Novel Coronavirus/COVID-19 COVID-19 News from Around the Web

US, UK brace for soaring death tolls as pandemic bears down

AP - April 30, 2020

Yet Britain’s outbreak was headed in the opposite direction as the country reported more than 600 deaths Sunday, surpassing Italy’s daily increase for the second day in a row. Lacking enough for protective gear against the virus, British doctors and nurses were using goggles from school science classes, holding their breath when close to patients and repeatedly reusing single-use masks, Dr. Rinesh Parmar, head of Doctors’ Association UK, told Sky News.

Queen Elizabeth II delivers coronavirus address and calls for unity, saying ‘we will succeed’

CNN - April 30, 2020

Queen Elizabeth II made a rare televised address on Sunday, appealing to Britons to rise to the occasion, while acknowledging enormous disruptions, grief and financial difficulties they are facing. “I hope in the years to come, everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge,” the 93-year-old monarch said. “And those who come after us will say that the Britons of this generation were as strong as any.”

Tiger at New York’s Bronx Zoo tests positive for coronavirus

Reuters - April 30, 2020

The first known infection in an animal in the U.S. Other tigers and lions have become sick. Nadia, the 4-year-old Malayan tiger that tested positive, was screened for the COVID-19 disease after developing a dry cough along with three other tigers and three lions, the Wildlife Conservation Society, which manages the zoo, said in a statement. All of the cats are expected to recover, it said. The virus that causes COVID-19 is believed to have spread from animals to humans, and a handful of animals have tested positive in Hong Kong. But officials believe this is a unique case because Nadia became sick after exposure to an asymptomatic zoo employee, Paul Calle, chief veterinarian at the Bronx Zoo, told Reuters. Calle said they did not know which employee infected the tiger.

Coronavirus: Confirmed global cases pass one million

BBC - April 30, 2020

More than a million cases of coronavirus have been registered globally, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University - another grim milestone as the world grapples with the spreading pandemic. Nearly 53,000 people have died and more than 210,000 have recovered, according to the US university's figures. The US has the most cases, and more than 1,000 died there in the past day. The disease, Covid-19, first emerged in central China three months ago. Though the tally kept by Johns Hopkins records one million confirmed cases, the actual number is thought to be much higher.

White House moves toward promoting face masks to fight virus

AP - April 30, 2020

The Trump administration is formalizing new guidance to recommend that many Americans wear face coverings in an effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, as the president is aggressively defending his response to the public health crisis. The recommendations, still being finalized Thursday, were expected to apply to those who live in areas hard-hit by community transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19. A person familiar with the White House coronavirus task force’s discussion said officials would suggest that non-medical masks, T-shirts or bandannas be used to cover the nose and mouth when outside the home — for instance, at the grocery store or pharmacy. Medical-grade masks, particularly short-in-supply N95 masks, would be reserved for those dealing directly with the sick.

FDA eases restrictions on gay blood donors amid ‘urgent need’

NBC News - April 30, 2020

Amid what it’s calling an “urgent need for blood,” the Food and Drug Administration revised its blood donor guidelines on Thursday, significantly easing the restrictions on men who have sex with men. The new guidelines reduce the donation deferral period for sexually active gay and bisexual men from 12 months to three, meaning these otherwise healthy men will now have to abstain from same-sex sexual activity for 90 days before they are eligible to donate blood.

U.S. Jobless Claims Doubled to Record 6.65 Million Last Week

Bloomberg - April 30, 2020

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits more than doubled to a second straight record as the coronavirus widened its reach and closed more businesses. A total of 6.65 million people filed jobless claims in the week ended March 28, according to Labor Department figures released Thursday, as many stores and restaurants were forced to close across the nation to mitigate the outbreak. The prior week’s level was also revised up slightly to 3.31 million. The figure topped all analyst estimates and compared with a median projection of 3.76 million. The speed and scale of the job losses is without precedent. Until the coronavirus outbreak caused widespread workplace shutdowns and layoffs, the worst week for initial unemployment filings was 695,000 in 1982. The economic damage from the pandemic was initially concentrated in tourism, hospitality and related industries. But now the pain is spreading much more widely.

WHO concerned by ‘rapid escalation’ of coronavirus, as U.S. death toll nears 5,000

NBC News - April 30, 2020

"In the next few days we will reach 1 million confirmed cases, and 50 thousand deaths,” the World Health Organization's Director-General warned. “Over the past five weeks, we have witnessed a near exponential growth in the number of new cases, reaching almost every country, territory and area,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesuss told a virtual news conference at the organization's Geneva headquarters on Wednesday. However, the numbers are believed to be much higher due to limited numbers of tests in many countries, differences in counting the dead and a large number of mild cases believed to have gone unreported.

More evidence indicates healthy people can spread virus

AP - April 30, 2020

Scientists offered more evidence Wednesday that the coronavirus is spread by seemingly healthy people who show no clear symptoms, and the federal government issued new guidance warning that anyone exposed to the disease can be considered a carrier. A study by researchers in Singapore became the latest to estimate that somewhere around 10% of new infections may be sparked by people who carry the virus but have not yet suffered its flu-like symptoms. In response to that study and others, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed how it defined the risk of infection for Americans. The agency’s new guidance targeted people who have no symptoms but were exposed to others with known or suspected infections. It essentially says that anyone may be a carrier, whether that person has symptoms or not.

Trump says ‘life and death’ at stake in following guidelines

AP - April 30, 2020

President Donald Trump warned Americans to brace for a “hell of a bad two weeks” ahead as the White House projected there could be 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the U.S. from the coronavirus pandemic even if current social distancing guidelines are maintained. Public health officials stressed Tuesday that the number could be less if people across the country bear down on keeping their distance from one another. “We really believe we can do a lot better than that,” said Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force. That would require all Americans to take seriously their role in preventing the spread of disease, she said. Added Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, “This is a number that we need to anticipate, but we don’t necessarily have to accept it as being inevitable.” Trump called it “a matter of life and death” for Americans to heed his administration’s guidelines and predicted the country would soon see a “light at the end of the tunnel in a pandemic that in the United States has infected about 190,000 people and killed more than 4,000, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Most Americans huddle indoors as coronavirus deaths keep spiking

Reuters - April 30, 2020

Four new states imposed sweeping stay-at-home directives on Wednesday in response to the coronavirus pandemic, putting over 80% of Americans under lockdown as the number of deaths in the United States nearly doubled in three days. President Donald Trump said he saw no need for the federal government to issue a nationwide decree, with 39 states and the District of Columbia now requiring residents to stay home except for essential outings to the doctor or grocery store.

White House projects 100K to 240K US deaths from virus

AP - April 30, 2020

President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned Americans to brace for a “hell of a bad two weeks” ahead as the White House projected there could be 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the U.S. from the coronavirus pandemic even if current social distancing guidelines are maintained. Public health officials stressed that the number could be less if people across the country bear down on keeping their distance from one another. “We really believe we can do a lot better than that,” said Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force. That would require all Americans to take seriously their role in preventing the spread of disease, she said.

Preliminary Estimates of the Prevalence of Selected Underlying Health Conditions Among Patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 — United States, February 12–March 28, 2020

CDC - April 30, 2020

Based on preliminary U.S. data, persons with underlying health conditions such as diabetes mellitus, chronic lung disease, and cardiovascular disease, appear to be at higher risk for severe COVID-19–associated disease than persons without these conditions. Strategies to protect all persons and especially those with underlying health conditions, including social distancing and handwashing, should be implemented by all communities and all persons to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Social distancing appears to be slowing the spread of coronavirus in some areas but crisis won’t end soon, officials say

CNN - April 30, 2020

The two top infectious disease experts on the White House coronavirus task force think social distancing measures appear to be helping but reminded Americans they are going to have a significant effect on how many people in the Unites States die. "It's communities that will do this. There's no magic bullet (for Covid-19), there's no magic vaccine or therapy, it's just behaviors," said Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the task force. "Each of our behaviors translating into something that changes the course of this viral pandemic over the next 30 days."

From bartering to begging for relief, struggling Americans confront April rent

Reuters - April 30, 2020

As the pandemic wreaks havoc on the U.S. economy and transforms Americans’ daily lives, the start of April brings a moment of reckoning for millions: rent checks are due. Many Americans have already lost their jobs – last week’s national unemployment claims exceeded 3 million, shattering previous records – and huge swaths of the country have essentially shut down, with more than half of U.S. states now under some version of a stay-at-home order to curb the disease’s spread. One third of the nation’s 328 million residents live in rental homes, according to U.S. Census data. In New York City, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, the proportion of those who rent is much higher.

U.S. coronavirus death toll rises past 3,000 on deadliest day

Reuters - April 30, 2020

The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus pandemic climbed past 3,000 on Monday, the deadliest day yet in the country’s mounting crisis, while New York cheered the arrival of a gleaming 1,000-bed U.S. Navy hospital ship as a sign of hope in the city’s desperate fight. The United States has the most confirmed cases in the world, a number that is likely to soar when tests for the virus become more widespread.