- White House imposes travel restrictions on Brazil
- US nears 100k deaths
- Russia sees new cases below 10k for 9 straight days
- Brazil sees new cases, deaths rise at alarming rate
- Mexico reports another daily record jump of ~3,300
- UK furor over Dominic Cummings grows
- Oxford vaccine trial sees new obstacles
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Update (1845ET): The White House confirmed on Sunday evening that it will bar Brazilians from entering the US unless they're a citizen.
"Today, the President has taken decisive action to protect our country by suspending the entry of aliens who have been in Brazil during the 14-day period before seeking admittance to the United States," White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement.
"As of May 23, 2020, Brazil had 310,087 confirmed cases of COVID-19, which is the third highest number of confirmed cases in the world. Today’s action will help ensure foreign nationals who have been in Brazil do not become a source of additional infections in our country. These new restrictions do not apply to the flow of commerce between the United States and Brazil," she added.
Earlier this week, Trump and VP Pence both said they were planning to impose travel restrictions on Brazil.
"We are considering it. We hope that we’re not going to have a problem,” Trump said during a Cabinet meeting Tuesday, pointing to concerns about Brazilians traveling to Florida.
"Brazil has gone more or less herd,” he said, adding, “They’re having problems."
The WHO's Dr. Mike Ryan said Friday that South America looks like the new 'hot spot' for the pandemic at a press conference on Friday.
"In a sense, South America has become a new epicenter for the disease. We have seen many South American countries with increasing numbers of cases," Ryan said.
"Clearly there is a concern across many of those countries, but clearly the most affected is Brazil at this point," he added.
As we mentioned earlier, Brazil passed Russia on Friday, taking the No. 2 spot for most confirmed cases, after the US, which has been in the No. 1 spot for more than 6 weeks.
Meanwhile, as of 1845ET, the US had 97,679 confirmed deaths and 1,640,972 confirmed cases, creeping ever closer to the 100k mark.
Brazil has confirmed more than 20,000 deaths, though the number of both deaths and cases is believed to be substantially higher than the confirmed number in South America's largest economy.
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Sunday's New York Times front page says it all...
Front page of today's New York Times.— Norbert Elekes (@NorbertElekes) May 24, 2020
1,000 Americans who have died from coronavirus, or just 1% of US death toll. pic.twitter.com/BAlMlY9utq
...By midnight ET on Sunday, many expect the number of confirmed coronavirus-linked deaths in the US will have passed the critical 100k milestone, a number that's represents not only a critical psychological milestone but an upper limit on the death toll promised by President Trump.
With the growing focus on the death toll and doubts emerging about the effectiveness of remdesivir and the progress made by Moderna, the Telegraph published a report in Sunday's paper claiming that an Oxford University-affiliated vaccine trial, which one overly-enthusiastic scientist once claimed might produce substantial quantities of a "safe" vaccine by the fall - potentially enough to start administering the vaccine to the most vulnerable health-care workers, actually hasn't made much progress at all, and only has a ~50% chance of success, according to scientists affiliated with the project.
This is the same vaccine that AstraZeneca struck a $1.2 billion deal with the US government to produce 400 million doses of the unproven vaccine as part of President Trump's operation "Warp Speeds", which is looking increasingly like a moonshot, big-swing on a few untested therapies and vaccines in the hope that at least one might pan out.
Elsewhere, in the UK, the press remains fixated on the scandal over whether Boris Johnson senior advisor Dominic Cummings violated quarantine rules to visit several family members. As calls for Johnson to fire Cummings over the transgression intensify, Cummings and the administration have insisted that he acted "reasonably" and have so far refused to set him adrift, even amid growing backlash to Johnson's leadership as deaths continue to pile up.
Johnson has announced that he will host Sunday's Downing Street press conference, replacing Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick. The briefing has also been delayed to 5pm London Time (12pmET). Watch it live below:
New York Gov Andrew Cuomo will also deliver his daily briefing starting at noon.
Even as NY's testing rate reached a new peak of 50k tests run in a day, the state's infections have continued to drop, which is an extremely promising sign. Elsewhere in the US, Casinos in Las Vegas have said they plan to reopen June 4, though with precautions including using dice disinfected by UV light.
Health officials in Moscow just revealed on Sunday that 12.5% of Muscovites may have already been infected with the virus, or nearly 1.5 million people.
Additionally, Brazil reported 16,508 new cases of the virus and 965 new deaths as the country remained the largest single contributor to the global total for the day. Across the massive nation, 347,398 cases and 22,013 deaths have been confirmed. Mexico reported 3,329 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday, bringing its total to 65,856 cases after what was the US southern neighbor's largest daily jump yet.
Russia confirmed 8,599 new coronavirus infections on Sunday, bringing the country’s total to 344,481. Russia has the third-highest number of infections behind the US and Brazil, though in a promising sign, the number of new cases reported has lingered below 10,000 for nine days in a row, a sign that the lockdown is finally starting to work, despite the virus's deep penetration of Russian society.