- Brazil reports another record jump in new cases
- Boston Marathon cancelled
- North Carolina reports 827 deaths
- Premier League soccer to re-start June 17
- NY reports just 74 deaths for the second day in a row.
- Italy reports <100 deaths for 4th time in 5 days
- Trump tweets condolences
- Brazil cases top 400k
- South Korea reports alarming jump in cases
- Blue House mulls reinstating strict social distancing measures
- Philippines President to end Manila lockdown
- Denmark decision to partially reopen schools deemed a 'success'
- New evidence of 'Community Spread' found in certain African countries
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Update (1945ET): As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases draws inexorably closer to the 6 million mark, Brazil has once again proven itself the largest contributor to the daily global total, especially now that the number of cases confirmed daily in Russia has seemingly finally started to cool (relatively speaking).
On Thursday evening, Brazilian public health officials confirmed that the country had added another 26,417 confirmed cases to the national total - yet another daily record - as some experts warned Brazil might already be home to the largest outbreak in the world, or that it's at least on par with the ~1.7 million confirmed cases in the US.
Like his erstwhile ally President Trump, who recently slapped severe travel restrictions on Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro has sought to distract the public and energize his base by persecuting former allies, including the conservative governor of Rio de Janeiro, whose home was raided by Brazilian federal police in connection with a corruption probe (several of Governor Wilson Witzel's predecessors were ousted by corruption scandals) earlier this week, and antagonize the country's judiciary.
Earlier this month, a tape of a cabinet meeting surfaced where one of Bolsonaro's ministers can be heard calling for the Brazilian judiciary to be imprisoned. Now, Bolsonaro is castigating the Brazilian Supreme Court over a "fake news" investigation into his allies, Reuters reports.
In a rare departure from the partisan rancor that has paralyzed government in the Trump era, a bipartisan group of senators offered a $3 billion plan to prepare for the next global health crisis, or perhaps even a second wave of COVID-19. Senator Jim Risch, Republican chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and Democratic committee members Chris Murphy and Ben Cardin, introduced the bill. The group said they have "high hopes" about its prospects for becoming a law.
The measure, which was introduced last week but announced on Thursday, would authorize $3 billion to rebuild the US pandemic defense system, invest in global vaccine developments and offer direct aid to help poorer nations build their health-care systems, Reuters said.
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Update (1500ET): For the first time in its nearly 125-year history, the Boston Marathon has been cancelled, and will be replaced by a virtual race in September.
The @BAA has announced that the 124th Boston Marathon will be held as a virtual event, following Boston Mayor Martin Walsh’s cancellation of the marathon as a mass participation road running event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. pic.twitter.com/tlIdvsU9sq— Boston Marathon (@bostonmarathon) May 28, 2020
All participants who were originally registered for the April 20, 2020 event will be offered a full refund & will be able to use their qualifying time for 2021 Boston Marathon registration next fall. The beginning of the qualifying window for the 2021 Boston Marathon is 9/15/18.— Boston Marathon (@bostonmarathon) May 28, 2020
In other news: Yesterday, California became the fourth US state to pass 100k infections. It joins Illinois (115,000), New Jersey (157,000) and New York (370,000), with just over 101,000 cases confirmed.
The number of coronavirus cases confirmed around the global surpassed 5.9 million on Thursday, leaving it on track to pass 6 million in the next day or two.
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Update (1400ET): North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper just reported one of the state's largest one-day jump in deaths - 827 - as it continues to reopen its economy and ramp up testing capacity.
Updates from Gov. Cooper’s COVID-19 briefing: https://t.co/sVKSDa28AI— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) May 28, 2020
As of today, we have 25,412 confirmed cases, 708 people in the hospital and 827 people who have died. Today is one of our state’s highest days of reported deaths and hospitalizations since this crisis began.— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) May 28, 2020
Nationwide, we have passed a grim benchmark with more than 100,000 lost to COVID-19. We continue to pray for the families left behind in the wake of this cruel virus. And we remind ourselves that these aren’t just numbers, they are people who have died.— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) May 28, 2020
In North Carolina, our case count has continued to go up. We know that one reason for this is increased testing, which is critical to reigniting our economy and keeping people safe. We’ve increased our testing significantly.— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) May 28, 2020
The @ncdhhs COVID-19 website now has an interactive tool to find a testing site in your area. It includes more than 300 places where you can go and get tested. And we have more than 30 private companies and hospitals doing the lab work on the samples to get COVID-19 results.— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) May 28, 2020
Today, another private partner, CVS, has announced 55 new drive through testing locations all across North Carolina. We’re glad to have another retail store that offers testing, especially as we work to make testing available to historically underserved communities.— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) May 28, 2020
COVID-19 is shining a bright light on longstanding inequalities in health care. Yesterday, our Department of Health and Human Services launched a radio and video campaign to share important messages about COVID-19 to historically marginalized populations.— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) May 28, 2020
African American and Hispanic communities make up a disproportionate number of our state’s lab-confirmed cases and deaths compared with their percentage of the population. And we must focus on how we can identify these disparities, and most importantly, work to fix them.— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) May 28, 2020
It’s important to keep this gap in mind both for the location of testing sites but also in contact tracing. Community Cares of North Carolina now has hired almost all of the 250 staff members that we need to get more contact tracing help in our local health departments.— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) May 28, 2020
Contact tracing is more effective when that workforce is diverse and representative of the people they serve, and these new hirings show that. This is critical work that’ll help people know if they’ve been exposed to the virus and whether to monitor for symptoms or quarantine.— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) May 28, 2020
Across the globe, our country and our state, we know that this virus has hurt the economy. Today, I’m pleased to announce that North Carolina has received a federal grant from the US Department of Labor to support job training and temporary employment opportunities.— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) May 28, 2020
Our Commerce Department’s Division of Workforce Solutions requested the funds and they will partner with local workforce development boards throughout North Carolina.— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) May 28, 2020
People are eligible to participate if they have been laid off due to COVID-19. The funds can help pay for on-the-job training, temporary positions focused on COVID-19, or short-term training for workers to learn new skills that are now in demand.— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) May 28, 2020
This $6 million grant will help our Commerce Department set up these programs and the state of North Carolina will continue to carry the torch forward as we focus on helping people get back on their feet.— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) May 28, 2020
As we are now six days into Safer At Home Phase 2, please continue to look out for each other. Show respect for those workers still trying to navigate this pandemic to keep their customers safe and keep their businesses open. Be courteous to one another when you're out and about.— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) May 28, 2020
Remember the 3 Ws – wear a face covering, wash your hands, wait 6 feet apart. Yes, you’ve heard these basic safety steps a lot, but they are mighty tools that each of us has to fight this virus. Never underestimate their importance. And let’s not let our guard down.— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) May 28, 2020
The governor continued to urge his citizens to wear masks and wash their hands, while continuing to social distance.
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Update (1330ET): Premier League soccer is set to restart its suspended season on June 17 with two matches, Aston Villa and Sheffield United, and Manchester City v Arsenal, unless the government decides against the league's plan.
A full round will follow on the weekend of June 19-21, according to the BBC.
There are still 92 matches to play in the season, and from here on out, all matches will take place behind closed doors and will be broadcast live on Sky Sports, BT Sport, BBC Sport and/or Amazon Prime. BBC Sport said it would air 4 live matches.
“The Premier League and our clubs are proud to have incredibly passionate and loyal supporters,” Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said.
“It is important to ensure as many people as possible can watch the matches at home.”
Masters added that the resumption date would not be confirmed “until we have met all the safety requirements needed.”
Safety guidelines are yet to be issued by the government and decisions will remain subject to the government's strategy for suppressing the virus while moving away from lockdown.
Play was suspended on March 13. When it restarts next month, it will have been exactly 100 days since Leicester City’s 4-0 win over Aston Villa on March 9, which marked the last game played in the season before the pandemic forced the suspension of play.
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Update (1200ET): As NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov Cuomo say the city will likely enter 'Phase 1' of the reopening some time in June, Italy has reported its latest results. Across the country, only 70 deaths were recorded over the past 24 hours - fewer deaths than were recorded in the state of New York, which has a population 1/3rd the size of Italy. Officials reported 70 deaths, the fourth time in the past 5 days where fewer than 100 deaths have been reported.
Italy also reported 593 new cases on Thursday, bringing its total to 231,732, while the death toll hit 33,142 deaths.
Cuomo said Thursday that NYC needs to figure out "contact tracing" and "public transit" before it can safely reopen. The city has hired an army of contact tracers.
He also discussed the importance of "uniform standards" across the state. State rules and metrics to reopen New York City are the same rules and metrics to reopen all other regions of the state. “What is safe to reopen is safe, and if it’s safe for your family, it’s safe for my family,” Cuomo says. "I'm not going to reopen any region that I do not believe is safe.”
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Update (1155ET): As scientists parse the effectiveness of lockdowns, here's another reason to suggest that the more strict, more timely and more short-lived approach has shown compelling results.
India took 118 days to reach 150,000 cases. Much slower than countries like:— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) May 28, 2020
Spain- 68 days
Turkey - 68 days
US - 69 days
Italy - 71 days
Brazil - 73 days
France - 86 days
Germany - 86 days
UK - 86 days
Russia - 95 days
All because of timely lockdown!#IndiaUnitedAgainstCovid
Still, as the NYT highlighted today in a summary of recent research, there's little evidence to suggest that the world is anywhere near 'herd immunity' levels.
It also designed a nifty chart to illustrate the 'surveillance' penetration estimates in various 'hot spots'
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Update (1140ET): Before we start, remember...
Wear a mask. It's the right thing to do. https://t.co/vT4hEezgyZ— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) May 28, 2020
...the CDC recommends people wear masks when indoors or anywhere with poor ventilation, and anywhere people might be around crowds, though, to be sure, research suggests that active copies of the virus don't linger in the air long enough to be infectious (though being within 6 feet of another might put you at risk of being hit by a stray bit of infectious saliva).
Now, Cuomo is launching into his latest press briefing, laying out plans for more businesses to reopen across the state.
For the second straight day, New York State recorded exactly 74 deaths, bringing the total death count above 23,600.
NYS #Coronavirus Update 5/28— Steven Bognar (@Bogs4NY) May 28, 2020
People in hospitals: DOWN
New hospitalizations: DOWN (163)
Last 24 hours: 74
4 consecutive days with daily #Covid19 deaths under 100 #nbc4ny pic.twitter.com/1jXwCDi24t
"This is always painful," Cuomo, who's holding his briefing in Brooklyn today, acknowledged, as he always does. He also reported that the number of hospitalized patients around the state has fallen to ~4,000, with only 163 new patients admitted over the last day.
Of course, it wouldn't be a Cuomo presser without him griping about the federal government abandoning NY.
Some states like Alaska & Wyoming got over $2 million in federal relief PER case.— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) May 28, 2020
NY got only $23,840 per case.
We are one country. Stop the politics. Fund states based on need.
Interestingly, Massachusetts last night said it recorded 527 new coronavirus cases and 74 new deaths. Will mass also report sub-100 deaths for another day on Thursday.
Meanwhile, in the UK, the latest figures have just been released.
As of 9am 28 May, there have been 3,918,079 tests, with 119,587 tests on 27 May.— Department of Health and Social Care (@DHSCgovuk) May 28, 2020
269,127 people have tested positive.
As of 5pm on 27 May, of those tested positive for coronavirus, across all settings, 37,837 have sadly died. pic.twitter.com/zj0HjOtMDG
As investigations into outbreaks at long-term care homes (including nursing homes) continue across the US and around the world, Virginia has released data on Thursday showing more than half of total COVID deaths in the state involved LTC patients.
Virginia reports. +24 LTC deaths; all others +33. Batch 42.1%.— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) May 28, 2020
Totals now 755 LTC all others 583.
56.4% of Virginia COVID deaths are in LTC.
An estimated 1.3% of Virginia's LTC population has died with COVID.https://t.co/udR43akdhy
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With Johns Hopkins finally confirming that the US death toll had passed the 100k mark...
...President Trump tweeted his condolences to the families of all those who lost loved ones during the pandemic.
We have just reached a very sad milestone with the coronavirus pandemic deaths reaching 100,000. To all of the families & friends of those who have passed, I want to extend my heartfelt sympathy & love for everything that these great people stood for & represent. God be with you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 28, 2020
With the US temporarily preoccupied by looting in Minneapolis and elsewhere - the focus during the early morning hours was on Asia, as Japanese health officials reported a new cluster: A hospital in Koganei city, located on the outskirts of Tokyo, have confirmed 3 infected patients, with 18 more reporting symptoms, including a fever. South Korea recently uncovered a 'silent' cluster after testing tens of thousands of people who had traveled to a popular nightlife district of Seoul one evening after a nightclubber tested positive, raising fears of a new 'superspreader' cluster.
With testing ramping up once again, officials are reportedly weighing whether to revive more-strict social distancing rules due to a recent increase in confirmed cases.
The 79 new cases of COVID-19 reported Thursday by SK health officials was the highest single-day total seen in nearly eight weeks. The total number of infections now stands at 11,344 in the country of 51 million.
In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte approved a recommendation to ease the lockdown in the capital Manila beginning on June 1 as he tries to pull his country's economy back from the brink of what would likely be a bruising recession.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged her fellow world leaders to provide more money to multinational NGOs like the UN and WHO in the name of accelerating the global recovery from the virus.
Expanding on that point, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres agitated for more comprehensive sovereign debt relief for the poorest nations, insisting that "relief must be extended to all developing, middle-income countries that request forbearance as they lose access to financial markets" amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Later today, PM Johnson will set out the next steps on easing Britain's lockdown, describing what will be possible from June 1.
As France and Germany abandon the drugs, Indonesia said Thursday it will continue to prescribe two anti-malarial drugs - chloroquine and its derivative, hydroxychloroquine - for coronavirus patients but monitor their use closely.
UK police have said Prime Minister Boris Johnson's senior adviser Dominic Cummings did breach the coronavirus lockdown but that it was minor and they will take no further action, the Telegraph has reported.
Though Africa has been largely spared the brunt of the global outbreak, Al Jazeera warned that cases of community transmission of the coronavirus are growing, particularly in Ethiopia, and that a new strategy for testing is needed to prevent further spread.
"We are beginning to see sustained community transmission within Ethiopia and many other countries across Africa. That means we need to increase our public health measures like distancing, wearing of masks, washing of hands," Head of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention John Nkengasong told journalists.
Brazil recorded more than 1,000 new deaths from the coronavirus over the past day, officials said Wednesday. The 1,086 new casualties bring the total number of deaths to 25,598. With 20,599 new cases, one of the largest single-day increases yet, the number of infected people has reached 411,821.
And finally, a partial reopening of schools in Denmark has not lead to an increase in coronavirus infections among pupils, a doctor of infectious disease epidemiology and prevention at the Danish Serum Institute said Thursday, citing newly released government data.
Denmark was one of the first countries to reopen, as it allowed some younger students - up to the fifth grade - to return to school on April 15 after a month-long break.
"You cannot see any negative effects from the reopening of schools," the scientist said. In the US, NJ Gov Phil Murphy said earlier this week that he would allow outdoor high school graduation ceremonies to continue.