known hot spots begin to maybe top out," Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) told Politico. "There are some hopeful signs in New York and other places. But we all know there's a long way to go." Read more at Politico.More stories from theweek.com Dr. Anthony Fauci cautiously predicts kids will return to school next fall, 'but it's going to be different' The coming backlash against the public health experts Trump says he doesn't know who Joe Exotic is, but he'll 'take a look' at pardoning him


JetBlue suspends flights at eight airports, including New York LaGuardia, Baltimore, San Jose
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown blasts Trump but praises Republican governor's response to coronavirus

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown blasts Trump but praises Republican governor's response to coronavirusSen. Sherrod Brown defeated Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine in 2006, but now praises his old political foe's response to the coronavirus pandemic.


As coronavirus spreads, mentally ill Americans are left scrambling for options

As coronavirus spreads, mentally ill Americans are left scrambling for optionsThe rapid spread of the coronavirus has dramatically affected the one in five Americans who deal with mental health in any given year, as well as those who work tirelessly to keep those individuals well.


One chart shows how long the coronavirus lives on surfaces like cardboard, plastic, wood, and steel

One chart shows how long the coronavirus lives on surfaces like cardboard, plastic, wood, and steelRecent research shows that the coronavirus lives longest on glass, paper money, and the outside of surgical masks.


Your Home (and Mind) Needs One of These High-Design Mobiles
Coronavirus: Why China's claims of success raise eyebrows

Coronavirus: Why China's claims of success raise eyebrowsChina has claimed its first day without a virus death, but faces lingering scepticism over its data.


Texas teen accused of threatening to spread coronavirus is charged

Texas teen accused of threatening to spread coronavirus is chargedMaradiaga claimed in a series of Snapchat videos to have tested positive and threatened to willfully spread COVID-19, according to police.


India's financial hub Mumbai set to extend coronavirus lockdown: sources

India's financial hub Mumbai set to extend coronavirus lockdown: sourcesIndia's financial hub Mumbai is set to extend lockdown measures until at least April 30 as authorities race to expand testing to stem the spread of coronavirus cases in the city, three senior officials said. A 21-day nationwide lockdown that Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared in late March to fight the epidemic is officially set to end on April 14. The Mumbai municipal authority and the state government in the western state of Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital, both declined to comment.


Iran supreme leader approves withdrawal of 1 billion euros from sovereign wealth fund to fight coronavirus

Iran supreme leader approves withdrawal of 1 billion euros from sovereign wealth fund to fight coronavirusIran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has approved the withdrawal of 1 billion euros from the country's sovereign wealth fund to help fight the coronavirus epidemic, President Hassan Rouhani's official website said on Monday.


The Supreme Court’s Misunderstood Ruling on Wisconsin’s Coronavirus Primary

The Supreme Court’s Misunderstood Ruling on Wisconsin’s Coronavirus PrimaryThere seems to be some confusion about the Supreme Court’s ruling on Monday in connection with Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary. This owes to reporting that suggests, or at least could lead its audience to believe, that the Court’s five conservative-leaning, Republican-appointed justices, over the strident objection of its four left-leaning, Democratic-appointed justices, directed that the primary proceed with in-person voting, despite the coronavirus threat.That is not what happened.The state government of Wisconsin, led by Governor Anthony Steven Evers, a Democrat, made the decision to go forward with the primary, and with in-person voting. As the Court’s majority emphasizes, that was not the Court’s call, nor is it the Court’s place to opine on the wisdom of the state government’s decision.The majority’s unsigned opinion explains that the issue the Court was called upon to decide was a narrow one, pertaining to absentee ballots. Specifically, at the urging of Democratic Party organizations concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on voting, federal district judge William Conley (an Obama appointee) extended the deadline for receipt of mail-in ballots from Tuesday April 7 (the primary-election day) to Monday afternoon, April 13. That aspect of the district court’s ruling was not in dispute. Judge Conley, however, directed that that absentee ballots were eligible to be counted regardless of when they were mailed in or otherwise delivered, as long as they came in by the April 13 deadline. In effect, that meant absentee ballots could be cast after in-person primary voting had closed on April 7.Obviously, this could mean the election would be materially altered by events occurring after formal conclusion of the primary election -- not least, news about the apparent election result. To address this problem, Judge Conley further ordered the Wisconsin Election Commission and election inspectors to suppress any report of the voting results until after the new April 13 deadline for the receipt of absentee ballots.There were at least three problems with this resolution. First, when they filed their lawsuit, the Democratic plaintiffs had not asked the district court to permit the mailing of ballots after the polls were closed on April 7. Second, the Wisconsin Election Commission and election inspectors were not parties to the lawsuit, and thus did not have a right to be heard before Judge Conley gagged them. Finally, the district court’s resolution worked a significant change in election rules. This ran afoul of Supreme Court precedent, particularly the 2006 Purcell v. Gonzalez decision, which instructed lower federal courts to resist altering rules on the eve of an election.Consequently, the majority (Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh) ruled that in order for votes to count, the absentee ballots must be postmarked by Election Day (April 7) and received by the Election Commission by April 13.Justice Ginsburg dissented (joined by Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan). She argued that the coronavirus crisis had backlogged the Election Commission with mail-in-ballot requests, meaning that many such ballots (potentially thousands of them) would not be provided to voters in time to comply with the April 7 deadline. Ergo, the Court’s ruling needlessly placed voters in the quandary of risking disease by voting in person or forfeiting their right to vote -- in an important election in which not only the Democratic presidential nomination but many seats on the Wisconsin state courts, including its highest court, are at stake.Justice Ginsburg has a good point about the majority’s reliance on Democratic organizations’ failure to ask for an extension of the mail-in deadline. Oddly, the majority asserts that Ginsburg’s dissent “entirely disregards the critical point that the plaintiffs themselves did not ask for this additional relief in their preliminary injunction motions.” To the contrary, Justice Ginsburg counters that, while the plaintiffs omitted that request from their written motions, they explicitly argued for it at the hearing. They did this on their own, unbidden by Judge Conley, because by then the pandemic had caused a surging demand for absentee ballots. Given the majority’s concession that it is not “necessarily” concluding that Democrats forfeited this relief, Ginsburg is persuasive in rebutting their argument.On the other hand, Justice Ginsburg is at her least persuasive in turning the Purcell precedent on its head. She argues that it is not Judge Conley but the Court itself that runs afoul of Purcell: On the eve of the election, it has altered the election rules that were in place -- i.e., the ones fashioned by Conley. The point of Purcell, however, is to instruct the lower courts not to alter election rules. If federal judges ignore binding Supreme Court guidance, the Court obviously must overrule them -- otherwise, what is the point of having the guidance?If I had my druthers, absentee balloting would not be permitted except in extraordinary circumstances. Voting is a sufficiently important privilege that we should all troop to the polling place and cast our ballots on Election Day. This way, we all vote based on the same available information, and the chances of fraud -- which is what you should worry about if you are truly concerned about disenfranchisement -- are minimized.Still, I’m sympathetic to the dissent in this case. My views notwithstanding, voting by mail is widely permitted. Even for traditionalists, moreover, absentee balloting is permissible in extraordinary circumstances. What could be more extraordinary than the ongoing health crisis? It is being demanded of Americans that they shut down their livelihoods for the greater good of stopping the spread of a deadly infectious disease. How ridiculous, then, that Wisconsin state officials have not canceled in-person voting as other states have done. They should have either made it easier for people to vote by mail or postponed the election until it could safely be held.Regardless of what one thinks about the ruling, though, the Supreme Court is getting a bad rap. Their case is about nothing more than whether ballots mailed in the six-day period after Election Day should count. It was not the justices’ decision to go forward with Wisconsin’s primary during a pandemic. Nor is the Court any way responsible for the risks entailed by in-person voting.


Mattis rebukes Trump over removal of Pentagon inspector general

Mattis rebukes Trump over removal of Pentagon inspector generalIn Donald Trump’s latest salvo in an ongoing bid to reshape government oversight of his administration, the president fired the Pentagon inspector general charged with overseeing implementation of the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package. 


Column: 'Pharma bro' Martin Shkreli wants out of prison to find a cure for coronavirus

Column: 'Pharma bro' Martin Shkreli wants out of prison to find a cure for coronavirusIn act of chutzpah, 'Pharma bro' Shkreli seeks prison release to find a coronavirus cure.


86-year-old and three sons die after contracting COVID-19

86-year-old and three sons die after contracting COVID-19The mother and three sons all died within days of each other, the New Orleans Coroner's Office confirmed.


Sweden, which refused to implement a coronavirus lockdown, has so far avoided a mass outbreak. Now it's bracing for a potential surge in deaths.

Sweden, which refused to implement a coronavirus lockdown, has so far avoided a mass outbreak. Now it's bracing for a potential surge in deaths.Sweden urged people to practice social distancing but left shops and restaurants open, contrasting with many countries across Europe and the world.


Japan to Fund Firms to Shift Production Out of China

Japan to Fund Firms to Shift Production Out of China(Bloomberg) -- Japan has earmarked $2.2 billion of its record economic stimulus package to help its manufacturers shift production out of China as the coronavirus disrupts supply chains between the major trading partners.The extra budget, compiled to try to offset the devastating effects of the pandemic, includes 220 billion yen ($2 billion) for companies shifting production back to Japan and 23.5 billion yen for those seeking to move production to other countries, according to details of the plan posted online.The move coincides with what should have been a celebration of friendlier ties between the two countries. Chinese President Xi Jinping was supposed to be on a state visit to Japan early this month. But what would have been the first visit of its sort in a decade was postponed a month ago amid the spread of the virus and no new date has been set.China is Japan’s biggest trading partner under normal circumstances, but imports from China slumped by almost half in February as the disease shuttered factories, in turn starving Japanese manufacturers of necessary components.That has renewed talk of Japanese firms reducing their reliance on China as a manufacturing base. The government’s panel on future investment last month discussed the need for manufacturing of high-added value products to be shifted back to Japan, and for production of other goods to be diversified across Southeast Asia.“There will be something of a shift,” said Shinichi Seki, an economist at the Japan Research Institute, adding that some Japanese companies manufacturing goods in China for export were already considering moving out. “Having this in the budget will definitely provide an impetus.” Companies, such as car makers, that are manufacturing for the Chinese domestic market, will likely stay put, he said.Testing TimesJapan exports a far larger share of parts and partially finished goods to China than other major industrial nations, according to data compiled for the panel. A February survey by Tokyo Shoko Research Ltd. found 37% of the more than 2,600 companies that responded were diversifying procurement to places other than China amid the coronavirus crisis.It remains to be seen how the policy will affect Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s years-long effort to restore relations with China.“We are doing our best to resume economic development,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a briefing Wednesday in Beijing, when asked about the move. “In this process, we hope other countries will act like China and take proper measures to ensure the world economy will be impacted as little as possible and to ensure that supply chains are impacted as little as possible.”The initial stages of the Covid-19 outbreak in China appeared to warm the often chilly ties between the two countries. Japan provided aid in the form of masks and protective gear -- and in one case a shipment was accompanied by a fragment of ancient Chinese poetry. In return, it received praise from Beijing.In another step welcomed in Japan, China declared Avigan, an anti-viral produced by Japan’s Fujifilm Holdings Corp. to be an effective treatment for the coronavirus, even though it has yet to be approved for that use by the Japanese.Yet many in Japan are inclined to blame China for mishandling the early stages of the outbreak and Abe for not blocking visitors from China sooner.Meanwhile, other issues that have deeply divided the neighbors -- including a territorial dispute over East China Sea islands that brought them close to a military clash in 2012-13 -- are no nearer resolution.Chinese government ships have continued their patrols around the Japanese-administered islands throughout the crisis, with Japan saying four Chinese ships on Wednesday entered what it sees as its territorial waters.(Updates with comment from economist in sixth 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.


Congo mine gun attack kills three Chinese nationals: Xinhua

Congo mine gun attack kills three Chinese nationals: XinhuaA gun attack in a mining area in the Democratic Republic of Congo has killed three Chinese nationals, China's official Xinhua news agency reported, citing the Chinese embassy in the mineral-rich central African country.


U.S. reports 1,200 coronavirus deaths in one day as China lifts lockdown

U.S. reports 1,200 coronavirus deaths in one day as China lifts lockdownNation's top infectious diseases expert said he is "cautiously optimistic" that worst projections may be avoided "if we keep our foot on the accelerator."


Coronavirus wreaks havoc in African American neighbourhoods

Coronavirus wreaks havoc in African American neighbourhoodsBlack Chicagoans account for 70% of coronavirus deaths, despite making up 30% of the population.


VP talk could intensify with Harris fundraising moves

VP talk could intensify with Harris fundraising movesCalifornia Sen. Kamala Harris made two notable fundraising moves Wednesday that are sure to fuel speculation about her prospects to be Joe Biden's running mate on the Democratic presidential ticket. Harris, who dropped out of the White House race in December, set up a joint fundraising operation with the Democratic National Committee, an arrangement that is typically reserved for nominees trying to attract large donations from the party’s biggest boosters. Hours later, she made a surprise appearance on a virtual fundraiser, introducing Biden to donors.


Jewish world marks start of 'strange' Passover

Jewish world marks start of 'strange' PassoverJews marked the start of a "strange" Passover holiday on Wednesday as the coronavirus pandemic prevented the large family gatherings usually organised for the traditional Seder meal. In Israel, which has more than 9,000 confirmed cases of the deadly virus, a nationwide curfew was in effect, with security forces deployed on the streets to prevent anyone seeking to visit relatives in violation of social-distancing measures. In an English language message to Jews across the world, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged that this year's Passover was "strange" and "different from all other Passovers."


Obesity is major COVID-19 risk factor, says French chief epidemiologist

Obesity is major COVID-19 risk factor, says French chief epidemiologistBeing overweight is a major risk for people infected with the new coronavirus and the United States is particularly vulnerable because of high obesity levels there, France's chief epidemiologist said on Wednesday. Professor Jean-François Delfraissy, who heads the scientific council that advises the government on the epidemic, said as many as 17 million of France's 67 million citizens were seriously at risk from the coronavirus because of age, pre-existing illness or obesity. "That is why we're worried about our friends in America, where the problem of obesity is well known and where they will probably have the most problems because of obesity."


India drops drug export ban after Trump threatens "retaliation"

India drops drug export ban after Trump threatens "retaliation"As it's tested as a possible treatment for COVID-19, India had barred exports of hydroxychloroquine, until Trump weighed in.


More than 90,000 cruise crewmembers left to battle coronavirus – at times without pay

More than 90,000 cruise crewmembers left to battle coronavirus – at times without payCrew members are having just as trouble as passengers in getting off ships once their skills are no longer needed.


Dems Demand Half of $251 Billion in Additional Small Business Loans Be Targeted to Minority, Women-Owned Companies

Dems Demand Half of $251 Billion in Additional Small Business Loans Be Targeted to Minority, Women-Owned CompaniesThe White House is requesting an additional $251 billion for additional small business lending as part of the government’s coronavirus response, eliciting a counter from congressional Democrats asking for $125 billion in targeted aid for farmers, women, minorities, and veteran-owned businesses.“I’ll be asking Congress to provide an additional $250 billion for the paycheck protection, which will help keep Americans employed, to facilitate a quick and full recovery,” President Trump said on Tuesday at the White House during a coronavirus task force briefing.The Senate’s phase-three package, which passed last month, earmarked $350 billion to make small business loans through commercial banks to companies with 500 or fewer employees, provided the companies agree to keep workers on the payroll. As part of the “Paycheck Protection Program,” most or all of the loan would be written off if the borrower retained its workers and didn’t cut their wages, with the government repaying the banks for the forgiven portions of the loans.In a letter to Capitol Hill, the White House Office of Management and Budget said that the program, conducted through the Small Business Administration (SBA), has administered over 220,000 loans — totaling approximately $66 billion. “Given the level of demand for the program, the Administration believes the funds appropriated for this program will soon be exhausted,” the letter reads.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said in a statement on Tuesday that he hoped to approve the additional funding with unanimous consent or a voice vote during a procedural session on Thursday, without the full chamber present.“It is quickly becoming clear that Congress will need to provide more funding or this crucial program may run dry,” McConnell said. “That cannot happen. Nearly 10 million Americans filed for unemployment in just the last two weeks. This is already a record-shattering tragedy, and every day counts.”Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) — who said she was open to “an interim package” — countered with their own proposal Wednesday, which placed a number of conditions on the new funding to make sure 50 percent of it goes to farmers, women, minorities, and veteran-owned businesses. The proposal also called for an additional $100 billion in hospital funding and $150 billion more for state and local governments.


Surgeon General says he's 'optimistic' the coronavirus impact can be slowed if US keeps up social distancing for 30 days

Surgeon General says he's 'optimistic' the coronavirus impact can be slowed if US keeps up social distancing for 30 daysThe US is not in the clear: More than 378,200 coronavirus cases and 11,800 deaths have been reported as of Tuesday.


Wuhan Shows the World Its Post-Coronavirus Future

Wuhan Shows the World Its Post-Coronavirus FutureHONG KONG—Trains are leaving Wuhan for the first time since January 23, carrying 55,000 people out of the city in one day. Long-haul buses are moving passengers across provinces. Planes are taking off at the airport again. Roadblocks on outbound highways have been removed, and cars have been streaming through since midnight. The lockdown of the first epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic—after doctors who flagged the unusual virus were gagged by authorities—was lifted at midnight local time on Wednesday. U.S. Eyes Second Coronavirus Outbreak in ChinaIt’s difficult to look back at the lockdown without feeling like it was an 11-week internment. More than 3,300 people reportedly have died in China due to COVID-19, including nearly 2,600 in the city of Wuhan alone. (The official tallies are deemed by medical professionals in China and abroad to be much lower than the actual count.) Intensive care units were, of course, where the most recorded deaths occurred; the mortality rate in Wuhan’s ICUs was between 25 and 30 percent, according to Dr. Peng Zhiyong, who led two ICU teams in the city and maintained the lowest rates of fatalities and hospital transmissions at the facilities where he worked.Now, after daily—hourly, constant—checks on the epidemic curve, there is an uneasy mixture of relief and apprehension as life in Wuhan crawls back to a normal pace and Hubei province reconnects with the rest of the country.There are lessons here for the hard-hit United States, where to date almost four times as many people have died as in China, judging by official numbers. But, sadly, those lessons are limited. Other countries may benefit more from what has been learned in Wuhan.In the United States, the Trump administration apparently expects 50 states to compete with each other, and with the federal government, for vital resources. In China, the all-powerful Chinese Communist Party poured everything it could into Wuhan and Hubei after the very strict province-wide lockdown. It flew in medical workers from all over the country, military assistance, construction workers to build hospitals, and others to enforce the quarantines while enhancing survival rates.For two and a half months, Hubei’s 60 million people—roughly the population of Italy—have been confined to their homes. To venture out in public for crucial supply runs, they had to pass through checkpoints manned by private security guards, neighborhood-level Chinese Communist Party custodians, or police officers. The population’s material needs were taken care of, but there was a constant air of uncertainty about what might happen next. Might there be a surge in infection numbers and deaths the next day? Could one’s neighbor, parent, friend fall ill and fail to find medical assistance at the packed hospitals? What if the pandemic does not end?Today, the physical signs of those weeks of worry remain present. Barbed wire still runs along the tops of walls surrounding some residential complexes, installed to prevent people from leaping over the barriers to cure their cabin fever. Many older buildings—those with only two or three floors—are still boarded up.So far, it hasn’t been a smooth transition for Wuhan. There were plenty of dead car batteries. Social distancing was difficult to achieve on public transportation. Frequent temperature checks and pauses to disinfect slowed down movement across the city—although few were in a rush to begin with.Even at the beginning of the week, Wuhan and the rest of Hubei were coming back to life slowly. Some restaurants lit their stove fires again—patrons couldn’t always dine in, but they placed orders and waited patiently for their takeout, standing five or six feet apart from each other. Sounds and smells of human activity were returning. You could spot people strolling along the quiet waterfront—just a handful, but enough to give the impression that things could go back to normal, that maybe not all of spring was lost. Now, across mainland China, it’s common enough to see people wearing latex gloves and plastic goggles when they are outside of their homes. Masks are mandatory in public areas, meant to limit significantly the virus’ spread in case you are a carrier. This curtails the footprint of the coronavirus—a particularly important act because medical professionals believe that many people who carry the virus are asymptomatic, meaning they may not even realize that they can cause severe illness in others.When much of China was still under lockdown, people spoke of “revenge spending,” a term that harks back to the spike in consumption after the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976, now appropriated to outline the urge to splurge after shops reopen when the COVID pandemic subsides. But while businesses in Wuhan, Hubei, and the rest of the country have spun up operations again, consumers have been cautious about their expenditures. Many have drained significant chunks of their savings, and the likelihood of a second wave of infections hitting later this year has people worrying that they will have to hunker down again, this time with even tighter purse strings.China Hijacked This American Mom’s Tweets for Coronavirus PropagandaIn the first three months of this year, nearly half a million businesses in China went belly up. More are expected to declare bankruptcy in the coming weeks. Companies that ship goods to other countries are being hit hard as foreign clients seek delays in shipments or are canceling orders altogether.Firms involved in mass-scale surveillance, however, are more active than ever. Throughout China, smartphone-based tracking measures are now used to indicate a person’s health status and location history. Whip out your phone and call up your assigned QR code—if it’s green, then you can access public transportation, as well as facilities like shopping malls, restaurants, and parks. The same tools are used to determine whether a person can travel throughout the country. The exception is the capital, Beijing, where all arrivals must commit to 14 days of quarantine.This isn’t a policy that is unique to China. Around the world, at least 24 countries are tracking their citizens’ locations using applications that went online during the COVID-19 pandemic, and at least 14 nations have rolled out apps for contact tracing or as part of quarantine protocols, according to information compiled by Human Rights Watch, Privacy International, and more than 100 other organizations.Yet even with a digital dragnet over the country, our lack of understanding of the coronavirus and COVID-19 brings about intense uneasiness. It is still unclear how common asymptomatic transmission is, but classified Chinese documents seen by reporters of Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post suggest that up to one-third of people who test positive could be carrying the virus without showing any symptoms. People I spoke to in Wuhan, Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou were all anxious about how every human body—including their own—has the potential to become a walking bio-bomb that could kill a friend or loved one. It’s a distressing thought that is compounded when a nation is being steered by its central government to return to the tempo from three months ago.The weekend was a reminder that the pandemic has left indelible imprints on China—and the rest of the world. Last Saturday was a day of mourning for those who died in China due to COVID-19. At 10:00 a.m., people stopped what they were doing to observe three minutes of silence. Sirens wailed. Drivers sounded their vehicles’ horns. Flags flew at half-mast. In every city, town, and village, tears fell. Chinese Communist Party leaders, including President Xi Jinping, gathered at Zhongnanhai, the headquarters of the CCP and central government in the capital, where a banner reading “deeply mourn for martyrs and compatriots” now hangs. The party has claimed every casualty as one of its own.Yet none of this implies that China is on the other side of this viral calamity. Last week, Zeng Guang, the chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said the country “has not reached the end [of the pandemic], but is merely entering a new phase.” The main worry, for now, is that asymptomatic carriers will infect others as people travel across the country to get back to work, ultimately negating the months-long containment efforts that have placed life on hold for many millions of people.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.


'It's like nothing else': Klobuchar, husband talk about his battle with coronavirus

'It's like nothing else': Klobuchar, husband talk about his battle with coronavirus"It's one of the hardest, hardest things," Klobuchar told NBC News in an exclusive interview about her family's ordeal.


Bernie Sanders speaks on 'painful' decision to exit the 2020 race, says he'll keep gathering delegates

Bernie Sanders speaks on 'painful' decision to exit the 2020 race, says he'll keep gathering delegatesSen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Wednesday officially conceded the Democratic presidential primary to former Vice President Joe Biden but said he will still stay on the ballot and continue to gather delegates through the party's convention. After suspending his campaign for president, Sanders addressed supporters in a live stream, describing his decision to exit as "very difficult and painful." But he admitted it has become "virtually impossible" for him to win the Democratic nomination and he "cannot in good conscience continue" running, especially in light of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. "If I believed that we had a feasible path to the nomination, I would certainly continue the campaign, but it's just not there," Sanders said.Sanders also congratulated Biden, who is now the only Democratic candidate left in the race, describing him as a "very decent man." At the same time, Sanders said he will remain on the ballot in all remaining states and not stop gathering delegates."While Vice President Biden will be the nominee, we must continue working to assemble as many delegates as possible at the Democratic convention, where we will be able to exert significant influence over the party platform and other functions," Sanders said. Biden in a lengthy statement on Wednesday praised Sanders and told his supporters, "I see you, I hear you. and I understand the urgency of what it is we have to get done in this country. I hope you will join us." > Sanders says he will stay on the ballot in remaining primary states so that he can keep winning delegates, in hopes of exerting "significant influence" on the Democratic Party platform> > But he says he'll also work with presumptive nominee, Joe Biden https://t.co/9GZS7qcBFb pic.twitter.com/qEXyCg4ZMt> > -- CBS News (@CBSNews) April 8, 2020More stories from theweek.com Dr. Anthony Fauci cautiously predicts kids will return to school next fall, 'but it's going to be different' The coming backlash against the public health experts Trump says he doesn't know who Joe Exotic is, but he'll 'take a look' at pardoning him


Korean Air puts 70 percent of staff on leave

Korean Air puts 70 percent of staff on leaveKorean Air is the flagship of the Hanjin group, one of the multifaceted, family-controlled conglomerates known as chaebols that dominate business in South Korea and played a key part in its rise to become the world's 12th-largest economy. Most of its staff will go on leave from April 16 for six months in response to "deteriorating business circumstances", Korean Air said in a statement. Korean Air's labour union agreed to participate as part of a "burden-sharing" initiative, the company said -- executives have also agreed to take pay cuts.


Speed of coronavirus deaths shock doctors as New York toll hits new high

Speed of coronavirus deaths shock doctors as New York toll hits new highNew York state, epicenter of America's coronavirus crisis, set another single-day record of COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, as veteran doctors and nurses voiced astonishment at the speed with which patients were deteriorating and dying. The number of known coronavirus infections in New York state alone approached 150,000 on Wednesday, even as authorities warned that the official death tally may understate the true number because it omits those who have perished at home. "Every number is a face, " said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who ordered flags flown at half-staff across New York in memory of the victims.


China investigates party member critical of government's handling of coronavirus outbreak

China investigates party member critical of government's handling of coronavirus outbreakChina is investigating a prominent Communist Party member who criticized leader Xi Jinping’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.


U.K. Records Highest Daily Deaths With Johnson in Intensive Care

U.K. Records Highest Daily Deaths With Johnson in Intensive Care(Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Boris Johnson was still being monitored in a critical care unit as the U.K.’s coronavirus crisis deepened, with the highest daily rise in deaths so far.After he was taken into intensive care Monday, Johnson, 55, remained in a stable condition receiving oxygen treatment, and has not been diagnosed with pneumonia or put on a ventilator, his officials said. A statement Tuesday evening said this was unchanged.But the prime minister’s personal struggle to recover from Covid-19 leaves the U.K. without its leader at a critical time as the country prepares for cases to increase over the next 10 days. The death toll rose by 786, the Department for Health said Tuesday, bringing the total to 6,159.Asked why the U.K.’s death rates were so much higher than Germany’s, England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty appeared to blame the British government’s lack of wide testing for the virus.There were hints of better news elsewhere in the U.K. data, according to a televised briefing shortly after the death figures were published. There is no acceleration in the number of new cases, and it is “possible” that the infection curve is starting to flatten, said Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser. The trend won’t be clear for about another week, he said.With Johnson out of action, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is deputizing at the head of the government, with the peak of the outbreak expected in the days ahead. “I’m confident he’ll pull through because if there’s one thing I know about the prime minister, he’s a fighter,” Raab said at the same press conference on Tuesday evening.The cabinet is working collectively to deliver Johnson’s instructions on fighting the pandemic, Raab said when asked how much power he has over government policy.Johnson was taken to St. Thomas’ Hospital in London on Sunday evening after struggling to shake off virus symptoms for 10 days.Adding to the government’s woes, Cabinet Minister Michael Gove -- a key member of Johnson’s top team -- said he is in self-isolation after a family member displayed symptoms of coronavirus at the weekend. Gove has no symptoms himself and is continuing to work, he said in a Twitter post on Tuesday.Raab and the rest of the Cabinet face a series of key decisions in the days ahead -- on the process for easing the national lock down, and whether restrictions on people’s movements should be lifted, extended or tightened even further.Trump SupportIt’s an extraordinary turn of events for Johnson. Just over two months ago, he was at the peak of his powers, celebrating Britain’s departure from the European Union after scoring an emphatic election victory.U.S. President Donald Trump, a supporter of Johnson, said at a press briefing that he has told pharmaceutical companies to get in touch with London to offer help. Trump cited “rather complex” therapeutic treatments for the virus with “really incredible results,” but didn’t specify them.“When you get brought into intensive care, that gets very, very serious with this particular disease,” Trump said.With Johnson out of action, the untested Raab will now need to get a grip on the government machine and coordinate the pandemic response. Britain’s strategy for defeating coronavirus has already come under strain, with ministers accepting they had not done enough to test people for infections.Johnson himself was criticized by medical experts and members of his own Conservative Party for failing to act quickly enough to close schools and ban public gatherings.Cabinet DivisionsThere have been divisions among Johnson’s officials during his period of isolation already, a situation that risks getting worse with Raab, who was a leadership rival to Johnson last year, now in charge. Gove and Health Secretary Matt Hancock also stood for party leader and are now in lead roles in the virus strategy.On Tuesday, Gove told the BBC the government is working “in a team way” and taking decisions “completely by consensus,” as Raab chairs key meetings. “Physically, Boris is full of life and fit -- he is a keen tennis player and runner and he’s a man of great zest and appetite for life,” Gove told LBC radio later. “We hope and pray that he enjoys a quick recovery.”Johnson revealed on March 27 he had tested positive for coronavirus and was going into isolation in his Downing Street apartment. His meals and official papers were left outside his door, but he continued to chair daily crisis meetings via video link.The premier recorded several “selfie” video messages for social media in recent days in which he insisted he was doing well and remained in charge. At times, though, he appeared short of breath and visibly unwell.After being taken into intensive care, the premier received well wishes from colleagues including his predecessors Theresa May and David Cameron, as well as his chief opponent, Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer. International leaders including Irish premier Leo Varadkar and President Emmanuel Macron of France also sent messages of support.Johnson’s fiancee, Carrie Symonds, who is pregnant, also had symptoms of the virus and had been isolating.(Adds Downing Street statement on Johnson’s health in second 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.


Will we ever take cruise holidays again?

Will we ever take cruise holidays again?The cruise line industry faces a long journey back from the coronavirus pandemic.


A super-spreader believed to be at the center of Chicago's coronavirus outbreak shows the importance of social distancing

A super-spreader believed to be at the center of Chicago's coronavirus outbreak shows the importance of social distancingA case study traced the cases from one infected individual after they attended a funeral and birthday party, infecting 16 people and killing three.


'A lot of pain.' NY has biggest 1-day jump in virus deaths

'A lot of pain.' NY has biggest 1-day jump in virus deathsNew York state reported 731 new COVID-19 deaths Tuesday, its biggest jump since the start of the outbreak, dampening some of the cautious optimism officials have expressed about efforts to stop the spread of the virus. Cuomo said the death tally is a “lagging indicator” that reflects the loss of critically ill people hospitalized earlier. While Cuomo said New York could be reaching a “plateau” in hospitalizations, he warned that gains are dependent on people continuing to practice social distancing.


CDC loosens guidelines for some exposed to virus to return to work

CDC loosens guidelines for some exposed to virus to return to workUnder the guidance, people who are exposed to someone infected are allowed back on the job if they are asymptomatic.


Chinese Official Tries to Walk Back Claim U.S. Military Brought Virus to Wuhan

Chinese Official Tries to Walk Back Claim U.S. Military Brought Virus to WuhanChina Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian held his first press conference in several weeks on Tuesday, attempting to walk back his earlier claim that the U.S. military had brought the novel coronavirus to the city of Wuhan.“The virus [is] a scientific question that requires scientific opinions,” Zhao told reporters. He was then asked if he stood behind a March 12 tweet in which he wrote that, “It might be the U.S. Army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan.”“The questions raised on my personal Twitter account are a response to U.S. politicians' stigmatization of China, which also reflects the righteous anger of many Chinese people over these stigmatizing acts,” Zhao responded.China blocks Twitter within its borders, although certain citizens and companies may use the app with government approval. Twitter has said that using the platform to claim that the U.S. brought coronavirus to Wuhan does not violate its rules and terms of service.The Chinese government and state-owned media outlets have repeatedly tried to portray President Trump's use of the term “Chinese virus” as stigmatizing. On March 17, Trump was asked during a White House press conference whether he thought calling the coronavirus the “Chinese virus” created a “stigma.”“No, I don’t think so. I think saying that our military gave it to them creates a stigma,” Trump replied.The coronavirus pandemic that began in Wuhan has now claimed over 81,000 lives and seen 1,400,000 people infected.


NYPD releases video of moments before $1.3 million jewellery burglary

NYPD releases video of moments before $1.3 million jewellery burglaryNew York Police Department has released footage of the moments before a $1.3 million jewellery burglary in the Bronx.Four individuals broke into 50 East Fordham Road on the 31 March at around 1am, police said.


Smoking marijuana could make the lungs more susceptible to COVID-19, experts say as cannabis sales spike

Smoking marijuana could make the lungs more susceptible to COVID-19, experts say as cannabis sales spikeMarijuana smoking could make a person's lungs and immune system more susceptible to disease, existing coronavirus patient data shows.


New York state reports more coronavirus cases than any country except the U.S.: Reuters tally

New York state reports more coronavirus cases than any country except the U.S.: Reuters tallyThe U.S. state has 149,316 reported cases compared with Spain at 146,690. Italy is now in third place with 139,422 cases reported on Wednesday. In total, the United States has recorded over 417,000 cases and 14,100 deaths, according to the Reuters tally.


Trump’s Fox News Cabinet Tells Him the Coronavirus Crisis Is Over

Trump’s Fox News Cabinet Tells Him the Coronavirus Crisis Is OverThroughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump’s decisions and stances have seemingly been influenced by the unofficial advisers he treasures most: Fox News primetime hosts.After downplaying for weeks the threat of the virus, just as many on Fox News did the same, the president began taking it seriously last month after Tucker Carlson personally confronted him before delivering an on-air monologue calling for action. Elsewhere, Fox stars have been the primary driving force behind Trump’s incessant promotion of an unproven anti-malarial drug as the miracle COVID-19 cure.And in recent days, it seems, the president has been receiving his newest coronavirus intel briefing from Fox News. This time, they say, the pandemic is over and it’s time to move on.Throughout Tuesday night’s primetime stretch, Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham were in lockstep in telegraphing to Trump a message that the pandemic’s threat has been overstated, death counts have been inflated, and the U.S. is already on the downside of the curve.Carlson, who received mainstream plaudits for his “admirable” early coronavirus coverage, kicked off his show by declaring that the crisis “may have passed,” noting that health-care systems across the country haven’t come close to collapsing—“except in a handful of places.”“Patients are not dying alone in the hallways of emergency rooms with physicians too overwhelmed to treat them,” he asserted. “That was the concern. It happens in other countries, it's not happening here. Thank God for that.”There have been numerous reports and testimonials from health-care workers expressing horror over the conditions of overcrowded hospitals and the stress it has placed on both medical staffers and patients. Much reporting has also been done on how many patients are dying alone and away from family members and friends from the disease.But despite nearly 13,000 U.S. deaths and at least 400,000 confirmed cases, with portions of the country having yet to suffer the worst effects of the outbreak, Carlson called for a quick reversal of social-distancing restrictions in order to jumpstart the economy, citing downward revisions of coronavirus models as the key reason.“Before we go ahead and alter our lives and our country forever, it is fair to ask about the numbers, their numbers, the ones we acted on the first time, that turned out to be completely wrong,” the Fox star fumed. “How did they screw that up so thoroughly? That is a fair question.”Adjustments of expected death tolls in some models—which, weeks ago, showed as many as 240,000 American deaths—have largely occurred due to the widespread adoption of social-distancing guidelines and the assumption that school and business closures will stay in place through the summer. Even factoring all that in, the models still project roughly 80,000 deaths.Nevertheless, over the past few days, Carlson has been pushing the president to ignore medical expertise and quickly move forward with economic activity. “Is there a single person who sincerely expects the coronavirus itself will hurt more people in the end than the damage we're causing in our response to it? Probably not,” he said on Monday night. “Mass unemployment is almost certain to cause far more harm, including physical harm, to the average family than this disease.”Carlson has also railed against top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has urged Americans to embrace social distancing in order to flatten the curve. Calling it “bewildering” that the U.S. is allowing medical “experts” to make policy decisions, Carlson claimed last week that Fauci is proposing “national suicide” by pushing aggressive social distancing. “We should never let someone like that run this country,” he said.Fox News senior analyst Brit Hume, who has recently been at the forefront of right-wing media’s questioning of coronavirus deaths, has also joined the chorus of Fox stars agitating against medical expertise. The official COVID-19 death count has been inflated, he declared Carlson on Tuesday evening.“Dr. Birx said tonight during the briefing at the White House that all deaths from anyone who died with coronavirus is counted as if the person died from coronavirus,” Hume said. “Now, we all know that isn’t true.”“And if everybody is being automatically classified, if they're found to have COVID-19, as a COVID-19 death, we’re going to get a very large number of deaths that way and we’re probably not going to have an accurate count of what the real death total is,” he added.Besides the fact that flu deaths—which Trump and Fox figures have constantly used as a comparison point to downplay the pandemic—are tracked the exact same way, and coronavirus disproportionately impacts people with pre-conditions, it is actually far more likely that the COVID-19 death count has been understated so far.Hannity, meanwhile, kicked off his Tuesday evening broadcast by claiming there is a “ton of good news” surrounding the pandemic, touting revised downward estimates of the death count to suggest that regular economic activity should restart very soon.In a phone interview with the president, Hannity—who has served as an unofficial Trump adviser and confidant—noted that the “cure can’t be worse than the problem” and nudged the president to reveal when he’d roll back social-distancing policies.“I’d love to open with a big bang, one beautiful country and just open,” Trump declared, adding, “We’re looking at two concepts. We’re looking at the concept where you open up sections and we’re also looking at the concept where you open up everything.”In a Wednesday morning tweet, Trump further hinted that he is looking to end restrictions “sooner rather than later,” adding that the “horror” of coronavirus “must be quickly forgotten” and predicting that the economy “will BOOM” going forward.Laura Ingraham, however, may have been the most aggressive among her primetime colleagues in openly pushing Trump to view the pandemic threat as completely neutralized.Claiming the experts were “wrong” with their modeling and that it caused undue panic for Americans, Ingraham echoed Carlson by railing against medical officials, claiming this pandemic should “make us less willing to rely on the same experts to help determine when and how we should reopen our economy.”“We didn’t vote for doctors,” exclaimed Ingraham, who recently sat with the president to tout the unproven coronavirus cure hydroxychloroquine. “We voted for political leadership that sees the big picture. That means the whole picture of America.”She continued to hammer away at that message Wednesday on her Twitter account.Tucker Carlson Wants to Have It Both Ways on Coronavirus“At some point, the president is going to have to look at Drs. Fauci and Birx and say, we're opening on May 1,” she wrote on Wednesday morning. “Give me your best guidance on protocols, but we cannot deny our people their basic freedoms any longer.”“America must get back to work,” Ingraham blared in another tweet. “‘Experts’ were wrong on fatalities by a factor of 30 now want to dictate when we reopen.”While Trump’s Fox News cabinet is declaring the crisis over, the network’s brass is still taking the pandemic seriously, implementing strict social-distancing policies for its employees. In a memo sent last week, Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott announced the company would distribute thermometers to all essential workers and suggested the use of face masks for anyone who had to come into one of Fox’s offices. Additionally, Scott said that Fox was targeting May 4 as a possible return date for employees currently telecommuting.And as Fox News’ biggest stars tried to convince the president to ditch social distancing altogether, one of Trump’s own health officials rebuked the network’s faux-populist manipulation of the expert data and projections.“Physical distancing is incredibly important—remember the projections,” Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir said Wednesday on Fox & Friends. “I have seen people twist that like this was not going to be that bad after all and we didn’t need to do it. That’s a complete misinterpretation. The estimate of deaths going down is the result of the fact that we have listened to the president and vice president and task force.”“I do want to emphasize the point, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but don’t keep your foot—don’t take your foot off the gas,” Giroir continued. “Because we really need to continue these efforts because we could see another peak, a second peak, a third peak if people don’t do the physical distancing or they think it’s all over.“It’s not over yet.”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.


Covid-19 Is Trapping Ecuador Between Death and Debt

Covid-19 Is Trapping Ecuador Between Death and Debt(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Sometime late last month the bodies began to turn up on the streets of Guayaquil. Some of the dead were abandoned in dumpsters. Others had been bundled in plastic and left on the sidewalks of this seaside Ecuadoran city, the yellow and black plastic cordon suggesting an unsolved crime scene.While most of Latin America is bracing for the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, Ecuador is already overwhelmed. The Andean nation of 17.5 million people is proportionately South America’s most afflicted: Only Brazil has a higher death count, with three times the fatalities for a population 12 times larger than Ecuador’s. (But as Bloomberg News reports, the continent is woefully behind in testing populations for the virus.) In Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city, with 70% of the nation’s stricken, coffins are scarce, families wait days for funeral homes to collect their dead and morgues are overflowing, forcing city authorities to store the bodies in industrial refrigerators. This is not just a tragedy of human health. As Covid-19 claims lives, it also menaces an economy that is already failing. While emerging markets everywhere are in trouble, Ecuador comes to the pandemic with some serious co-morbidities: a huge foreign debt, sinking oil prices, deepening poverty and political fratricide. The only question is whether public health or the economy is in a more precarious state.The slump in oil prices has gutted winnings from Ecuador’s signature commodity even as public debt has risen to nearly 52% of gross domestic product, well over the nationally stipulated maximum of 40%. That level of red ink can be hard for many countries to handle. For dollarized Ecuador, the surging greenback makes its signature non-oil exports even less competitive and forces the country to pile on even more debt, default on its loans or slash spending even as it battles the pandemic.Ecuador’s plight is in part the product of collective responses to prior emergencies. One reason Ecuador proved to be so accommodating to coronavirus was its diaspora. Propelled by political instability and a banking crisis in the late 1990s and early 2000s, up to 1 million Ecuadorans have migrated. More than 400,000 settled in Spain, becoming Latin America’s largest expatriate community there, while another 100,000 moved to Italy. Just as these global Ecuadorans nurtured their native economy with remittances, the returnees and frequent fliers have helped spread the contagion back home. Ecuador’s patient zero reportedly was an elderly Ecuadoran who returned to Guayaquil in February and may have infected up to 180 patients. By the time national lockdown orders were in place in March, the virus was already loose.Dollarization is another two-edged sword. Runaway prices and a banking crisis forced Ecuador to jettison the worthless national currency for the greenback in early 2000. Dollarization stabilized the economy and shielded Ecuadorans from inflation and the economic fallout from political turmoil which routinely ravaged neighboring economies. However, the stronger dollar not only makes Ecuador’s exports less competitive, but ties the nation’s hands in a crisis. Since the central bank cannot print dollars, government can’t monetize its swollen public deficit. With plunging oil prices (crude oil is 29% of exports), Ecuador’s gross financing needs this year are on track to hit an “unmanageable” $8.1 billion this year, according to Oxford Economics. Unless multilateral lenders come to the rescue, the government will have to raise taxes or double down on austerity, a strategy that nearly unseated President Lenin Moreno last year.While some Latin American leaders have stepped up during the outbreak and seen their approval ratings climb, Moreno has struggled. Once heralded as a reformer, he has seen his credibility shattered by partisan caviling, aggravated by his own well-intentioned bumbling. Nationwide protests late last October forced him to roll back fiscal measures, including a cut in fuel subsidies, prescribed by the International Monetary Fund, whose largesse his government needs even more today. The economy is likely to contract by 6% this year, said Norman McKay of the Economist Intelligence Unit.Now he faces the country’s worst crisis in memory with approval ratings below 20% (compared with 77% when he first took office in 2017), junk-rated sovereign debt and little fiscal firepower. “Moreno was already isolated and has little national support and little cash to buy political support,” Andres Mejia Acosta, a lecturer in political economy at Kings College London, told me. A weak central government is a cue for opportunists to weaponize the pandemic for political ends. “We are likely to see Moreno’s political problems escalate because his government has no national support.”An emergency fund in the works will offer a modicum of relief to some of the most vulnerable families. However under fiscal constraints Ecuador revised its registry of cash transfer recipients in 2014, restricting eligibility to all but those in extreme poverty (eliminating 600,000 recipients) and leaving out many more potential beneficiaries who are now in harm’s way. ”If you are part of the population at risk, but didn’t make the official registry, you are invisible to the state,” said Mejia Acosta.For those who toil in Ecuador’s vast shadow economy and live by peddling their wares and services day by day, sheltering is penury. The state has no plan for them, nor refrigerators for their rising body count.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Mac Margolis is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Latin and South America. He was a reporter for Newsweek and is the author of “The Last New World: The Conquest of the Amazon Frontier.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Trump adviser warned of millions of virus deaths in January. Trump says he saw the memo only this week.

Trump adviser warned of millions of virus deaths in January. Trump says he saw the memo only this week.President Trump said Tuesday that he did not learn of two memos written in January and February by his own economic adviser warning that a COVID-19 pandemic could kill as many as 2 million Americans until “maybe a day ago.”


'It is an existential threat': As coronavirus spreads to Africa, health experts warn of catastrophe

'It is an existential threat': As coronavirus spreads to Africa, health experts warn of catastropheSo far, African countries have been spared the high death tolls seen in Italy, Spain, and the U.S., but officials are bracing for the worst in the coming weeks.


Photos show thousands packing into cars, planes, and trains in a rush to get out of Wuhan as China lifts the coronavirus lockdown

Photos show thousands packing into cars, planes, and trains in a rush to get out of Wuhan as China lifts the coronavirus lockdownChina ended the near-11-week lockdown of the city of Wuhan at midnight on Wednesday, sending floods of people out of the city.


Azul Rojas Marín: Peru found responsible for torture of LGBT person

Azul Rojas Marín: Peru found responsible for torture of LGBT personAzul Rojas Marín was beaten and raped in custody in Peru, a top human rights court rules.


Donations pour in but India's 'PM CARES' coronavirus fund faces criticism

Donations pour in but India's 'PM CARES' coronavirus fund faces criticismIndian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is facing criticism for creating a new coronavirus relief fund when about $500 million was lying unspent in an older fund, even as top businesses and celebrities pledge millions of dollars in new donations. Modi launched the "PM CARES" fund to provide relief to those affected by the coronavirus that has infected more than 5,000 people in India, and killed 149. The fund is expected to help millions of day labourers, many of whose lives were devastated by a nationwide lockdown ordered by Modi to stem the epidemic.


EU Nations Upgrade Trade Arsenal to Offset U.S. Attack on WTO
Bernie drops out, as Democrats pick pragmatism over consistency

Bernie drops out, as Democrats pick pragmatism over consistencyIn many ways, Bernie Sanders is the anti-Trump. And, in important ways, he ran his campaign as the anti-Biden.Sanders bowed out of the Democratic nomination race on April 8, repeating his runner-up status from four years earlier. His two runs at the White House have cemented his legacy as a consistent standard-bearer for progressive policies. The veteran democratic socialist possessed a rare quality for a political candidate in this age of Trumpian fickleness. He is a politician whose actions and beliefs have remained steadfast over time and across campaigns. But in the current political moment, it appears the Democratic electorate longs less for a politician who is consistent from day to day than one who can provide pragmatic leadership to unseat the vacillating Trump. Same ol’ SandersSanders ran his campaign as the antithesis of a political showman, who says one thing today and another tomorrow with little regard for facts and consistency. He has exhibited throughout his career what anthropologist Alessandro Duranti calls “existential coherence” – he is a political figure “whose past, present, and future actions, beliefs, and evaluations follow some clear basic principles, none of which contradicts another.” As a linguistic anthropologist who studies language and politics, I know that traditionally, candidates have worried about how to project a consistent political persona, and they have often gone to great pains to do so. But Trump shattered that expectation, excelling in self-contradictions and inconsistencies – often within a single sitting.Sanders, instead, has put forth a consistent vision that has remained more or less the same since his early days in politics as mayor of Burlington, Vermont. Rather than moving toward the electorate and shifting positions based on perceptions of what the electorate desired, the electorate has moved toward Sanders to join his vision for universal health care and other progressive causes. A CNBC survey in 2019 found that a majority of Americans supported progressive policies, including a higher minimum wage and Medicare for All – key issues that Sanders has been advocating throughout his decades-long political career. In an episode of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” last year, host Trevor Noah unearthed footage from 1987 of Sanders discussing politics on a local public access channel in his hometown of Burlington. The Bernie Sanders of 1987 talked of the unfair tax system that placed a large burden on working people and the need for universal health care. “We are one of two nations in the industrialized world that does not have a national health care system,” declared Sanders in 1987. Three decades later, in both his 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns, Sanders continued with that theme. In 2016, he released his Medicare for All plan by declaring, “It is time for our country to join every other major industrialized nation on Earth and guarantee health care to all citizens as a right, not a privilege.” His 2020 campaign website further echoed this sentiment, stating that “the United States will join every other major country on Earth and guarantee health care to all people as a right.” A consistent candidate often comes across as a more authentic candidate – someone who is staying true to his core self rather than pandering to the latest polling data or saying whatever will attract the most dramatic news coverage. Sanders’ authenticity as a candidate who has fought for working people and progressive ideals his entire life made him appealing to many liberals. He attracted an unshakable following of core supporters because of it. ‘Results, not revolution’Biden’s pragmatic approach, however, trumped Sanders’ often dogmatic consistency. In their debates, Sanders hammered Biden over what he saw as shifting stances on Social Security, Medicare and veterans’ programs. And then there was Biden’s 2003 vote for the Iraq war before he turned against it.But this is not the 2004 presidential election, where accusations of flip-flopping can sink a candidate, like it did John Kerry in his race against George W. Bush. Perhaps Donald Trump’s fickleness has changed what voters look for in a candidate. Maybe it’s simply that nobody cares about Biden’s apparent lack of judgment in 2003, which occurred well before he spent eight years as vice president in arguably one of the most popular Democratic administrations in U.S. history.Biden easily parried Sanders’ accusations of inconsistency by pointing to an underlying consistency of principles that have guided his varying positions over time. Voters ultimately decided to support someone who exhibits a practical sense of how to govern in a way that gets things done. As Biden said in his last debate with Sanders, “People are looking for results, not revolution.”On health care, one might have expected Sanders to have an advantage with his Medicare for All proposal, a consistent theme across his time as mayor, congressman, senator and presidential candidate. Polling done by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that for the first time a majority of Americans began to support a single government plan for health care in 2016, corresponding to the Sanders campaign push for Medicare for All.But in the same Kaiser poll, more Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents said they would prefer a candidate who would build on the Affordable Care Act rather than replace it. Biden’s campaign argued precisely for this more pragmatic approach, and he positioned himself as the right person to get the job done in a contentious political environment. An overtureAfter sweeping the primaries in Florida, Illinois and Arizona in March – putting the wheels in motion for the eventual withdrawal of Sanders from the race – Biden then struck the right chord in his speech after the Florida primary by making an appeal to Sanders voters. “I hear you,” he said. “I know what’s at stake. I know what we have to do. Our goal as a campaign and my goal as a candidate for president is to unify this party and then to unify the nation.” Biden’s appeal to Sanders voters suggests he may be willing to absorb some of the best ideas from Sanders – and other candidates. It’s a pragmatic approach, rather than a dogmatic consistency, that may bring along their supporters, too. That may be exactly what he will need to do to beat Trump in November.[You’re smart and curious about the world. So are The Conversation’s authors and editors. You can read us daily by subscribing to The Conversation’s newsletter.]This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts.Read more: * Biden’s big night with moderates, African Americans and baby boomers * Biden’s resurrection was unprecedented – and well-timedAdam Hodges does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.


The White House is reportedly developing a plan to get back to 'normality'

The White House is reportedly developing a plan to get back to 'normality'Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, told Democratic lawmakers during a phone call Wednesday that the Trump administration is developing a framework for getting the United States back into a state of "normality" in the wake of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Politico reports.Fauci didn't provide any possible timeline, but he did say the White House will likely issue some guidance in the coming days about transitioning society out of lockdown eventually.The cautious forward thinking is likely a result of some optimism among the White House coronavirus task force. Vice President Mike Pence, who heads the unit, told lawmakers there have been early signs that new cases are stabilizing in some areas, echoing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (D) comments earlier in the day.That doesn't mean Fauci, Pence, or lawmakers are relaxing, of course. "They're starting to see, they think, this virus in some of these known hot spots begin to maybe top out," Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) told Politico. "There are some hopeful signs in New York and other places. But we all know there's a long way to go." Read more at Politico.More stories from theweek.com Dr. Anthony Fauci cautiously predicts kids will return to school next fall, 'but it's going to be different' The coming backlash against the public health experts Trump says he doesn't know who Joe Exotic is, but he'll 'take a look' at pardoning him


JetBlue suspends flights at eight airports, including New York LaGuardia, Baltimore, San Jose
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown blasts Trump but praises Republican governor's response to coronavirus

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown blasts Trump but praises Republican governor's response to coronavirusSen. Sherrod Brown defeated Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine in 2006, but now praises his old political foe's response to the coronavirus pandemic.


As coronavirus spreads, mentally ill Americans are left scrambling for options

As coronavirus spreads, mentally ill Americans are left scrambling for optionsThe rapid spread of the coronavirus has dramatically affected the one in five Americans who deal with mental health in any given year, as well as those who work tirelessly to keep those individuals well.


One chart shows how long the coronavirus lives on surfaces like cardboard, plastic, wood, and steel

One chart shows how long the coronavirus lives on surfaces like cardboard, plastic, wood, and steelRecent research shows that the coronavirus lives longest on glass, paper money, and the outside of surgical masks.


Your Home (and Mind) Needs One of These High-Design Mobiles
Coronavirus: Why China's claims of success raise eyebrows

Coronavirus: Why China's claims of success raise eyebrowsChina has claimed its first day without a virus death, but faces lingering scepticism over its data.


Texas teen accused of threatening to spread coronavirus is charged

Texas teen accused of threatening to spread coronavirus is chargedMaradiaga claimed in a series of Snapchat videos to have tested positive and threatened to willfully spread COVID-19, according to police.


India's financial hub Mumbai set to extend coronavirus lockdown: sources

India's financial hub Mumbai set to extend coronavirus lockdown: sourcesIndia's financial hub Mumbai is set to extend lockdown measures until at least April 30 as authorities race to expand testing to stem the spread of coronavirus cases in the city, three senior officials said. A 21-day nationwide lockdown that Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared in late March to fight the epidemic is officially set to end on April 14. The Mumbai municipal authority and the state government in the western state of Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital, both declined to comment.


Iran supreme leader approves withdrawal of 1 billion euros from sovereign wealth fund to fight coronavirus

Iran supreme leader approves withdrawal of 1 billion euros from sovereign wealth fund to fight coronavirusIran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has approved the withdrawal of 1 billion euros from the country's sovereign wealth fund to help fight the coronavirus epidemic, President Hassan Rouhani's official website said on Monday.


The Supreme Court’s Misunderstood Ruling on Wisconsin’s Coronavirus Primary

The Supreme Court’s Misunderstood Ruling on Wisconsin’s Coronavirus PrimaryThere seems to be some confusion about the Supreme Court’s ruling on Monday in connection with Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary. This owes to reporting that suggests, or at least could lead its audience to believe, that the Court’s five conservative-leaning, Republican-appointed justices, over the strident objection of its four left-leaning, Democratic-appointed justices, directed that the primary proceed with in-person voting, despite the coronavirus threat.That is not what happened.The state government of Wisconsin, led by Governor Anthony Steven Evers, a Democrat, made the decision to go forward with the primary, and with in-person voting. As the Court’s majority emphasizes, that was not the Court’s call, nor is it the Court’s place to opine on the wisdom of the state government’s decision.The majority’s unsigned opinion explains that the issue the Court was called upon to decide was a narrow one, pertaining to absentee ballots. Specifically, at the urging of Democratic Party organizations concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on voting, federal district judge William Conley (an Obama appointee) extended the deadline for receipt of mail-in ballots from Tuesday April 7 (the primary-election day) to Monday afternoon, April 13. That aspect of the district court’s ruling was not in dispute. Judge Conley, however, directed that that absentee ballots were eligible to be counted regardless of when they were mailed in or otherwise delivered, as long as they came in by the April 13 deadline. In effect, that meant absentee ballots could be cast after in-person primary voting had closed on April 7.Obviously, this could mean the election would be materially altered by events occurring after formal conclusion of the primary election -- not least, news about the apparent election result. To address this problem, Judge Conley further ordered the Wisconsin Election Commission and election inspectors to suppress any report of the voting results until after the new April 13 deadline for the receipt of absentee ballots.There were at least three problems with this resolution. First, when they filed their lawsuit, the Democratic plaintiffs had not asked the district court to permit the mailing of ballots after the polls were closed on April 7. Second, the Wisconsin Election Commission and election inspectors were not parties to the lawsuit, and thus did not have a right to be heard before Judge Conley gagged them. Finally, the district court’s resolution worked a significant change in election rules. This ran afoul of Supreme Court precedent, particularly the 2006 Purcell v. Gonzalez decision, which instructed lower federal courts to resist altering rules on the eve of an election.Consequently, the majority (Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh) ruled that in order for votes to count, the absentee ballots must be postmarked by Election Day (April 7) and received by the Election Commission by April 13.Justice Ginsburg dissented (joined by Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan). She argued that the coronavirus crisis had backlogged the Election Commission with mail-in-ballot requests, meaning that many such ballots (potentially thousands of them) would not be provided to voters in time to comply with the April 7 deadline. Ergo, the Court’s ruling needlessly placed voters in the quandary of risking disease by voting in person or forfeiting their right to vote -- in an important election in which not only the Democratic presidential nomination but many seats on the Wisconsin state courts, including its highest court, are at stake.Justice Ginsburg has a good point about the majority’s reliance on Democratic organizations’ failure to ask for an extension of the mail-in deadline. Oddly, the majority asserts that Ginsburg’s dissent “entirely disregards the critical point that the plaintiffs themselves did not ask for this additional relief in their preliminary injunction motions.” To the contrary, Justice Ginsburg counters that, while the plaintiffs omitted that request from their written motions, they explicitly argued for it at the hearing. They did this on their own, unbidden by Judge Conley, because by then the pandemic had caused a surging demand for absentee ballots. Given the majority’s concession that it is not “necessarily” concluding that Democrats forfeited this relief, Ginsburg is persuasive in rebutting their argument.On the other hand, Justice Ginsburg is at her least persuasive in turning the Purcell precedent on its head. She argues that it is not Judge Conley but the Court itself that runs afoul of Purcell: On the eve of the election, it has altered the election rules that were in place -- i.e., the ones fashioned by Conley. The point of Purcell, however, is to instruct the lower courts not to alter election rules. If federal judges ignore binding Supreme Court guidance, the Court obviously must overrule them -- otherwise, what is the point of having the guidance?If I had my druthers, absentee balloting would not be permitted except in extraordinary circumstances. Voting is a sufficiently important privilege that we should all troop to the polling place and cast our ballots on Election Day. This way, we all vote based on the same available information, and the chances of fraud -- which is what you should worry about if you are truly concerned about disenfranchisement -- are minimized.Still, I’m sympathetic to the dissent in this case. My views notwithstanding, voting by mail is widely permitted. Even for traditionalists, moreover, absentee balloting is permissible in extraordinary circumstances. What could be more extraordinary than the ongoing health crisis? It is being demanded of Americans that they shut down their livelihoods for the greater good of stopping the spread of a deadly infectious disease. How ridiculous, then, that Wisconsin state officials have not canceled in-person voting as other states have done. They should have either made it easier for people to vote by mail or postponed the election until it could safely be held.Regardless of what one thinks about the ruling, though, the Supreme Court is getting a bad rap. Their case is about nothing more than whether ballots mailed in the six-day period after Election Day should count. It was not the justices’ decision to go forward with Wisconsin’s primary during a pandemic. Nor is the Court any way responsible for the risks entailed by in-person voting.


Mattis rebukes Trump over removal of Pentagon inspector general

Mattis rebukes Trump over removal of Pentagon inspector generalIn Donald Trump’s latest salvo in an ongoing bid to reshape government oversight of his administration, the president fired the Pentagon inspector general charged with overseeing implementation of the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package. 


Column: 'Pharma bro' Martin Shkreli wants out of prison to find a cure for coronavirus

Column: 'Pharma bro' Martin Shkreli wants out of prison to find a cure for coronavirusIn act of chutzpah, 'Pharma bro' Shkreli seeks prison release to find a coronavirus cure.


86-year-old and three sons die after contracting COVID-19

86-year-old and three sons die after contracting COVID-19The mother and three sons all died within days of each other, the New Orleans Coroner's Office confirmed.


Sweden, which refused to implement a coronavirus lockdown, has so far avoided a mass outbreak. Now it's bracing for a potential surge in deaths.

Sweden, which refused to implement a coronavirus lockdown, has so far avoided a mass outbreak. Now it's bracing for a potential surge in deaths.Sweden urged people to practice social distancing but left shops and restaurants open, contrasting with many countries across Europe and the world.


Japan to Fund Firms to Shift Production Out of China

Japan to Fund Firms to Shift Production Out of China(Bloomberg) -- Japan has earmarked $2.2 billion of its record economic stimulus package to help its manufacturers shift production out of China as the coronavirus disrupts supply chains between the major trading partners.The extra budget, compiled to try to offset the devastating effects of the pandemic, includes 220 billion yen ($2 billion) for companies shifting production back to Japan and 23.5 billion yen for those seeking to move production to other countries, according to details of the plan posted online.The move coincides with what should have been a celebration of friendlier ties between the two countries. Chinese President Xi Jinping was supposed to be on a state visit to Japan early this month. But what would have been the first visit of its sort in a decade was postponed a month ago amid the spread of the virus and no new date has been set.China is Japan’s biggest trading partner under normal circumstances, but imports from China slumped by almost half in February as the disease shuttered factories, in turn starving Japanese manufacturers of necessary components.That has renewed talk of Japanese firms reducing their reliance on China as a manufacturing base. The government’s panel on future investment last month discussed the need for manufacturing of high-added value products to be shifted back to Japan, and for production of other goods to be diversified across Southeast Asia.“There will be something of a shift,” said Shinichi Seki, an economist at the Japan Research Institute, adding that some Japanese companies manufacturing goods in China for export were already considering moving out. “Having this in the budget will definitely provide an impetus.” Companies, such as car makers, that are manufacturing for the Chinese domestic market, will likely stay put, he said.Testing TimesJapan exports a far larger share of parts and partially finished goods to China than other major industrial nations, according to data compiled for the panel. A February survey by Tokyo Shoko Research Ltd. found 37% of the more than 2,600 companies that responded were diversifying procurement to places other than China amid the coronavirus crisis.It remains to be seen how the policy will affect Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s years-long effort to restore relations with China.“We are doing our best to resume economic development,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a briefing Wednesday in Beijing, when asked about the move. “In this process, we hope other countries will act like China and take proper measures to ensure the world economy will be impacted as little as possible and to ensure that supply chains are impacted as little as possible.”The initial stages of the Covid-19 outbreak in China appeared to warm the often chilly ties between the two countries. Japan provided aid in the form of masks and protective gear -- and in one case a shipment was accompanied by a fragment of ancient Chinese poetry. In return, it received praise from Beijing.In another step welcomed in Japan, China declared Avigan, an anti-viral produced by Japan’s Fujifilm Holdings Corp. to be an effective treatment for the coronavirus, even though it has yet to be approved for that use by the Japanese.Yet many in Japan are inclined to blame China for mishandling the early stages of the outbreak and Abe for not blocking visitors from China sooner.Meanwhile, other issues that have deeply divided the neighbors -- including a territorial dispute over East China Sea islands that brought them close to a military clash in 2012-13 -- are no nearer resolution.Chinese government ships have continued their patrols around the Japanese-administered islands throughout the crisis, with Japan saying four Chinese ships on Wednesday entered what it sees as its territorial waters.(Updates with comment from economist in sixth 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.


Congo mine gun attack kills three Chinese nationals: Xinhua

Congo mine gun attack kills three Chinese nationals: XinhuaA gun attack in a mining area in the Democratic Republic of Congo has killed three Chinese nationals, China's official Xinhua news agency reported, citing the Chinese embassy in the mineral-rich central African country.


U.S. reports 1,200 coronavirus deaths in one day as China lifts lockdown

U.S. reports 1,200 coronavirus deaths in one day as China lifts lockdownNation's top infectious diseases expert said he is "cautiously optimistic" that worst projections may be avoided "if we keep our foot on the accelerator."


Coronavirus wreaks havoc in African American neighbourhoods

Coronavirus wreaks havoc in African American neighbourhoodsBlack Chicagoans account for 70% of coronavirus deaths, despite making up 30% of the population.


VP talk could intensify with Harris fundraising moves

VP talk could intensify with Harris fundraising movesCalifornia Sen. Kamala Harris made two notable fundraising moves Wednesday that are sure to fuel speculation about her prospects to be Joe Biden's running mate on the Democratic presidential ticket. Harris, who dropped out of the White House race in December, set up a joint fundraising operation with the Democratic National Committee, an arrangement that is typically reserved for nominees trying to attract large donations from the party’s biggest boosters. Hours later, she made a surprise appearance on a virtual fundraiser, introducing Biden to donors.


Jewish world marks start of 'strange' Passover

Jewish world marks start of 'strange' PassoverJews marked the start of a "strange" Passover holiday on Wednesday as the coronavirus pandemic prevented the large family gatherings usually organised for the traditional Seder meal. In Israel, which has more than 9,000 confirmed cases of the deadly virus, a nationwide curfew was in effect, with security forces deployed on the streets to prevent anyone seeking to visit relatives in violation of social-distancing measures. In an English language message to Jews across the world, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged that this year's Passover was "strange" and "different from all other Passovers."


Obesity is major COVID-19 risk factor, says French chief epidemiologist

Obesity is major COVID-19 risk factor, says French chief epidemiologistBeing overweight is a major risk for people infected with the new coronavirus and the United States is particularly vulnerable because of high obesity levels there, France's chief epidemiologist said on Wednesday. Professor Jean-François Delfraissy, who heads the scientific council that advises the government on the epidemic, said as many as 17 million of France's 67 million citizens were seriously at risk from the coronavirus because of age, pre-existing illness or obesity. "That is why we're worried about our friends in America, where the problem of obesity is well known and where they will probably have the most problems because of obesity."


India drops drug export ban after Trump threatens "retaliation"

India drops drug export ban after Trump threatens "retaliation"As it's tested as a possible treatment for COVID-19, India had barred exports of hydroxychloroquine, until Trump weighed in.


More than 90,000 cruise crewmembers left to battle coronavirus – at times without pay

More than 90,000 cruise crewmembers left to battle coronavirus – at times without payCrew members are having just as trouble as passengers in getting off ships once their skills are no longer needed.


Dems Demand Half of $251 Billion in Additional Small Business Loans Be Targeted to Minority, Women-Owned Companies

Dems Demand Half of $251 Billion in Additional Small Business Loans Be Targeted to Minority, Women-Owned CompaniesThe White House is requesting an additional $251 billion for additional small business lending as part of the government’s coronavirus response, eliciting a counter from congressional Democrats asking for $125 billion in targeted aid for farmers, women, minorities, and veteran-owned businesses.“I’ll be asking Congress to provide an additional $250 billion for the paycheck protection, which will help keep Americans employed, to facilitate a quick and full recovery,” President Trump said on Tuesday at the White House during a coronavirus task force briefing.The Senate’s phase-three package, which passed last month, earmarked $350 billion to make small business loans through commercial banks to companies with 500 or fewer employees, provided the companies agree to keep workers on the payroll. As part of the “Paycheck Protection Program,” most or all of the loan would be written off if the borrower retained its workers and didn’t cut their wages, with the government repaying the banks for the forgiven portions of the loans.In a letter to Capitol Hill, the White House Office of Management and Budget said that the program, conducted through the Small Business Administration (SBA), has administered over 220,000 loans — totaling approximately $66 billion. “Given the level of demand for the program, the Administration believes the funds appropriated for this program will soon be exhausted,” the letter reads.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said in a statement on Tuesday that he hoped to approve the additional funding with unanimous consent or a voice vote during a procedural session on Thursday, without the full chamber present.“It is quickly becoming clear that Congress will need to provide more funding or this crucial program may run dry,” McConnell said. “That cannot happen. Nearly 10 million Americans filed for unemployment in just the last two weeks. This is already a record-shattering tragedy, and every day counts.”Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) — who said she was open to “an interim package” — countered with their own proposal Wednesday, which placed a number of conditions on the new funding to make sure 50 percent of it goes to farmers, women, minorities, and veteran-owned businesses. The proposal also called for an additional $100 billion in hospital funding and $150 billion more for state and local governments.


Surgeon General says he's 'optimistic' the coronavirus impact can be slowed if US keeps up social distancing for 30 days

Surgeon General says he's 'optimistic' the coronavirus impact can be slowed if US keeps up social distancing for 30 daysThe US is not in the clear: More than 378,200 coronavirus cases and 11,800 deaths have been reported as of Tuesday.


Wuhan Shows the World Its Post-Coronavirus Future

Wuhan Shows the World Its Post-Coronavirus FutureHONG KONG—Trains are leaving Wuhan for the first time since January 23, carrying 55,000 people out of the city in one day. Long-haul buses are moving passengers across provinces. Planes are taking off at the airport again. Roadblocks on outbound highways have been removed, and cars have been streaming through since midnight. The lockdown of the first epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic—after doctors who flagged the unusual virus were gagged by authorities—was lifted at midnight local time on Wednesday. U.S. Eyes Second Coronavirus Outbreak in ChinaIt’s difficult to look back at the lockdown without feeling like it was an 11-week internment. More than 3,300 people reportedly have died in China due to COVID-19, including nearly 2,600 in the city of Wuhan alone. (The official tallies are deemed by medical professionals in China and abroad to be much lower than the actual count.) Intensive care units were, of course, where the most recorded deaths occurred; the mortality rate in Wuhan’s ICUs was between 25 and 30 percent, according to Dr. Peng Zhiyong, who led two ICU teams in the city and maintained the lowest rates of fatalities and hospital transmissions at the facilities where he worked.Now, after daily—hourly, constant—checks on the epidemic curve, there is an uneasy mixture of relief and apprehension as life in Wuhan crawls back to a normal pace and Hubei province reconnects with the rest of the country.There are lessons here for the hard-hit United States, where to date almost four times as many people have died as in China, judging by official numbers. But, sadly, those lessons are limited. Other countries may benefit more from what has been learned in Wuhan.In the United States, the Trump administration apparently expects 50 states to compete with each other, and with the federal government, for vital resources. In China, the all-powerful Chinese Communist Party poured everything it could into Wuhan and Hubei after the very strict province-wide lockdown. It flew in medical workers from all over the country, military assistance, construction workers to build hospitals, and others to enforce the quarantines while enhancing survival rates.For two and a half months, Hubei’s 60 million people—roughly the population of Italy—have been confined to their homes. To venture out in public for crucial supply runs, they had to pass through checkpoints manned by private security guards, neighborhood-level Chinese Communist Party custodians, or police officers. The population’s material needs were taken care of, but there was a constant air of uncertainty about what might happen next. Might there be a surge in infection numbers and deaths the next day? Could one’s neighbor, parent, friend fall ill and fail to find medical assistance at the packed hospitals? What if the pandemic does not end?Today, the physical signs of those weeks of worry remain present. Barbed wire still runs along the tops of walls surrounding some residential complexes, installed to prevent people from leaping over the barriers to cure their cabin fever. Many older buildings—those with only two or three floors—are still boarded up.So far, it hasn’t been a smooth transition for Wuhan. There were plenty of dead car batteries. Social distancing was difficult to achieve on public transportation. Frequent temperature checks and pauses to disinfect slowed down movement across the city—although few were in a rush to begin with.Even at the beginning of the week, Wuhan and the rest of Hubei were coming back to life slowly. Some restaurants lit their stove fires again—patrons couldn’t always dine in, but they placed orders and waited patiently for their takeout, standing five or six feet apart from each other. Sounds and smells of human activity were returning. You could spot people strolling along the quiet waterfront—just a handful, but enough to give the impression that things could go back to normal, that maybe not all of spring was lost. Now, across mainland China, it’s common enough to see people wearing latex gloves and plastic goggles when they are outside of their homes. Masks are mandatory in public areas, meant to limit significantly the virus’ spread in case you are a carrier. This curtails the footprint of the coronavirus—a particularly important act because medical professionals believe that many people who carry the virus are asymptomatic, meaning they may not even realize that they can cause severe illness in others.When much of China was still under lockdown, people spoke of “revenge spending,” a term that harks back to the spike in consumption after the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976, now appropriated to outline the urge to splurge after shops reopen when the COVID pandemic subsides. But while businesses in Wuhan, Hubei, and the rest of the country have spun up operations again, consumers have been cautious about their expenditures. Many have drained significant chunks of their savings, and the likelihood of a second wave of infections hitting later this year has people worrying that they will have to hunker down again, this time with even tighter purse strings.China Hijacked This American Mom’s Tweets for Coronavirus PropagandaIn the first three months of this year, nearly half a million businesses in China went belly up. More are expected to declare bankruptcy in the coming weeks. Companies that ship goods to other countries are being hit hard as foreign clients seek delays in shipments or are canceling orders altogether.Firms involved in mass-scale surveillance, however, are more active than ever. Throughout China, smartphone-based tracking measures are now used to indicate a person’s health status and location history. Whip out your phone and call up your assigned QR code—if it’s green, then you can access public transportation, as well as facilities like shopping malls, restaurants, and parks. The same tools are used to determine whether a person can travel throughout the country. The exception is the capital, Beijing, where all arrivals must commit to 14 days of quarantine.This isn’t a policy that is unique to China. Around the world, at least 24 countries are tracking their citizens’ locations using applications that went online during the COVID-19 pandemic, and at least 14 nations have rolled out apps for contact tracing or as part of quarantine protocols, according to information compiled by Human Rights Watch, Privacy International, and more than 100 other organizations.Yet even with a digital dragnet over the country, our lack of understanding of the coronavirus and COVID-19 brings about intense uneasiness. It is still unclear how common asymptomatic transmission is, but classified Chinese documents seen by reporters of Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post suggest that up to one-third of people who test positive could be carrying the virus without showing any symptoms. People I spoke to in Wuhan, Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou were all anxious about how every human body—including their own—has the potential to become a walking bio-bomb that could kill a friend or loved one. It’s a distressing thought that is compounded when a nation is being steered by its central government to return to the tempo from three months ago.The weekend was a reminder that the pandemic has left indelible imprints on China—and the rest of the world. Last Saturday was a day of mourning for those who died in China due to COVID-19. At 10:00 a.m., people stopped what they were doing to observe three minutes of silence. Sirens wailed. Drivers sounded their vehicles’ horns. Flags flew at half-mast. In every city, town, and village, tears fell. Chinese Communist Party leaders, including President Xi Jinping, gathered at Zhongnanhai, the headquarters of the CCP and central government in the capital, where a banner reading “deeply mourn for martyrs and compatriots” now hangs. The party has claimed every casualty as one of its own.Yet none of this implies that China is on the other side of this viral calamity. Last week, Zeng Guang, the chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said the country “has not reached the end [of the pandemic], but is merely entering a new phase.” The main worry, for now, is that asymptomatic carriers will infect others as people travel across the country to get back to work, ultimately negating the months-long containment efforts that have placed life on hold for many millions of people.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.


'It's like nothing else': Klobuchar, husband talk about his battle with coronavirus

'It's like nothing else': Klobuchar, husband talk about his battle with coronavirus"It's one of the hardest, hardest things," Klobuchar told NBC News in an exclusive interview about her family's ordeal.


Bernie Sanders speaks on 'painful' decision to exit the 2020 race, says he'll keep gathering delegates

Bernie Sanders speaks on 'painful' decision to exit the 2020 race, says he'll keep gathering delegatesSen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Wednesday officially conceded the Democratic presidential primary to former Vice President Joe Biden but said he will still stay on the ballot and continue to gather delegates through the party's convention. After suspending his campaign for president, Sanders addressed supporters in a live stream, describing his decision to exit as "very difficult and painful." But he admitted it has become "virtually impossible" for him to win the Democratic nomination and he "cannot in good conscience continue" running, especially in light of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. "If I believed that we had a feasible path to the nomination, I would certainly continue the campaign, but it's just not there," Sanders said.Sanders also congratulated Biden, who is now the only Democratic candidate left in the race, describing him as a "very decent man." At the same time, Sanders said he will remain on the ballot in all remaining states and not stop gathering delegates."While Vice President Biden will be the nominee, we must continue working to assemble as many delegates as possible at the Democratic convention, where we will be able to exert significant influence over the party platform and other functions," Sanders said. Biden in a lengthy statement on Wednesday praised Sanders and told his supporters, "I see you, I hear you. and I understand the urgency of what it is we have to get done in this country. I hope you will join us." > Sanders says he will stay on the ballot in remaining primary states so that he can keep winning delegates, in hopes of exerting "significant influence" on the Democratic Party platform> > But he says he'll also work with presumptive nominee, Joe Biden https://t.co/9GZS7qcBFb pic.twitter.com/qEXyCg4ZMt> > -- CBS News (@CBSNews) April 8, 2020More stories from theweek.com Dr. Anthony Fauci cautiously predicts kids will return to school next fall, 'but it's going to be different' The coming backlash against the public health experts Trump says he doesn't know who Joe Exotic is, but he'll 'take a look' at pardoning him


Korean Air puts 70 percent of staff on leave

Korean Air puts 70 percent of staff on leaveKorean Air is the flagship of the Hanjin group, one of the multifaceted, family-controlled conglomerates known as chaebols that dominate business in South Korea and played a key part in its rise to become the world's 12th-largest economy. Most of its staff will go on leave from April 16 for six months in response to "deteriorating business circumstances", Korean Air said in a statement. Korean Air's labour union agreed to participate as part of a "burden-sharing" initiative, the company said -- executives have also agreed to take pay cuts.


Speed of coronavirus deaths shock doctors as New York toll hits new high

Speed of coronavirus deaths shock doctors as New York toll hits new highNew York state, epicenter of America's coronavirus crisis, set another single-day record of COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, as veteran doctors and nurses voiced astonishment at the speed with which patients were deteriorating and dying. The number of known coronavirus infections in New York state alone approached 150,000 on Wednesday, even as authorities warned that the official death tally may understate the true number because it omits those who have perished at home. "Every number is a face, " said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who ordered flags flown at half-staff across New York in memory of the victims.


China investigates party member critical of government's handling of coronavirus outbreak

China investigates party member critical of government's handling of coronavirus outbreakChina is investigating a prominent Communist Party member who criticized leader Xi Jinping’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.


U.K. Records Highest Daily Deaths With Johnson in Intensive Care

U.K. Records Highest Daily Deaths With Johnson in Intensive Care(Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Boris Johnson was still being monitored in a critical care unit as the U.K.’s coronavirus crisis deepened, with the highest daily rise in deaths so far.After he was taken into intensive care Monday, Johnson, 55, remained in a stable condition receiving oxygen treatment, and has not been diagnosed with pneumonia or put on a ventilator, his officials said. A statement Tuesday evening said this was unchanged.But the prime minister’s personal struggle to recover from Covid-19 leaves the U.K. without its leader at a critical time as the country prepares for cases to increase over the next 10 days. The death toll rose by 786, the Department for Health said Tuesday, bringing the total to 6,159.Asked why the U.K.’s death rates were so much higher than Germany’s, England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty appeared to blame the British government’s lack of wide testing for the virus.There were hints of better news elsewhere in the U.K. data, according to a televised briefing shortly after the death figures were published. There is no acceleration in the number of new cases, and it is “possible” that the infection curve is starting to flatten, said Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser. The trend won’t be clear for about another week, he said.With Johnson out of action, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is deputizing at the head of the government, with the peak of the outbreak expected in the days ahead. “I’m confident he’ll pull through because if there’s one thing I know about the prime minister, he’s a fighter,” Raab said at the same press conference on Tuesday evening.The cabinet is working collectively to deliver Johnson’s instructions on fighting the pandemic, Raab said when asked how much power he has over government policy.Johnson was taken to St. Thomas’ Hospital in London on Sunday evening after struggling to shake off virus symptoms for 10 days.Adding to the government’s woes, Cabinet Minister Michael Gove -- a key member of Johnson’s top team -- said he is in self-isolation after a family member displayed symptoms of coronavirus at the weekend. Gove has no symptoms himself and is continuing to work, he said in a Twitter post on Tuesday.Raab and the rest of the Cabinet face a series of key decisions in the days ahead -- on the process for easing the national lock down, and whether restrictions on people’s movements should be lifted, extended or tightened even further.Trump SupportIt’s an extraordinary turn of events for Johnson. Just over two months ago, he was at the peak of his powers, celebrating Britain’s departure from the European Union after scoring an emphatic election victory.U.S. President Donald Trump, a supporter of Johnson, said at a press briefing that he has told pharmaceutical companies to get in touch with London to offer help. Trump cited “rather complex” therapeutic treatments for the virus with “really incredible results,” but didn’t specify them.“When you get brought into intensive care, that gets very, very serious with this particular disease,” Trump said.With Johnson out of action, the untested Raab will now need to get a grip on the government machine and coordinate the pandemic response. Britain’s strategy for defeating coronavirus has already come under strain, with ministers accepting they had not done enough to test people for infections.Johnson himself was criticized by medical experts and members of his own Conservative Party for failing to act quickly enough to close schools and ban public gatherings.Cabinet DivisionsThere have been divisions among Johnson’s officials during his period of isolation already, a situation that risks getting worse with Raab, who was a leadership rival to Johnson last year, now in charge. Gove and Health Secretary Matt Hancock also stood for party leader and are now in lead roles in the virus strategy.On Tuesday, Gove told the BBC the government is working “in a team way” and taking decisions “completely by consensus,” as Raab chairs key meetings. “Physically, Boris is full of life and fit -- he is a keen tennis player and runner and he’s a man of great zest and appetite for life,” Gove told LBC radio later. “We hope and pray that he enjoys a quick recovery.”Johnson revealed on March 27 he had tested positive for coronavirus and was going into isolation in his Downing Street apartment. His meals and official papers were left outside his door, but he continued to chair daily crisis meetings via video link.The premier recorded several “selfie” video messages for social media in recent days in which he insisted he was doing well and remained in charge. At times, though, he appeared short of breath and visibly unwell.After being taken into intensive care, the premier received well wishes from colleagues including his predecessors Theresa May and David Cameron, as well as his chief opponent, Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer. International leaders including Irish premier Leo Varadkar and President Emmanuel Macron of France also sent messages of support.Johnson’s fiancee, Carrie Symonds, who is pregnant, also had symptoms of the virus and had been isolating.(Adds Downing Street statement on Johnson’s health in second 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.


Will we ever take cruise holidays again?

Will we ever take cruise holidays again?The cruise line industry faces a long journey back from the coronavirus pandemic.


A super-spreader believed to be at the center of Chicago's coronavirus outbreak shows the importance of social distancing

A super-spreader believed to be at the center of Chicago's coronavirus outbreak shows the importance of social distancingA case study traced the cases from one infected individual after they attended a funeral and birthday party, infecting 16 people and killing three.


'A lot of pain.' NY has biggest 1-day jump in virus deaths

'A lot of pain.' NY has biggest 1-day jump in virus deathsNew York state reported 731 new COVID-19 deaths Tuesday, its biggest jump since the start of the outbreak, dampening some of the cautious optimism officials have expressed about efforts to stop the spread of the virus. Cuomo said the death tally is a “lagging indicator” that reflects the loss of critically ill people hospitalized earlier. While Cuomo said New York could be reaching a “plateau” in hospitalizations, he warned that gains are dependent on people continuing to practice social distancing.


CDC loosens guidelines for some exposed to virus to return to work

CDC loosens guidelines for some exposed to virus to return to workUnder the guidance, people who are exposed to someone infected are allowed back on the job if they are asymptomatic.


Chinese Official Tries to Walk Back Claim U.S. Military Brought Virus to Wuhan

Chinese Official Tries to Walk Back Claim U.S. Military Brought Virus to WuhanChina Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian held his first press conference in several weeks on Tuesday, attempting to walk back his earlier claim that the U.S. military had brought the novel coronavirus to the city of Wuhan.“The virus [is] a scientific question that requires scientific opinions,” Zhao told reporters. He was then asked if he stood behind a March 12 tweet in which he wrote that, “It might be the U.S. Army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan.”“The questions raised on my personal Twitter account are a response to U.S. politicians' stigmatization of China, which also reflects the righteous anger of many Chinese people over these stigmatizing acts,” Zhao responded.China blocks Twitter within its borders, although certain citizens and companies may use the app with government approval. Twitter has said that using the platform to claim that the U.S. brought coronavirus to Wuhan does not violate its rules and terms of service.The Chinese government and state-owned media outlets have repeatedly tried to portray President Trump's use of the term “Chinese virus” as stigmatizing. On March 17, Trump was asked during a White House press conference whether he thought calling the coronavirus the “Chinese virus” created a “stigma.”“No, I don’t think so. I think saying that our military gave it to them creates a stigma,” Trump replied.The coronavirus pandemic that began in Wuhan has now claimed over 81,000 lives and seen 1,400,000 people infected.


NYPD releases video of moments before $1.3 million jewellery burglary

NYPD releases video of moments before $1.3 million jewellery burglaryNew York Police Department has released footage of the moments before a $1.3 million jewellery burglary in the Bronx.Four individuals broke into 50 East Fordham Road on the 31 March at around 1am, police said.


Smoking marijuana could make the lungs more susceptible to COVID-19, experts say as cannabis sales spike

Smoking marijuana could make the lungs more susceptible to COVID-19, experts say as cannabis sales spikeMarijuana smoking could make a person's lungs and immune system more susceptible to disease, existing coronavirus patient data shows.


New York state reports more coronavirus cases than any country except the U.S.: Reuters tally

New York state reports more coronavirus cases than any country except the U.S.: Reuters tallyThe U.S. state has 149,316 reported cases compared with Spain at 146,690. Italy is now in third place with 139,422 cases reported on Wednesday. In total, the United States has recorded over 417,000 cases and 14,100 deaths, according to the Reuters tally.


Trump’s Fox News Cabinet Tells Him the Coronavirus Crisis Is Over

Trump’s Fox News Cabinet Tells Him the Coronavirus Crisis Is OverThroughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump’s decisions and stances have seemingly been influenced by the unofficial advisers he treasures most: Fox News primetime hosts.After downplaying for weeks the threat of the virus, just as many on Fox News did the same, the president began taking it seriously last month after Tucker Carlson personally confronted him before delivering an on-air monologue calling for action. Elsewhere, Fox stars have been the primary driving force behind Trump’s incessant promotion of an unproven anti-malarial drug as the miracle COVID-19 cure.And in recent days, it seems, the president has been receiving his newest coronavirus intel briefing from Fox News. This time, they say, the pandemic is over and it’s time to move on.Throughout Tuesday night’s primetime stretch, Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham were in lockstep in telegraphing to Trump a message that the pandemic’s threat has been overstated, death counts have been inflated, and the U.S. is already on the downside of the curve.Carlson, who received mainstream plaudits for his “admirable” early coronavirus coverage, kicked off his show by declaring that the crisis “may have passed,” noting that health-care systems across the country haven’t come close to collapsing—“except in a handful of places.”“Patients are not dying alone in the hallways of emergency rooms with physicians too overwhelmed to treat them,” he asserted. “That was the concern. It happens in other countries, it's not happening here. Thank God for that.”There have been numerous reports and testimonials from health-care workers expressing horror over the conditions of overcrowded hospitals and the stress it has placed on both medical staffers and patients. Much reporting has also been done on how many patients are dying alone and away from family members and friends from the disease.But despite nearly 13,000 U.S. deaths and at least 400,000 confirmed cases, with portions of the country having yet to suffer the worst effects of the outbreak, Carlson called for a quick reversal of social-distancing restrictions in order to jumpstart the economy, citing downward revisions of coronavirus models as the key reason.“Before we go ahead and alter our lives and our country forever, it is fair to ask about the numbers, their numbers, the ones we acted on the first time, that turned out to be completely wrong,” the Fox star fumed. “How did they screw that up so thoroughly? That is a fair question.”Adjustments of expected death tolls in some models—which, weeks ago, showed as many as 240,000 American deaths—have largely occurred due to the widespread adoption of social-distancing guidelines and the assumption that school and business closures will stay in place through the summer. Even factoring all that in, the models still project roughly 80,000 deaths.Nevertheless, over the past few days, Carlson has been pushing the president to ignore medical expertise and quickly move forward with economic activity. “Is there a single person who sincerely expects the coronavirus itself will hurt more people in the end than the damage we're causing in our response to it? Probably not,” he said on Monday night. “Mass unemployment is almost certain to cause far more harm, including physical harm, to the average family than this disease.”Carlson has also railed against top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has urged Americans to embrace social distancing in order to flatten the curve. Calling it “bewildering” that the U.S. is allowing medical “experts” to make policy decisions, Carlson claimed last week that Fauci is proposing “national suicide” by pushing aggressive social distancing. “We should never let someone like that run this country,” he said.Fox News senior analyst Brit Hume, who has recently been at the forefront of right-wing media’s questioning of coronavirus deaths, has also joined the chorus of Fox stars agitating against medical expertise. The official COVID-19 death count has been inflated, he declared Carlson on Tuesday evening.“Dr. Birx said tonight during the briefing at the White House that all deaths from anyone who died with coronavirus is counted as if the person died from coronavirus,” Hume said. “Now, we all know that isn’t true.”“And if everybody is being automatically classified, if they're found to have COVID-19, as a COVID-19 death, we’re going to get a very large number of deaths that way and we’re probably not going to have an accurate count of what the real death total is,” he added.Besides the fact that flu deaths—which Trump and Fox figures have constantly used as a comparison point to downplay the pandemic—are tracked the exact same way, and coronavirus disproportionately impacts people with pre-conditions, it is actually far more likely that the COVID-19 death count has been understated so far.Hannity, meanwhile, kicked off his Tuesday evening broadcast by claiming there is a “ton of good news” surrounding the pandemic, touting revised downward estimates of the death count to suggest that regular economic activity should restart very soon.In a phone interview with the president, Hannity—who has served as an unofficial Trump adviser and confidant—noted that the “cure can’t be worse than the problem” and nudged the president to reveal when he’d roll back social-distancing policies.“I’d love to open with a big bang, one beautiful country and just open,” Trump declared, adding, “We’re looking at two concepts. We’re looking at the concept where you open up sections and we’re also looking at the concept where you open up everything.”In a Wednesday morning tweet, Trump further hinted that he is looking to end restrictions “sooner rather than later,” adding that the “horror” of coronavirus “must be quickly forgotten” and predicting that the economy “will BOOM” going forward.Laura Ingraham, however, may have been the most aggressive among her primetime colleagues in openly pushing Trump to view the pandemic threat as completely neutralized.Claiming the experts were “wrong” with their modeling and that it caused undue panic for Americans, Ingraham echoed Carlson by railing against medical officials, claiming this pandemic should “make us less willing to rely on the same experts to help determine when and how we should reopen our economy.”“We didn’t vote for doctors,” exclaimed Ingraham, who recently sat with the president to tout the unproven coronavirus cure hydroxychloroquine. “We voted for political leadership that sees the big picture. That means the whole picture of America.”She continued to hammer away at that message Wednesday on her Twitter account.Tucker Carlson Wants to Have It Both Ways on Coronavirus“At some point, the president is going to have to look at Drs. Fauci and Birx and say, we're opening on May 1,” she wrote on Wednesday morning. “Give me your best guidance on protocols, but we cannot deny our people their basic freedoms any longer.”“America must get back to work,” Ingraham blared in another tweet. “‘Experts’ were wrong on fatalities by a factor of 30 now want to dictate when we reopen.”While Trump’s Fox News cabinet is declaring the crisis over, the network’s brass is still taking the pandemic seriously, implementing strict social-distancing policies for its employees. In a memo sent last week, Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott announced the company would distribute thermometers to all essential workers and suggested the use of face masks for anyone who had to come into one of Fox’s offices. Additionally, Scott said that Fox was targeting May 4 as a possible return date for employees currently telecommuting.And as Fox News’ biggest stars tried to convince the president to ditch social distancing altogether, one of Trump’s own health officials rebuked the network’s faux-populist manipulation of the expert data and projections.“Physical distancing is incredibly important—remember the projections,” Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir said Wednesday on Fox & Friends. “I have seen people twist that like this was not going to be that bad after all and we didn’t need to do it. That’s a complete misinterpretation. The estimate of deaths going down is the result of the fact that we have listened to the president and vice president and task force.”“I do want to emphasize the point, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but don’t keep your foot—don’t take your foot off the gas,” Giroir continued. “Because we really need to continue these efforts because we could see another peak, a second peak, a third peak if people don’t do the physical distancing or they think it’s all over.“It’s not over yet.”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.


Covid-19 Is Trapping Ecuador Between Death and Debt

Covid-19 Is Trapping Ecuador Between Death and Debt(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Sometime late last month the bodies began to turn up on the streets of Guayaquil. Some of the dead were abandoned in dumpsters. Others had been bundled in plastic and left on the sidewalks of this seaside Ecuadoran city, the yellow and black plastic cordon suggesting an unsolved crime scene.While most of Latin America is bracing for the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, Ecuador is already overwhelmed. The Andean nation of 17.5 million people is proportionately South America’s most afflicted: Only Brazil has a higher death count, with three times the fatalities for a population 12 times larger than Ecuador’s. (But as Bloomberg News reports, the continent is woefully behind in testing populations for the virus.) In Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city, with 70% of the nation’s stricken, coffins are scarce, families wait days for funeral homes to collect their dead and morgues are overflowing, forcing city authorities to store the bodies in industrial refrigerators. This is not just a tragedy of human health. As Covid-19 claims lives, it also menaces an economy that is already failing. While emerging markets everywhere are in trouble, Ecuador comes to the pandemic with some serious co-morbidities: a huge foreign debt, sinking oil prices, deepening poverty and political fratricide. The only question is whether public health or the economy is in a more precarious state.The slump in oil prices has gutted winnings from Ecuador’s signature commodity even as public debt has risen to nearly 52% of gross domestic product, well over the nationally stipulated maximum of 40%. That level of red ink can be hard for many countries to handle. For dollarized Ecuador, the surging greenback makes its signature non-oil exports even less competitive and forces the country to pile on even more debt, default on its loans or slash spending even as it battles the pandemic.Ecuador’s plight is in part the product of collective responses to prior emergencies. One reason Ecuador proved to be so accommodating to coronavirus was its diaspora. Propelled by political instability and a banking crisis in the late 1990s and early 2000s, up to 1 million Ecuadorans have migrated. More than 400,000 settled in Spain, becoming Latin America’s largest expatriate community there, while another 100,000 moved to Italy. Just as these global Ecuadorans nurtured their native economy with remittances, the returnees and frequent fliers have helped spread the contagion back home. Ecuador’s patient zero reportedly was an elderly Ecuadoran who returned to Guayaquil in February and may have infected up to 180 patients. By the time national lockdown orders were in place in March, the virus was already loose.Dollarization is another two-edged sword. Runaway prices and a banking crisis forced Ecuador to jettison the worthless national currency for the greenback in early 2000. Dollarization stabilized the economy and shielded Ecuadorans from inflation and the economic fallout from political turmoil which routinely ravaged neighboring economies. However, the stronger dollar not only makes Ecuador’s exports less competitive, but ties the nation’s hands in a crisis. Since the central bank cannot print dollars, government can’t monetize its swollen public deficit. With plunging oil prices (crude oil is 29% of exports), Ecuador’s gross financing needs this year are on track to hit an “unmanageable” $8.1 billion this year, according to Oxford Economics. Unless multilateral lenders come to the rescue, the government will have to raise taxes or double down on austerity, a strategy that nearly unseated President Lenin Moreno last year.While some Latin American leaders have stepped up during the outbreak and seen their approval ratings climb, Moreno has struggled. Once heralded as a reformer, he has seen his credibility shattered by partisan caviling, aggravated by his own well-intentioned bumbling. Nationwide protests late last October forced him to roll back fiscal measures, including a cut in fuel subsidies, prescribed by the International Monetary Fund, whose largesse his government needs even more today. The economy is likely to contract by 6% this year, said Norman McKay of the Economist Intelligence Unit.Now he faces the country’s worst crisis in memory with approval ratings below 20% (compared with 77% when he first took office in 2017), junk-rated sovereign debt and little fiscal firepower. “Moreno was already isolated and has little national support and little cash to buy political support,” Andres Mejia Acosta, a lecturer in political economy at Kings College London, told me. A weak central government is a cue for opportunists to weaponize the pandemic for political ends. “We are likely to see Moreno’s political problems escalate because his government has no national support.”An emergency fund in the works will offer a modicum of relief to some of the most vulnerable families. However under fiscal constraints Ecuador revised its registry of cash transfer recipients in 2014, restricting eligibility to all but those in extreme poverty (eliminating 600,000 recipients) and leaving out many more potential beneficiaries who are now in harm’s way. ”If you are part of the population at risk, but didn’t make the official registry, you are invisible to the state,” said Mejia Acosta.For those who toil in Ecuador’s vast shadow economy and live by peddling their wares and services day by day, sheltering is penury. The state has no plan for them, nor refrigerators for their rising body count.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Mac Margolis is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Latin and South America. He was a reporter for Newsweek and is the author of “The Last New World: The Conquest of the Amazon Frontier.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Trump adviser warned of millions of virus deaths in January. Trump says he saw the memo only this week.

Trump adviser warned of millions of virus deaths in January. Trump says he saw the memo only this week.President Trump said Tuesday that he did not learn of two memos written in January and February by his own economic adviser warning that a COVID-19 pandemic could kill as many as 2 million Americans until “maybe a day ago.”


'It is an existential threat': As coronavirus spreads to Africa, health experts warn of catastrophe

'It is an existential threat': As coronavirus spreads to Africa, health experts warn of catastropheSo far, African countries have been spared the high death tolls seen in Italy, Spain, and the U.S., but officials are bracing for the worst in the coming weeks.


Photos show thousands packing into cars, planes, and trains in a rush to get out of Wuhan as China lifts the coronavirus lockdown

Photos show thousands packing into cars, planes, and trains in a rush to get out of Wuhan as China lifts the coronavirus lockdownChina ended the near-11-week lockdown of the city of Wuhan at midnight on Wednesday, sending floods of people out of the city.


Azul Rojas Marín: Peru found responsible for torture of LGBT person

Azul Rojas Marín: Peru found responsible for torture of LGBT personAzul Rojas Marín was beaten and raped in custody in Peru, a top human rights court rules.


Donations pour in but India's 'PM CARES' coronavirus fund faces criticism

Donations pour in but India's 'PM CARES' coronavirus fund faces criticismIndian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is facing criticism for creating a new coronavirus relief fund when about $500 million was lying unspent in an older fund, even as top businesses and celebrities pledge millions of dollars in new donations. Modi launched the "PM CARES" fund to provide relief to those affected by the coronavirus that has infected more than 5,000 people in India, and killed 149. The fund is expected to help millions of day labourers, many of whose lives were devastated by a nationwide lockdown ordered by Modi to stem the epidemic.


EU Nations Upgrade Trade Arsenal to Offset U.S. Attack on WTO
Bernie drops out, as Democrats pick pragmatism over consistency

Bernie drops out, as Democrats pick pragmatism over consistencyIn many ways, Bernie Sanders is the anti-Trump. And, in important ways, he ran his campaign as the anti-Biden.Sanders bowed out of the Democratic nomination race on April 8, repeating his runner-up status from four years earlier. His two runs at the White House have cemented his legacy as a consistent standard-bearer for progressive policies. The veteran democratic socialist possessed a rare quality for a political candidate in this age of Trumpian fickleness. He is a politician whose actions and beliefs have remained steadfast over time and across campaigns. But in the current political moment, it appears the Democratic electorate longs less for a politician who is consistent from day to day than one who can provide pragmatic leadership to unseat the vacillating Trump. Same ol’ SandersSanders ran his campaign as the antithesis of a political showman, who says one thing today and another tomorrow with little regard for facts and consistency. He has exhibited throughout his career what anthropologist Alessandro Duranti calls “existential coherence” – he is a political figure “whose past, present, and future actions, beliefs, and evaluations follow some clear basic principles, none of which contradicts another.” As a linguistic anthropologist who studies language and politics, I know that traditionally, candidates have worried about how to project a consistent political persona, and they have often gone to great pains to do so. But Trump shattered that expectation, excelling in self-contradictions and inconsistencies – often within a single sitting.Sanders, instead, has put forth a consistent vision that has remained more or less the same since his early days in politics as mayor of Burlington, Vermont. Rather than moving toward the electorate and shifting positions based on perceptions of what the electorate desired, the electorate has moved toward Sanders to join his vision for universal health care and other progressive causes. A CNBC survey in 2019 found that a majority of Americans supported progressive policies, including a higher minimum wage and Medicare for All – key issues that Sanders has been advocating throughout his decades-long political career. In an episode of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” last year, host Trevor Noah unearthed footage from 1987 of Sanders discussing politics on a local public access channel in his hometown of Burlington. The Bernie Sanders of 1987 talked of the unfair tax system that placed a large burden on working people and the need for universal health care. “We are one of two nations in the industrialized world that does not have a national health care system,” declared Sanders in 1987. Three decades later, in both his 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns, Sanders continued with that theme. In 2016, he released his Medicare for All plan by declaring, “It is time for our country to join every other major industrialized nation on Earth and guarantee health care to all citizens as a right, not a privilege.” His 2020 campaign website further echoed this sentiment, stating that “the United States will join every other major country on Earth and guarantee health care to all people as a right.” A consistent candidate often comes across as a more authentic candidate – someone who is staying true to his core self rather than pandering to the latest polling data or saying whatever will attract the most dramatic news coverage. Sanders’ authenticity as a candidate who has fought for working people and progressive ideals his entire life made him appealing to many liberals. He attracted an unshakable following of core supporters because of it. ‘Results, not revolution’Biden’s pragmatic approach, however, trumped Sanders’ often dogmatic consistency. In their debates, Sanders hammered Biden over what he saw as shifting stances on Social Security, Medicare and veterans’ programs. And then there was Biden’s 2003 vote for the Iraq war before he turned against it.But this is not the 2004 presidential election, where accusations of flip-flopping can sink a candidate, like it did John Kerry in his race against George W. Bush. Perhaps Donald Trump’s fickleness has changed what voters look for in a candidate. Maybe it’s simply that nobody cares about Biden’s apparent lack of judgment in 2003, which occurred well before he spent eight years as vice president in arguably one of the most popular Democratic administrations in U.S. history.Biden easily parried Sanders’ accusations of inconsistency by pointing to an underlying consistency of principles that have guided his varying positions over time. Voters ultimately decided to support someone who exhibits a practical sense of how to govern in a way that gets things done. As Biden said in his last debate with Sanders, “People are looking for results, not revolution.”On health care, one might have expected Sanders to have an advantage with his Medicare for All proposal, a consistent theme across his time as mayor, congressman, senator and presidential candidate. Polling done by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that for the first time a majority of Americans began to support a single government plan for health care in 2016, corresponding to the Sanders campaign push for Medicare for All.But in the same Kaiser poll, more Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents said they would prefer a candidate who would build on the Affordable Care Act rather than replace it. Biden’s campaign argued precisely for this more pragmatic approach, and he positioned himself as the right person to get the job done in a contentious political environment. An overtureAfter sweeping the primaries in Florida, Illinois and Arizona in March – putting the wheels in motion for the eventual withdrawal of Sanders from the race – Biden then struck the right chord in his speech after the Florida primary by making an appeal to Sanders voters. “I hear you,” he said. “I know what’s at stake. I know what we have to do. Our goal as a campaign and my goal as a candidate for president is to unify this party and then to unify the nation.” Biden’s appeal to Sanders voters suggests he may be willing to absorb some of the best ideas from Sanders – and other candidates. It’s a pragmatic approach, rather than a dogmatic consistency, that may bring along their supporters, too. That may be exactly what he will need to do to beat Trump in November.[You’re smart and curious about the world. So are The Conversation’s authors and editors. You can read us daily by subscribing to The Conversation’s newsletter.]This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts.Read more: * Biden’s big night with moderates, African Americans and baby boomers * Biden’s resurrection was unprecedented – and well-timedAdam Hodges does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.


The White House is reportedly developing a plan to get back to 'normality'

The White House is reportedly developing a plan to get back to 'normality'Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, told Democratic lawmakers during a phone call Wednesday that the Trump administration is developing a framework for getting the United States back into a state of "normality" in the wake of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Politico reports.Fauci didn't provide any possible timeline, but he did say the White House will likely issue some guidance in the coming days about transitioning society out of lockdown eventually.The cautious forward thinking is likely a result of some optimism among the White House coronavirus task force. Vice President Mike Pence, who heads the unit, told lawmakers there have been early signs that new cases are stabilizing in some areas, echoing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (D) comments earlier in the day.That doesn't mean Fauci, Pence, or lawmakers are relaxing, of course. "They're starting to see, they think, this virus in some of these known hot spots begin to maybe top out," Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) told Politico. "There are some hopeful signs in New York and other places. But we all know there's a long way to go." Read more at Politico.More stories from theweek.com Dr. Anthony Fauci cautiously predicts kids will return to school next fall, 'but it's going to be different' The coming backlash against the public health experts Trump says he doesn't know who Joe Exotic is, but he'll 'take a look' at pardoning him


JetBlue suspends flights at eight airports, including New York LaGuardia, Baltimore, San Jose
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown blasts Trump but praises Republican governor's response to coronavirus

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown blasts Trump but praises Republican governor's response to coronavirusSen. Sherrod Brown defeated Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine in 2006, but now praises his old political foe's response to the coronavirus pandemic.


As coronavirus spreads, mentally ill Americans are left scrambling for options

As coronavirus spreads, mentally ill Americans are left scrambling for optionsThe rapid spread of the coronavirus has dramatically affected the one in five Americans who deal with mental health in any given year, as well as those who work tirelessly to keep those individuals well.


One chart shows how long the coronavirus lives on surfaces like cardboard, plastic, wood, and steel

One chart shows how long the coronavirus lives on surfaces like cardboard, plastic, wood, and steelRecent research shows that the coronavirus lives longest on glass, paper money, and the outside of surgical masks.


Your Home (and Mind) Needs One of These High-Design Mobiles
Coronavirus: Why China's claims of success raise eyebrows

Coronavirus: Why China's claims of success raise eyebrowsChina has claimed its first day without a virus death, but faces lingering scepticism over its data.


Texas teen accused of threatening to spread coronavirus is charged

Texas teen accused of threatening to spread coronavirus is chargedMaradiaga claimed in a series of Snapchat videos to have tested positive and threatened to willfully spread COVID-19, according to police.


India's financial hub Mumbai set to extend coronavirus lockdown: sources

India's financial hub Mumbai set to extend coronavirus lockdown: sourcesIndia's financial hub Mumbai is set to extend lockdown measures until at least April 30 as authorities race to expand testing to stem the spread of coronavirus cases in the city, three senior officials said. A 21-day nationwide lockdown that Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared in late March to fight the epidemic is officially set to end on April 14. The Mumbai municipal authority and the state government in the western state of Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital, both declined to comment.


Iran supreme leader approves withdrawal of 1 billion euros from sovereign wealth fund to fight coronavirus

Iran supreme leader approves withdrawal of 1 billion euros from sovereign wealth fund to fight coronavirusIran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has approved the withdrawal of 1 billion euros from the country's sovereign wealth fund to help fight the coronavirus epidemic, President Hassan Rouhani's official website said on Monday.


The Supreme Court’s Misunderstood Ruling on Wisconsin’s Coronavirus Primary

The Supreme Court’s Misunderstood Ruling on Wisconsin’s Coronavirus PrimaryThere seems to be some confusion about the Supreme Court’s ruling on Monday in connection with Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary. This owes to reporting that suggests, or at least could lead its audience to believe, that the Court’s five conservative-leaning, Republican-appointed justices, over the strident objection of its four left-leaning, Democratic-appointed justices, directed that the primary proceed with in-person voting, despite the coronavirus threat.That is not what happened.The state government of Wisconsin, led by Governor Anthony Steven Evers, a Democrat, made the decision to go forward with the primary, and with in-person voting. As the Court’s majority emphasizes, that was not the Court’s call, nor is it the Court’s place to opine on the wisdom of the state government’s decision.The majority’s unsigned opinion explains that the issue the Court was called upon to decide was a narrow one, pertaining to absentee ballots. Specifically, at the urging of Democratic Party organizations concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on voting, federal district judge William Conley (an Obama appointee) extended the deadline for receipt of mail-in ballots from Tuesday April 7 (the primary-election day) to Monday afternoon, April 13. That aspect of the district court’s ruling was not in dispute. Judge Conley, however, directed that that absentee ballots were eligible to be counted regardless of when they were mailed in or otherwise delivered, as long as they came in by the April 13 deadline. In effect, that meant absentee ballots could be cast after in-person primary voting had closed on April 7.Obviously, this could mean the election would be materially altered by events occurring after formal conclusion of the primary election -- not least, news about the apparent election result. To address this problem, Judge Conley further ordered the Wisconsin Election Commission and election inspectors to suppress any report of the voting results until after the new April 13 deadline for the receipt of absentee ballots.There were at least three problems with this resolution. First, when they filed their lawsuit, the Democratic plaintiffs had not asked the district court to permit the mailing of ballots after the polls were closed on April 7. Second, the Wisconsin Election Commission and election inspectors were not parties to the lawsuit, and thus did not have a right to be heard before Judge Conley gagged them. Finally, the district court’s resolution worked a significant change in election rules. This ran afoul of Supreme Court precedent, particularly the 2006 Purcell v. Gonzalez decision, which instructed lower federal courts to resist altering rules on the eve of an election.Consequently, the majority (Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh) ruled that in order for votes to count, the absentee ballots must be postmarked by Election Day (April 7) and received by the Election Commission by April 13.Justice Ginsburg dissented (joined by Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan). She argued that the coronavirus crisis had backlogged the Election Commission with mail-in-ballot requests, meaning that many such ballots (potentially thousands of them) would not be provided to voters in time to comply with the April 7 deadline. Ergo, the Court’s ruling needlessly placed voters in the quandary of risking disease by voting in person or forfeiting their right to vote -- in an important election in which not only the Democratic presidential nomination but many seats on the Wisconsin state courts, including its highest court, are at stake.Justice Ginsburg has a good point about the majority’s reliance on Democratic organizations’ failure to ask for an extension of the mail-in deadline. Oddly, the majority asserts that Ginsburg’s dissent “entirely disregards the critical point that the plaintiffs themselves did not ask for this additional relief in their preliminary injunction motions.” To the contrary, Justice Ginsburg counters that, while the plaintiffs omitted that request from their written motions, they explicitly argued for it at the hearing. They did this on their own, unbidden by Judge Conley, because by then the pandemic had caused a surging demand for absentee ballots. Given the majority’s concession that it is not “necessarily” concluding that Democrats forfeited this relief, Ginsburg is persuasive in rebutting their argument.On the other hand, Justice Ginsburg is at her least persuasive in turning the Purcell precedent on its head. She argues that it is not Judge Conley but the Court itself that runs afoul of Purcell: On the eve of the election, it has altered the election rules that were in place -- i.e., the ones fashioned by Conley. The point of Purcell, however, is to instruct the lower courts not to alter election rules. If federal judges ignore binding Supreme Court guidance, the Court obviously must overrule them -- otherwise, what is the point of having the guidance?If I had my druthers, absentee balloting would not be permitted except in extraordinary circumstances. Voting is a sufficiently important privilege that we should all troop to the polling place and cast our ballots on Election Day. This way, we all vote based on the same available information, and the chances of fraud -- which is what you should worry about if you are truly concerned about disenfranchisement -- are minimized.Still, I’m sympathetic to the dissent in this case. My views notwithstanding, voting by mail is widely permitted. Even for traditionalists, moreover, absentee balloting is permissible in extraordinary circumstances. What could be more extraordinary than the ongoing health crisis? It is being demanded of Americans that they shut down their livelihoods for the greater good of stopping the spread of a deadly infectious disease. How ridiculous, then, that Wisconsin state officials have not canceled in-person voting as other states have done. They should have either made it easier for people to vote by mail or postponed the election until it could safely be held.Regardless of what one thinks about the ruling, though, the Supreme Court is getting a bad rap. Their case is about nothing more than whether ballots mailed in the six-day period after Election Day should count. It was not the justices’ decision to go forward with Wisconsin’s primary during a pandemic. Nor is the Court any way responsible for the risks entailed by in-person voting.


Mattis rebukes Trump over removal of Pentagon inspector general

Mattis rebukes Trump over removal of Pentagon inspector generalIn Donald Trump’s latest salvo in an ongoing bid to reshape government oversight of his administration, the president fired the Pentagon inspector general charged with overseeing implementation of the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package. 


Column: 'Pharma bro' Martin Shkreli wants out of prison to find a cure for coronavirus

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86-year-old and three sons die after contracting COVID-19

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Sweden, which refused to implement a coronavirus lockdown, has so far avoided a mass outbreak. Now it's bracing for a potential surge in deaths.

Sweden, which refused to implement a coronavirus lockdown, has so far avoided a mass outbreak. Now it's bracing for a potential surge in deaths.Sweden urged people to practice social distancing but left shops and restaurants open, contrasting with many countries across Europe and the world.


Japan to Fund Firms to Shift Production Out of China

Japan to Fund Firms to Shift Production Out of China(Bloomberg) -- Japan has earmarked $2.2 billion of its record economic stimulus package to help its manufacturers shift production out of China as the coronavirus disrupts supply chains between the major trading partners.The extra budget, compiled to try to offset the devastating effects of the pandemic, includes 220 billion yen ($2 billion) for companies shifting production back to Japan and 23.5 billion yen for those seeking to move production to other countries, according to details of the plan posted online.The move coincides with what should have been a celebration of friendlier ties between the two countries. Chinese President Xi Jinping was supposed to be on a state visit to Japan early this month. But what would have been the first visit of its sort in a decade was postponed a month ago amid the spread of the virus and no new date has been set.China is Japan’s biggest trading partner under normal circumstances, but imports from China slumped by almost half in February as the disease shuttered factories, in turn starving Japanese manufacturers of necessary components.That has renewed talk of Japanese firms reducing their reliance on China as a manufacturing base. The government’s panel on future investment last month discussed the need for manufacturing of high-added value products to be shifted back to Japan, and for production of other goods to be diversified across Southeast Asia.“There will be something of a shift,” said Shinichi Seki, an economist at the Japan Research Institute, adding that some Japanese companies manufacturing goods in China for export were already considering moving out. “Having this in the budget will definitely provide an impetus.” Companies, such as car makers, that are manufacturing for the Chinese domestic market, will likely stay put, he said.Testing TimesJapan exports a far larger share of parts and partially finished goods to China than other major industrial nations, according to data compiled for the panel. A February survey by Tokyo Shoko Research Ltd. found 37% of the more than 2,600 companies that responded were diversifying procurement to places other than China amid the coronavirus crisis.It remains to be seen how the policy will affect Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s years-long effort to restore relations with China.“We are doing our best to resume economic development,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a briefing Wednesday in Beijing, when asked about the move. “In this process, we hope other countries will act like China and take proper measures to ensure the world economy will be impacted as little as possible and to ensure that supply chains are impacted as little as possible.”The initial stages of the Covid-19 outbreak in China appeared to warm the often chilly ties between the two countries. Japan provided aid in the form of masks and protective gear -- and in one case a shipment was accompanied by a fragment of ancient Chinese poetry. In return, it received praise from Beijing.In another step welcomed in Japan, China declared Avigan, an anti-viral produced by Japan’s Fujifilm Holdings Corp. to be an effective treatment for the coronavirus, even though it has yet to be approved for that use by the Japanese.Yet many in Japan are inclined to blame China for mishandling the early stages of the outbreak and Abe for not blocking visitors from China sooner.Meanwhile, other issues that have deeply divided the neighbors -- including a territorial dispute over East China Sea islands that brought them close to a military clash in 2012-13 -- are no nearer resolution.Chinese government ships have continued their patrols around the Japanese-administered islands throughout the crisis, with Japan saying four Chinese ships on Wednesday entered what it sees as its territorial waters.(Updates with comment from economist in sixth 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.


Congo mine gun attack kills three Chinese nationals: Xinhua

Congo mine gun attack kills three Chinese nationals: XinhuaA gun attack in a mining area in the Democratic Republic of Congo has killed three Chinese nationals, China's official Xinhua news agency reported, citing the Chinese embassy in the mineral-rich central African country.


U.S. reports 1,200 coronavirus deaths in one day as China lifts lockdown

U.S. reports 1,200 coronavirus deaths in one day as China lifts lockdownNation's top infectious diseases expert said he is "cautiously optimistic" that worst projections may be avoided "if we keep our foot on the accelerator."


Coronavirus wreaks havoc in African American neighbourhoods

Coronavirus wreaks havoc in African American neighbourhoodsBlack Chicagoans account for 70% of coronavirus deaths, despite making up 30% of the population.


VP talk could intensify with Harris fundraising moves

VP talk could intensify with Harris fundraising movesCalifornia Sen. Kamala Harris made two notable fundraising moves Wednesday that are sure to fuel speculation about her prospects to be Joe Biden's running mate on the Democratic presidential ticket. Harris, who dropped out of the White House race in December, set up a joint fundraising operation with the Democratic National Committee, an arrangement that is typically reserved for nominees trying to attract large donations from the party’s biggest boosters. Hours later, she made a surprise appearance on a virtual fundraiser, introducing Biden to donors.


Jewish world marks start of 'strange' Passover

Jewish world marks start of 'strange' PassoverJews marked the start of a "strange" Passover holiday on Wednesday as the coronavirus pandemic prevented the large family gatherings usually organised for the traditional Seder meal. In Israel, which has more than 9,000 confirmed cases of the deadly virus, a nationwide curfew was in effect, with security forces deployed on the streets to prevent anyone seeking to visit relatives in violation of social-distancing measures. In an English language message to Jews across the world, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged that this year's Passover was "strange" and "different from all other Passovers."


Obesity is major COVID-19 risk factor, says French chief epidemiologist

Obesity is major COVID-19 risk factor, says French chief epidemiologistBeing overweight is a major risk for people infected with the new coronavirus and the United States is particularly vulnerable because of high obesity levels there, France's chief epidemiologist said on Wednesday. Professor Jean-François Delfraissy, who heads the scientific council that advises the government on the epidemic, said as many as 17 million of France's 67 million citizens were seriously at risk from the coronavirus because of age, pre-existing illness or obesity. "That is why we're worried about our friends in America, where the problem of obesity is well known and where they will probably have the most problems because of obesity."


India drops drug export ban after Trump threatens "retaliation"

India drops drug export ban after Trump threatens "retaliation"As it's tested as a possible treatment for COVID-19, India had barred exports of hydroxychloroquine, until Trump weighed in.


More than 90,000 cruise crewmembers left to battle coronavirus – at times without pay

More than 90,000 cruise crewmembers left to battle coronavirus – at times without payCrew members are having just as trouble as passengers in getting off ships once their skills are no longer needed.


Dems Demand Half of $251 Billion in Additional Small Business Loans Be Targeted to Minority, Women-Owned Companies

Dems Demand Half of $251 Billion in Additional Small Business Loans Be Targeted to Minority, Women-Owned CompaniesThe White House is requesting an additional $251 billion for additional small business lending as part of the government’s coronavirus response, eliciting a counter from congressional Democrats asking for $125 billion in targeted aid for farmers, women, minorities, and veteran-owned businesses.“I’ll be asking Congress to provide an additional $250 billion for the paycheck protection, which will help keep Americans employed, to facilitate a quick and full recovery,” President Trump said on Tuesday at the White House during a coronavirus task force briefing.The Senate’s phase-three package, which passed last month, earmarked $350 billion to make small business loans through commercial banks to companies with 500 or fewer employees, provided the companies agree to keep workers on the payroll. As part of the “Paycheck Protection Program,” most or all of the loan would be written off if the borrower retained its workers and didn’t cut their wages, with the government repaying the banks for the forgiven portions of the loans.In a letter to Capitol Hill, the White House Office of Management and Budget said that the program, conducted through the Small Business Administration (SBA), has administered over 220,000 loans — totaling approximately $66 billion. “Given the level of demand for the program, the Administration believes the funds appropriated for this program will soon be exhausted,” the letter reads.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said in a statement on Tuesday that he hoped to approve the additional funding with unanimous consent or a voice vote during a procedural session on Thursday, without the full chamber present.“It is quickly becoming clear that Congress will need to provide more funding or this crucial program may run dry,” McConnell said. “That cannot happen. Nearly 10 million Americans filed for unemployment in just the last two weeks. This is already a record-shattering tragedy, and every day counts.”Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) — who said she was open to “an interim package” — countered with their own proposal Wednesday, which placed a number of conditions on the new funding to make sure 50 percent of it goes to farmers, women, minorities, and veteran-owned businesses. The proposal also called for an additional $100 billion in hospital funding and $150 billion more for state and local governments.


Surgeon General says he's 'optimistic' the coronavirus impact can be slowed if US keeps up social distancing for 30 days

Surgeon General says he's 'optimistic' the coronavirus impact can be slowed if US keeps up social distancing for 30 daysThe US is not in the clear: More than 378,200 coronavirus cases and 11,800 deaths have been reported as of Tuesday.


Wuhan Shows the World Its Post-Coronavirus Future

Wuhan Shows the World Its Post-Coronavirus FutureHONG KONG—Trains are leaving Wuhan for the first time since January 23, carrying 55,000 people out of the city in one day. Long-haul buses are moving passengers across provinces. Planes are taking off at the airport again. Roadblocks on outbound highways have been removed, and cars have been streaming through since midnight. The lockdown of the first epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic—after doctors who flagged the unusual virus were gagged by authorities—was lifted at midnight local time on Wednesday. U.S. Eyes Second Coronavirus Outbreak in ChinaIt’s difficult to look back at the lockdown without feeling like it was an 11-week internment. More than 3,300 people reportedly have died in China due to COVID-19, including nearly 2,600 in the city of Wuhan alone. (The official tallies are deemed by medical professionals in China and abroad to be much lower than the actual count.) Intensive care units were, of course, where the most recorded deaths occurred; the mortality rate in Wuhan’s ICUs was between 25 and 30 percent, according to Dr. Peng Zhiyong, who led two ICU teams in the city and maintained the lowest rates of fatalities and hospital transmissions at the facilities where he worked.Now, after daily—hourly, constant—checks on the epidemic curve, there is an uneasy mixture of relief and apprehension as life in Wuhan crawls back to a normal pace and Hubei province reconnects with the rest of the country.There are lessons here for the hard-hit United States, where to date almost four times as many people have died as in China, judging by official numbers. But, sadly, those lessons are limited. Other countries may benefit more from what has been learned in Wuhan.In the United States, the Trump administration apparently expects 50 states to compete with each other, and with the federal government, for vital resources. In China, the all-powerful Chinese Communist Party poured everything it could into Wuhan and Hubei after the very strict province-wide lockdown. It flew in medical workers from all over the country, military assistance, construction workers to build hospitals, and others to enforce the quarantines while enhancing survival rates.For two and a half months, Hubei’s 60 million people—roughly the population of Italy—have been confined to their homes. To venture out in public for crucial supply runs, they had to pass through checkpoints manned by private security guards, neighborhood-level Chinese Communist Party custodians, or police officers. The population’s material needs were taken care of, but there was a constant air of uncertainty about what might happen next. Might there be a surge in infection numbers and deaths the next day? Could one’s neighbor, parent, friend fall ill and fail to find medical assistance at the packed hospitals? What if the pandemic does not end?Today, the physical signs of those weeks of worry remain present. Barbed wire still runs along the tops of walls surrounding some residential complexes, installed to prevent people from leaping over the barriers to cure their cabin fever. Many older buildings—those with only two or three floors—are still boarded up.So far, it hasn’t been a smooth transition for Wuhan. There were plenty of dead car batteries. Social distancing was difficult to achieve on public transportation. Frequent temperature checks and pauses to disinfect slowed down movement across the city—although few were in a rush to begin with.Even at the beginning of the week, Wuhan and the rest of Hubei were coming back to life slowly. Some restaurants lit their stove fires again—patrons couldn’t always dine in, but they placed orders and waited patiently for their takeout, standing five or six feet apart from each other. Sounds and smells of human activity were returning. You could spot people strolling along the quiet waterfront—just a handful, but enough to give the impression that things could go back to normal, that maybe not all of spring was lost. Now, across mainland China, it’s common enough to see people wearing latex gloves and plastic goggles when they are outside of their homes. Masks are mandatory in public areas, meant to limit significantly the virus’ spread in case you are a carrier. This curtails the footprint of the coronavirus—a particularly important act because medical professionals believe that many people who carry the virus are asymptomatic, meaning they may not even realize that they can cause severe illness in others.When much of China was still under lockdown, people spoke of “revenge spending,” a term that harks back to the spike in consumption after the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976, now appropriated to outline the urge to splurge after shops reopen when the COVID pandemic subsides. But while businesses in Wuhan, Hubei, and the rest of the country have spun up operations again, consumers have been cautious about their expenditures. Many have drained significant chunks of their savings, and the likelihood of a second wave of infections hitting later this year has people worrying that they will have to hunker down again, this time with even tighter purse strings.China Hijacked This American Mom’s Tweets for Coronavirus PropagandaIn the first three months of this year, nearly half a million businesses in China went belly up. More are expected to declare bankruptcy in the coming weeks. Companies that ship goods to other countries are being hit hard as foreign clients seek delays in shipments or are canceling orders altogether.Firms involved in mass-scale surveillance, however, are more active than ever. Throughout China, smartphone-based tracking measures are now used to indicate a person’s health status and location history. Whip out your phone and call up your assigned QR code—if it’s green, then you can access public transportation, as well as facilities like shopping malls, restaurants, and parks. The same tools are used to determine whether a person can travel throughout the country. The exception is the capital, Beijing, where all arrivals must commit to 14 days of quarantine.This isn’t a policy that is unique to China. Around the world, at least 24 countries are tracking their citizens’ locations using applications that went online during the COVID-19 pandemic, and at least 14 nations have rolled out apps for contact tracing or as part of quarantine protocols, according to information compiled by Human Rights Watch, Privacy International, and more than 100 other organizations.Yet even with a digital dragnet over the country, our lack of understanding of the coronavirus and COVID-19 brings about intense uneasiness. It is still unclear how common asymptomatic transmission is, but classified Chinese documents seen by reporters of Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post suggest that up to one-third of people who test positive could be carrying the virus without showing any symptoms. People I spoke to in Wuhan, Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou were all anxious about how every human body—including their own—has the potential to become a walking bio-bomb that could kill a friend or loved one. It’s a distressing thought that is compounded when a nation is being steered by its central government to return to the tempo from three months ago.The weekend was a reminder that the pandemic has left indelible imprints on China—and the rest of the world. Last Saturday was a day of mourning for those who died in China due to COVID-19. At 10:00 a.m., people stopped what they were doing to observe three minutes of silence. Sirens wailed. Drivers sounded their vehicles’ horns. Flags flew at half-mast. In every city, town, and village, tears fell. Chinese Communist Party leaders, including President Xi Jinping, gathered at Zhongnanhai, the headquarters of the CCP and central government in the capital, where a banner reading “deeply mourn for martyrs and compatriots” now hangs. The party has claimed every casualty as one of its own.Yet none of this implies that China is on the other side of this viral calamity. Last week, Zeng Guang, the chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said the country “has not reached the end [of the pandemic], but is merely entering a new phase.” The main worry, for now, is that asymptomatic carriers will infect others as people travel across the country to get back to work, ultimately negating the months-long containment efforts that have placed life on hold for many millions of people.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.


'It's like nothing else': Klobuchar, husband talk about his battle with coronavirus

'It's like nothing else': Klobuchar, husband talk about his battle with coronavirus"It's one of the hardest, hardest things," Klobuchar told NBC News in an exclusive interview about her family's ordeal.


Bernie Sanders speaks on 'painful' decision to exit the 2020 race, says he'll keep gathering delegates

Bernie Sanders speaks on 'painful' decision to exit the 2020 race, says he'll keep gathering delegatesSen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Wednesday officially conceded the Democratic presidential primary to former Vice President Joe Biden but said he will still stay on the ballot and continue to gather delegates through the party's convention. After suspending his campaign for president, Sanders addressed supporters in a live stream, describing his decision to exit as "very difficult and painful." But he admitted it has become "virtually impossible" for him to win the Democratic nomination and he "cannot in good conscience continue" running, especially in light of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. "If I believed that we had a feasible path to the nomination, I would certainly continue the campaign, but it's just not there," Sanders said.Sanders also congratulated Biden, who is now the only Democratic candidate left in the race, describing him as a "very decent man." At the same time, Sanders said he will remain on the ballot in all remaining states and not stop gathering delegates."While Vice President Biden will be the nominee, we must continue working to assemble as many delegates as possible at the Democratic convention, where we will be able to exert significant influence over the party platform and other functions," Sanders said. Biden in a lengthy statement on Wednesday praised Sanders and told his supporters, "I see you, I hear you. and I understand the urgency of what it is we have to get done in this country. I hope you will join us." > Sanders says he will stay on the ballot in remaining primary states so that he can keep winning delegates, in hopes of exerting "significant influence" on the Democratic Party platform> > But he says he'll also work with presumptive nominee, Joe Biden https://t.co/9GZS7qcBFb pic.twitter.com/qEXyCg4ZMt> > -- CBS News (@CBSNews) April 8, 2020More stories from theweek.com Dr. Anthony Fauci cautiously predicts kids will return to school next fall, 'but it's going to be different' The coming backlash against the public health experts Trump says he doesn't know who Joe Exotic is, but he'll 'take a look' at pardoning him


Korean Air puts 70 percent of staff on leave

Korean Air puts 70 percent of staff on leaveKorean Air is the flagship of the Hanjin group, one of the multifaceted, family-controlled conglomerates known as chaebols that dominate business in South Korea and played a key part in its rise to become the world's 12th-largest economy. Most of its staff will go on leave from April 16 for six months in response to "deteriorating business circumstances", Korean Air said in a statement. Korean Air's labour union agreed to participate as part of a "burden-sharing" initiative, the company said -- executives have also agreed to take pay cuts.


Speed of coronavirus deaths shock doctors as New York toll hits new high

Speed of coronavirus deaths shock doctors as New York toll hits new highNew York state, epicenter of America's coronavirus crisis, set another single-day record of COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, as veteran doctors and nurses voiced astonishment at the speed with which patients were deteriorating and dying. The number of known coronavirus infections in New York state alone approached 150,000 on Wednesday, even as authorities warned that the official death tally may understate the true number because it omits those who have perished at home. "Every number is a face, " said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who ordered flags flown at half-staff across New York in memory of the victims.


China investigates party member critical of government's handling of coronavirus outbreak

China investigates party member critical of government's handling of coronavirus outbreakChina is investigating a prominent Communist Party member who criticized leader Xi Jinping’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.


U.K. Records Highest Daily Deaths With Johnson in Intensive Care

U.K. Records Highest Daily Deaths With Johnson in Intensive Care(Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Boris Johnson was still being monitored in a critical care unit as the U.K.’s coronavirus crisis deepened, with the highest daily rise in deaths so far.After he was taken into intensive care Monday, Johnson, 55, remained in a stable condition receiving oxygen treatment, and has not been diagnosed with pneumonia or put on a ventilator, his officials said. A statement Tuesday evening said this was unchanged.But the prime minister’s personal struggle to recover from Covid-19 leaves the U.K. without its leader at a critical time as the country prepares for cases to increase over the next 10 days. The death toll rose by 786, the Department for Health said Tuesday, bringing the total to 6,159.Asked why the U.K.’s death rates were so much higher than Germany’s, England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty appeared to blame the British government’s lack of wide testing for the virus.There were hints of better news elsewhere in the U.K. data, according to a televised briefing shortly after the death figures were published. There is no acceleration in the number of new cases, and it is “possible” that the infection curve is starting to flatten, said Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser. The trend won’t be clear for about another week, he said.With Johnson out of action, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is deputizing at the head of the government, with the peak of the outbreak expected in the days ahead. “I’m confident he’ll pull through because if there’s one thing I know about the prime minister, he’s a fighter,” Raab said at the same press conference on Tuesday evening.The cabinet is working collectively to deliver Johnson’s instructions on fighting the pandemic, Raab said when asked how much power he has over government policy.Johnson was taken to St. Thomas’ Hospital in London on Sunday evening after struggling to shake off virus symptoms for 10 days.Adding to the government’s woes, Cabinet Minister Michael Gove -- a key member of Johnson’s top team -- said he is in self-isolation after a family member displayed symptoms of coronavirus at the weekend. Gove has no symptoms himself and is continuing to work, he said in a Twitter post on Tuesday.Raab and the rest of the Cabinet face a series of key decisions in the days ahead -- on the process for easing the national lock down, and whether restrictions on people’s movements should be lifted, extended or tightened even further.Trump SupportIt’s an extraordinary turn of events for Johnson. Just over two months ago, he was at the peak of his powers, celebrating Britain’s departure from the European Union after scoring an emphatic election victory.U.S. President Donald Trump, a supporter of Johnson, said at a press briefing that he has told pharmaceutical companies to get in touch with London to offer help. Trump cited “rather complex” therapeutic treatments for the virus with “really incredible results,” but didn’t specify them.“When you get brought into intensive care, that gets very, very serious with this particular disease,” Trump said.With Johnson out of action, the untested Raab will now need to get a grip on the government machine and coordinate the pandemic response. Britain’s strategy for defeating coronavirus has already come under strain, with ministers accepting they had not done enough to test people for infections.Johnson himself was criticized by medical experts and members of his own Conservative Party for failing to act quickly enough to close schools and ban public gatherings.Cabinet DivisionsThere have been divisions among Johnson’s officials during his period of isolation already, a situation that risks getting worse with Raab, who was a leadership rival to Johnson last year, now in charge. Gove and Health Secretary Matt Hancock also stood for party leader and are now in lead roles in the virus strategy.On Tuesday, Gove told the BBC the government is working “in a team way” and taking decisions “completely by consensus,” as Raab chairs key meetings. “Physically, Boris is full of life and fit -- he is a keen tennis player and runner and he’s a man of great zest and appetite for life,” Gove told LBC radio later. “We hope and pray that he enjoys a quick recovery.”Johnson revealed on March 27 he had tested positive for coronavirus and was going into isolation in his Downing Street apartment. His meals and official papers were left outside his door, but he continued to chair daily crisis meetings via video link.The premier recorded several “selfie” video messages for social media in recent days in which he insisted he was doing well and remained in charge. At times, though, he appeared short of breath and visibly unwell.After being taken into intensive care, the premier received well wishes from colleagues including his predecessors Theresa May and David Cameron, as well as his chief opponent, Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer. International leaders including Irish premier Leo Varadkar and President Emmanuel Macron of France also sent messages of support.Johnson’s fiancee, Carrie Symonds, who is pregnant, also had symptoms of the virus and had been isolating.(Adds Downing Street statement on Johnson’s health in second 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.


Will we ever take cruise holidays again?

Will we ever take cruise holidays again?The cruise line industry faces a long journey back from the coronavirus pandemic.


A super-spreader believed to be at the center of Chicago's coronavirus outbreak shows the importance of social distancing

A super-spreader believed to be at the center of Chicago's coronavirus outbreak shows the importance of social distancingA case study traced the cases from one infected individual after they attended a funeral and birthday party, infecting 16 people and killing three.


'A lot of pain.' NY has biggest 1-day jump in virus deaths

'A lot of pain.' NY has biggest 1-day jump in virus deathsNew York state reported 731 new COVID-19 deaths Tuesday, its biggest jump since the start of the outbreak, dampening some of the cautious optimism officials have expressed about efforts to stop the spread of the virus. Cuomo said the death tally is a “lagging indicator” that reflects the loss of critically ill people hospitalized earlier. While Cuomo said New York could be reaching a “plateau” in hospitalizations, he warned that gains are dependent on people continuing to practice social distancing.


CDC loosens guidelines for some exposed to virus to return to work

CDC loosens guidelines for some exposed to virus to return to workUnder the guidance, people who are exposed to someone infected are allowed back on the job if they are asymptomatic.


Chinese Official Tries to Walk Back Claim U.S. Military Brought Virus to Wuhan

Chinese Official Tries to Walk Back Claim U.S. Military Brought Virus to WuhanChina Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian held his first press conference in several weeks on Tuesday, attempting to walk back his earlier claim that the U.S. military had brought the novel coronavirus to the city of Wuhan.“The virus [is] a scientific question that requires scientific opinions,” Zhao told reporters. He was then asked if he stood behind a March 12 tweet in which he wrote that, “It might be the U.S. Army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan.”“The questions raised on my personal Twitter account are a response to U.S. politicians' stigmatization of China, which also reflects the righteous anger of many Chinese people over these stigmatizing acts,” Zhao responded.China blocks Twitter within its borders, although certain citizens and companies may use the app with government approval. Twitter has said that using the platform to claim that the U.S. brought coronavirus to Wuhan does not violate its rules and terms of service.The Chinese government and state-owned media outlets have repeatedly tried to portray President Trump's use of the term “Chinese virus” as stigmatizing. On March 17, Trump was asked during a White House press conference whether he thought calling the coronavirus the “Chinese virus” created a “stigma.”“No, I don’t think so. I think saying that our military gave it to them creates a stigma,” Trump replied.The coronavirus pandemic that began in Wuhan has now claimed over 81,000 lives and seen 1,400,000 people infected.


NYPD releases video of moments before $1.3 million jewellery burglary

NYPD releases video of moments before $1.3 million jewellery burglaryNew York Police Department has released footage of the moments before a $1.3 million jewellery burglary in the Bronx.Four individuals broke into 50 East Fordham Road on the 31 March at around 1am, police said.


Smoking marijuana could make the lungs more susceptible to COVID-19, experts say as cannabis sales spike

Smoking marijuana could make the lungs more susceptible to COVID-19, experts say as cannabis sales spikeMarijuana smoking could make a person's lungs and immune system more susceptible to disease, existing coronavirus patient data shows.


New York state reports more coronavirus cases than any country except the U.S.: Reuters tally

New York state reports more coronavirus cases than any country except the U.S.: Reuters tallyThe U.S. state has 149,316 reported cases compared with Spain at 146,690. Italy is now in third place with 139,422 cases reported on Wednesday. In total, the United States has recorded over 417,000 cases and 14,100 deaths, according to the Reuters tally.


Trump’s Fox News Cabinet Tells Him the Coronavirus Crisis Is Over

Trump’s Fox News Cabinet Tells Him the Coronavirus Crisis Is OverThroughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump’s decisions and stances have seemingly been influenced by the unofficial advisers he treasures most: Fox News primetime hosts.After downplaying for weeks the threat of the virus, just as many on Fox News did the same, the president began taking it seriously last month after Tucker Carlson personally confronted him before delivering an on-air monologue calling for action. Elsewhere, Fox stars have been the primary driving force behind Trump’s incessant promotion of an unproven anti-malarial drug as the miracle COVID-19 cure.And in recent days, it seems, the president has been receiving his newest coronavirus intel briefing from Fox News. This time, they say, the pandemic is over and it’s time to move on.Throughout Tuesday night’s primetime stretch, Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham were in lockstep in telegraphing to Trump a message that the pandemic’s threat has been overstated, death counts have been inflated, and the U.S. is already on the downside of the curve.Carlson, who received mainstream plaudits for his “admirable” early coronavirus coverage, kicked off his show by declaring that the crisis “may have passed,” noting that health-care systems across the country haven’t come close to collapsing—“except in a handful of places.”“Patients are not dying alone in the hallways of emergency rooms with physicians too overwhelmed to treat them,” he asserted. “That was the concern. It happens in other countries, it's not happening here. Thank God for that.”There have been numerous reports and testimonials from health-care workers expressing horror over the conditions of overcrowded hospitals and the stress it has placed on both medical staffers and patients. Much reporting has also been done on how many patients are dying alone and away from family members and friends from the disease.But despite nearly 13,000 U.S. deaths and at least 400,000 confirmed cases, with portions of the country having yet to suffer the worst effects of the outbreak, Carlson called for a quick reversal of social-distancing restrictions in order to jumpstart the economy, citing downward revisions of coronavirus models as the key reason.“Before we go ahead and alter our lives and our country forever, it is fair to ask about the numbers, their numbers, the ones we acted on the first time, that turned out to be completely wrong,” the Fox star fumed. “How did they screw that up so thoroughly? That is a fair question.”Adjustments of expected death tolls in some models—which, weeks ago, showed as many as 240,000 American deaths—have largely occurred due to the widespread adoption of social-distancing guidelines and the assumption that school and business closures will stay in place through the summer. Even factoring all that in, the models still project roughly 80,000 deaths.Nevertheless, over the past few days, Carlson has been pushing the president to ignore medical expertise and quickly move forward with economic activity. “Is there a single person who sincerely expects the coronavirus itself will hurt more people in the end than the damage we're causing in our response to it? Probably not,” he said on Monday night. “Mass unemployment is almost certain to cause far more harm, including physical harm, to the average family than this disease.”Carlson has also railed against top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has urged Americans to embrace social distancing in order to flatten the curve. Calling it “bewildering” that the U.S. is allowing medical “experts” to make policy decisions, Carlson claimed last week that Fauci is proposing “national suicide” by pushing aggressive social distancing. “We should never let someone like that run this country,” he said.Fox News senior analyst Brit Hume, who has recently been at the forefront of right-wing media’s questioning of coronavirus deaths, has also joined the chorus of Fox stars agitating against medical expertise. The official COVID-19 death count has been inflated, he declared Carlson on Tuesday evening.“Dr. Birx said tonight during the briefing at the White House that all deaths from anyone who died with coronavirus is counted as if the person died from coronavirus,” Hume said. “Now, we all know that isn’t true.”“And if everybody is being automatically classified, if they're found to have COVID-19, as a COVID-19 death, we’re going to get a very large number of deaths that way and we’re probably not going to have an accurate count of what the real death total is,” he added.Besides the fact that flu deaths—which Trump and Fox figures have constantly used as a comparison point to downplay the pandemic—are tracked the exact same way, and coronavirus disproportionately impacts people with pre-conditions, it is actually far more likely that the COVID-19 death count has been understated so far.Hannity, meanwhile, kicked off his Tuesday evening broadcast by claiming there is a “ton of good news” surrounding the pandemic, touting revised downward estimates of the death count to suggest that regular economic activity should restart very soon.In a phone interview with the president, Hannity—who has served as an unofficial Trump adviser and confidant—noted that the “cure can’t be worse than the problem” and nudged the president to reveal when he’d roll back social-distancing policies.“I’d love to open with a big bang, one beautiful country and just open,” Trump declared, adding, “We’re looking at two concepts. We’re looking at the concept where you open up sections and we’re also looking at the concept where you open up everything.”In a Wednesday morning tweet, Trump further hinted that he is looking to end restrictions “sooner rather than later,” adding that the “horror” of coronavirus “must be quickly forgotten” and predicting that the economy “will BOOM” going forward.Laura Ingraham, however, may have been the most aggressive among her primetime colleagues in openly pushing Trump to view the pandemic threat as completely neutralized.Claiming the experts were “wrong” with their modeling and that it caused undue panic for Americans, Ingraham echoed Carlson by railing against medical officials, claiming this pandemic should “make us less willing to rely on the same experts to help determine when and how we should reopen our economy.”“We didn’t vote for doctors,” exclaimed Ingraham, who recently sat with the president to tout the unproven coronavirus cure hydroxychloroquine. “We voted for political leadership that sees the big picture. That means the whole picture of America.”She continued to hammer away at that message Wednesday on her Twitter account.Tucker Carlson Wants to Have It Both Ways on Coronavirus“At some point, the president is going to have to look at Drs. Fauci and Birx and say, we're opening on May 1,” she wrote on Wednesday morning. “Give me your best guidance on protocols, but we cannot deny our people their basic freedoms any longer.”“America must get back to work,” Ingraham blared in another tweet. “‘Experts’ were wrong on fatalities by a factor of 30 now want to dictate when we reopen.”While Trump’s Fox News cabinet is declaring the crisis over, the network’s brass is still taking the pandemic seriously, implementing strict social-distancing policies for its employees. In a memo sent last week, Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott announced the company would distribute thermometers to all essential workers and suggested the use of face masks for anyone who had to come into one of Fox’s offices. Additionally, Scott said that Fox was targeting May 4 as a possible return date for employees currently telecommuting.And as Fox News’ biggest stars tried to convince the president to ditch social distancing altogether, one of Trump’s own health officials rebuked the network’s faux-populist manipulation of the expert data and projections.“Physical distancing is incredibly important—remember the projections,” Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir said Wednesday on Fox & Friends. “I have seen people twist that like this was not going to be that bad after all and we didn’t need to do it. That’s a complete misinterpretation. The estimate of deaths going down is the result of the fact that we have listened to the president and vice president and task force.”“I do want to emphasize the point, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but don’t keep your foot—don’t take your foot off the gas,” Giroir continued. “Because we really need to continue these efforts because we could see another peak, a second peak, a third peak if people don’t do the physical distancing or they think it’s all over.“It’s not over yet.”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.


Covid-19 Is Trapping Ecuador Between Death and Debt

Covid-19 Is Trapping Ecuador Between Death and Debt(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Sometime late last month the bodies began to turn up on the streets of Guayaquil. Some of the dead were abandoned in dumpsters. Others had been bundled in plastic and left on the sidewalks of this seaside Ecuadoran city, the yellow and black plastic cordon suggesting an unsolved crime scene.While most of Latin America is bracing for the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, Ecuador is already overwhelmed. The Andean nation of 17.5 million people is proportionately South America’s most afflicted: Only Brazil has a higher death count, with three times the fatalities for a population 12 times larger than Ecuador’s. (But as Bloomberg News reports, the continent is woefully behind in testing populations for the virus.) In Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city, with 70% of the nation’s stricken, coffins are scarce, families wait days for funeral homes to collect their dead and morgues are overflowing, forcing city authorities to store the bodies in industrial refrigerators. This is not just a tragedy of human health. As Covid-19 claims lives, it also menaces an economy that is already failing. While emerging markets everywhere are in trouble, Ecuador comes to the pandemic with some serious co-morbidities: a huge foreign debt, sinking oil prices, deepening poverty and political fratricide. The only question is whether public health or the economy is in a more precarious state.The slump in oil prices has gutted winnings from Ecuador’s signature commodity even as public debt has risen to nearly 52% of gross domestic product, well over the nationally stipulated maximum of 40%. That level of red ink can be hard for many countries to handle. For dollarized Ecuador, the surging greenback makes its signature non-oil exports even less competitive and forces the country to pile on even more debt, default on its loans or slash spending even as it battles the pandemic.Ecuador’s plight is in part the product of collective responses to prior emergencies. One reason Ecuador proved to be so accommodating to coronavirus was its diaspora. Propelled by political instability and a banking crisis in the late 1990s and early 2000s, up to 1 million Ecuadorans have migrated. More than 400,000 settled in Spain, becoming Latin America’s largest expatriate community there, while another 100,000 moved to Italy. Just as these global Ecuadorans nurtured their native economy with remittances, the returnees and frequent fliers have helped spread the contagion back home. Ecuador’s patient zero reportedly was an elderly Ecuadoran who returned to Guayaquil in February and may have infected up to 180 patients. By the time national lockdown orders were in place in March, the virus was already loose.Dollarization is another two-edged sword. Runaway prices and a banking crisis forced Ecuador to jettison the worthless national currency for the greenback in early 2000. Dollarization stabilized the economy and shielded Ecuadorans from inflation and the economic fallout from political turmoil which routinely ravaged neighboring economies. However, the stronger dollar not only makes Ecuador’s exports less competitive, but ties the nation’s hands in a crisis. Since the central bank cannot print dollars, government can’t monetize its swollen public deficit. With plunging oil prices (crude oil is 29% of exports), Ecuador’s gross financing needs this year are on track to hit an “unmanageable” $8.1 billion this year, according to Oxford Economics. Unless multilateral lenders come to the rescue, the government will have to raise taxes or double down on austerity, a strategy that nearly unseated President Lenin Moreno last year.While some Latin American leaders have stepped up during the outbreak and seen their approval ratings climb, Moreno has struggled. Once heralded as a reformer, he has seen his credibility shattered by partisan caviling, aggravated by his own well-intentioned bumbling. Nationwide protests late last October forced him to roll back fiscal measures, including a cut in fuel subsidies, prescribed by the International Monetary Fund, whose largesse his government needs even more today. The economy is likely to contract by 6% this year, said Norman McKay of the Economist Intelligence Unit.Now he faces the country’s worst crisis in memory with approval ratings below 20% (compared with 77% when he first took office in 2017), junk-rated sovereign debt and little fiscal firepower. “Moreno was already isolated and has little national support and little cash to buy political support,” Andres Mejia Acosta, a lecturer in political economy at Kings College London, told me. A weak central government is a cue for opportunists to weaponize the pandemic for political ends. “We are likely to see Moreno’s political problems escalate because his government has no national support.”An emergency fund in the works will offer a modicum of relief to some of the most vulnerable families. However under fiscal constraints Ecuador revised its registry of cash transfer recipients in 2014, restricting eligibility to all but those in extreme poverty (eliminating 600,000 recipients) and leaving out many more potential beneficiaries who are now in harm’s way. ”If you are part of the population at risk, but didn’t make the official registry, you are invisible to the state,” said Mejia Acosta.For those who toil in Ecuador’s vast shadow economy and live by peddling their wares and services day by day, sheltering is penury. The state has no plan for them, nor refrigerators for their rising body count.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Mac Margolis is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Latin and South America. He was a reporter for Newsweek and is the author of “The Last New World: The Conquest of the Amazon Frontier.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


Trump adviser warned of millions of virus deaths in January. Trump says he saw the memo only this week.

Trump adviser warned of millions of virus deaths in January. Trump says he saw the memo only this week.President Trump said Tuesday that he did not learn of two memos written in January and February by his own economic adviser warning that a COVID-19 pandemic could kill as many as 2 million Americans until “maybe a day ago.”


'It is an existential threat': As coronavirus spreads to Africa, health experts warn of catastrophe

'It is an existential threat': As coronavirus spreads to Africa, health experts warn of catastropheSo far, African countries have been spared the high death tolls seen in Italy, Spain, and the U.S., but officials are bracing for the worst in the coming weeks.


Photos show thousands packing into cars, planes, and trains in a rush to get out of Wuhan as China lifts the coronavirus lockdown

Photos show thousands packing into cars, planes, and trains in a rush to get out of Wuhan as China lifts the coronavirus lockdownChina ended the near-11-week lockdown of the city of Wuhan at midnight on Wednesday, sending floods of people out of the city.


Azul Rojas Marín: Peru found responsible for torture of LGBT person

Azul Rojas Marín: Peru found responsible for torture of LGBT personAzul Rojas Marín was beaten and raped in custody in Peru, a top human rights court rules.


Donations pour in but India's 'PM CARES' coronavirus fund faces criticism

Donations pour in but India's 'PM CARES' coronavirus fund faces criticismIndian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is facing criticism for creating a new coronavirus relief fund when about $500 million was lying unspent in an older fund, even as top businesses and celebrities pledge millions of dollars in new donations. Modi launched the "PM CARES" fund to provide relief to those affected by the coronavirus that has infected more than 5,000 people in India, and killed 149. The fund is expected to help millions of day labourers, many of whose lives were devastated by a nationwide lockdown ordered by Modi to stem the epidemic.


EU Nations Upgrade Trade Arsenal to Offset U.S. Attack on WTO
Bernie drops out, as Democrats pick pragmatism over consistency

Bernie drops out, as Democrats pick pragmatism over consistencyIn many ways, Bernie Sanders is the anti-Trump. And, in important ways, he ran his campaign as the anti-Biden.Sanders bowed out of the Democratic nomination race on April 8, repeating his runner-up status from four years earlier. His two runs at the White House have cemented his legacy as a consistent standard-bearer for progressive policies. The veteran democratic socialist possessed a rare quality for a political candidate in this age of Trumpian fickleness. He is a politician whose actions and beliefs have remained steadfast over time and across campaigns. But in the current political moment, it appears the Democratic electorate longs less for a politician who is consistent from day to day than one who can provide pragmatic leadership to unseat the vacillating Trump. Same ol’ SandersSanders ran his campaign as the antithesis of a political showman, who says one thing today and another tomorrow with little regard for facts and consistency. He has exhibited throughout his career what anthropologist Alessandro Duranti calls “existential coherence” – he is a political figure “whose past, present, and future actions, beliefs, and evaluations follow some clear basic principles, none of which contradicts another.” As a linguistic anthropologist who studies language and politics, I know that traditionally, candidates have worried about how to project a consistent political persona, and they have often gone to great pains to do so. But Trump shattered that expectation, excelling in self-contradictions and inconsistencies – often within a single sitting.Sanders, instead, has put forth a consistent vision that has remained more or less the same since his early days in politics as mayor of Burlington, Vermont. Rather than moving toward the electorate and shifting positions based on perceptions of what the electorate desired, the electorate has moved toward Sanders to join his vision for universal health care and other progressive causes. A CNBC survey in 2019 found that a majority of Americans supported progressive policies, including a higher minimum wage and Medicare for All – key issues that Sanders has been advocating throughout his decades-long political career. In an episode of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” last year, host Trevor Noah unearthed footage from 1987 of Sanders discussing politics on a local public access channel in his hometown of Burlington. The Bernie Sanders of 1987 talked of the unfair tax system that placed a large burden on working people and the need for universal health care. “We are one of two nations in the industrialized world that does not have a national health care system,” declared Sanders in 1987. Three decades later, in both his 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns, Sanders continued with that theme. In 2016, he released his Medicare for All plan by declaring, “It is time for our country to join every other major industrialized nation on Earth and guarantee health care to all citizens as a right, not a privilege.” His 2020 campaign website further echoed this sentiment, stating that “the United States will join every other major country on Earth and guarantee health care to all people as a right.” A consistent candidate often comes across as a more authentic candidate – someone who is staying true to his core self rather than pandering to the latest polling data or saying whatever will attract the most dramatic news coverage. Sanders’ authenticity as a candidate who has fought for working people and progressive ideals his entire life made him appealing to many liberals. He attracted an unshakable following of core supporters because of it. ‘Results, not revolution’Biden’s pragmatic approach, however, trumped Sanders’ often dogmatic consistency. In their debates, Sanders hammered Biden over what he saw as shifting stances on Social Security, Medicare and veterans’ programs. And then there was Biden’s 2003 vote for the Iraq war before he turned against it.But this is not the 2004 presidential election, where accusations of flip-flopping can sink a candidate, like it did John Kerry in his race against George W. Bush. Perhaps Donald Trump’s fickleness has changed what voters look for in a candidate. Maybe it’s simply that nobody cares about Biden’s apparent lack of judgment in 2003, which occurred well before he spent eight years as vice president in arguably one of the most popular Democratic administrations in U.S. history.Biden easily parried Sanders’ accusations of inconsistency by pointing to an underlying consistency of principles that have guided his varying positions over time. Voters ultimately decided to support someone who exhibits a practical sense of how to govern in a way that gets things done. As Biden said in his last debate with Sanders, “People are looking for results, not revolution.”On health care, one might have expected Sanders to have an advantage with his Medicare for All proposal, a consistent theme across his time as mayor, congressman, senator and presidential candidate. Polling done by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that for the first time a majority of Americans began to support a single government plan for health care in 2016, corresponding to the Sanders campaign push for Medicare for All.But in the same Kaiser poll, more Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents said they would prefer a candidate who would build on the Affordable Care Act rather than replace it. Biden’s campaign argued precisely for this more pragmatic approach, and he positioned himself as the right person to get the job done in a contentious political environment. An overtureAfter sweeping the primaries in Florida, Illinois and Arizona in March – putting the wheels in motion for the eventual withdrawal of Sanders from the race – Biden then struck the right chord in his speech after the Florida primary by making an appeal to Sanders voters. “I hear you,” he said. “I know what’s at stake. I know what we have to do. Our goal as a campaign and my goal as a candidate for president is to unify this party and then to unify the nation.” Biden’s appeal to Sanders voters suggests he may be willing to absorb some of the best ideas from Sanders – and other candidates. It’s a pragmatic approach, rather than a dogmatic consistency, that may bring along their supporters, too. That may be exactly what he will need to do to beat Trump in November.[You’re smart and curious about the world. So are The Conversation’s authors and editors. You can read us daily by subscribing to The Conversation’s newsletter.]This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts.Read more: * Biden’s big night with moderates, African Americans and baby boomers * Biden’s resurrection was unprecedented – and well-timedAdam Hodges does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.


The White House is reportedly developing a plan to get back to 'normality'

The White House is reportedly developing a plan to get back to 'normality'Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, told Democratic lawmakers during a phone call Wednesday that the Trump administration is developing a framework for getting the United States back into a state of "normality" in the wake of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Politico reports.Fauci didn't provide any possible timeline, but he did say the White House will likely issue some guidance in the coming days about transitioning society out of lockdown eventually.The cautious forward thinking is likely a result of some optimism among the White House coronavirus task force. Vice President Mike Pence, who heads the unit, told lawmakers there have been early signs that new cases are stabilizing in some areas, echoing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (D) comments earlier in the day.That doesn't mean Fauci, Pence, or lawmakers are relaxing, of course. "They're starting to see, they think, this virus in some of these known hot spots begin to maybe top out," Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) told Politico. "There are some hopeful signs in New York and other places. But we all know there's a long way to go." Read more at Politico.More stories from theweek.com Dr. Anthony Fauci cautiously predicts kids will return to school next fall, 'but it's going to be different' The coming backlash against the public health experts Trump says he doesn't know who Joe Exotic is, but he'll 'take a look' at pardoning him


JetBlue suspends flights at eight airports, including New York LaGuardia, Baltimore, San Jose
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown blasts Trump but praises Republican governor's response to coronavirus

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown blasts Trump but praises Republican governor's response to coronavirusSen. Sherrod Brown defeated Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine in 2006, but now praises his old political foe's response to the coronavirus pandemic.


As coronavirus spreads, mentally ill Americans are left scrambling for options

As coronavirus spreads, mentally ill Americans are left scrambling for optionsThe rapid spread of the coronavirus has dramatically affected the one in five Americans who deal with mental health in any given year, as well as those who work tirelessly to keep those individuals well.


One chart shows how long the coronavirus lives on surfaces like cardboard, plastic, wood, and steel

One chart shows how long the coronavirus lives on surfaces like cardboard, plastic, wood, and steelRecent research shows that the coronavirus lives longest on glass, paper money, and the outside of surgical masks.


Your Home (and Mind) Needs One of These High-Design Mobiles
Coronavirus: Why China's claims of success raise eyebrows

Coronavirus: Why China's claims of success raise eyebrowsChina has claimed its first day without a virus death, but faces lingering scepticism over its data.


Texas teen accused of threatening to spread coronavirus is charged

Texas teen accused of threatening to spread coronavirus is chargedMaradiaga claimed in a series of Snapchat videos to have tested positive and threatened to willfully spread COVID-19, according to police.


India's financial hub Mumbai set to extend coronavirus lockdown: sources

India's financial hub Mumbai set to extend coronavirus lockdown: sourcesIndia's financial hub Mumbai is set to extend lockdown measures until at least April 30 as authorities race to expand testing to stem the spread of coronavirus cases in the city, three senior officials said. A 21-day nationwide lockdown that Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared in late March to fight the epidemic is officially set to end on April 14. The Mumbai municipal authority and the state government in the western state of Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital, both declined to comment.


Iran supreme leader approves withdrawal of 1 billion euros from sovereign wealth fund to fight coronavirus

Iran supreme leader approves withdrawal of 1 billion euros from sovereign wealth fund to fight coronavirusIran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has approved the withdrawal of 1 billion euros from the country's sovereign wealth fund to help fight the coronavirus epidemic, President Hassan Rouhani's official website said on Monday.


The Supreme Court’s Misunderstood Ruling on Wisconsin’s Coronavirus Primary

The Supreme Court’s Misunderstood Ruling on Wisconsin’s Coronavirus PrimaryThere seems to be some confusion about the Supreme Court’s ruling on Monday in connection with Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary. This owes to reporting that suggests, or at least could lead its audience to believe, that the Court’s five conservative-leaning, Republican-appointed justices, over the strident objection of its four left-leaning, Democratic-appointed justices, directed that the primary proceed with in-person voting, despite the coronavirus threat.That is not what happened.The state government of Wisconsin, led by Governor Anthony Steven Evers, a Democrat, made the decision to go forward with the primary, and with in-person voting. As the Court’s majority emphasizes, that was not the Court’s call, nor is it the Court’s place to opine on the wisdom of the state government’s decision.The majority’s unsigned opinion explains that the issue the Court was called upon to decide was a narrow one, pertaining to absentee ballots. Specifically, at the urging of Democratic Party organizations concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on voting, federal district judge William Conley (an Obama appointee) extended the deadline for receipt of mail-in ballots from Tuesday April 7 (the primary-election day) to Monday afternoon, April 13. That aspect of the district court’s ruling was not in dispute. Judge Conley, however, directed that that absentee ballots were eligible to be counted regardless of when they were mailed in or otherwise delivered, as long as they came in by the April 13 deadline. In effect, that meant absentee ballots could be cast after in-person primary voting had closed on April 7.Obviously, this could mean the election would be materially altered by events occurring after formal conclusion of the primary election -- not least, news about the apparent election result. To address this problem, Judge Conley further ordered the Wisconsin Election Commission and election inspectors to suppress any report of the voting results until after the new April 13 deadline for the receipt of absentee ballots.There were at least three problems with this resolution. First, when they filed their lawsuit, the Democratic plaintiffs had not asked the district court to permit the mailing of ballots after the polls were closed on April 7. Second, the Wisconsin Election Commission and election inspectors were not parties to the lawsuit, and thus did not have a right to be heard before Judge Conley gagged them. Finally, the district court’s resolution worked a significant change in election rules. This ran afoul of Supreme Court precedent, particularly the 2006 Purcell v. Gonzalez decision, which instructed lower federal courts to resist altering rules on the eve of an election.Consequently, the majority (Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh) ruled that in order for votes to count, the absentee ballots must be postmarked by Election Day (April 7) and received by the Election Commission by April 13.Justice Ginsburg dissented (joined by Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan). She argued that the coronavirus crisis had backlogged the Election Commission with mail-in-ballot requests, meaning that many such ballots (potentially thousands of them) would not be provided to voters in time to comply with the April 7 deadline. Ergo, the Court’s ruling needlessly placed voters in the quandary of risking disease by voting in person or forfeiting their right to vote -- in an important election in which not only the Democratic presidential nomination but many seats on the Wisconsin state courts, including its highest court, are at stake.Justice Ginsburg has a good point about the majority’s reliance on Democratic organizations’ failure to ask for an extension of the mail-in deadline. Oddly, the majority asserts that Ginsburg’s dissent “entirely disregards the critical point that the plaintiffs themselves did not ask for this additional relief in their preliminary injunction motions.” To the contrary, Justice Ginsburg counters that, while the plaintiffs omitted that request from their written motions, they explicitly argued for it at the hearing. They did this on their own, unbidden by Judge Conley, because by then the pandemic had caused a surging demand for absentee ballots. Given the majority’s concession that it is not “necessarily” concluding that Democrats forfeited this relief, Ginsburg is persuasive in rebutting their argument.On the other hand, Justice Ginsburg is at her least persuasive in turning the Purcell precedent on its head. She argues that it is not Judge Conley but the Court itself that runs afoul of Purcell: On the eve of the election, it has altered the election rules that were in place -- i.e., the ones fashioned by Conley. The point of Purcell, however, is to instruct the lower courts not to alter election rules. If federal judges ignore binding Supreme Court guidance, the Court obviously must overrule them -- otherwise, what is the point of having the guidance?If I had my druthers, absentee balloting would not be permitted except in extraordinary circumstances. Voting is a sufficiently important privilege that we should all troop to the polling place and cast our ballots on Election Day. This way, we all vote based on the same available information, and the chances of fraud -- which is what you should worry about if you are truly concerned about disenfranchisement -- are minimized.Still, I’m sympathetic to the dissent in this case. My views notwithstanding, voting by mail is widely permitted. Even for traditionalists, moreover, absentee balloting is permissible in extraordinary circumstances. What could be more extraordinary than the ongoing health crisis? It is being demanded of Americans that they shut down their livelihoods for the greater good of stopping the spread of a deadly infectious disease. How ridiculous, then, that Wisconsin state officials have not canceled in-person voting as other states have done. They should have either made it easier for people to vote by mail or postponed the election until it could safely be held.Regardless of what one thinks about the ruling, though, the Supreme Court is getting a bad rap. Their case is about nothing more than whether ballots mailed in the six-day period after Election Day should count. It was not the justices’ decision to go forward with Wisconsin’s primary during a pandemic. Nor is the Court any way responsible for the risks entailed by in-person voting.


Mattis rebukes Trump over removal of Pentagon inspector general

Mattis rebukes Trump over removal of Pentagon inspector generalIn Donald Trump’s latest salvo in an ongoing bid to reshape government oversight of his administration, the president fired the Pentagon inspector general charged with overseeing implementation of the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package. 


Column: 'Pharma bro' Martin Shkreli wants out of prison to find a cure for coronavirus

Column: 'Pharma bro' Martin Shkreli wants out of prison to find a cure for coronavirusIn act of chutzpah, 'Pharma bro' Shkreli seeks prison release to find a coronavirus cure.


86-year-old and three sons die after contracting COVID-19

86-year-old and three sons die after contracting COVID-19The mother and three sons all died within days of each other, the New Orleans Coroner's Office confirmed.


Sweden, which refused to implement a coronavirus lockdown, has so far avoided a mass outbreak. Now it's bracing for a potential surge in deaths.

Sweden, which refused to implement a coronavirus lockdown, has so far avoided a mass outbreak. Now it's bracing for a potential surge in deaths.Sweden urged people to practice social distancing but left shops and restaurants open, contrasting with many countries across Europe and the world.


Japan to Fund Firms to Shift Production Out of China

Japan to Fund Firms to Shift Production Out of China(Bloomberg) -- Japan has earmarked $2.2 billion of its record economic stimulus package to help its manufacturers shift production out of China as the coronavirus disrupts supply chains between the major trading partners.The extra budget, compiled to try to offset the devastating effects of the pandemic, includes 220 billion yen ($2 billion) for companies shifting production back to Japan and 23.5 billion yen for those seeking to move production to other countries, according to details of the plan posted online.The move coincides with what should have been a celebration of friendlier ties between the two countries. Chinese President Xi Jinping was supposed to be on a state visit to Japan early this month. But what would have been the first visit of its sort in a decade was postponed a month ago amid the spread of the virus and no new date has been set.China is Japan’s biggest trading partner under normal circumstances, but imports from China slumped by almost half in February as the disease shuttered factories, in turn starving Japanese manufacturers of necessary components.That has renewed talk of Japanese firms reducing their reliance on China as a manufacturing base. The government’s panel on future investment last month discussed the need for manufacturing of high-added value products to be shifted back to Japan, and for production of other goods to be diversified across Southeast Asia.“There will be something of a shift,” said Shinichi Seki, an economist at the Japan Research Institute, adding that some Japanese companies manufacturing goods in China for export were already considering moving out. “Having this in the budget will definitely provide an impetus.” Companies, such as car makers, that are manufacturing for the Chinese domestic market, will likely stay put, he said.Testing TimesJapan exports a far larger share of parts and partially finished goods to China than other major industrial nations, according to data compiled for the panel. A February survey by Tokyo Shoko Research Ltd. found 37% of the more than 2,600 companies that responded were diversifying procurement to places other than China amid the coronavirus crisis.It remains to be seen how the policy will affect Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s years-long effort to restore relations with China.“We are doing our best to resume economic development,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a briefing Wednesday in Beijing, when asked about the move. “In this process, we hope other countries will act like China and take proper measures to ensure the world economy will be impacted as little as possible and to ensure that supply chains are impacted as little as possible.”The initial stages of the Covid-19 outbreak in China appeared to warm the often chilly ties between the two countries. Japan provided aid in the form of masks and protective gear -- and in one case a shipment was accompanied by a fragment of ancient Chinese poetry. In return, it received praise from Beijing.In another step welcomed in Japan, China declared Avigan, an anti-viral produced by Japan’s Fujifilm Holdings Corp. to be an effective treatment for the coronavirus, even though it has yet to be approved for that use by the Japanese.Yet many in Japan are inclined to blame China for mishandling the early stages of the outbreak and Abe for not blocking visitors from China sooner.Meanwhile, other issues that have deeply divided the neighbors -- including a territorial dispute over East China Sea islands that brought them close to a military clash in 2012-13 -- are no nearer resolution.Chinese government ships have continued their patrols around the Japanese-administered islands throughout the crisis, with Japan saying four Chinese ships on Wednesday entered what it sees as its territorial waters.(Updates with comment from economist in sixth 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.


Congo mine gun attack kills three Chinese nationals: Xinhua

Congo mine gun attack kills three Chinese nationals: XinhuaA gun attack in a mining area in the Democratic Republic of Congo has killed three Chinese nationals, China's official Xinhua news agency reported, citing the Chinese embassy in the mineral-rich central African country.


U.S. reports 1,200 coronavirus deaths in one day as China lifts lockdown

U.S. reports 1,200 coronavirus deaths in one day as China lifts lockdownNation's top infectious diseases expert said he is "cautiously optimistic" that worst projections may be avoided "if we keep our foot on the accelerator."


Coronavirus wreaks havoc in African American neighbourhoods

Coronavirus wreaks havoc in African American neighbourhoodsBlack Chicagoans account for 70% of coronavirus deaths, despite making up 30% of the population.


VP talk could intensify with Harris fundraising moves

VP talk could intensify with Harris fundraising movesCalifornia Sen. Kamala Harris made two notable fundraising moves Wednesday that are sure to fuel speculation about her prospects to be Joe Biden's running mate on the Democratic presidential ticket. Harris, who dropped out of the White House race in December, set up a joint fundraising operation with the Democratic National Committee, an arrangement that is typically reserved for nominees trying to attract large donations from the party’s biggest boosters. Hours later, she made a surprise appearance on a virtual fundraiser, introducing Biden to donors.


Jewish world marks start of 'strange' Passover

Jewish world marks start of 'strange' PassoverJews marked the start of a "strange" Passover holiday on Wednesday as the coronavirus pandemic prevented the large family gatherings usually organised for the traditional Seder meal. In Israel, which has more than 9,000 confirmed cases of the deadly virus, a nationwide curfew was in effect, with security forces deployed on the streets to prevent anyone seeking to visit relatives in violation of social-distancing measures. In an English language message to Jews across the world, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged that this year's Passover was "strange" and "different from all other Passovers."


Obesity is major COVID-19 risk factor, says French chief epidemiologist

Obesity is major COVID-19 risk factor, says French chief epidemiologistBeing overweight is a major risk for people infected with the new coronavirus and the United States is particularly vulnerable because of high obesity levels there, France's chief epidemiologist said on Wednesday. Professor Jean-François Delfraissy, who heads the scientific council that advises the government on the epidemic, said as many as 17 million of France's 67 million citizens were seriously at risk from the coronavirus because of age, pre-existing illness or obesity. "That is why we're worried about our friends in America, where the problem of obesity is well known and where they will probably have the most problems because of obesity."


India drops drug export ban after Trump threatens "retaliation"

India drops drug export ban after Trump threatens "retaliation"As it's tested as a possible treatment for COVID-19, India had barred exports of hydroxychloroquine, until Trump weighed in.


More than 90,000 cruise crewmembers left to battle coronavirus – at times without pay

More than 90,000 cruise crewmembers left to battle coronavirus – at times without payCrew members are having just as trouble as passengers in getting off ships once their skills are no longer needed.


Dems Demand Half of $251 Billion in Additional Small Business Loans Be Targeted to Minority, Women-Owned Companies

Dems Demand Half of $251 Billion in Additional Small Business Loans Be Targeted to Minority, Women-Owned CompaniesThe White House is requesting an additional $251 billion for additional small business lending as part of the government’s coronavirus response, eliciting a counter from congressional Democrats asking for $125 billion in targeted aid for farmers, women, minorities, and veteran-owned businesses.“I’ll be asking Congress to provide an additional $250 billion for the paycheck protection, which will help keep Americans employed, to facilitate a quick and full recovery,” President Trump said on Tuesday at the White House during a coronavirus task force briefing.The Senate’s phase-three package, which passed last month, earmarked $350 billion to make small business loans through commercial banks to companies with 500 or fewer employees, provided the companies agree to keep workers on the payroll. As part of the “Paycheck Protection Program,” most or all of the loan would be written off if the borrower retained its workers and didn’t cut their wages, with the government repaying the banks for the forgiven portions of the loans.In a letter to Capitol Hill, the White House Office of Management and Budget said that the program, conducted through the Small Business Administration (SBA), has administered over 220,000 loans — totaling approximately $66 billion. “Given the level of demand for the program, the Administration believes the funds appropriated for this program will soon be exhausted,” the letter reads.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said in a statement on Tuesday that he hoped to approve the additional funding with unanimous consent or a voice vote during a procedural session on Thursday, without the full chamber present.“It is quickly becoming clear that Congress will need to provide more funding or this crucial program may run dry,” McConnell said. “That cannot happen. Nearly 10 million Americans filed for unemployment in just the last two weeks. This is already a record-shattering tragedy, and every day counts.”Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) — who said she was open to “an interim package” — countered with their own proposal Wednesday, which placed a number of conditions on the new funding to make sure 50 percent of it goes to farmers, women, minorities, and veteran-owned businesses. The proposal also called for an additional $100 billion in hospital funding and $150 billion more for state and local governments.


Surgeon General says he's 'optimistic' the coronavirus impact can be slowed if US keeps up social distancing for 30 days

Surgeon General says he's 'optimistic' the coronavirus impact can be slowed if US keeps up social distancing for 30 daysThe US is not in the clear: More than 378,200 coronavirus cases and 11,800 deaths have been reported as of Tuesday.


Wuhan Shows the World Its Post-Coronavirus Future

Wuhan Shows the World Its Post-Coronavirus FutureHONG KONG—Trains are leaving Wuhan for the first time since January 23, carrying 55,000 people out of the city in one day. Long-haul buses are moving passengers across provinces. Planes are taking off at the airport again. Roadblocks on outbound highways have been removed, and cars have been streaming through since midnight. The lockdown of the first epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic—after doctors who flagged the unusual virus were gagged by authorities—was lifted at midnight local time on Wednesday. U.S. Eyes Second Coronavirus Outbreak in ChinaIt’s difficult to look back at the lockdown without feeling like it was an 11-week internment. More than 3,300 people reportedly have died in China due to COVID-19, including nearly 2,600 in the city of Wuhan alone. (The official tallies are deemed by medical professionals in China and abroad to be much lower than the actual count.) Intensive care units were, of course, where the most recorded deaths occurred; the mortality rate in Wuhan’s ICUs was between 25 and 30 percent, according to Dr. Peng Zhiyong, who led two ICU teams in the city and maintained the lowest rates of fatalities and hospital transmissions at the facilities where he worked.Now, after daily—hourly, constant—checks on the epidemic curve, there is an uneasy mixture of relief and apprehension as life in Wuhan crawls back to a normal pace and Hubei province reconnects with the rest of the country.There are lessons here for the hard-hit United States, where to date almost four times as many people have died as in China, judging by official numbers. But, sadly, those lessons are limited. Other countries may benefit more from what has been learned in Wuhan.In the United States, the Trump administration apparently expects 50 states to compete with each other, and with the federal government, for vital resources. In China, the all-powerful Chinese Communist Party poured everything it could into Wuhan and Hubei after the very strict province-wide lockdown. It flew in medical workers from all over the country, military assistance, construction workers to build hospitals, and others to enforce the quarantines while enhancing survival rates.For two and a half months, Hubei’s 60 million people—roughly the population of Italy—have been confined to their homes. To venture out in public for crucial supply runs, they had to pass through checkpoints manned by private security guards, neighborhood-level Chinese Communist Party custodians, or police officers. The population’s material needs were taken care of, but there was a constant air of uncertainty about what might happen next. Might there be a surge in infection numbers and deaths the next day? Could one’s neighbor, parent, friend fall ill and fail to find medical assistance at the packed hospitals? What if the pandemic does not end?Today, the physical signs of those weeks of worry remain present. Barbed wire still runs along the tops of walls surrounding some residential complexes, installed to prevent people from leaping over the barriers to cure their cabin fever. Many older buildings—those with only two or three floors—are still boarded up.So far, it hasn’t been a smooth transition for Wuhan. There were plenty of dead car batteries. Social distancing was difficult to achieve on public transportation. Frequent temperature checks and pauses to disinfect slowed down movement across the city—although few were in a rush to begin with.Even at the beginning of the week, Wuhan and the rest of Hubei were coming back to life slowly. Some restaurants lit their stove fires again—patrons couldn’t always dine in, but they placed orders and waited patiently for their takeout, standing five or six feet apart from each other. Sounds and smells of human activity were returning. You could spot people strolling along the quiet waterfront—just a handful, but enough to give the impression that things could go back to normal, that maybe not all of spring was lost. Now, across mainland China, it’s common enough to see people wearing latex gloves and plastic goggles when they are outside of their homes. Masks are mandatory in public areas, meant to limit significantly the virus’ spread in case you are a carrier. This curtails the footprint of the coronavirus—a particularly important act because medical professionals believe that many people who carry the virus are asymptomatic, meaning they may not even realize that they can cause severe illness in others.When much of China was still under lockdown, people spoke of “revenge spending,” a term that harks back to the spike in consumption after the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976, now appropriated to outline the urge to splurge after shops reopen when the COVID pandemic subsides. But while businesses in Wuhan, Hubei, and the rest of the country have spun up operations again, consumers have been cautious about their expenditures. Many have drained significant chunks of their savings, and the likelihood of a second wave of infections hitting later this year has people worrying that they will have to hunker down again, this time with even tighter purse strings.China Hijacked This American Mom’s Tweets for Coronavirus PropagandaIn the first three months of this year, nearly half a million businesses in China went belly up. More are expected to declare bankruptcy in the coming weeks. Companies that ship goods to other countries are being hit hard as foreign clients seek delays in shipments or are canceling orders altogether.Firms involved in mass-scale surveillance, however, are more active than ever. Throughout China, smartphone-based tracking measures are now used to indicate a person’s health status and location history. Whip out your phone and call up your assigned QR code—if it’s green, then you can access public transportation, as well as facilities like shopping malls, restaurants, and parks. The same tools are used to determine whether a person can travel throughout the country. The exception is the capital, Beijing, where all arrivals must commit to 14 days of quarantine.This isn’t a policy that is unique to China. Around the world, at least 24 countries are tracking their citizens’ locations using applications that went online during the COVID-19 pandemic, and at least 14 nations have rolled out apps for contact tracing or as part of quarantine protocols, according to information compiled by Human Rights Watch, Privacy International, and more than 100 other organizations.Yet even with a digital dragnet over the country, our lack of understanding of the coronavirus and COVID-19 brings about intense uneasiness. It is still unclear how common asymptomatic transmission is, but classified Chinese documents seen by reporters of Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post suggest that up to one-third of people who test positive could be carrying the virus without showing any symptoms. People I spoke to in Wuhan, Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou were all anxious about how every human body—including their own—has the potential to become a walking bio-bomb that could kill a friend or loved one. It’s a distressing thought that is compounded when a nation is being steered by its central government to return to the tempo from three months ago.The weekend was a reminder that the pandemic has left indelible imprints on China—and the rest of the world. Last Saturday was a day of mourning for those who died in China due to COVID-19. At 10:00 a.m., people stopped what they were doing to observe three minutes of silence. Sirens wailed. Drivers sounded their vehicles’ horns. Flags flew at half-mast. In every city, town, and village, tears fell. Chinese Communist Party leaders, including President Xi Jinping, gathered at Zhongnanhai, the headquarters of the CCP and central government in the capital, where a banner reading “deeply mourn for martyrs and compatriots” now hangs. The party has claimed every casualty as one of its own.Yet none of this implies that China is on the other side of this viral calamity. Last week, Zeng Guang, the chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said the country “has not reached the end [of the pandemic], but is merely entering a new phase.” The main worry, for now, is that asymptomatic carriers will infect others as people travel across the country to get back to work, ultimately negating the months-long containment efforts that have placed life on hold for many millions of people.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. 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'It's like nothing else': Klobuchar, husband talk about his battle with coronavirus

'It's like nothing else': Klobuchar, husband talk about his battle with coronavirus"It's one of the hardest, hardest things," Klobuchar told NBC News in an exclusive interview about her family's ordeal.


Bernie Sanders speaks on 'painful' decision to exit the 2020 race, says he'll keep gathering delegates

Bernie Sanders speaks on 'painful' decision to exit the 2020 race, says he'll keep gathering delegatesSen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Wednesday officially conceded the Democratic presidential primary to former Vice President Joe Biden but said he will still stay on the ballot and continue to gather delegates through the party's convention. After suspending his campaign for president, Sanders addressed supporters in a live stream, describing his decision to exit as "very difficult and painful." But he admitted it has become "virtually impossible" for him to win the Democratic nomination and he "cannot in good conscience continue" running, especially in light of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. "If I believed that we had a feasible path to the nomination, I would certainly continue the campaign, but it's just not there," Sanders said.Sanders also congratulated Biden, who is now the only Democratic candidate left in the race, describing him as a "very decent man." At the same time, Sanders said he will remain on the ballot in all remaining states and not stop gathering delegates."While Vice President Biden will be the nominee, we must continue working to assemble as many delegates as possible at the Democratic convention, where we will be able to exert significant influence over the party platform and other functions," Sanders said. Biden in a lengthy statement on Wednesday praised Sanders and told his supporters, "I see you, I hear you. and I understand the urgency of what it is we have to get done in this country. I hope you will join us." > Sanders says he will stay on the ballot in remaining primary states so that he can keep winning delegates, in hopes of exerting "significant influence" on the Democratic Party platform> > But he says he'll also work with presumptive nominee, Joe Biden https://t.co/9GZS7qcBFb pic.twitter.com/qEXyCg4ZMt> > -- CBS News (@CBSNews) April 8, 2020More stories from theweek.com Dr. Anthony Fauci cautiously predicts kids will return to school next fall, 'but it's going to be different' The coming backlash against the public health experts Trump says he doesn't know who Joe Exotic is, but he'll 'take a look' at pardoning him


Korean Air puts 70 percent of staff on leave

Korean Air puts 70 percent of staff on leaveKorean Air is the flagship of the Hanjin group, one of the multifaceted, family-controlled conglomerates known as chaebols that dominate business in South Korea and played a key part in its rise to become the world's 12th-largest economy. Most of its staff will go on leave from April 16 for six months in response to "deteriorating business circumstances", Korean Air said in a statement. Korean Air's labour union agreed to participate as part of a "burden-sharing" initiative, the company said -- executives have also agreed to take pay cuts.


Speed of coronavirus deaths shock doctors as New York toll hits new high

Speed of coronavirus deaths shock doctors as New York toll hits new highNew York state, epicenter of America's coronavirus crisis, set another single-day record of COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, as veteran doctors and nurses voiced astonishment at the speed with which patients were deteriorating and dying. The number of known coronavirus infections in New York state alone approached 150,000 on Wednesday, even as authorities warned that the official death tally may understate the true number because it omits those who have perished at home. "Every number is a face, " said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who ordered flags flown at half-staff across New York in memory of the victims.


China investigates party member critical of government's handling of coronavirus outbreak

China investigates party member critical of government's handling of coronavirus outbreakChina is investigating a prominent Communist Party member who criticized leader Xi Jinping’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.


U.K. Records Highest Daily Deaths With Johnson in Intensive Care

U.K. Records Highest Daily Deaths With Johnson in Intensive Care(Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Boris Johnson was still being monitored in a critical care unit as the U.K.’s coronavirus crisis deepened, with the highest daily rise in deaths so far.After he was taken into intensive care Monday, Johnson, 55, remained in a stable condition receiving oxygen treatment, and has not been diagnosed with pneumonia or put on a ventilator, his officials said. A statement Tuesday evening said this was unchanged.But the prime minister’s personal struggle to recover from Covid-19 leaves the U.K. without its leader at a critical time as the country prepares for cases to increase over the next 10 days. The death toll rose by 786, the Department for Health said Tuesday, bringing the total to 6,159.Asked why the U.K.’s death rates were so much higher than Germany’s, England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty appeared to blame the British government’s lack of wide testing for the virus.There were hints of better news elsewhere in the U.K. data, according to a televised briefing shortly after the death figures were published. There is no acceleration in the number of new cases, and it is “possible” that the infection curve is starting to flatten, said Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser. The trend won’t be clear for about another week, he said.With Johnson out of action, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is deputizing at the head of the government, with the peak of the outbreak expected in the days ahead. “I’m confident he’ll pull through because if there’s one thing I know about the prime minister, he’s a fighter,” Raab said at the same press conference on Tuesday evening.The cabinet is working collectively to deliver Johnson’s instructions on fighting the pandemic, Raab said when asked how much power he has over government policy.Johnson was taken to St. Thomas’ Hospital in London on Sunday evening after struggling to shake off virus symptoms for 10 days.Adding to the government’s woes, Cabinet Minister Michael Gove -- a key member of Johnson’s top team -- said he is in self-isolation after a family member displayed symptoms of coronavirus at the weekend. Gove has no symptoms himself and is continuing to work, he said in a Twitter post on Tuesday.Raab and the rest of the Cabinet face a series of key decisions in the days ahead -- on the process for easing the national lock down, and whether restrictions on people’s movements should be lifted, extended or tightened even further.Trump SupportIt’s an extraordinary turn of events for Johnson. Just over two months ago, he was at the peak of his powers, celebrating Britain’s departure from the European Union after scoring an emphatic election victory.U.S. President Donald Trump, a supporter of Johnson, said at a press briefing that he has told pharmaceutical companies to get in touch with London to offer help. Trump cited “rather complex” therapeutic treatments for the virus with “really incredible results,” but didn’t specify them.“When you get brought into intensive care, that gets very, very serious with this particular disease,” Trump said.With Johnson out of action, the untested Raab will now need to get a grip on the government machine and coordinate the pandemic response. Britain’s strategy for defeating coronavirus has already come under strain, with ministers accepting they had not done enough to test people for infections.Johnson himself was criticized by medical experts and members of his own Conservative Party for failing to act quickly enough to close schools and ban public gatherings.Cabinet DivisionsThere have been divisions among Johnson’s officials during his period of isolation already, a situation that risks getting worse with Raab, who was a leadership rival to Johnson last year, now in charge. Gove and Health Secretary Matt Hancock also stood for party leader and are now in lead roles in the virus strategy.On Tuesday, Gove told the BBC the government is working “in a team way” and taking decisions “completely by consensus,” as Raab chairs key meetings. “Physically, Boris is full of life and fit -- he is a keen tennis player and runner and he’s a man of great zest and appetite for life,” Gove told LBC radio later. “We hope and pray that he enjoys a quick recovery.”Johnson revealed on March 27 he had tested positive for coronavirus and was going into isolation in his Downing Street apartment. His meals and official papers were left outside his door, but he continued to chair daily crisis meetings via video link.The premier recorded several “selfie” video messages for social media in recent days in which he insisted he was doing well and remained in charge. At times, though, he appeared short of breath and visibly unwell.After being taken into intensive care, the premier received well wishes from colleagues including his predecessors Theresa May and David Cameron, as well as his chief opponent, Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer. International leaders including Irish premier Leo Varadkar and President Emmanuel Macron of France also sent messages of support.Johnson’s fiancee, Carrie Symonds, who is pregnant, also had symptoms of the virus and had been isolating.(Adds Downing Street statement on Johnson’s health in second 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.


Will we ever take cruise holidays again?

Will we ever take cruise holidays again?The cruise line industry faces a long journey back from the coronavirus pandemic.


A super-spreader believed to be at the center of Chicago's coronavirus outbreak shows the importance of social distancing

A super-spreader believed to be at the center of Chicago's coronavirus outbreak shows the importance of social distancingA case study traced the cases from one infected individual after they attended a funeral and birthday party, infecting 16 people and killing three.


'A lot of pain.' NY has biggest 1-day jump in virus deaths

'A lot of pain.' NY has biggest 1-day jump in virus deathsNew York state reported 731 new COVID-19 deaths Tuesday, its biggest jump since the start of the outbreak, dampening some of the cautious optimism officials have expressed about efforts to stop the spread of the virus. Cuomo said the death tally is a “lagging indicator” that reflects the loss of critically ill people hospitalized earlier. While Cuomo said New York could be reaching a “plateau” in hospitalizations, he warned that gains are dependent on people continuing to practice social distancing.


CDC loosens guidelines for some exposed to virus to return to work

CDC loosens guidelines for some exposed to virus to return to workUnder the guidance, people who are exposed to someone infected are allowed back on the job if they are asymptomatic.


Chinese Official Tries to Walk Back Claim U.S. Military Brought Virus to Wuhan

Chinese Official Tries to Walk Back Claim U.S. Military Brought Virus to WuhanChina Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian held his first press conference in several weeks on Tuesday, attempting to walk back his earlier claim that the U.S. military had brought the novel coronavirus to the city of Wuhan.“The virus [is] a scientific question that requires scientific opinions,” Zhao told reporters. He was then asked if he stood behind a March 12 tweet in which he wrote that, “It might be the U.S. Army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan.”“The questions raised on my personal Twitter account are a response to U.S. politicians' stigmatization of China, which also reflects the righteous anger of many Chinese people over these stigmatizing acts,” Zhao responded.China blocks Twitter within its borders, although certain citizens and companies may use the app with government approval. Twitter has said that using the platform to claim that the U.S. brought coronavirus to Wuhan does not violate its rules and terms of service.The Chinese government and state-owned media outlets have repeatedly tried to portray President Trump's use of the term “Chinese virus” as stigmatizing. On March 17, Trump was asked during a White House press conference whether he thought calling the coronavirus the “Chinese virus” created a “stigma.”“No, I don’t think so. I think saying that our military gave it to them creates a stigma,” Trump replied.The coronavirus pandemic that began in Wuhan has now claimed over 81,000 lives and seen 1,400,000 people infected.


NYPD releases video of moments before $1.3 million jewellery burglary

NYPD releases video of moments before $1.3 million jewellery burglaryNew York Police Department has released footage of the moments before a $1.3 million jewellery burglary in the Bronx.Four individuals broke into 50 East Fordham Road on the 31 March at around 1am, police said.


Smoking marijuana could make the lungs more susceptible to COVID-19, experts say as cannabis sales spike

Smoking marijuana could make the lungs more susceptible to COVID-19, experts say as cannabis sales spikeMarijuana smoking could make a person's lungs and immune system more susceptible to disease, existing coronavirus patient data shows.


New York state reports more coronavirus cases than any country except the U.S.: Reuters tally

New York state reports more coronavirus cases than any country except the U.S.: Reuters tallyThe U.S. state has 149,316 reported cases compared with Spain at 146,690. Italy is now in third place with 139,422 cases reported on Wednesday. In total, the United States has recorded over 417,000 cases and 14,100 deaths, according to the Reuters tally.


Trump’s Fox News Cabinet Tells Him the Coronavirus Crisis Is Over

Trump’s Fox News Cabinet Tells Him the Coronavirus Crisis Is OverThroughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump’s decisions and stances have seemingly been influenced by the unofficial advisers he treasures most: Fox News primetime hosts.After downplaying for weeks the threat of the virus, just as many on Fox News did the same, the president began taking it seriously last month after Tucker Carlson personally confronted him before delivering an on-air monologue calling for action. Elsewhere, Fox stars have been the primary driving force behind Trump’s incessant promotion of an unproven anti-malarial drug as the miracle COVID-19 cure.And in recent days, it seems, the president has been receiving his newest coronavirus intel briefing from Fox News. This time, they say, the pandemic is over and it’s time to move on.Throughout Tuesday night’s primetime stretch, Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham were in lockstep in telegraphing to Trump a message that the pandemic’s threat has been overstated, death counts have been inflated, and the U.S. is already on the downside of the curve.Carlson, who received mainstream plaudits for his “admirable” early coronavirus coverage, kicked off his show by declaring that the crisis “may have passed,” noting that health-care systems across the country haven’t come close to collapsing—“except in a handful of places.”“Patients are not dying alone in the hallways of emergency rooms with physicians too overwhelmed to treat them,” he asserted. “That was the concern. It happens in other countries, it's not happening here. Thank God for that.”There have been numerous reports and testimonials from health-care workers expressing horror over the conditions of overcrowded hospitals and the stress it has placed on both medical staffers and patients. Much reporting has also been done on how many patients are dying alone and away from family members and friends from the disease.But despite nearly 13,000 U.S. deaths and at least 400,000 confirmed cases, with portions of the country having yet to suffer the worst effects of the outbreak, Carlson called for a quick reversal of social-distancing restrictions in order to jumpstart the economy, citing downward revisions of coronavirus models as the key reason.“Before we go ahead and alter our lives and our country forever, it is fair to ask about the numbers, their numbers, the ones we acted on the first time, that turned out to be completely wrong,” the Fox star fumed. “How did they screw that up so thoroughly? That is a fair question.”Adjustments of expected death tolls in some models—which, weeks ago, showed as many as 240,000 American deaths—have largely occurred due to the widespread adoption of social-distancing guidelines and the assumption that school and business closures will stay in place through the summer. Even factoring all that in, the models still project roughly 80,000 deaths.Nevertheless, over the past few days, Carlson has been pushing the president to ignore medical expertise and quickly move forward with economic activity. “Is there a single person who sincerely expects the coronavirus itself will hurt more people in the end than the damage we're causing in our response to it? Probably not,” he said on Monday night. “Mass unemployment is almost certain to cause far more harm, including physical harm, to the average family than this disease.”Carlson has also railed against top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has urged Americans to embrace social distancing in order to flatten the curve. Calling it “bewildering” that the U.S. is allowing medical “experts” to make policy decisions, Carlson claimed last week that Fauci is proposing “national suicide” by pushing aggressive social distancing. “We should never let someone like that run this country,” he said.Fox News senior analyst Brit Hume, who has recently been at the forefront of right-wing media’s questioning of coronavirus deaths, has also joined the chorus of Fox stars agitating against medical expertise. The official COVID-19 death count has been inflated, he declared Carlson on Tuesday evening.“Dr. Birx said tonight during the briefing at the White House that all deaths from anyone who died with coronavirus is counted as if the person died from coronavirus,” Hume said. “Now, we all know that isn’t true.”“And if everybody is being automatically classified, if they're found to have COVID-19, as a COVID-19 death, we’re going to get a very large number of deaths that way and we’re probably not going to have an accurate count of what the real death total is,” he added.Besides the fact that flu deaths—which Trump and Fox figures have constantly used as a comparison point to downplay the pandemic—are tracked the exact same way, and coronavirus disproportionately impacts people with pre-conditions, it is actually far more likely that the COVID-19 death count has been understated so far.Hannity, meanwhile, kicked off his Tuesday evening broadcast by claiming there is a “ton of good news” surrounding the pandemic, touting revised downward estimates of the death count to suggest that regular economic activity should restart very soon.In a phone interview with the president, Hannity—who has served as an unofficial Trump adviser and confidant—noted that the “cure can’t be worse than the problem” and nudged the president to reveal when he’d roll back social-distancing policies.“I’d love to open with a big bang, one beautiful country and just open,” Trump declared, adding, “We’re looking at two concepts. We’re looking at the concept where you open up sections and we’re also looking at the concept where you open up everything.”In a Wednesday morning tweet, Trump further hinted that he is looking to end restrictions “sooner rather than later,” adding that the “horror” of coronavirus “must be quickly forgotten” and predicting that the economy “will BOOM” going forward.Laura Ingraham, however, may have been the most aggressive among her primetime colleagues in openly pushing Trump to view the pandemic threat as completely neutralized.Claiming the experts were “wrong” with their modeling and that it caused undue panic for Americans, Ingraham echoed Carlson by railing against medical officials, claiming this pandemic should “make us less willing to rely on the same experts to help determine when and how we should reopen our economy.”“We didn’t vote for doctors,” exclaimed Ingraham, who recently sat with the president to tout the unproven coronavirus cure hydroxychloroquine. “We voted for political leadership that sees the big picture. That means the whole picture of America.”She continued to hammer away at that message Wednesday on her Twitter account.Tucker Carlson Wants to Have It Both Ways on Coronavirus“At some point, the president is going to have to look at Drs. Fauci and Birx and say, we're opening on May 1,” she wrote on Wednesday morning. “Give me your best guidance on protocols, but we cannot deny our people their basic freedoms any longer.”“America must get back to work,” Ingraham blared in another tweet. “‘Experts’ were wrong on fatalities by a factor of 30 now want to dictate when we reopen.”While Trump’s Fox News cabinet is declaring the crisis over, the network’s brass is still taking the pandemic seriously, implementing strict social-distancing policies for its employees. In a memo sent last week, Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott announced the company would distribute thermometers to all essential workers and suggested the use of face masks for anyone who had to come into one of Fox’s offices. Additionally, Scott said that Fox was targeting May 4 as a possible return date for employees currently telecommuting.And as Fox News’ biggest stars tried to convince the president to ditch social distancing altogether, one of Trump’s own health officials rebuked the network’s faux-populist manipulation of the expert data and projections.“Physical distancing is incredibly important—remember the projections,” Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir said Wednesday on Fox & Friends. “I have seen people twist that like this was not going to be that bad after all and we didn’t need to do it. That’s a complete misinterpretation. The estimate of deaths going down is the result of the fact that we have listened to the president and vice president and task force.”“I do want to emphasize the point, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but don’t keep your foot—don’t take your foot off the gas,” Giroir continued. “Because we really need to continue these efforts because we could see another peak, a second peak, a third peak if people don’t do the physical distancing or they think it’s all over.“It’s not over yet.”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.


Covid-19 Is Trapping Ecuador Between Death and Debt

Covid-19 Is Trapping Ecuador Between Death and Debt(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Sometime late last month the bodies began to turn up on the streets of Guayaquil. Some of the dead were abandoned in dumpsters. Others had been bundled in plastic and left on the sidewalks of this seaside Ecuadoran city, the yellow and black plastic cordon suggesting an unsolved crime scene.While most of Latin America is bracing for the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, Ecuador is already overwhelmed. The Andean nation of 17.5 million people is proportionately South America’s most afflicted: Only Brazil has a higher death count, with three times the fatalities for a population 12 times larger than Ecuador’s. (But as Bloomberg News reports, the continent is woefully behind in testing populations for the virus.) In Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city, with 70% of the nation’s stricken, coffins are scarce, families wait days for funeral homes to collect their dead and morgues are overflowing, forcing city authorities to store the bodies in industrial refrigerators. This is not just a tragedy of human health. As Covid-19 claims lives, it also menaces an economy that is already failing. While emerging markets everywhere are in trouble, Ecuador comes to the pandemic with some serious co-morbidities: a huge foreign debt, sinking oil prices, deepening poverty and political fratricide. The only question is whether public health or the economy is in a more precarious state.The slump in oil prices has gutted winnings from Ecuador’s signature commodity even as public debt has risen to nearly 52% of gross domestic product, well over the nationally stipulated maximum of 40%. That level of red ink can be hard for many countries to handle. For dollarized Ecuador, the surging greenback makes its signature non-oil exports even less competitive and forces the country to pile on even more debt, default on its loans or slash spending even as it battles the pandemic.Ecuador’s plight is in part the product of collective responses to prior emergencies. One reason Ecuador proved to be so accommodating to coronavirus was its diaspora. Propelled by political instability and a banking crisis in the late 1990s and early 2000s, up to 1 million Ecuadorans have migrated. More than 400,000 settled in Spain, becoming Latin America’s largest expatriate community there, while another 100,000 moved to Italy. Just as these global Ecuadorans nurtured their native economy with remittances, the returnees and frequent fliers have helped spread the contagion back home. Ecuador’s patient zero reportedly was an elderly Ecuadoran who returned to Guayaquil in February and may have infected up to 180 patients. By the time national lockdown orders were in place in March, the virus was already loose.Dollarization is another two-edged sword. Runaway prices and a banking crisis forced Ecuador to jettison the worthless national currency for the greenback in early 2000. Dollarization stabilized the economy and shielded Ecuadorans from inflation and the economic fallout from political turmoil which routinely ravaged neighboring economies. However, the stronger dollar not only makes Ecuador’s exports less competitive, but ties the nation’s hands in a crisis. Since the central bank cannot print dollars, government can’t monetize its swollen public deficit. With plunging oil prices (crude oil is 29% of exports), Ecuador’s gross financing needs this year are on track to hit an “unmanageable” $8.1 billion this year, according to Oxford Economics. Unless multilateral lenders come to the rescue, the government will have to raise taxes or double down on austerity, a strategy that nearly unseated President Lenin Moreno last year.While some Latin American leaders have stepped up during the outbreak and seen their approval ratings climb, Moreno has struggled. Once heralded as a reformer, he has seen his credibility shattered by partisan caviling, aggravated by his own well-intentioned bumbling. Nationwide protests late last October forced him to roll back fiscal measures, including a cut in fuel subsidies, prescribed by the International Monetary Fund, whose largesse his government needs even more today. The economy is likely to contract by 6% this year, said Norman McKay of the Economist Intelligence Unit.Now he faces the country’s worst crisis in memory with approval ratings below 20% (compared with 77% when he first took office in 2017), junk-rated sovereign debt and little fiscal firepower. “Moreno was already isolated and has little national support and little cash to buy political support,” Andres Mejia Acosta, a lecturer in political economy at Kings College London, told me. A weak central government is a cue for opportunists to weaponize the pandemic for political ends. “We are likely to see Moreno’s political problems escalate because his government has no national support.”An emergency fund in the works will offer a modicum of relief to some of the most vulnerable families. However under fiscal constraints Ecuador revised its registry of cash transfer recipients in 2014, restricting eligibility to all but those in extreme poverty (eliminating 600,000 recipients) and leaving out many more potential beneficiaries who are now in harm’s way. ”If you are part of the population at risk, but didn’t make the official registry, you are invisible to the state,” said Mejia Acosta.For those who toil in Ecuador’s vast shadow economy and live by peddling their wares and services day by day, sheltering is penury. The state has no plan for them, nor refrigerators for their rising body count.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Mac Margolis is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Latin and South America. He was a reporter for Newsweek and is the author of “The Last New World: The Conquest of the Amazon Frontier.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.