- Gavin Newsom still calling for $1 trillion in federal aid for Cali
- WHA adopts resolution calling for investigation into China
- Azar says stay at home orders could cause "lasting mental damage"
- NJ allows car dealerships to reopen, sees number of ICU patients slip below 1,000
- New York reports 106 new deaths
- Florida deaths cross 2,000
- 6 Premier League players have tested positive
- Spain follows Italy by reporting fewer than 100 deaths
- AP report finds Mexico COVID-19 deaths
- Oregon Supreme Court rules lockdown, other restrictions can continue
- Chinese ambassador in Canberra says notion that WHO investigation satisfies Australia's call for "independent" probe is "a joke"
- Trump threatens to permanently pull funding and end membership of WHO
- Brazil overtakes UK to become world's 3rd-largest outbreak
- India's case total passes 100k
- Navajo Nation now home to "biggest outbreak in the US" per CNN
- Singapore plans to start phased reopening on June 2
- Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque set to reopen after Eid
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Update (1750ET): Instead of holding a press briefing on Tuesday, Cali Gov Gavin Newsom appeared on CNBC's "Fast Money" for an interview with host Melissa Lee at 5pmET.
Gov. @GavinNewsom’s office tells me no press briefing today, but catch him discussing his task force’s call for $1 trillion & @elonmusk among other topics today on @CNBCFastMoney with @MelissaLeeCNBC 5p ET.— Yasmin Khorram (@YasminKhorram) May 19, 2020
During the interview, the Cali governor reiterated his demand for $1 trillion in federal aid for California, despite emerging evidence that economic reopenings haven't produced the feared spike in cases - in fact, many states that have dragged their feet on reopening have seen higher rates of infection.
Fox Business's Charlie Gasparino reported that there is a "growing consensus" between both parties for another $1 trillion round of stimulus spending after Memorial Day. But with every governor walking to the White House with their hand out, the battle over the next aid bill should be especially fierce, forcing Dems to reckon with the reality that they really don't need all that money.
@GavinNewsom wants $1 Trillion Dollars - these Dems are totally insane— Scott (@UKBleedingBlue) May 19, 2020
If Newsom fears his state is short on cash (seemingly a perennial problem in California), maybe he should tell LA County to stop dragging its feet on reopening its economy.
As expected, the World Health Assembly has adopted an EU-led resolution supported by a vast majority of measures calling for a thorough WHO-led investigation into the origins of the outbreak in China. Australia welcomed the news in a statement. Australia was one of the first states to support the measure, and its support has elicited reprisals from China, including a recent hike in Chinese tariffs on Australian barley.
The Australian Government today welcomes the adoption of a landmark Resolution on the global COVID-19 response at the 73rd session of the World Health Assembly, which was EU-led and cosponsored by over 130 WHO member states.
The resolution commits to an impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation into COVID-19, at the earliest appropriate moment, to review the lessons learned from the international health response coordinated by the World Health Organization (WHO).
There is also a clear mandate to identify the source of the COVID-19 virus and how it was transmitted to humans, which will be necessary to prevent and reduce the risks of the emergence of new diseases that pass from animals to humans.
Australia has been clear and transparent in calling for an independent review into COVID-19, which is an unprecedented global health and economic crisis.
Australia will continue to be a consistent and constructive voice in the international community to advance and protect our national interest and the global interest.
And here are the latest figures from the UK.
As of 9am 19 May, there have been 2,772,552 tests, with 89,784 tests on 18 May.— Department of Health and Social Care (@DHSCgovuk) May 19, 2020
248,818 people have tested positive.
As of 5pm on 18 May, of those tested positive for coronavirus, across all settings, 35,341 have sadly died.
More information in the tweet below 🔽 pic.twitter.com/uRtdHU6yU4
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Update (1630ET): President Trump just said he's considering a travel ban on Brazil, as the largest country in Latin American emerges as one of the largest - if not the largest - outbreak in the world (many suspect far more people have been infected with the virus than official numbers show).
Additionally, Roche just said its antibody test has now "gone live" at several US lab sites. States are using the tests to carry out 'surveillance' tests to see if people are carrying COVID-19 antibodies, a sign that they were exposed to the virus.
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Update (1558ET): DHHS Secretary Alex Azar warned Tuesday that colonoscopies and mammograms happening across the US are down by ~90%, while also warning that stay at home orders could cause "lasting mental damage."
- AZAR SAYS STAY AT HOME ORDERS MAY CAUSE LASTING MENTAL DAMAGES
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Update (1300ET): New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday announced that car dealerships and bicycle shops could reopen effective immediately, before delivering the latest stats on the state's outbreak.
NEW: Today we’re issuing an administrative order to allow for in-person sales to resume – effective 6:00 AM tomorrow – at:— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) May 19, 2020
🚙Car and motorcycle dealerships
This is another step forward on our road back. pic.twitter.com/P9QrqVWBot
Sadly, we’ve lost another 162 members of our New Jersey family to #COVID19 related complications.— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) May 19, 2020
Our statewide total now stands at 10,586.
For them, our flags remain at half-staff. As a state, we can ensure that these lives are not forgotten. pic.twitter.com/aANLg98LEN
Both the number of new cases (1,055) and deaths (162) showed that - as Gov Murphy put it - the infection "curve continues to move in the right direction."
NEW: We’ve received 1,055 new positive #COVID19 test results, bringing our statewide total to 149,013.— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) May 19, 2020
The curve continues to move in the right direction overall.
The daily positivity rate for tests from May 15th was 12 percent. pic.twitter.com/j9gp6ovKTO
The number of patients in critical and intensive care fell below 1,000 in the state for the first time since March.
LOOK:— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) May 19, 2020
☑️Number of patients reported in either critical or intensive care fell to 977 – FIRST TIME this number has FALLEN BELOW 1,000 in a very long time
☑️Ventilator use dropped to 789
☑️173 new #COVID19 hospitalizations yesterday
☑️161 discharges yesterday pic.twitter.com/Ejqa7PJDvP
Jersey is among the four states in the country - NY, NJ, CT & MA - who have taken a notably slower approach to lifting restrictions.
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Update (1210ET): NY Gov Cuomo is holding is daily briefing a little bit later on Tuesday (maybe because of today's big hearing on the Hill) but just before going live, his state reported just 106 deaths, a 0.4% increase (lower than the past week's average of 0.7%), while announcing that the state's Capital Region will reopen tomorrow.
New York will also begin to allow gatherings of 10 or fewer. And it looks like the subject of today's briefing is the importance of wearing masks.
NEW: The Capital Region will be be able to enter Phase 1 of reopening tomorrow.— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) May 19, 2020
The least we can do is wear a mask.— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) May 19, 2020
It’s easy and shows respect.
The governor also reported that the number of cases of a mysterious inflammatory syndrome impacting the respiratory systems of children has now been observed in 137 children across the state, but mostly in and around NYC.
Florida passed 2,000 deaths on Tuesday as Gov DeSantis continued to reopen the state, with the majority of deaths seen in South Florida, according to a statement from the Department of Health on Tuesday. Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties have reported 1,144 deaths in total, up 22 from the day before.
On May 18, the 64 original Phase I Florida counties reported roughly 23,000 test results with 402 new cases for a positivity rate of 1.75%. The positivity rate for 5/18 for all counties including Miami was 1.9%. pic.twitter.com/lmQw3eOXtJ— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) May 19, 2020
Statewide, the death toll climbed to 2,052, up 55 from yesterday. Florida officials also reported Tuesday that the state has 46,944 cases of COVID-19, which is 502 more than on Monday. Since the pandemic began, 8,494 people have been treated in Florida hospitals, the state reported, an increase of 190 over the last day.
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Update (1055ET): Spain’s daily coronavirus death toll ticked higher on Tuesday to 83 from 59 over the prior day, according to the health ministry, but it still managed to reach a new optimistic milestone as the country continues to reopen gradually.
This marks the first time since the outbreak began that Spain has recorded fewer than 100 deaths for three straight days (the latest data point hasn't yet been added to the chart below).
The overall number of fatalities in Spain is now 27,778, the ministry said, while the number of diagnosed cases climbed to 232,037.
The overall number of fatalities was now 27,778, the ministry said, while the number of diagnosed cases rose to 232,037 cases.
Over in the UK, the Premier League confirmed on Tuesday that as of Sunday, six players had tested positive after the league tested hundreds of players and coaching staff.
The Premier League can today confirm that, on Sunday 17 May and Monday 18 May, 748 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19.
Of these, six have tested positive from three clubs.
Players or club staff who have tested positive will now self-isolate for a period of seven days.
The Premier League is providing this aggregated information for the purposes of competition integrity and oversight.
No specific details as to clubs or individuals will be provided by the Premier League due to legal and operational requirements.
The tests are being done as part of a process designed to allow matches to restart in June. Squads were allowed to return to training on Tuesday so long as they continued with social distancing.
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Update (0830ET): Confirming what was already widely suspected, an investigation by the Associated Press appears to have definitively proven that the Mexican government has been deliberately under-counting COVID-19-linked fatalities, a sign that the true size of the outbreak in the country is much larger than official figures reflect. Using data funneled to the AP via an anti-corruption group (it appears the group hacked or otherwise illicitly cajoled its way to the database), the AP determined that Mexico's death toll is at least 3x the official number.
Although testing has improved somewhat since the beginning of the outbreak, testing for the virus remains "rare" in Mexico, where left-wing leader AMLO hasn't been willing to impose the same level of restrictions (lockdowns etc) that have been implemented elsewhere in North America, and the world.
Interestingly, the data was
The anti-corruption group Mexicans Against Corruption said in a report Monday that it got access to a database of death certificates issued in Mexico City between March 18 and May 12. It showed that in explanatory notes attached to 4,577 death certificates, doctors included the words “SARS,” “COV2,” “COV,” “Covid 19,” or “new coronavirus."
Only 323 certificates list confirmed coronavirus as a cause of death; 1,045 other death certificates listed COVID-19 but didn’t specify if it was suspected or confirmed.
Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum has acknowledged there are more deaths than have officially been reported, and has said a special commission will review the death figures. Her office did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the new report.
Mexico performs relatively few tests; only about 150,000 have been carried out so far in a nation of about 125 million people. Federal officials acknowledge some victims have died without being tested and have pledged that cases where death certificates mention coronavirus as a possible or probable cause of death would eventually be added to official death tolls. But they have suggested those “suspected” cases were only about a tenth of test-confirmed deaths.
The group did not say how it accessed the database, which was kept by local courts. But it noted that official counts showed only 1,060 coronavirus deaths during that March 18-May 12 period.
Mexico City, with about 9 million residents, has been the worst hit part of the country. The additional 3,245 deaths in Mexico City, if they are confirmed or added to official counts, would push the national death toll from the 5,332 reported by federal officials Monday to 8,577.
Back in the US, Oregon's Supreme Court has halted a rural judge’s order that had thrown out the lockdown and other virus-related restrictions by Democratic Gov. Kate Brown.
Meanwhile, in hard-hit Ecuador, the virus continues to overwhelm the country's modest health-care system, as more bodies of virus sufferers end up splayed out on the street, evoking images of the early days in Wuhan.
The virus has even penetrated all the way to indigenous tribes living deep within the section of the Amazon within Ecuador's borders.
Strapped for cash, Ecuador is restarting some mining operations that were paused for nearly two months due to the coronavirus pandemic as the revenue-starved government pushes workers back into the mines even as citizens fear these reopenings will only help further spread the virus. Mining activity has fallen by 60% due to quarantine measures to stem what Reuters called "one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in Latin America."
Ecuador’s two largest mines, Fruta del Norte and Mirador, are preparing to restart operations gradually, said Fernando Benalcazar, the country’s vice minister of mining, while smaller gold miners in the south have already begun transporting minerals.
it comes as Latin America's outbreak appears to be ramping up as Chile locks down its capital city, while Brazil's outbreak overwhelms the country's health-care system as its president continues to resist any action to confront the virus.
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The big news on Tuesday is the meeting of the World Health Assembly, which is expected to back a WHO-sponsored inquiry into China's handling of the early days of the coronavirus outbreak. Last night, President Trump delivered a threatening letter where the US warned it could permanently cut funding and even cancel its membership in the WHO.
In response, China accused the US of trying to divert the world's attention from President Trump's handling of the outbreak by playing a "blame game" with Beijing. The White House has leveled similar accusations at Beijing. But even more tellingly, China's ambassador in Canberra slammed Australia's call for an independent investigation into China's handling of the early days of the outbreak as "a joke". The ambassador claimed the the investigation about to be authorized by the WHA doesn't resemble the type of inquiry that Australia has called for. This gloating comes after President Xi said he'd welcome a comprehensive review, but only after the outbreak has subsided.
"To claim the WHA's resolution a vindication of Australia's call is nothing but a joke," the ambassador said.
After passing the 1.5 million confirmed case threshold yesterday, globally, there have now been more than 4.8 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 318,500 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 1.8 million people have recovered.
Some of the latest local updates include Russia, which reported 9,263 new cases and 115 new deaths on Tuesday morning, bringing its case total to 299,941 and 2,837 deaths. In Germany, where the gradual economic reopening has continued unabated, public health officials reported just 513 news cases, bringing Germany's total to 175,210 cases, while reporting another 72 deaths, bringing the total to 8,007 deaths. Last night, Brazil passed the UK to become the country with the third-largest outbreak in the world after reporting another ~13k cases.
Additionally, India passed the 100k official-case threshold just days after extending its extremely stringent lockdown for another 2 weeks. Health officials reported 4,970 new cases, bringing India's total to 101,139 cases and 132 deaths, bringing the death toll to 3,163. While India has overtaken China on the 'official' numbers, it's widely believed the outbreak in the mainland was much worse than the official numbers reflect, and more than 40 new cases have been reported in Wuhan and the northeastern Jilin province over the past couple of weeks, resulting in intense new shutdown measures.
As western European states continue to loosen their travel restrictions, Spain has lifted a ban on all direct flights and ships from Italy, though travelers from Italy will have to comply with a two-week quarantine like other foreign visitors until Spain's state of emergency is officially lifted.
Over in the US, CNN has apparently decided to focus on the plight of the Navajo Nation out west, claiming in a piece published last night that the Native American community is now home to the biggest outbreak in the country (a designation CNN once used to describe a meatpacking plant in South Dakota).
The Navajo Nation reported 69 new coronavirus cases and two additional deaths on Monday, according to a news release from the Navajo Nation president and vice president, which brought the nation's case total to 4,071, along with 142 deaths, out of a population of roughly 200k. Of course, the rate of ~2,035 infections per 100k would put the nation's infection rate well above that of most US states. But we suspect this isn't really an apples-to-apples comparison.
Moving on to the big news in Washington DC on Tuesday: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will testify before the Senate on the coronavirus response: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will testify starting at 10amET before the Senate Banking Committee, where they will deliver "The Quarterly CARES Act Report to Congress" - testimony that's mandated as per the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill.
Meanwhile, Ivanka Trump will meet with industry leaders, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, Lockheed Martin CEO Marilyn Hewson and IBM executive Ginni Rometty, via Zoom on Tuesday.
As the outbreak in his country rages out of control, Russian PM Mikhail Mishustin has returned to his post after taking nearly 3 weeks off to recover from the virus, during which time the outbreak in his country has careened out of control.
We haven't heard much from Singapore in a few days as the city-state's strict new lockdown and testing campaigns appeared to finally cut down on the number of migrant workers falling ill from the virus. Singapore reported just 451 (higher than Monday's lower but well below the city-state's peak) new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, as the dissipation of this second wave of migrant worker infections faded. However, Singapore's government has issued a warning about the increased risk of patients catching dengue fever due to the lockdown, the latest indication of how the shutdown in non-emergency health services could lead to ancillary health crises around the world.
Singapore also apologized to 357 COVID-19 patients who received an erroneous text message saying they had again tested positive for the virus, when they hadn't. Singapore's leadership also announced on Tuesday plans to begin a 3-stage reopening on June 2.
In Jerusalem, the Al-Aqsa Mosque will reopen to worshippers after the Eid holiday, according to a statement from its governing body.
"The council decided to lift the suspension on worshippers entering the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque after the Eid al-Fitr holiday," according to a statement from the Waqf organisation said.
Finally, in Hong Kong, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said Tuesday that social distancing measures prohibiting gatherings of more than eight people would be extended in a transparent attempt to quash resurgent anti-Beijing protests, which have reemerged as the coronavirus outbreak in the autonomous region have subsided.