The New York Times reported this week that almost a dozen Liberty University students have come down with COVID-19 symptoms since the school reopened last week. But Liberty University officials have since pushed back on these claims, calling the Times story “fake news”. Now, students are choosing sides in who they believe is telling the truth.
While leaders across the country are urging Americans to stay in their homes to stop the spread of the coronavirus, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway is openly mocking former Vice President Joe Biden for setting that example. “Why doesn’t Vice President Biden call the White House today and offer some support? He’s in his bunker in Wilmington,” Conway said Wednesday morning on Fox & Friends. In her next breath she added, “I have to tell you, we’re not talking about politics here at the White House at all. We’re talking about ventilators and vaccines, not Biden and Bernie.”And yet Conway continued to attack Biden for criticizing President Donald Trump’s response to the crisis from inside his home later in the day.During a press gaggle outside the White House, Conway called it “completely unhelpful” to have the former vice president “in his bunker in Wilmington just lobbing criticisms” at the current president. She called Biden’s interviews “painful to watch” before adding, “He’s got a lot of fans out there that can’t get enough of Joe Biden in the bunker in Delaware.”At that point, a reporter asked her, “When you say he’s ‘in his bunker,’ are you suggesting Vice President Biden should be disregarding federal guidelines and be out there mixing with people?”“You know I’m not,” Conway shot back. “Let’s not be silly. Let’s not be silly about it.” When the reporter said she just wanted to know what Conway was “implying” with her repetition of the “bunker” line, she replied, “I’m not implying anything. In fact, I’m not implying a single thing. I wonder what you’re implying.”“I’m not implying anything,” she added again later. “He can stay in the bunker all he wants. He can cough into or sneeze into his hand all he wants. He can read from prepared notes all he wants. I’m yet to hear a single idea from Vice President Biden that would be helpful to the American people or is different from what we’re doing.” In a statement responding to Conway, Biden deputy communications director Kate Bedingfield said, “Vice President Biden has been extending his advice for months, and he did so again on the air last night.” But as the presumptive 2020 nominee told MSNBC on Tuesday night, “I don’t get a sense that the president wants to hear from anybody. It’s all about, like, asking governors to thank him for what he’s doing as president.”Biden has repeatedly stated that he does not believe the coronavirus pandemic is Trump’s “fault” but has pointed out that his lack of speed in trying to contain it within the United States has made the situation far worse than it needed to be. One of his biggest suggestions has been to let the medical experts handle the daily briefings and take the microphone away from the president. 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.
The COVID-19 pandemic is only exacerbating immigration courts' million-case backlog.On Wednesday, the Executive Office of Immigration Review, which runs the Justice Department's removal proceedings, announced it was pushing off asylum hearings for migrants who'd been returned to Mexico upon reaching the southern border due to the coronavirus pandemic. But even though hearings through May 1 have been postponed, migrants forced back to Mexico will still have to return to the border to get a piece of paper listing their rescheduled hearing date.Under the U.S. Migration Policy Protocols, also known as Remain in Mexico, any asylum seekers who reach the southern border must remain in Mexico as they await hearings. The border towns and makeshift camps where they've gathered have been ripe with reports of kidnappings and violence, not to mention close conditions that make it easy to spread the coronavirus. Some people have tried to settle away from those packed camps, but have ended up on buses that take them thousands of miles from the border. It's difficult enough for those migrants to make their way back for hearings, and with Wednesday's announcement, they'll have to do so at least twice.The Justice Department previously warned that a delay or shutdown in hearings could cause a "rush" to the border after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked MPP in early March but issued a stay on the program until the Supreme Court could hear it; the court eventually allowed the policy to continue.More stories from theweek.com The Trump administration is adding an extra barrier for Social Security recipients to get their stimulus check Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is what real coronavirus leadership looks like China is bracing for a second wave of coronavirus
Chicken with salmonella can make you sick. Respiratory viruses like the new coronavirus generally attach to cells in places like the lungs. Germs like norovirus and salmonella can survive the acid in stomachs, then multiply after attaching to cells inside people’s guts.
Iran warned the US Wednesday that it was leading the Middle East to disaster in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic after it deployed Patriot air defence missiles to Iraq. Washington had been in talks with Baghdad about the proposed deployment since January but it was not immediately clear whether it had secured its approval or not. Iran, which wields huge influence in its western neighbour, said that it had not.
Chinese health authorities began on Wednesday reporting on asymptomatic cases of the coronavirus as part of an effort to allay public fears that people could be spreading the virus without knowing they are infected with it. China, where the coronavirus emerged late last year, has managed to bring its outbreak under control and is easing travel restrictions in virus hot spots. Up to now, the number of known asymptomatic cases has been classified, and it is not included in the official data, though the South China Morning Post newspaper, citing unpublished official documents, recently said it was more than 40,000.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) plans to call DOJ inspector general Michael Horowitz to testify before congress regarding his office’s audit of the FBI’s FISA application process, which was released Tuesday and revealed potentially systematic abuses of the transparency measures required of the Bureau when agents interact with the FISA court.“I have just been briefed on Inspector General Horowitz’s audit of FISA applications involving American citizens. This random audit shows discrepancies regarding verification of the information under the Woods Procedures,” Graham said in a press release. “I intend to have Inspector General Horowitz come to the Committee to explain his findings and receive his recommendations about how to change the program.”Horowitz’s latest report revealed that the FBI included “apparent errors or inadequately supported facts” in all 29 FISA surveillance applications filed between 2014 and 2019 and reviewed as part of the audit.The Woods Procedure dictates that the Justice Department verify the accuracy of and provide evidentiary support for all facts stated in its FISA application. The FBI is required to share with the FISA Court all relevant information compiled in a Woods file when applying for a surveillance warrant.Four of the 29 applications lacked Woods files entirely, while the other 25 had “an average of about 20 issues per application reviewed, with a high of approximately 65 issues in one application and less than 5 issues in another application.”“FBI and NSD officials we interviewed indicated to us that there were no efforts by the FBI to use existing FBI and NSD oversight mechanisms to perform comprehensive, strategic assessments of the efficacy of the Woods Procedures or FISA accuracy, to include identifying the need for enhancements to training and improvements in the process, or increased accountability measures,” the report states.Horowitz recommended that the FBI begin to “systematically and regularly examine” its Woods reviews to uncover abuse, beginning with a “physical inventory to ensure that Woods Files exist for every FISA application submitted to the FISC in all pending investigations.”In a statement after the audit’s release, the DOJ said that it is “committed to putting the Inspector General’s recommendations into practice and to implementing reforms that will ensure all FISA applications are complete and accurate.”> DOJ statement on today’s report from IG Horowitz identifying concerns with the FBI’s handling of procedures related to FISA applications. pic.twitter.com/DAiB61IoSk> > -- KerriKupecDOJ (@KerriKupecDOJ) March 31, 2020The findings are the latest in a growing trail of FBI abuses involving the FISA Court. Horowitz appeared in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee in December after finding “basic and fundamental errors” in the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation of the 2016 Trump campaign, and blamed the FBI chain of command for lacking oversight in the FISA applications used to surveil Trump-campaign adviser Carter Page.“The circumstances reflect a failure, as we outline in the report, not just by those who prepared the applications, but also by the managers and supervisors in the Crossfire Hurricane chain of command, including FBI senior officials who were briefed as the investigation progressed,” Horowitz said in his statement to Graham and the other senators.Later in the hearing, Senator Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) said Horowitz’s findings showed how the “the FBI effectively meddled in an ongoing presidential campaign,” while other Republicans acknowledged that they had not realized FISA abuse was a serious threat.“As a national security hawk, I’ve argued with Mike Lee in the four-and-a-half or five years that I’ve been in the Senate that stuff just like this couldn’t possibly happen at the FBI and at the Department of Justice,” Senator Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) said. “ . . . Mike Lee has warned me for four-and-a-half years the potential for abuse in this space is terrible and I constantly defended the integrity and the professionalism of the bureau and of the department that you couldn’t have something like this happen.”Senator Thom Tillis (R., N.C.) echoed Sasse in recognizing Mike Lee’s past criticisms of FISA.“Because we’ve now seen the abuses we were warned about, you can smirk again, you were right,” Tillis told the Utah Republican.
President gives unusually sombre press conference with projections taking physical distancing measures into account * Coronavirus – live US updates * Live global updates * See all our coronavirus coverageDonald Trump has warned America to brace for a “very, very painful two weeks” as the White House projected that the coronavirus pandemic could claim 100,000 to 240,000 lives, even if current social distancing guidelines are maintained.Striking an unusually sombre tone at the start a marathon two-hour briefing, the US president defended his early handling of the crisis and displayed models that, he said, justified his decision to keep much of the economy shut down.“I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead,” Trump said at the White House. “We’re going to go through a very tough two weeks. This is going to be a very painful, very, very painful two weeks.”The US death toll from the coronavirus climbed past 3,800 on Tuesday, eclipsing China’s official count. Trump has been widely condemned for exacerbating the crisis by failing to prepare testing kits, breathing apparatus and other equipment.On Tuesday his experts said their models showed between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans could die even if the US keeps mitigation measures in place.Dr Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus taskforce response coordinator, said models showed a worst case scenario of between 1.5m and 2.2m deaths in the US “without mitigation”.But with measures in place, she added, the “mountain” could be reduced to a “hill” that projects 100,000–240,000 deaths – still a staggering total. She stressed that the number could be lower if people changed their behavior.She displayed a chart in which New York had by far the most cumulative cases, followed by New Jersey, then the other 48 states bunched together. Birx expressed hope that social distancing could prevent major outbreaks in those states.Early mitigation slowing the spread of disease in California and Washington state “gives us great hope”, she added. “It’s communities that will do this. There’s no magic bullet. There’s no magic vaccine or therapy. It’s just behaviour.”Asked if Americans be prepared for the likelihood that there would be 100,000 Americans who die from this virus, Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said: “The answer is yes. As sobering a number as that is, we should be prepared for it.“Is it going to be that much? I hope not, and I think the more we push on the mitigation, the less likelihood it will be that number ... We are really convinced mitigation is going to be doing the trick for us.”He added: “We’re going to continue to see things go up. We cannot be discouraged by that because the mitigation is actually working ... Now is the time, whenever you’re having an effect, not to take your foot off the accelerator and on the brake, but to just press it down on the accelerator. And that’s what I hope and I know that we can do over the next 30 days.”Trump eventually heeded such advice, and opinion polls, after previously declaring an ambition to restart the economy by Easter. He announced on Sunday that he was extending to 30 April the guidelines that urged Americans to cease social gatherings, work from home, suspend onsite learning at schools and more in a nationwide effort to stem the spread of the virus.Trump spoke after another bad day for the stock market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 400 points, or roughly 1.9%, to seal the worst first-quarter finish of its 135-year history.But the president defended shutting down much of the economy, attempting to rewrite history. Trump, who in speeches and on Twitter has compared Covid-19 to the common flu, said: “A lot of people have said, ‘Ride it out. Don’t do anything, just ride it out. And think of it as the flu.’ But it’s not the flu. It’s vicious.”And as the briefing wore on, more of the old Trump emerged. He made misleading claims about the early travel restrictions he imposed on China and Europe and, despite complaints from state governors, defended the supply of ventilators and other equipment.Although public health experts raised the alarm early based on reports from China, the president claimed: “Nobody knew how contagious this was. I don’t think any doctor knew it at the time. People have not seen anything like this.”And trying to put his own efforts in a positive light, he noted that without his mitigation guidelines, models show the death toll could have reached 2.2m. “You would have had people dying all over the place.“You would have seen people dying in airplanes, you would have seen people dying in hotel lobbies. How many people have even seen anybody die? You would have seen death all over.”The president added: “One hundred thousand is, according to modeling, a very low number.” But he also described the figure as “very sobering”.
A Russian military transport plane was headed to the United States on Wednesday carrying tons of medical equipment and masks to help Washington fight the coronavirus outbreak, Russian state TV reported and a U.S. official said.
There has been some skepticism about China's reporting on the novel COVID-19 coronavirus for some time, especially as smaller countries like Italy surged past the world's most populous nation in both overall cases and deaths. On Wednesday, U.S. intelligence officials told Bloomberg on condition of anonymity that the skepticism is valid.Per Bloomberg, the U.S. intelligence community reportedly concluded in a classified document that China, where the pandemic originated, has under-reported its totals. The officials didn't reveal any of the reports contents, but said the gist of it is China intentionally left death and cases reports incomplete — two officials reportedly said the numbers out of China are fake.Officially, China has tallied more than 82,000 cases and 3,300 deaths, whereas the U.S. already has more than 189,000 cases and 4,000 deaths. Beijing somewhat acknowledged their stats were skewed after they changed their methodology to include some asymptomatic cases, but it's unclear how many more asymptomatic infections were discounted overall. Thousands of urns outside funeral homes have reportedly led people to doubt the Chinese government's death total, as well. Read more at Bloomberg.More stories from theweek.com The Trump administration is adding an extra barrier for Social Security recipients to get their stimulus check Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is what real coronavirus leadership looks like China is bracing for a second wave of coronavirus
A six-week-old infant has died of complications relating to COVID-19, the governor of the US state of Connecticut said Wednesday, in one of the youngest recorded deaths from the virus. Governor Ned Lamont tweeted that the newborn was "brought unresponsive to a hospital late last week and could not be revived." "Testing confirmed last night that the newborn was COVID-19 positive," Lamont said.
The U.S. government raced to build hundreds of makeshift hospitals to ease the strain on overwhelmed healthcare systems as the United States marked 700 deaths in a single day from COVID-19 for the first time on Tuesday. Nearly half those deaths were in New York state, still the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio pleaded for reinforcements from the Trump administration, saying the worst may still be weeks away. De Blasio, a Democrat, said he had asked the White House for an additional 1,000 nurses, 300 respiratory therapists and 150 doctors by April 5 but had yet to receive an answer from the Trump administration.
MOSCOW—Amid a growing uproar in newly locked-down Russia, news broke on Tuesday that a doctor President Vladimir Putin met with just a week ago during a highly publicized visit to a coronavirus treatment facility has now tested positive for the infection himself. Widely disseminated photos of the visit showed Putin donning an orange hazmat suit, but he had also talked to Dr. Denis Protsenko extensively without protection and photographs show them together with very little "social distancing."Putin's spokesman says the Russian president is tested frequently for coronavirus infection and is just fine. But the news is bound to shake a country already racked by uncertainty, fear, and not a little anger.“You should find abandoned cells used to punish prisoners, cold ones with no food in them, lock them up there,” Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov declared as the Russian Federation went into a nationwide lockdown over the weekend. He was telling his security force commanders how to treat those who disobeyed the curfew and quarantine orders. “Throw them in a big hole, bury them, let them die in it."Most Russian officials are not as blunt and brutal as Kadyrov, a Putin protégé and the point man for some of the more ruthless actions carried out in support of the president. But the coronavirus crisis has brought to the fore the grim authoritarian instincts of several leaders in what was once the Soviet Bloc. As their people try to find masks and rubber gloves to protect themselves, dictators are raising their iron fists, not least, to protect their regimes. Others are still trying to pretend there's no problem at the moment. The crackdowns will come later.One of the most stunning moves was taken in Hungary, a member of the European Union, where the parliament passed a bill giving Prime Minister Viktor Orbán—one of Putin’s closest EU soulmates—virtually unlimited powers to rule by decree; suspending parliament; canceling elections; threatening up to five years in prison for those who spread “fake new” and rumors (read, criticism of the regime); and up to eight years in prison for those who break the quarantine. All this for as long as Orbán wants. “And there it is,” tweeted historian and columnist Anne Applebaum, “The European Union's first dictatorship. None of these powers is needed to fight the virus. But they will help distract and deter opposition, especially when it becomes clear that the government has no better plan.”Here in the Russian capital the picture is more mixed, because Putin himself has sent messages to the public almost as confusing and contradictory as those of President Donald J. Trump in the United States.For weeks and months, as thousands began dying from the disease in China—then Italy, France, Spain, around the world and now with a vengeance in the United States—many epidemiologists warned COVID-19 will kill millions if drastic measures are not taken to stop it. But Russia delayed the actions needed to prevent the worst outbreak scenarios.Putin Worries Coronavirus Could Screw Up His Constitutional ‘Coronation’It was obvious, as we reported, that President Vladimir Putin and his supporters did not want anything to interfere with a planned April 22 referendum to ratify his continued rule for at least another 16 years. It was also apparent that Russia did not want to let anything interfere with its May 9 Victory Day celebrations marking 75 years since the defeat of the Nazis. So the official number of infections in this country that borders the Chinese and European epicenters of the spreading plague remained implausibly low.Last week, the numbers caught up with the Kremlin, as cases became too numerous to deny, and Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said flatly the infection rate was much higher than the government was admitting. The number of officially diagnosed Muscovites now exceeds 1,000, with at least nine people killed by the virus. On Tuesday last week, Russia’s Channel One announced: “Our president is on the front lines of the main war on the planet, the war with coronavirus.” Over the last two decades, Russians have seen Putin as a self-styled man of action mobilizing resources to make Russia stronger, richer, greater. TV channels showed the commander-in-chief in the cockpit of a fighter jet wearing a pilot’s uniform. His shirtless shots became iconic. He even appeared to guide migrant birds as he flew an ultra-light aircraft. And now the country watched Putin in a bright yellow hazmat suit touring Moscow’s new coronavirus hospital, although it appears he did not actually meet any coronavirus patients. Putin was giving the public its cue, once again, to follow the leader. And he did meet with the hospital’s chief physician, Dr. Denis Protsenko, whose positive test for coronavirus was just announced this Tuesday.Protsenko, 44, sounded straightforward when he spoke to the BBC last week. He said he was convinced that Russia should be ready for the “Italian scenario,” and that he personally was prepared to put diapers on and work 12 hours a day in intensive care units, like Chinese doctors did at the peak of the epidemic. “I personally would put Moscow on quarantine,” he declared, adding with tact worthy of Trump advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, “The question is about the price for closing down.”But in Putin’s address to the nation the next day, he did not use the word “quarantine” at all. To the relief of many, he announced that nobody would have to go to work until April 5, but they would be paid, and nobody would have to go to the polls to vote for constitutional changes on April 22. The referendum would be postponed.“If Putin made Russians go to polling stations next month, that would threaten thousands of lives; he is careful choosing his words now, he tries to secure his reputation,” Ilya Yashin, a Moscow municipal deputy, told The Daily Beast.After coronavirus cases tripled in many Russian regions on Thursday, Putin ordered most public places closed, including city parks.“If Russia’s epidemics develop like the Italian scenario, which is quite possible, there will be no way for him to secure his reputation—the entire responsibility will be on the government,” said Yashin. If that happens, one can expect even Putin himself to show the iron fist. But for the moment in the nation’s capital that has not yet hammered down. And many Russians, a famously fatalistic people, appear unimpressed with the twin threats of tyranny and pandemic.On Sunday, most of the Russian capital’s downtown was still open, and public transport as well. Bars were closed, but young people continued to hang out in hidden corners. Skateboarders focused on their kickflips, as if no epidemic mattered. A group of hipsters outside a still-open bookstore listened to a girl read aloud, her face pink in the light of sunset. The poem was one of Joseph Brodsky’s: “They loved to sit together on a hillside...” Then on Sunday night, Russia slammed its doors a little harder, in a pattern now familiar to countries around the world: governments first try to persuade, and when that fails, as it usually does, they try to enforce the quarantines and distancing. A few hours before midnight Sunday night, authorities finally announced a complete lockdown for the capital and its 11 million residents. Police cars with loudspeakers began to order pedestrians to hurry back home: everyone in the city now had to stay in their apartments, leaving only for the closest grocery or drug store, or to walk a dog no more than 100 meters from home—the kinds of restrictions imposed in much of Western Europe for weeks now, and in Italy for more than a month. Moscow was joining the club of almost three billion self-isolating people around the globe. Moscow Mayor Sobyanin declared that the epidemic was entering “a new phase.”Yet, as of Monday, authorities reported every fifth Muscovite violated the new regime. Even pro-Kremlin Russian experts said the measures came too late—with all the terrifying examples in the West to prove the point. “It was great we closed down Russia’s border with China in January, but Moscow should have given people a week off from work earlier this month, and authorities should have banned all travel by trains and airplanes from Moscow to other regions,” pro-Kremlin political analyst Sergei Markov told The Daily Beast on Monday morning. “That would have protected more than 55 regions, which are now also infected.” By Monday afternoon, 71 out of 85 Russian regions had reported coronavirus cases—the epidemic is spreading around the world’s largest country like windblown fire through dry grass, affecting its poorest and most vulnerable people even in remote corners of the federation.An infected resident who apparently contracted the disease on a trip to Cuba brought it to the remote town of Apatity, about 1,000 miles north of Moscow, in the Murmansk region. By the weekend, according to television reports, dozens of people in Apatity and nearby Kurskiy were checking into hospitals with coronavirus symptoms, so authorities had to shut down both towns for self-isolation on Monday.The sale of alcohol, wine as well as vodka, has jumped by at least 20 percent compared to March 2019. As for protection from the virus, there was none available. As happened in so many other countries, every pharmacy in town was out of masks and hand sanitizer. Yet many Russians found a kind of perverse courage by comparing what seemed the hypothetical threat of the virus with all too substantive difficulties and dangers of everyday life.A video clip of a song steeped in slavic fatalism mocked the pandemic. Russia is used to nightmares, it proclaimed: “First, our blood is full of alcohol, the whole of life is folded into a black hole; Authorities hypnotize us and sell us out, but we have no infected fellas in our favelas.” Why be worried about COVID-19 if you risk being eaten by a bear or getting killed by a policeman, the authors say. “We lost all our ability to be afraid,” the song concluded: “We don’t give a shit.” The polls reflect that sort of attitude. According to social research by Romir Holding, 54 percent of Russians do not believe in the danger of the COVID-19 pandemic. And, even now, the only man Russians listen to, commander of the coronavirus war Vladimir Putin, still has not given clear instructions about the deadly outbreak, or how to avoid getting infected. Nobody clearly predicted the scale of the epidemic’s storm coming to Russia, nobody talked about the exponential growth of the outbreak in the United States and Europe except to crow as if Russia somehow were exempt.In announcing the week off, Putin did ask Russians not to rely on traditional “avos,” the typical carelessness and fatalism traditional in the nation’s approach to the dark promise of the future, but the message seems to have been taken with, well, fatalism and carelessness.Moscow is still in the early stages of the inevitable nightmare, when confusion and defiance mingle with fear. So hairdressers are still working, and without masks. Women are going to them without taking the slightest precautions. This, even as thousands of people who suspect they’ve been infected are calling a coronavirus hotline.Russia Claimed It Created a Coronavirus Cure, but It’s an American Malaria DrugEarlier this week Yulia Galyamina, a Moscow politician and scientist lost her sense of smell, developed a fever, and felt weak. Those are all signs of infection. But as in other countries, she found it impossible to get a test unless she could prove she was at death’s door. She called a doctor and the agency supervising tests, but they said they could do nothing for her. “A district [government] doctor said since I was not terribly sick, I could not get tested,” Galyamina told The Daily Beast. “Private labs ask you not to show up if you have had symptoms in the past week.” On Saturday, authorities admitted that 166,000 Russians are on a coronavirus watch list—not confirmed with infection, but suspected of having the contagion or of being at risk. That’s a worrisome number. It suggests the observable cases are vastly higher than those confirmed, and again raises the question of why no clear determination had been made about many of them weeks ago.“Moscow Mayor Sobyanin had guts to tell Putin right into his face on Tuesday that the real situation is much worse than the official reports say,” Vladimir Ryzhkov, professor at the Higher School of Economics, told The Daily Beast. Earlier this month, Putin said that the situation with coronavirus was “under control.” Authorities told Russians not to spread fake news about the pandemic threat. When there were still just a few cases of COVID-19 in Russia, Anastasia Kirilenko, The Insider’s investigative reporter, heard tragic news from Novosibirsk: her 34-year-old cousin died of pneumonia. The Russian health system is in miserable shape in the regions, dozens of district clinics closed in rural remote towns all across the country in the past few years.“Regional paramedics diagnosed my cousin, a young and healthy man, with acute respiratory viral infection but did not do an x-ray to check why he had a high temperature during the last month of his life,” Kirilenko told The Daily Beast. “Now we wonder if my cousin had coronavirus just like thousands of other Russians who are said to have only pneumonia.” Christopher Dickey also contributed to this article.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Almost 30 students who recently traveled to Mexico for spring break have tested positive for COVID-19.Health officials in Austin, Texas, on Tuesday announced an investigation into a "cluster" of COVID-19 cases among a group of roughly 70 people in their 20s who traveled in a chartered plane to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for spring break about a week-and-a-half ago amid the coronavirus crisis. "Currently, 28 young adults on this trip have tested positive for COVID-19 and dozens more are under public health investigation," the Austin Public Health Department said. "Four of the confirmed cases did not present any symptoms."The 28 people who tested positive are currently self-isolating, and more are being monitored while quarantined, according to the statement. The University of Texas at Austin told NBC News that the 28 young adults with COVID-19 are students at the school. Some individuals who went on the trip came back home on commercial flights, according to the Austin Public Health Department's statement. Austin officials said that although Mexico wasn't under a federal travel advisory when the young adults traveled there, "Austin-Travis County residents should follow CDC's travel recommendations indicating travelers avoid all non-essential international travel," and "a leisure vacation of any kind is not considered essential." The University of Texas at Austin told NBC that this serves as a "reminder of the vital importance" of following health officials' warnings amid the coronavirus pandemic. More stories from theweek.com How the coronavirus fight might end up at the Supreme Court Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is what real coronavirus leadership looks like Trump is incapable of taking the coronavirus outbreak seriously
Asian stocks were mixed Thursday after a White House warning that as many as 240,000 Americans might die of the coronavirus sent Wall Street tumbling and signs of the outbreak's global economic cost increased. Benchmarks in Tokyo and Sydney declined but losses were smaller than Wall Street's 4.4% overnight fall. The U.S. warning added to anxiety among investors who are trying to figure out how long and deep this history-making global economic downturn might be.
When six Chinese doctors landed in Belgrade two weeks ago, Serbia's president greeted them with elbow-bumps before laying a kiss on their country's flag, a gesture of gratitude that sent Chinese social media aflutter. For weeks China has been showering European countries with millions of face masks, test kits and other aid, recasting itself as the hero in the battle against coronavirus.
On Tuesday night, one day after welcoming Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) to the program—and witnessing him go in on “grotesque” Republicans for nickel-and-diming the poor in the recent coronavirus stimulus bill—Seth Meyers brought on Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), his former rival candidate for the presidency. When the Late Night host asked her whether either of the remaining candidates for the Democratic nomination for president, Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden, has asked her to serve as their running mate, she said no. “I have not talked with people about it. Look, I’m focused right now on this [COVID-19] crisis,” she explained. “Last week, we were negotiating a record $2 trillion bill to try to support health-care workers and to try to support our economy, and now I’m trying to push hard for this oversight part of it, sending letters to Secretary Mnuchin. That’s just where my attention is focused right now, and frankly I think it’d be presumptuous for me to be doing anything else.”Meyers then pressed her a bit on why she has yet to endorse a candidate—something that’s proven particularly odd given how much her policy positions align with Sanders, and how much he could use her support. Bernie Sanders Goes Off on ‘Grotesque’ Republicans Over Coronavirus Stimulus BillJohn Oliver Rips Into Trump for ‘Failed’ Coronavirus Response in Triumphant Late-Night Return“You haven’t endorsed a candidate yet, and it certainly seems like your positions line up more in lockstep with Senator Sanders than they do with Joe Biden. Are you going to endorse, or is this something you’re considering to wait on?” asked the comedian. Warren dodged the question. “You know, again, I really want to say that, right now, it’s less about the politics and much more about the crisis that our country is in, and I think that’s really where our focus has got to be at this moment,” she replied. “So that’s where I’m keeping my attention right now. We don’t get to do any political rallies at this moment anyway.” 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.
The head of the World Health Organization voiced deep concern on Wednesday about the rapid escalation and global spread of COVID-19 cases from the new coronavirus, which has now reached 205 countries and territories. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that his agency, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund backed debt relief to help developing countries cope with the pandemic's social and economic consequences. "In the past five weeks there has been a near-exponential growth in the number of new cases and the number of deaths has more than doubled in the past week," Tedros told a virtual news conference at the organisation's Geneva headquarters.
Springtime stargazers will have plenty to look for throughout April, ranging from a meteor shower to the rare opportunity to see a comet.The wide variety of astronomy events this month will be great for people looking to spend some time outside under the night sky, including families with young children, as they will not require any special equipment apart from a blanket, warm clothes and a clear sky.Here are the top three astronomy events to look for in April:1\. Super Pink Moon When: April 7-8 The moon will be the main feature in the night sky during the first full week of April as it will be the biggest and brightest supermoon of 2020.The supermoon will rise on the night of April 7, glowing all night long, and will be bright enough to cast shadows on the ground. Although it will appear slightly bigger and brighter than normal, the difference will be subtle and may be difficult for the average observer to notice.April's full moon is also known as the Pink Moon, but contrary to its name, the moon will not appear pink. Instead, it has been given this nickname due to the phlox, a perennial plant that blooms in April with pink flowers. A view of the full pink moon, in Lakatamia, a suburb of capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Friday, April 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias) 2\. Lyrid meteor shower When: April 21-22April 22 is known around the world as Earth Day, and the global event will kick off with a light show from Mother Nature as the Lyrid meteor shower reaches its peak.This is the first major meteor shower since January and will bring 15 to 20 shooting stars per hour on the night of April 21 into the early hours of April 22. This year will be a particularly good year for the "Earth Day meteor shower" as it occurs on a moonless night, meaning darker skies for onlookers.CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE ACCUWEATHER APP"These meteors are best seen from the Northern Hemisphere where the radiant is high in the sky at dawn," the American Meteor Society explained on their website. "Activity from this shower can be seen from the Southern Hemisphere, but at a lower rate." Folks that miss the Lyrids will only have to wait about two weeks for the next chance to see a meteor shower, with the Eta Aquarids set to peak during the first full week of May.3\. Comet ATLAS When: Late AprilA newly discovered comet will soon make a splash in the night sky as it grows brighter throughout April, potentially becoming bright enough to see with the naked eye by the end of the month.Comet ATLAS, also known as Comet C/2019 Y4, was discovered on Dec. 28, 2019, by astronomers using the Asteroid Terrestrial-Impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) in Hawaii. It is still too dim to see without a telescope, but it is expected to get much brighter in the coming weeks. Animation of a comet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech) "If predictions are correct, Comet ATLAS might reach a visual magnitude of +5 around May 1, 2020. That is theoretically bright enough to be seen with the eye, but the fuzziness of faint comets can make them harder to spot than comparably bright stars," Earthsky explained on their website."To spot the comet, look in the northern sky. It is not far from the Big and Little Dippers," AccuWeather Astronomy Blogger Dave Samuhel said.Comet ATLAS is projected to make its closest approach to Earth on May 23, followed by its closest approach to the sun on May 31.On March 19 at 11:50 p.m., winter transitioned to spring across the Northern Hemisphere during the earliest March equinox since 1896.Hours later, just before sunrise, early risers were treated to a celestial alignment as the crescent moon fell in line with Jupiter, Mars, Saturn and Mercury in the morning sky.Around the same time, a newly released photo revealed a stunning view of Jupiter like we've never seen it before. The image was captured by the Juno spacecraft which is orbiting the solar system's largest planet.At the beginning of March, NASA announced that it was accepting applications for the astronaut program that would fly on future trips to space. This includes the possibility of being on one of the upcoming trips to the moon in the 2020s.A few days later, the space agency announced the name of the next visitor being sent to the Red Planet. The Mars 2020 rover was officially given the name Perseverance, chosen from a nationwide student competition. Perseverance was once of 28,000 name entries and was proposed by an elementary school student from Virginia.The first mission of the U.S. Space Force launched from Earth on March 26 as an Atlas V rocket blasted into space. The rocket launched a $1.1 billion communications satellite that will be used by the military.Meanwhile, NASA was forced to suspend work on the Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket due to the coronavirus. The rocket is still in development and was preparing for a major test at the Stennis Space Center, but the test has been delayed "due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the community around the center," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said.Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.
This January, East Antarctica — an area that previously seemed to be spared from climate warming — experienced its first recorded heat wave.The heat wave was recorded at the Casey Research Station between Jan. 23 and 26, marking the area's highest temperature ever at 48.6 degrees Fahrenheit, while minimum temperatures stayed above 32 degrees Fahrenheit, according to research in Global Change Biology.A rarity in Antarctica, heat waves are known as "three consecutive days with both extreme maximum and minimum temperatures," according to the research.Meanwhile, Denman Glacier — a large glacier in East Antarctica — appears to be rapidly retreating. Its position above the world's deepest known canyon may be causing it to melt faster than it can recover, according to a letter in Geophysical Research Letters, Live Science reports.As the glacier retreats, warm water fills the canyon, which could cause a feedback loop that returns all of the glacier's ice to the ocean, leading to about 5 feet of global sea level rise, reports Live Science. Researchers concluded the retreating of the glacier should be a "wake-up call" to scientists who believed melting in East Antarctica to be less of a threat than that of west Antarctica."Although it is too early for full reports, this warm summer will have impacted Antarctic biology in numerous ways," researchers wrote in their letter on Global Change Biology, noting disruption to ecosystem, community, and populations scales.More stories from theweek.com Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is what real coronavirus leadership looks like Celebrities didn't get the memo that April Fools' Day is canceled Coronavirus is making American workers say enough is enough
Federal immigration authorities have discovered a drug smuggling tunnel leading from San Diego under the U.S.-Mexico border and seized nearly $30 million worth of drugs found inside.Federal agents on the San Diego Tunnel Task Force discovered the "sophisticated" tunnel on Thursday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a release Tuesday. The discovery resulted from a joint investigation by members of the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Border Patrol, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.The tunnel extends more than 2,000 feet underground from a warehouse in Tijuana to a warehouse in the Otay Mesa area of San Diego. Authorities found an estimated $29.6 million in drugs in the tunnel, seizing 1,300 pounds of cocaine, 86 pounds of methamphetamine, 17 pounds of heroin, 3,000 pounds of marijuana and more than two pounds of fentanyl.Investigators estimated the passageway is several months old based on "advanced construction" in parts of the tunnel, including reinforced walls, ventilation, lighting and an underground rail system. U.S. investigators worked with the Fiscalia General de la Republica and Secretaria de la Defensa Naciona to find the tunnel's entrance on the Mexico side.The discovery comes two months after authorities in January discovered the “longest cross-border tunnel” yet in the same area, a 4,309-foot passage running from Tijuana to San Diego."Despite the current COVID-19 pandemic, DEA employees continue to work tirelessly to serve and protect the community," DEA special agent in charge John W. Callery said in a statement.“I hope this sends a clear message that despite the ongoing public health crisis, [Homeland Security Investigations] and our law enforcement partners will remain resilient and continue to pursue criminal organizations responsible for the cross-border smuggling of narcotics into the United States,” Homeland Security Investigations San Diego acting special agent in charge Cardell T. Morant said.
Hundreds of stranded Americans left Nepal on a repatriation flight Tuesday, days after a complete lockdown was imposed in the Himalayan nation to help fight the coronavirus. A Qatar Airways flight arranged by the U.S. government flew out 302 Americans from Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport to Washington, D.C. The elderly, families with children and people with a medical condition were given priority on the flight. The U.S. Embassy in Nepal estimates that 3,000 to 4,000 Americans are still in the country, but says that not all of them are seeking to leave.
China has stepped in to help the West tackle the coronavirus crisis after managing to quell its own outbreak. As European and American healthcare systems creak under the strain, China has offered millions of face masks and teams of medical experts. As well as seeking to deflect criticism over initial Chinese missteps in handling the epidemic, analysts say, the campaign is a public relations opportunity in China's great power rivalry with the West and especially the United States.
A week after Narendra Modi ordered the largest national lockdown the planet has ever seen and Delhi's Bhogal market is little quieter than usual. Rather than being confined to home to stop the spread of Covid-19, large groups of residents instead huddle together in the shade, drinking tea and playing cards. Street vendors continue to hawk fresh fruit and vegetables and the police watch as daily life in the capital's backstreets continues, apparently content to enforce movement restrictions only on the capital's major thoroughfares. The failure to abide by the prime minister's decree is due to necessity, rather than defiance, said Muhammad Asif, 21, a cycle-rickshaw driver scanning the crowd for customers. The three-week-long social distancing precautions ordered by Mr Modi are an unaffordable luxury for tens of millions of daily-wage labourers.
A Pennsylvania man “extremely upset” about losing his job amidst the coronavirus pandemic allegedly shot his girlfriend, before turning the gun on himself in an attempted murder-suicide, authorities said Wednesday.The Wilson Borough Police Department said in a statement to The Daily Beast that Roderick Bliss IV, 38, attempted to fatally shoot his girlfriend with a semi-automatic pistol on Monday afternoon, before dying by suicide, after he “had become increasingly upset over the COVID-19 pandemic.” The 43-year-old girlfriend, who was shot once in the back, survived the attack and is in St. Luke’s hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. “In the days prior to the shooting, Bliss had become increasingly upset over the COVID-19 pandemic,” police said. “Minutes before the shooting Bliss was extremely upset about the pandemic and the fact that he had recently lost his job.”What if This Coronavirus Lockdown Is Only the Beginning?At around 1:20 p.m. on Monday, authorities responded to reports of “multiple shots fired with injuries” at Bliss’ Wilson Borough home, about an hour outside of Philadelphia. Upon arrival, officers found Bliss “unresponsive and not breathing” and a semi-automatic pistol near his body. The Northampton County Coroner ruled Bliss’ death a suicide.The girlfriend, who is alert, and other witnesses told police that Bliss had become upset that the pandemic—which has infected more than 206,200 people and killed 4,542 nationwide—cost him his job. Authorities said an enraged Bliss “went into the basement and came outside on to the rear porch” with a handgun. “While holding the handgun, Bliss told the victim, ‘I already talked to God and I have to do this,’” police said. “The victim ran off of the porch and he shot at her four times striking her once. Bliss then shot himself.”The attempted murder-suicide marks the latest example of the collateral damage of the coronavirus pandemic. Domestic violence experts and law enforcement believe domestic violence incidents will rise as families are forced into social isolation across the country.Judy Harris Kluger, executive director of Sanctuary for Families in New York, told The Daily Beast that, for some survivors of domestic violence, being able to leave their home is critical—and forced stay-at-home orders isolate them from the “social support system” that would have previously allowed them to report abuse. White House Trots Out Grim Death Models to Drive Home Social Distancing“Domestic violence is all about power and control and what a powerful tool it is to be able to say to somebody, ‘You can’t go out of this house, you have to be here,’” Kluger said. “Even though people can go out for certain things, this environment just engages in the most negative way the power of the abuser.” Kluger said her organization, and several others across New York—the current epicenter of the outbreak in the United States—are anticipating an increase in domestic violence calls as the pandemic continues. A spokesperson for the National Domestic Violence Hotline said they haven’t yet seen a significant increase in call volumes but were receiving an increase in calls related to COVID-19 and the anxiety of people being stuck in their homes. “Right now, the people who are at risk are very isolated,” Kluger said, noting her organization is reaching out to former clients who might be at risk. “We are worried that we are going to see an uptick while this ‘shelter-in-place’ is in effect. Also, as the tension of the crisis rises, we anticipate people will begin reporting soon.”But, even as the looming number of domestic violence cases threatens New York and other cities, the number of healthy police officers is also dwindling. New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said Wednesday there were at least 1,400 officers who had tested positive for coronavirus, while about 17 percent had called out sick. Despite trying to police a city with a virus-related death toll of more than 1,000, Shea has previously stressed the NYPD is focused on domestic violence cases. “What I’m concerned about is, it’s happening and it’s not getting reported,” Shea said Tuesday, noting that survivors may not be calling for help. “We’ve asked the domestic violence officers—you know who the people are in your commands, who are most vulnerable. Pick up the phone, pick up the computer keyboard and start communicating with them. Just make sure that things are OK.”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.
Taiwan will donate ten million face masks to countries struggling with the coronavirus pandemic, a move that will likely rile China, which claims Taiwan as a territory and has donated far fewer masks to other countries despite its role in covering up the risk posed by a deadly virus that originated within its borders.“At the previous stage, we formed a national team, now we need to play an international match and fight the pandemic together with other countries,” said Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen. “At this stage, we will donate 10 million masks.”According to Taiwan's foreign ministry, 7 million of the masks will be sent to European Union countries, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland. Taipei also plans to send masks to the U.S.Taiwan has done a remarkable job containing the spread of the virus, with only 322 confirmed cases of coronavirus and five deaths resulting from infection as of Tuesday.China criticized an agreement between Taiwan and American Institute in Taipei on coronavirus cooperation, calling it “a political plot to pursue independence with the help of the epidemic.”China shipped only two million masks to be distributed across Europe, while Jack Ma, China's richest man, donated another two million."Today, we're grateful for China's support," EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said of the mask shipments.China also supplied rapid test coronavirus test kits to Spain and the Czech Republic, but the majority of the tests turned out to be faulty. Up to 80 percent of the 150,000 portable test kits China delivered to the Czech Republic earlier this month did not produce correct results. Spain, which has the second-highest number of coronavirus fatalities in the world after Italy, found that the rapid coronavirus test kits it purchased from Chinese company Bioeasy only correctly identified 30 percent of virus cases.In December, local and national officials issued a gag order to labs in Wuhan after scientists there identified a new viral pneumonia, ordering them to halt tests, destroy samples, and conceal the news. A recent collaborative study by scientists based in both China and the U.S. found that 95 percent of infections could have been prevented had China implemented measures to stem the spread just three weeks earlier.The U.S. intelligence community concluded in a classified report Wednesday that China deliberately provided incomplete public numbers for coronavirus cases and deaths resulting from the infection.
Jerry Falwell Jr, the evangelical institution’s president, faced criticism for downplaying coronavirus risks when inviting students to return to campus * Coronavirus – latest US updates * Coronavirus – latest global updates * See all our coronavirus coverageWith cases of Covid-19 rising rapidly across the US, last week was a strange time for Jerry Falwell Jr to decide to reopen Liberty University.Originally, in keeping with other universities in Virginia, Falwell, the institution’s president. said that only international students or those with nowhere else to go would remain. But on Sunday he welcomed over a thousand students back to campus housing.Falwell Jr had previously compared Covid-19 to the flu, posited that there has been an “overreaction” to the pandemic intended to hurt Donald Trump, and insinuated that the virus was a “Christmas present” from North Korea and China.Falwell Jr told Fox News last Tuesday that students wanted to be there – indeed, some have spoken up in favor of his decision. But others are watching events unfold with a heavy heart.“I’m a pro-life advocate for all ages,” said Jess Schama, a 24-year-old history major at Liberty University.Referencing Falwell’s comments in a Twitter thread, in which he said that young people are unlikely to die from contracting Covid-19, Schama said: “I don’t think that people, even at my age, should be subjected to a virus that could potentially kill. It is so hypocritical that people who would advocate pro-life are OK with this.”> I don’t want to become one of these college presidents who are pushing this problem off on someone else by sending 20 year olds with near zero mortality risk to sit at home for the rest of the semester, often with grandparents in the house who truly are at risk. (2/4)> > — Jerry Falwell (@JerryFalwellJr) March 15, 2020Schama has an underlying health condition and said she would have feared for her life every day if she remained on campus. Furthermore, while the mortality rate for those under 50 is much lower than for the elderly, a CDC report last week confirmed that with regard to US hospitalizations, of those admitted to intensive care, 36% were aged 45-64 years and 12% were aged 20-44 years.Lauren Lynch, 27, said she was upset by Falwell’s assertion that the population in Lynchburg is less vulnerable than elsewhere. As part of her studies, she works as a mental health clinician in Lynchburg. “A lot of [people here] are at risk. [Many] live in poverty – especially in downtown Lynchburg. A lot of people don’t know that, when they come here, all they see is the Liberty campus,” she said.Furthermore, while states such as New York have thousands of intensive care units, Lynchburg hospitals have 1,174 beds in total – only 55 of which are for intensive care. For that reason, Schama thinks the decision to allow students to return after periods at home during spring break is particularly irresponsible.“You’re putting those people at risk: those who don’t have healthcare, some who are already sick, while these students [come back] from all over the country – from highly populated areas like New York, New Jersey, everywhere,” she said.There is no obligation for students to return to campus, and Falwell has claimed that the school is “completely online” – despite medical, aviation and other practical classes still happening in person. He has described Liberty as being “more like an apartment complex” than a university, with the canteen only open for takeout; but the library is open, as are computer labs. Falwell said that signs remind students not to sit next to each other, and that only every third computer works to prevent students from doing so. Liberty University was contacted for comment, but did not respond in time for publication.Liberty University’s code of conduct, known as the “Liberty Way”, includes not listening to lewd music, engaging in sexual relationships, disobeying faculty members or putting others at risk.Lynch believes that Falwell has been hypocritical and does not practice what the college preaches – for example, the Liberty Way advises against name-calling, and yet, when one parent with concerns contacted Falwell on Twitter (“I’m as right wing as they get, bud. But as a parent of three of your students, I think this is crazy,” said the parent), Falwell responded by calling him a dummy.“I don’t believe he has conducted himself in a very professional manner … He is bringing a horrible name to Christianity,” said Schama.Schama said Falwell’s decision compromises students who want to do the right thing without being insubordinate. She says students have been advised when speaking to the media to remember that Liberty students “are champions for Christ, we are all Christ’s children, and we need to promote ourselves in a godly way”. Schama empathizes with those principles, and believes students should respect authority. However, as a Christian, she feels she has a duty to speak out.“At this point it doesn’t come down to how I think I should be conducting myself on social media. It comes down to what I think is right, and giving a voice to those who can’t speak up because of the potential backlash,” she says. And for her, there is a clear line when it comes to her Christian values: “Absolutely – it is ungodly to allow people to keep spreading an infection that could potentially kill people,” she says.On Sunday, the New York Times reported that one Liberty University student had tested positive for Covid-19 of three that were referred to local hospital centers for testing, while an additional eight were told to self-isolate.Schama believes the New York Times is propagating fake news, and said she had instead been going to the faculty website for updates. Still, she keeps on looking – mainly out of fear for her teachers. “I’m terrified for my lecturers. I really don’t feel like anyone’s safety has been taken into consideration,” she says.What will she do, then, if she finds out later that the numbers are correct?“A lot of people, including myself will be very upset that the university did not speak up sooner. Timing is everything. It would mean it was just putting more people at risk,” she says.