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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

The U.S. currently has more confirmed cases of the coronavirus than any country in the world. Coronavirus is real it is not a hoax. Coronavirus is not the flu no matter what they say, you can get a flu shot which reduces the chances of you getting the flu, you cannot get a coronavirus shot because there are currently no coronavirus vaccines shots. Coronavirus is deadlier than the flu and spreads faster than the flu. Currently there are no shots or cures for the coronavirus. Coronavirus kills people of all ages. Coronavirus can remain in the air and on surfaces for more than an hour. Someone who is not showing any signs of illness can infect you. Be safe; stay home if directed, keep your distance from others, stay home if sick to prevent possible spread of the disease, wash your hands with soap before you touch your face and wash your hands with soap frequently. Below you can find the latest coronavirus updates statistics, totals, new cases, deaths per day, mortality and recovery rates, current active cases, recoveries, trends, timelines and more.

Donald J. Trump failure to act quickly and reasonably to protect the American people from the Coronavirus has put America lives at risks.

Live statistics and coronavirus news tracking the number of confirmed cases, recovered patients, and death toll by country due to the COVID 19 coronavirus from Wuhan, China. Coronavirus counter with new cases, historical data, and info. Daily charts, graphs, news and updates

View United States Coronavirus update with statistics and graphs: total and new cases, deaths per day, mortality and recovery rates, current active cases, recoveries, trends and timeline.

Johns Hopkins experts in global public health, infectious disease, and emergency preparedness have been at the forefront of the international response to COVID-19.

A map of cases around the world

By Elena Renken, Daniel Wood

Since the first U.S. case of the coronavirus was identified in Washington state on Jan. 21, health officials have identified more than 160,000 cases across the United States and more than 3,000 deaths. By March 17, the virus had expanded its presence from several isolated clusters in Washington, New York and California to all 50 states and the District of Columbia. To avoid spreading the disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends basic precautions such as hand-washing and cleaning frequently touched surfaces every day.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a virus (more specifically, a coronavirus) identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China.

COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates
From the evidence so far, the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in ALL AREAS, including areas with hot and humid weather. Regardless of climate, adopt protective measures if you live in, or travel to an area reporting COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

Cold weather and snow CANNOT kill the new coronavirus.
There is no reason to believe that cold weather can kill the new coronavirus or other diseases. The normal human body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the external temperature or weather. The most effective way to protect yourself against the new coronavirus is by frequently cleaning your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or washing them with soap and water.

On February 24, President Trump tweeted, ‘The coronavirus is very much under control in the USA.’ It wasn’t.
By Michael A. Cohen Globe Columnist

“I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead. We’re going to go through a very tough two weeks.” With these words, on Tuesday afternoon, President Trump sounded a new and welcomed tone on the coronavirus. But make no mistake, hard days lie ahead because of the president’s botched, selfish, and incompetent response to the coronavirus crisis. A change in tone can’t change that catastrophic reality. Trump’s calls for vigilance are a bit like declaring it’s time to close the barn doors after the horses have escaped — and the barn is on fire and it’s threatening to burn the entire farm down. Tens of thousands of Americans (and possibly more) are likely to die because of the president. Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, Trump’s public statements and actions have followed a similar trajectory: They have been dishonest, misleading, fantastical, and dangerous. It would blow over soon, he said early on. It would go away when the weather got warmer. “The coronavirus is very much under control in the USA,” he tweeted. It wasn’t.

   The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!
   — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 24, 2020

While thankfully there’s no more talk of re-opening the economy on Easter, the damage has been done. America has become the epicenter of a global pandemic. Consider that the United States and South Korea reported their first coronavirus cases on the same day — Jan. 20. More than two months later, South Korea has just under 10,000 confirmed cases and 169 deaths. By comparison, the United States has more than 216,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 5,000 people have died. Taking into account population differences (the US has 327 million people and South Korea has around 51 million people), the number of cases is more than three times greater than South Korea — and the death toll is nearly four times as great. These horrific numbers could have been avoided with genuine presidential leadership. After the initial case was diagnosed in January, South Korea immediately began aggressive testing and quarantines. Private companies were encouraged to develop diagnostic tests. Within a month drive-through screening centers had been set up and thousands were being tested daily. In the United States, Trump refused to focus on the issue. Two days after that initial positive case he declared "We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming from China. It’s going to be just fine.” When Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar was first able to talk to Trump about the coronavirus on Jan. 18, Trump wanted to talk about a recently announced vaping ban. Into February, Trump was still stubbornly resisting bureaucratic efforts to deal with the emerging crisis. The weeks lost in ramping up testing were a lost — and unforgivable —opportunity to save lives. Trump’s obstinance is bad enough — but the delay was also undoubtedly influenced by Trump’s diktat that testing should not be a priority. The more testing that was done, the more positive results there would be and that was an outcome the president did not want. Keeping the numbers low in order to avoid spooking Wall Street and negatively affecting Trump’s reelection became the administration’s focus. Those presidential-created obstacles did more than prevent essential equipment from getting to communities in need — it seeded a deadly message of doubt, particularly to Trump supporters. While more than 30 states have issued stay-at-home orders, a host of states have either not made such state-wide declarations or done partial orders. Nearly all are helmed by Republican governors. In Arizona, GOP Governor, Doug Ducey prevented cities and counties from putting in effect stay-at-home orders. He didn’t issue his own statewide decree until this week. Last week, the Republican governor of Mississippi Tate Reeves overruled city and county social distancing measures. Under pressure, he announced a stay-at-home order on Wednesday that will go into effect Friday. Trump has also publicly suggested that Democratic governors who don’t show him proper veneration will have to get in the back of the line for medical supplies. And there is emerging evidence that Republican states are having their requests for ventilators and protective equipment met while blue states are getting the short end of the stick. How many people, simply because they live in a blue state, are going to die because of this president’s petty cruelty?

By Yelena Dzhanova

The World Health Organization on Monday temporarily suspended its trial of hydroxycholoroquine, the drug backed by President Donald Trump to combat the deadly coronavirus, over safety concerns. “The Executive Group has implemented a temporary pause of the hydroxychloroquine arm within the Solidarity Trial while the safety data is reviewed by the Data Safety Monitoring Board,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters at a press briefing. “The other arms of the trial are continuing,” Tedros said. “This concern relates to the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloraquine in Covid-19. I wish to reiterate that these drugs are accepted as generally safe for use in patients with autoimmune diseases or malaria.” Hydroxychloroquine, which Trump has repeatedly touted as a potential game changer in fighting the coronavirus, is an anti-malarial drug that’s also used by doctors to treat rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Numerous clinical trials are looking to see if it’s effective in fighting the coronavirus, but it is not a proven treatment. But despite the lack of scientific evidence presenting hydroxychloroquine as a viable coronavirus treatment option, Trump told reporters earlier this month that he has been taking the drug to avoid contracting the disease.

Businesses are reopening in Missouri, but a local leader warned that’s only safe if contact tracers can keep up with potential exposures.
By Jane Lytvynenko BuzzFeed News Reporter

Two hairstylists in Springfield, Missouri, have tested positive for COVID-19 and possibly exposed more than 140 clients, underscoring the difficulty local health departments will face in tracing the coronavirus as businesses reopen. The Springfield-Greene County Health Department announced the potential exposures in press conferences Friday and Saturday, adding that their team of seven contact tracers is in the process of getting in touch with anyone who may have been affected. They will undergo an interview with an immunologist and will be asked to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. Though businesses in Missouri have been legally reopening, the health department’s director, Clay Goddard, warned that can only continue safely if contact tracers can keep up with potential exposures. “This scenario is well within our capacity of our staff to contact trace and hopefully contain,” said Clay Goddard, Springfield-Greene County Health Department Director, in a press conference. “But I’m going to be honest with you, we can’t have many more of these. We can’t make this a regular habit or our capability as a community will be strained and we will have to reevaluate what things look like going forward.” Both hairstylists worked while exhibiting symptoms but, according to Goddard, the salon had a strict face mask policy for employees and customers which may have helped minimize the damage. Great Clips has also closed the salon for deep cleaning to lower the potential for future exposure.

By Arman Azad

(CNN) In new guidance for mathematical modelers and public health officials, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is estimating that about a third of coronavirus infections are asymptomatic. The CDC also says its "best estimate" is that 0.4% of people who show symptoms and have Covid-19 will die, and the agency estimates that 40% of coronavirus transmission is occurring before people feel sick. The agency cautions that those numbers are subject to change as more is learned about Covid-19, and it warns that the information is intended for planning purposes. Still, the agency says its estimates are based on real data collected by the agency before April 29. The numbers are part of five planning scenarios that "are being used by mathematical modelers throughout the federal government," according to the CDC. Four of those scenarios represent "the lower and upper bounds of disease severity and viral transmissibility." The fifth scenario is the CDC's "current best estimate about viral transmission and disease severity in the United States." In that scenario, the agency described its estimate that 0.4% of people who feel sick with Covid-19 will die. For people age 65 and older, the CDC puts that number at 1.3%. For people 49 and under, the agency estimated that 0.05% of symptomatic people will die.

Expert pushes back
Under the most severe of the five scenarios outlined -- not the agency's "best estimate" -- the CDC lists a symptomatic case fatality ratio of 0.01, meaning that 1% of people overall with Covid-19 and symptoms would die. In the least severe scenario, the CDC puts that number at 0.2%. One expert quickly pushed back on the CDC's estimates. "While most of these numbers are reasonable, the mortality rates shade far too low," biologist Carl Bergstrom of the University of Washington told CNN. Bergstrom, an expert in modeling and computer simulations, said the numbers seemed inconsistent with real-world findings.

By Robert Kuznia, Curt Devine and Nick Valencia, CNN

(CNN) In the early weeks of the US coronavirus outbreak, staff members in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had tracked a growing number of transmissions in Europe and elsewhere, and proposed a global advisory that would alert flyers to the dangers of air travel. But about a week passed before the alert was issued publicly -- crucial time lost when about 66,000 European travelers were streaming into American airports every day. A whistleblower holding an envelope. The delay, detailed in documents obtained by CNN, is the latest example to emerge of a growing sense of disconnect between the CDC and the White House. In interviews with CNN, CDC officials say their agency's efforts to mount a coordinated response to the Covid-19 pandemic have been hamstrung by a White House whose decisions are driven by politics rather than science. The result has worsened the effects of the crisis, sources inside the CDC say, relegating the 73-year-old agency that has traditionally led the nation's response to infectious disease to a supporting role.

By Lenny Bernstein

Researchers who examined the lungs of patients killed by covid-19 found evidence that it attacks the lining of blood vessels there, a critical difference from the lungs of people who died of the flu, according to a report published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine. Critical parts of the lungs of patients infected by the novel coronavirus also suffered many microscopic blood clots and appeared to respond to the attack by growing tiny new blood vessels, the researchers reported. The observations in a small number of autopsied lungs buttress reports from physicians treating covid-19 patients. Doctors have described widespread damage to blood vessels and the presence of blood clots that would not be expected in a respiratory disease. What’s different about covid-19 is the lungs don’t get stiff or injured or destroyed before there’s hypoxia,” the medical term for oxygen deprivation, said Steven J. Mentzer, a professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School and part of the team that wrote the report. “For whatever reason, there is a vascular phase” in addition to damage more commonly associated with viral diseases such as the flu, he said. The research team compared seven lungs of patients who died of covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, with lung tissue from seven patients who died of pneumonia caused by the flu. They also examined 10 lungs donated for transplant but not used. The lungs, acquired in Europe, were matched by age and gender.

By Teo Armus

On March 8, it was mostly business as usual in the United States. As the Lakers faced the Clippers in a much-anticipated Los Angeles basketball matchup, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) rallied before a packed crowd in Michigan. In Miami, thousands squeezed onto the beach for a massive dance party. With 500 coronavirus infections reported nationwide at the time, the outbreak seemed like a distant threat to many Americans. But by the following Sunday, the nation had entered a different universe: 2,000 confirmed cases, dozens of deaths, and shutdown orders in Illinois, Ohio and New York City, among other parts of the country. What if those sweeping measures imposed by March 15 — a federal warning against large gatherings, health screenings at airports, states of emergency declared by governors and mayors — had been announced a week earlier? New research from Columbia University epidemiologists offered one possible answer on Wednesday. If the same kind of social distancing had been in place seven days earlier, their study found, the United States could have prevented 36,000 deaths through early May — about 40 percent of fatalities reported to date. “If you don’t take steps to fight the growth rate aggressively, you get much worse consequences,” Jeffrey Shaman, an environmental health sciences professor who led the study, told The Washington Post. His team’s analysis used infectious-disease modeling to examine the spread of the virus from March 15, when many people nationwide began staying home, until May 3. The researchers examined transmissions within each county, movement between counties and deaths to chart how the virus spread — and killed — over seven weeks.

By Faith Karimi and Steve Almasy, CNN

(CNN) At least four states combined data from two different test results, potentially providing a misleading picture of when and where coronavirus spread as the nation eases restrictions. More than 1.5 million people in the United States have tested positive for coronavirus and over 93,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. Virginia, Texas, Georgia, and Vermont have said they've been adding two numbers to their totals: viral test results and antibody test results. Viral tests are taken by nose swab or saliva sample, and look for direct evidence someone currently has Covid-19. By contrast, antibody tests use blood samples to look for biological signals that a person has been exposed to the virus in the past. Combining the two tests' results into one total could provide an inaccurate picture of where and when the virus spread. The combination also could also overstate a state's ability to test and track active infections -- a key consideration as states ease coronavirus restrictions. Experts have consistently emphasized that for states to reopen safely, adequate testing and tracing is needed. "You only know how many cases you have if you do a lot of testing," said Elizabeth Cohen, CNN's senior medical correspondent. "If you put the two tests together, you fool yourself into thinking you've done more testing than you have." Texas, Virginia and Vermont have said they've recognized the data issue and moved to fix it in the past few days. In Georgia, health officials said they've been adding antibody tests to their "total tests" number in line with methodology from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC has not responded to CNN's request for comment on whether its guidance includes adding antibody tests to total test numbers. On its website, the database provides daily test results without a breakdown of whether they're viral or antibody.

US testing data 'kind of screwed up,' experts say
In a new report Wednesday, infectious disease experts described US coronavirus testing as disorganized and in need of coordination at the national level.
Testing is currently not accurate enough to be used to make most decisions on who should go back to work or to school, the team at the University of Minnesota said. "It's a mess out there," said Mike Osterholm, head of the university's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, which issued the report. "Testing is very, very important, but we're not doing the right testing."

By Janelle Griffith, NBC News

A Florida man who thought the coronavirus was "a fake crisis" has changed his mind after he and his wife contracted COVID-19. Brian Hitchens, a rideshare driver who lives in Jupiter, downplayed the seriousness of the coronavirus in Facebook posts in March and April. "I'm honoring what our government says to do during this epidemic but I do not fear this virus because I know that my God is bigger than this Virus will ever be," he wrote in a post on April 2. "Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords." In mid-April, Hitchens, 46, began documenting his and his wife's health on Facebook. "Been home sick for over a week. Both my wife and I home sick," he wrote in a post on April 18. "I've got no energy and all I want to do is sleep." A day later, Hitchens and his wife, Erin, were admitted to Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center, Hitchens said in a Facebook post. Hitchens could not immediately be reached for comment Monday. The voicemail box for a number listed for him is full. In a lengthy post on May 12, Hitchens said that he was once among those who thought the coronavirus "is a fake crisis" that was "blown out of proportion" and "wasn't that serious." That changed when he started to feel sick in April and stopped working, he wrote. Hitchens said he "had just enough energy" to drive himself and his wife to Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center on April 19, where they both tested positive for the virus.

Rick Bright warns US could face 'darkest winter in modern history' if leaders don't act quickly.

Whistle-blower Rick Bright warned on Thursday that the United States lacks a plan to produce and fairly distribute a coronavirus vaccine when it becomes available. The nation could face "the darkest winter in modern history" unless leaders act decisively, he told a congressional panel. Bright alleges he was removed from a high-level scientific post after warning the administration of US President Donald Trump to prepare for the pandemic. Bright said, "We don't have [a vaccine plan] yet, and it is a significant concern." Asked if lawmakers should be worried, he responded, "absolutely". Bright, a vaccine expert who led a biodefence agency in the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), said the country needs a plan to establish a supply chain for producing tens of millions of doses of a vaccine, and then allocating and distributing them fairly. He said experience so far with an antiviral drug that has been found to benefit COVID-19 patients has not given him much confidence about distribution. Hospital pharmacies have reported problems getting limited supplies. The White House has begun what it calls "Operation Warp Speed" to quickly produce, distribute and administer a vaccine once it becomes available. Appearing before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Bright said one of his lowest moments came when his repeated efforts to jump-start US production of respirator masks went nowhere. Bright recalled getting emails in late January from Mike Bowen, an executive at a medical supply company called Prestige Ameritech, indicating that our N95 mask supply was "completely decimated." "And he said, 'We're in deep s***. The world is. And we need to act,'" Bright said. "And I pushed that forward to the highest levels I could in HHS and got no response. From that moment I knew that we were going to have a crisis for our healthcare workers because we were not taking action. We were already behind the ball."

By Omar Jimenez and Paul LeBlanc, CNN

(CNN) The Wisconsin Supreme Court has overturned the state's stay-at-home order, ruling it "unlawful" and "unenforceable" in a high-profile win for the state's Republican-led Legislature. In a 4-3 decision Wednesday, the court ruled that Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' administration overstepped its authority when the state Department of Health Services extended the order to May 26. The ruling comes after the Legislature's Republican leaders filed a lawsuit last month arguing the order would cost Wisconsin residents their jobs and hurt many companies, asserting that if it was left in place, "our State will be in shambles." The suit was filed specifically against state Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm and other health officials, who made the decision in mid-April to extend the state's "Safer at Home" emergency order. At the same time as the extension, the state loosened some restrictions on certain businesses, including golf courses, public libraries, and arts and crafts stores. But the justices wrote in their decision Wednesday that "an agency cannot confer on itself the power to dictate the lives of law-abiding individuals as comprehensively as the order does without reaching beyond the executive branch's authority." Evers, who had ordered Palm to issue the stay-at-home order in late March, told CNN's Don Lemon later Wednesday that the court's ruling "puts our state into chaos." "Now we have no plan and no protections for the people of Wisconsin," Evers said. "When you have more people in a small space -- I don't care if it's bars, restaurants or your home -- you're going to be able to spread the virus. And so now, today, thanks to the Republican legislators who convinced four Supreme Court justices to not look at the law but look at their political careers I guess -- it's a bad day for Wisconsin." "It's the wild west," he said.

Simply talking in confined spaces may be enough to spread the coronavirus, researchers say
By Jessica Flores - USA TODAY

The droplets from simply talking can be enough to spread the coronavirus, according to researchers. By using lasers, scientists found that one minute of talking loudly can produce more than 1,000 virus-containing droplets that could linger in the air for over eight minutes, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. As states continue to gradually reopen, scientists fear that reopening too soon could worsen the virus outbreak. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testified in front of a Senate panel Tuesday and said the consequences for states reopening without following proper guidelines "could be really serious." The study says because droplets that exist in an asymptomatic person's mouth can carry respiratory pathogens, such as SARS-CoV-2, "there is a substantial probability that normal speaking causes airborne virus transmission in confined environments," the authors wrote. "This study builds on earlier research by the same team showing that speaking may factor into transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and adds support to the importance of wearing a mask, as recommended by the CDC, in potentially helping to slow the spread of the virus," a spokesperson the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases told USA TODAY.

by: Julian Crews, Elyse Russo

PARK RIDGE, Ill. — Dr. Frank Belmonte with Advocate Children’s Hospital is warning parents about a rare COVID-19 complication that threatens children. First identified in Europe and later in New York, it now appears the mysterious ailment may have reached the Chicago area. Belmonte told WGN that doctors are working with a young patient at Advocate Children’s Hospital who appears to be sufferIng from this mysterious syndrome. No details were available on the child’s condition. “Basically, these kids probably have been exposed to COVID in the recent four-to-six week period, have convalesced from that, and now are having this inflammatory viral response,” he said. “Many of them are not testing positive through a nasal swab, but we’re actually finding antibodies in their blood that are consistent with a past exposure to the COVID virus.” Belmonte said the illness presents with symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease or toxic shock syndrome. Those symptoms include fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting and rash.

Researchers at Columbia University who tested 1,400 patients with the controversial malaria drug said it did not lower the risk of dying or needing a breathing tube.
By Marilynn Marchione

A new study finds no evidence of benefit from a malaria drug widely promoted as a treatment for coronavirus infection. Hydroxychloroquine did not lower the risk of dying or needing a breathing tube in a comparison that involved nearly 1,400 patients treated at Columbia University in New York, researchers reported Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine. Although the study is observational rather than a rigorous experiment, it gives valuable information for a decision that hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 patients have already had to make without clear evidence about the drug’s risks and benefits, some journal editors and other doctors wrote in an editorial. “It is disappointing that several months into the pandemic, we do not yet have results” from any strict tests of the drug, they wrote. Still, the new study “suggests that this treatment is not a panacea.” President Donald Trump repeatedly urged the use of hydroxychloroquine, which is used now for lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. It has potentially serious side effects, including altering the heartbeat in a way that could lead to sudden death. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned against its use for coronavirus infections except in formal studies.

By Maggie Fox, CNN

(CNN) The new coronavirus can persist in men's semen even after they have begun to recover, a finding that raises the possibility the virus could be sexually transmitted, Chinese researchers said Thursday. A team at Shangqiu Municipal Hospital tested 38 male patients treated there at the height of the pandemic in China, in January and February. About 16% of them had evidence of the coronavirus in their semen, the team reported in the journal JAMA Network Open. About a quarter of them were in the acute stage of infection and nearly 9% of them were recovering, the team reported. "We found that SARS-CoV-2 can be present in the semen of patients with COVID-19, and SARS-CoV-2 may still be detected in the semen of recovering patients," Diangeng Li of Chinese People's Liberation Army General Hospital in Beijing and colleagues wrote. "Even if the virus cannot replicate in the male reproductive system, it may persist, possibly resulting from the privileged immunity of testes," the team added. Privileged immunity means the immune system cannot fully reach the region to attack viral invaders.

By Jordain Carney

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Republicans are hitting the brakes on another coronavirus relief bill even as House Democrats are preparing to vote on a yet-to-be-unveiled bill as soon as next week. "I think I can speak for our conference by saying we're not ruling that out, but we think we ought to take a pause here, do a good job of evaluating what we've already done," McConnell told reporters after a closed-door caucus lunch about the prospects for a new bill. "The Senate Republican majority and the president of the United States are not irrelevant to the process, so we're going to keep talking to each other and decide to act when and if it's appropriate to act again," McConnell added. McConnell's comments come as the Senate returned to D.C. for the first time in five weeks with nominations — not the coronavirus — at the forefront of the agenda, which has sparked days of Democratic ire. McConnell did not specify what he views as a timeline for any potential Senate action. The chamber is expected to be in session until a weeklong Memorial Day recess.  Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a member of GOP leadership, said he did not see this work period as a deadline for Congress passing additional legislation. "No, I don't think so," he said. "I think we need to think about whether or not what we continue to believe was the right thing to do in March is still going to be the right thing for us to be doing in June."  Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), an adviser to McConnell, also told reporters that the next bill was likely weeks off.

CBS News

Acting on a hunch, two specialists in the Paris region decided to take another look at a number of patients who were treated in intensive care for pneumonia back in December and January. One patient, a man from a Paris suburb, tested positive for having COVID-19. Elaine Cobbe reports.

By Alec Snyder and Mirna Alsharif, CNN

(CNN) A security guard at a Family Dollar store in Flint, Michigan, was shot and killed after telling a customer to wear a state-mandated face mask, police said. Calvin Munerlyn, 43, died at a local hospital after he was shot in the head Friday, said Michigan State Police Lt. David Kaiser. The shooter and a second suspect remain at large, Kaiser told CNN on Monday. Witnesses at the store told police that Munerlyn got into a verbal altercation with a woman because she was not wearing a mask, said Genesee County prosecutor David Leyton. Surveillance video confirms the incident, Leyton said. Under an executive order from Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, all retail employees and customers have to wear a mask. Footage also shows that immediately after the altercation, the woman left in an SUV. But about 20 minutes later, the SUV returned. Two men entered the store and one of them yelled at Munerlyn about disrespecting his wife, Leyton said. The other man then shot the security guard.

Gretchen Whitmer says heavily armed men and Confederate flags at state capitol ‘depicted some of the worst racism and awful parts of our history’
By Bryan Armen Graham in New York

Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan issued a rebuke of the armed protesters who gathered inside the state capitol last week in defiance of statewide lockdown orders, saying the demonstrators embodied some of the “worst racism” of the nation’s history. “Some of the outrageousness of what happened at our capitol depicted some of the worst racism and awful parts of our history in this country,” Whitmer said during a Sunday interview on CNN’s State of the Union. Last week Donald Trump had said of the protesters: “These are very good people.” Hundreds of protesters, many not wearing protective face masks and some armed legally with “long guns”, gathered inside the statehouse in Lansing on Thursday as lawmakers debated the Democratic governor’s request to extend her emergency powers to combat the coronavirus pandemic. The tightly packed crowd attempted to enter the floor of the legislative chamber and were held back by a line of state police and capitol staff, according to video footage posted by local journalists. Whitmer highlighted that the number of protesters was relatively small but that the imagery some of them used was a disturbing reminder of ugly elements of America’s past. “We know that people are not all happy about having to take the stay-home posture,” Whitmer said on Sunday, “and you know what, I’m not either. But we have to listen to the public health experts and displays like the one we saw in our state capitol are not representative of who we are in Michigan. “There were swastikas and Confederate flags and nooses and people with assault rifles. That’s a small group of people when you think that this is a state of almost 10 million people, the vast majority of whom are doing the right thing.” Displaying the Confederate flag, or other symbols of the slave-owning south during the American civil war, is usually seen as racist. While some claim they are celebrating southern identity, it is widely seen as a racist symbol deeply offensive to black Americans. There is also an ongoing campaign to remove Confederate war statues from public display or rename streets and buildings which commemorate Confederate generals or politicians.

By Leah Asmelash and Hollie Silverman, CNN

(CNN) An emergency proclamation issued Thursday in Stillwater, Oklahoma, requiring the use of face masks in stores and restaurants was amended Friday after threats of violence. "In the short time beginning on May 1, 2020, that face coverings have been required for entry into stores/restaurants, store employees have been threatened with physical violence and showered with verbal abuse," Stillwater City Manager Norman McNickle said in a statement. "In addition, there has been one threat of violence using a firearm. This has occurred in three short hours and in the face of clear medical evidence that face coverings helps contain the spread of Covid-19." Due to the threats of violence the city has decided to amend their emergency order but still want people to wear face masks whenever possible, the statement said. The proclamation issued Thursday required, among other things, businesses to require patrons to cover their faces to combat the spread of coronavirus. But on Friday, Mayor Will Joyce softened the rule to encourage, not require, face coverings, after several reports emerged of employees being verbally abused and being threatened with physical violence while trying to enforce the order -- all in just three hours of the rule going into effect. "Many of those with objections cite the mistaken belief the requirement is unconstitutional, and under their theory, one cannot be forced to wear a mask. No law or court supports this view," said City Manager Norman McNickle in a statement. "It is further distressing that these people, while exercising their believed rights, put others at risk." McNickle went on to explain the importance of face coverings in preventing the spread of coronavirus. The masks have been recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

By J. Edward Moreno and Kaelan Deese

Some of the $30 billion initially offered to health-care providers in the coronavirus relief package went to facilities that are facing criminal inquiries, Reuters reported Saturday, citing several defense attorneys. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) told the outlet it dispersed funds to all medical providers who submitted billings in 2019 to Medicare unless they were excluded. Unlike the small-business loans allocated in the same relief package, some health care providers received money without applying. Reuters said it spoke with defense lawyers and others representing over a dozen health-care providers facing either civil or criminal inquiries. Though the outlet was unable to determine exactly how much in federal funds went to facilities under criminal probes, the reporting sparked criticism among Democrats who were already unhappy with the Trump administration's handling of the stimulus fund's allocation. "I have an enormous amount of frustration with the way the Trump administration is distributing these dollars, and examples like these magnify the consequences of the White House's efforts to limit transparency and stonewall oversight," Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, told Reuters. A spokesman for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the revelations "alarming." "It is alarming to see the Trump administration giving precious taxpayer dollars to unscrupulous entities while so many hospitals and health care workers on the frontlines of the battle against coronavirus are desperate for resources," Pelosi spokesman Henry Connelly told Reuters.

By Christopher Brito

As coronavirus restrictions around the world are being lifted, a new report warns the pandemic that has already killed more than 230,000 people likely won't be contained for two years. The modeling study from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota also says that about 70% of people need to be immune in order to bring the virus to a halt. For the study, experts looked at eight major influenza pandemics dating back to the 1700s, as well as data about the new coronavirus, to help forecast how COVID-19 may spread over the coming months and years. Out of the eight past flu pandemics, scientists said seven had a second substantial peak about six months after the first one. Additionally, some had "smaller waves of cases over the course of 2 years" after the initial outbreak. A key factor in their prediction for the current pandemic revolves around herd immunity, which refers to the community-wide resistance to the spread of a contagious disease that results when a high percentage of people are immune to it, either through vaccination or prior exposure.

The Telegraph

The UK might be past the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, but it does not necessarily follow that we are through the worst of it. Even with a gradual easing of lockdown rules and a cautious plan to return to normality, experts believe there may yet be a second wave and a second peak of infections. Watch the video to find out why, and how it can be mitigated.

The largely immigrant and minority workforce is at special risk during the pandemic.
By Dave Jamieson

At least 20 U.S. meatpacking workers have died and nearly 5,000 have been infected with the coronavirus since the pandemic began, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report released Friday by the CDC provides the fullest and most official picture of the damage COVID-19 has done to the largely immigrant and minority workforces in meat and poultry processing plants, which have been host to some of the worst outbreaks in the country. The agency found 4,913 confirmed cases among roughly 130,000 workers, making for a 3% infection rate. The data came from 115 plants scattered across 19 states, from April 9 through April 27. The CDC said many states with plants did not submit data, suggesting the raw number of cases is certainly higher. The figures released by the CDC reflect similar data put out earlier this week by the United Food and Commercial Workers union, which represents the majority of beef and pork workers and a large share of those in poultry. The UFCW said it estimated that at least 20 workers had died in union and nonunion facilities. CDC researchers wrote that one of the main problems inside plants is achieving social distancing. Workers essentially stand side by side on the plant lines, processing chicken, beef and pork at a pace many struggle to keep up with. The CDC also said some companies have created policies that encourage workers to clock in even if they are sick by tying bonuses to attendance. As HuffPost reported in March, Sanderson Farms, the third-largest poultry producer, offered employees a $1-per-hour bonus, but only if their attendance was perfect.

By Caitlin O'Kane

There is still much to learn about the novel coronavirus, including a wide range of symptoms that appears to be expanding. Common symptoms of the respiratory illness include fever, cough, shortness of breath and chills, but some doctors have reported less obvious symptoms in some patients — including what some are calling "COVID toes" and other skin ailments. Esther Freeman, director of Global Health & Dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital and an assistant professor a Harvard Medical School, said "COVID toe" cases look similar to pernio or chilblains, a condition of inflamed blood vessels caused by cold temperatures. "We're seeing this inflammatory response that we would normally see when someone was exposed to the cold temperature... like someone who has been playing outside with wet socks," Freeman told CBS News. "However, in this setting, we're seeing it in warm climates and we're seeing it in patients who have been indoors and sheltering in place." Freeman said it's not unusual for a virus to cause a rash, so most dermatologists aren't surprised that COVID-19 could cause skin symptoms. "What is surprising to me are these 'COVID toes,' these pernio-like lesions...because we haven't seen as many reports of these in other viruses." Freeman is a practicing dermatologist at Massachusetts General Hospital who has been seeing patients via tele-health video appointments. "I have seen more toes in the past two weeks in my clinic than I have in my entire previous career combined," said Freeman, who is a member of American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) COVID-19 task force.

By Chantal Da Silva

Two guards at a Louisiana correctional facility that houses immigrant detainees have reportedly died after contracting coronavirus, sparking fresh outcry over the conditions detainees and workers are being forced to endure amid the pandemic. Relatives of Carl Lenard and Stanton Johnson told The Associated Press leadership at the Richwood Correctional Center in Monroe, Louisiana, had, at one point, prevented the guards from wearing face masks at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility, where dozens of COVID-19 cases have been identified. Both families told the press agency they believed their loved ones had contracted the virus while working at Richwood, which, as of Thursday morning, had seen 46 detainees test positive for coronavirus since ICE started testing for the virus. The deaths of the two guards come on the heels of weeks of immigration advocates and members of the public calling on ICE to release immigration detainees to help curb the spread of coronavirus. Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have argued that immigration detention facilities, jails and prisons in the U.S. are not equipped to allow for the level of social distancing and access to sanitation required to keep detainees, inmates and workers safe amid the pandemic. A number of federal judges have agreed, with judges in states like New York and Pennsylvania ordering ICE to release immigration detainees considered vulnerable to COVID-19 due to preexisting health conditions. As of Thursday morning, 449 ICE detainees had tested positive for coronavirus, according to data published online by the agency. With 995 ICE detainees having so far been tested for COVID-19, that means nearly half, or 45 percent, of detainees tested have been found to have contracted the virus.

Story by Holly Yan, CNN
Animations by Jessi Esparza, CNN

(CNN) It's a popular argument heard at protests denouncing state shutdowns, fueled by those who say news outlets are overreacting to coronavirus:
The flu kills more people than coronavirus. Why shut down the economy for this? But the US death toll from coronavirus this year has exceeded 62,000, surpassing the high-end estimate for flu deaths since October. And coronavirus has killed at a much faster rate than the flu, claiming all those lives in just three months. Here are several reasons why coronavirus is more dangerous than the flu -- and why extra precautions are needed:

Coronavirus is much more contagious than the flu
Research shows a person with the flu infects an average of about 1.28 other people. And this coronavirus is so new, it's not clear whether it would dissipate in summer, or by how much. But the fact that it kept spreading in the Southern Hemisphere during its summer months suggests warm weather won't slow its spread.

Coronavirus has killed at a much faster rate
From October 2019 to early April 2020, the flu killed an estimated 24,000 to 62,000 people in the US, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those numbers are preliminary, and the CDC said it stopped updating its preliminary estimates for this flu season on April 4. If 62,000 people died from the flu between October 1 and April 4, that means the US had an average of about 331 flu deaths a day. By contrast, coronavirus killed more than 62,850 people in the US from the first known death in February through the end of April. So from February 6 through April 30, an average of more than 739 people died per day from coronavirus in the US.

By Eric Thomas

ANTIOCH, Calif. (KGO) -- The Antioch City Council will meet in special session Friday night to vote on whether to remove a town official over a controversial Facebook post related to the novel coronavirus. In the post, Kenneth Turnage, chair of the city's planning commission, suggested that COVID-19 be allowed to weed out the elderly, weak and sick to the benefit of society. "I guess I am now formerly the chairperson of the Antioch Planning Commission," Turnage told ABC7 news in a Facetime interview. But he's jumping the gun a bit. Turnage was notified Thursday that the city council will vote Friday night on removing him from the post. "I didn't really think so many people would be so offended by an opinion," he said. But, that opinion posted a week ago suggests that COVID-19 could be nature's way of weeding out the old, sick and weak and that could actually be beneficial to the economy, to the health care system, to society as a whole. The Facebook post has since been deleted. Eric Thomas: "You didn't think people would be calling for your head afterward?" Kenneth Turnage: "Not my head, no and I got my first death threat today, so I guess I made the big-time." "I saw it and I was very appalled and I thought this is somebody who represents Antioch," said Monica Wilson, a City Council member who is leading the charge to remove Turnage from his position.

The injunction request against an executive order was denied.
By Ivan Pereira

A Michigan judge sided with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Wednesday in a lawsuit filed against her shelter-in-place order and denied the plaintiffs an injunction. Court of Claims Judge Christopher M. Murray ruled Steve Martinko and other plaintiffs' claims that the order infringed on their constitutional rights were not strong due to the severity of the pandemic. A preliminary injunction of the governor's order, which has been in effect since March 24, "would not serve the public interest, despite the temporary harm to plaintiffs’ constitutional rights."  "Although the Court is painfully aware of the difficulties of living under the restrictions of these executive orders, those difficulties are temporary, while to those who contract the virus and cannot recover (and to their family members and friends), it is all too permanent," he wrote in the court order. As of Thursday, Michigan has 40,399 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 3,670 related deaths, according to data from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Exclusive: "We believe that if used, significant patient harm, including death, is likely," British doctors said in a letter.
By Alexander Smith

LONDON — Senior British doctors have warned that 250 ventilators the United Kingdom bought from China risk causing "significant patient harm, including death," if they are used in hospitals, according to a letter seen by NBC News. The doctors said the machines had a problematic oxygen supply, could not be cleaned properly, had an unfamiliar design and a confusing instruction manual, and were built for use in ambulances, not hospitals. The British case is not an isolated one, and it comes as a stark example of a procurement problem that has plagued many countries as the coronavirus has spread throughout the world. Since March, many governments have been scrambling to buy more medical equipment — much of it from China — to make up for large gaps in their supplies. While much of this equipment has been vital in combating the pandemic, some has been faulty or unsuitable. As in the United States, the government in Britain has been heavily criticized for its coronavirus response. With more than 26,000 people dead, critics say the government has failed to provide protective equipment for health care workers and widespread testing.

The question is how many and how soon. In the pandemic, everyone is a moral relativist.
By JOHN F. HARRIS

Altitude is a column by POLITICO founding editor John Harris, offering weekly perspective on politics in a moment of radical disruption. CNN’s Jake Tapper was brutally direct in his question to Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, who recently lifted his state’s stay-at-home order, in favor of a gradual reopening of business. Are you worried, Tapper asked, that a premature move could “cost your constituents their lives?” Polis was blandly indirect in his answer. While he might wish to have “next week’s information and next month’s information available to me today,” the Democratic governor said, “that’s not the world we live in.” During a pandemic that likely will continue for months, he’s looking for a path forward in “an ongoing sustainable way,” one that takes into account citizens’ interests “psychologically, economically, and from a health perspective.” The murkiness of Polis’ reply requires translation. To my ear, he was saying something like this: Yes, some people are going to die of Covid-19 who wouldn’t if I keep a full lockdown in place. I hope not too many or too fast. But keeping the risk of death as low as possible imposes other costs that are too high, and my job is to balance competing goals. Let’s suppose this is a reasonably fair interpretation. You could call Polis’ argument provocative: No wonder he speaks so circuitously when what he really thinks is so cruel. Alternatively, you could call his argument banal: There is no one on any side of the shutdown debate who has not made saving lives a top priority, but also no one in a position of authority who has made this the exclusive priority. The real question is less philosophical (Are you willing to “cost your constituents their lives”?) than practical (What is your tolerance for some uncertain number of additional deaths against some certain benefits of resuming regular life?). Like Polis, I am willing to accept that some people must die in order to accommodate the return to whatever the post-pandemic version of normal is. Perhaps unlike Polis, I have a strong preference that “some people” doesn’t end up including me. I’ll extend the same wish for anyone who happens to be reading this column. The fact that the governor—like his Republican counterpart in Georgia, Brian Kemp, like Nancy Pelosi or Donald Trump—doesn’t know specifically who will die of coronavirus makes their choice of how fast to open less excruciating but no less profound in its moral implications.

The message to workers is “endanger your life or starve,” critics say
By Tony Romm

Iowa, Oklahoma and other states reopening soon amid the coronavirus outbreak are issuing early warnings to their worried workers: Return to your jobs or risk losing unemployment benefits. The threats have been loudest among Republican leaders in recent days, reflecting their anxious attempts to jump-start local economic recovery roughly two months after most businesses shut their doors. In Iowa, for example, state officials even have posted a public call for companies to get in touch if an “employee refuses to return to work.” For some states, the concern is that residents who are offered their old jobs back simply may not accept them, choosing instead to continue tapping historically generous unemployment aid. The $2 trillion congressional coronavirus relief package signed by President Trump in March greatly added to weekly benefit checks for out-of-work Americans, and some people may be earning more than they did previously. Business leaders say they desperately need workers to return to stores, restaurants and other operations to stay afloat financially. Labor activists, however, contend the reality is far more complicated: Some now-unemployed Americans weren’t making much money in the first place, so they may not want to risk their safety just to return to underpaid old gigs. In the process, some states’ public comments have frustrated federal lawmakers, labor activists and public health officials, who say forcing workers to return so quickly might be dangerous — and could undermine the country’s response to the deadly pandemic. “These states are offering people the choice to endanger your life or starve,” said Damon A. Silvers, the director of policy and special counsel for the AFL-CIO. Generally, states have the legal right to revoke benefits if unemployed Americans are offered jobs comparable to their past positions yet decline to take them. In response to the novel coronavirus, regulators also have put in place special exemptions to protect people out of work because they’re sick or caring for family members diagnosed with covid-19. - It is not pro-life to send a person out to a possible death, another lie from the right exposed.

By Shimon Prokupecz and Mark Morales, CNN

New York (CNN) Four trucks containing as many as 60 bodies have been discovered outside a Brooklyn funeral home after someone reported fluids dripping from the trucks, a law enforcement official told CNN. The Andrew Cleckley Funeral Home home was overwhelmed and ran out of room for bodies, which were awaiting cremation, and used the trucks for storage, a second law enforcement source said Wednesday. At least one of the trucks was unrefrigerated, according to one law enforcement official. One source said the bodies were put on ice. The Department of Environmental Protection issued two summonses to the owner of the funeral home for a foul odor.

By William Feuer, Noah Higgins-Dunn, Jasmine Kim

New York City is suspending 24-hour subway service to disinfect subway cars and protect essential workers during the coronavirus crisis, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday. “They can disinfect all trains and buses every night,” Cuomo said at a news briefing. “It can best be done by stopping train service from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. every night during the pandemic so they can actually perform this service.” The Metropolitan Transit Authority, which runs the city’s public transit system, will still provide buses as and “dollar vans” at no cost to essential workers during those hours, said Cuomo. On Wednesday, Cuomo said he ordered the MTA to develop a cleaning plan after he read reports that the subway system had deteriorated, with a recent surge in crime and trains filled with homeless people. The subway system has been lauded for its 24 hour daily service. Service has been ordered to halt before, but rarely and usually for natural disasters.

By Judith Graham

Older adults with COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, have several “atypical” symptoms, complicating efforts to ensure they get timely and appropriate treatment, according to physicians. COVID-19 is typically signaled by three symptoms: a fever, an insistent cough and shortness of breath. But older adults — the age group most at risk of severe complications or death from this condition ― may have none of these characteristics. Instead, seniors may seem “off” — not acting like themselves ― early on after being infected by the coronavirus. They may sleep more than usual or stop eating. They may seem unusually apathetic or confused, losing orientation to their surroundings. They may become dizzy and fall. Sometimes, seniors stop speaking or simply collapse. “With a lot of conditions, older adults don’t present in a typical way, and we’re seeing that with COVID-19 as well,” said Dr. Camille Vaughan, section chief of geriatrics and gerontology at Emory University. The reason has to do with how older bodies respond to illness and infection. At advanced ages, “someone’s immune response may be blunted and their ability to regulate temperature may be altered,” said Dr. Joseph Ouslander, a professor of geriatric medicine at Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine. “Underlying chronic illnesses can mask or interfere with signs of infection,” he said. “Some older people, whether from age-related changes or previous neurologic issues such as a stroke, may have altered cough reflexes. Others with cognitive impairment may not be able to communicate their symptoms.”


Russian President Vladimir Putin has admitted that there is a shortage of protective kit for medics as the country battles the coronavirus. This was despite a big increase in production and imports, he said. Mr Putin warned that the peak of the coronavirus infection rate had not yet been reached in the country, and the population must remain vigilant. Russia's lockdown aimed at containing the spread of Covid-19 was extended until 11 May.It has more than 93,000 coronavirus cases, with 867 recorded deaths.

What did Putin say?
The president said there was still not enough protective equipment for health workers on the frontline of the crisis. "Compared to before, [we're producing] a lot. But compared what we need, it's still not enough," he said during a televised briefing. "Despite increased production, imports - there's a deficit of all sorts of things," he added. Medics have complained about working without proper protective clothing, especially in Russia's regions. Russia is now producing 100,000 protective suits for medics per day, up from 3,000 a day in March, he said. Production of masks has also increased more than 10 times, to 8.5 million per day in April. Mr Putin said that while the government had managed to "slow the spread" of the epidemic, Russians would have to self-isolate for longer. He said the lockdown would continue for two more weeks, though he instructed the government to draw up recommendations by 5 May for a gradual easing of restrictions. "The deadly danger of the virus remains," he said.

USA TODAY

The CDC released six new possible symptoms of coronavirus, which include muscle pain and headache.

Exclusive: Scientists examine whether this route enables infections at longer distances
By Damian Carrington

Coronavirus has been detected on particles of air pollution by scientists investigating whether this could enable it to be carried over longer distances and increase the number of people infected. The work is preliminary and it is not yet known if the virus remains viable on pollution particles and in sufficient quantity to cause disease. The Italian scientists used standard techniques to collect outdoor air pollution samples at one urban and one industrial site in Bergamo province and identified a gene highly specific to Covid-19 in multiple samples. The detection was confirmed by blind testing at an independent laboratory. Leonardo Setti at the University of Bologna in Italy, who led the work, said it was important to investigate if the virus could be carried more widely by air pollution. “I am a scientist and I am worried when I don’t know,” he said. “If we know, we can find a solution. But if we don’t know, we can only suffer the consequences.” Two other research groups have suggested air pollution particles could help coronavirus travel further in the air. A statistical analysis by Setti’s team suggests higher levels of particle pollution could explain higher rates of infection in parts of northern Italy before a lockdown was imposed, an idea supported by another preliminary analysis. The region is one of the most polluted in Europe. Neither of the studies by Setti’s team have been peer-reviewed and therefore have not been endorsed by independent scientists. But experts agree their proposal is plausible and requires investigation. Previous studies have shown that air pollution particles do harbour microbes and that pollution is likely to have carried the viruses causing bird flu, measles and foot-and-mouth disease over considerable distances. The potential role of air pollution particles is linked to the broader question of how the coronavirus is transmitted. Large virus-laden droplets from infected people’s coughs and sneezes fall to the ground within a metre or two. But much smaller droplets, less than 5 microns in diameter, can remain in the air for minutes to hours and travel further.

By Rich McKay, Susan Heavey

ATLANTA (Reuters) - Georgia started letting residents dine at restaurants and watch movies at theaters on Monday as more U.S. states from Minnesota to Mississippi took steps to ease coronavirus restrictions even though health experts warned it may be too early. Keen to revive their battered economies, Colorado, Montana and Tennessee were also set to reopen some businesses. Alaska, Oklahoma and South Carolina, along with Georgia, previously took such steps following weeks of mandatory lockdowns that threw millions of Americans out of work. In the hardest-hit states of New York and New Jersey, part of a metropolitan region of about 32 million people, state governors signaled that even limited restarting of business activities was at least weeks away. President Donald Trump and some local officials had criticized Georgia Governor Brian Kemp for orders that enabled restaurants and theaters to join a list of businesses, such as hair and nail salons, barber shops and tattoo parlors, he allowed to reopen last week with social-distancing restrictions. One restaurant chain, Waffle House, was imposing seating arrangements in Georgia that kept patrons at least six feet (two meters) apart, stricter sanitization measures and a requirement that employees wear masks, CEO Walt Ehmer told WSB-TV.

By Linda So, Grant Smith

(Reuters) - When the first cases of the new coronavirus surfaced in Ohio’s prisons, the director in charge felt like she was fighting a ghost. “We weren’t always able to pinpoint where all the cases were coming from,” said Annette Chambers-Smith, director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. As the virus spread, they began mass testing. They started with the Marion Correctional Institution, which houses 2,500 prisoners in north central Ohio, many of them older with pre-existing health conditions. After testing 2,300 inmates for the coronavirus, they were shocked. Of the 2,028 who tested positive, close to 95% had no symptoms. “It was very surprising,” said Chambers-Smith, who oversees the state’s 28 correctional facilities. As mass coronavirus testing expands in prisons, large numbers of inmates are showing no symptoms. In four state prison systems — Arkansas, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia — 96% of 3,277 inmates who tested positive for the coronavirus were asymptomatic, according to interviews with officials and records reviewed by Reuters. That’s out of 4,693 tests that included results on symptoms. The numbers are the latest evidence to suggest that people who are asymptomatic — contagious but not physically sick — may be driving the spread of the virus, not only in state prisons that house 1.3 million inmates across the country, but also in communities across the globe. The figures also reinforce questions over whether testing of just people suspected of being infected is actually capturing the spread of the virus.

FBI-connected researchers suggested biggest threat in controlling outbreak was from ‘those who categorically reject vaccination’
By Jason Wilson

America’s “anti-vaxxer movement” would pose a threat to national security in the event of a “pandemic with a novel organism”, an FBI-connected non-profit research group warned last year, just months before the global coronavirus pandemic began. In a research paper put out by the little-known in-house journal of InfraGard – a national security group affiliated with the FBI – experts warned the US anti-vaccine movement would also be connected with “social media misinformation and propaganda campaigns” orchestrated by the Russian government. Since the virus hit America, anti-vaccination activists and some sympathetic legislators around the country have led or participated in protests against stay-at-home orders designed to slow the spread of the deadly virus. More than 50,000 people have died in the US. On its website, InfraGard says it is an “FBI-affiliated nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening national security” with a mission to protect “United States critical infrastructure”. It says it consists of local chapters and that “an FBI special agent from each field office is assigned to serve as a private sector coordinator”. The paper, jointly written by a security consultant and a senior doctor in New York State’s largest hospital network, warned: “The biggest threat in controlling an outbreak comes from those who categorically reject vaccination.” The paper, entitled The Anti-Vaxxers Movement and National Security, was co-written by Dr Mark Jarrett, the chief quality officer, senior vice-president and associate chief medical officer at Northwell Health; and Christine Sublett, a health industry-focused cybersecurity consultant.

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) Distinctive Kutz is a black barbershop in suburban Atlanta where men gather to argue about sports and tell lies about their skill with women. It's the kind of throwback shop where a candy-cane colored barber pole sits out front, posters of President Obama and Tupac adorn the walls and customers play checkers and dominoes. The coronavirus pandemic has shut down the business and its raucous conversations, but Mitch Magee, its co-owner, still has some things to say. Magee believes Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp's decision to reopen some businesses across the state starting today is an "attack" on African Americans -- one of the groups hit hardest by the virus. And he says it's no coincidence that the businesses being reopened -- including barbershops, nail salons and churches -- are communal gathering places for black residents. "It seems like it's an attack on us. Those places are all in our community, where we live on top of one another," he said. "I have right to be paranoid because our people are dying more than whites." In another time Magee's fears might have stayed confined to his shop floor, along with his customers' hair. But he is part of a growing chorus of black leaders and business owners who say that reopening Georgia's economy places a dangerous burden on people of color. One prominent black pastor even said state officials were "diabolically" planning to exploit black people.

Pastor: This is 'leaving us to the slaughter'
Kemp's said he made the move because his shelter-in-place order was pummeling the state's economy. "Our small business owners are seeing sales plummet, and the company that they built with blood, sweat, and tears disappear right before them," he said Monday in announcing his reopening plan. Kemp said he made his decision after consulting with health officials and that businesses that reopen should adhere to safety procedures by sanitizing workspaces, keeping physical distance between employees and wearing masks when appropriate.

A family-run network of pro-gun groups is behind five of the largest Facebook groups dedicated to protesting shelter-in-place restrictions.
By Brandy Zadrozny and Ben Collins

Protests against state stay-at-home orders have attracted a wide range of fringe activists and ardent Trump supporters. They have also attracted a family of political activists whom some Republican lawmakers have called "scam artists." A family-run network of pro-gun groups is behind five of the largest Facebook groups dedicated to protesting the shelter-in-place restrictions, according to an NBC News analysis of Facebook groups and website registration information. The groups were set up by four brothers — Chris, Ben, Aaron and Matthew Dorr — and have amassed more than 200,000 members collectively, including in states where they don't reside, according to an NBC News analysis based on public records searches and Facebook group registrations. The Dorr brothers are known in conservative circles for running pro-gun and anti-abortion rights Facebook groups that bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars annually by antagonizing establishment conservative leaders and activists. Their usual method is to attack established conservative groups from the right, including the National Rifle Association, and then make money by selling memberships in their groups or selling mailing lists of those who sign up, according to some conservative politicians and activists who have labeled the efforts as scams. The Washington Post first reported on the Dorrs' role in the events. The pages are just part of the more than 100 state-specific Facebook groups that have been created in the last two weeks to protest the stay-at-home orders, according to an unpublished analysis by First Draft, an organization that researches disinformation. The pages have organized at least 49 different events. Most of the groups are similarly named, and they have attracted more than 900,000 members in total. The Dorrs' pages, however, follow a particularly uniform naming system, according to information openly available on Facebook. A Dorr brother created or is an administrator for the groups Pennsylvanians Against Excessive Quarantine, Wisconsinites Against Excessive Quarantine, New Yorkers Against Excessive Quarantine, Minnesotans Against Excessive Quarantine and Ohioans Against Excessive Quarantine.

Video meeting seen as global endorsement of WHO and sign of Trump’s isolation on world stage
By Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor

Global leaders have pledged to accelerate cooperation on a coronavirus vaccine and to share research, treatment and medicines across the globe. But the United States did not take part in the World Health Organization initiative, in a sign of Donald Trump’s increasing isolation on the global stage. The cooperation pledge, made at a virtual meeting, was designed to show that wealthy countries will not keep the results of research from developing countries. The meeting also represented a symbolic endorsement of the United Nations body in the face of Trump’s decision to suspend US payments and condemn its leaders as subordinates of the Chinese Communist party. China and the US have accused each other of bullying and disinformation over the coronavirus outbreak, damaging efforts to secure cooperation at the G20, the natural international institution to handle global health outside the UN. Instead an ad hoc grouping of 20 world leaders and global health figures were on the call, including the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and the American philanthropist Bill Gates. Britain will co-chair a joint coronavirus global response summit on 4 May aimed at raising funds for vaccine research, treatments and tests. Macron told the meeting: “We will continue now to mobilise all G7 and G20 countries so they get behind this initiative. And I hope we will be able to reconcile around this joint initiative both China and the US, because this is about saying the fight against Covid-19 is a common human good and there should be no division in order to win this battle.” The WHO director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: “We are facing a common threat that we can only defeat with a common approach. Experience has told us that even when tools are available they have not been equally available to all. We cannot allow that to happen.” More than 100 potential vaccines are being developed, including six already in clinical trials, according to Seth Berkley, the chief executive of the Gavi vaccine alliance, a public-private partnership that leads immunisation campaigns in poor countries. Berkley said it was critical that there was not a repeat of the experience in 2009, when the H1N1 vaccine did not reach developing countries until very late.

By Patrick Henry

Catching Covid-19 once may not protect you from getting it again, according to the World Health Organization, a finding that could jeopardize efforts to allow people to return to work after recovering from the virus. “There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from Covid-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection,” the United Nations agency said in an April 24 statement. The WHO guidance came after some governments suggested that people who have antibodies to the coronavirus could be issued an “immunity passport” or “risk-free certificate” that would allow them to travel or return to work, based on the assumption that they were safe from re-infection, according to the statement. People issued such a certificate could ignore public-health guidance, increasing the risk of the disease spreading further.



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