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Live Coronavirus News Updates and Coverage

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More than 100,000 people in the United States have now been infected with the coronavirus, according to a New York Times database, a grim milestone that comes on the same day the national death toll surpassed 1,500.

Earlier this week the country surpassed the case totals in China and Italy. The number of known cases has risen rapidly in recent days as testing ramped up after weeks of widespread shortages and delays.

And the outbreak has already transformed life in the United States, where millions of Americans have been asked to do what might have been unthinkable only a week or two ago: Don’t go to work, don’t go to school, don’t leave the house, except in limited circumstances.

The directives to keep people at home to stunt the spread of the coronavirus began in California, and have quickly been adopted across the country. By Friday, two dozen states and the Navajo Nation had told their residents to stay at home as much as possible, orders that affect at least 223 million Americans.

The pandemic is also having an effect on the primary calendar, as states across the country scramble to protect voters and poll workers. Gov. Tony Evers of Wisconsin on Friday requested that absentee ballots be sent to all of the state’s 3.3 million registered voters ahead of its April 7 presidential primary. And on the same day, Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania signed a measure postponing the contest from April 28 to June 2.

President Trump on Friday evening lamented the loss of economic gains that he had often used to measure his success in office and that served as the heart of his re-election message until the coronavirus hit the United States.

And he attacked Democratic governors for being insufficiently grateful for his efforts.

“Think of it, 22 days ago we had the greatest economy in the world,” Mr. Trump said at a news conference. “Everything was going beautifully. The stock market hit an all-time high again for the over 150th time during my presidency.”

He singled out the governor of Washington, Jay Inslee, and the governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, for his prime time scorn.

Mr. Inslee, he said, was “a failed presidential candidate” who was “constantly tripping and complaining.” Ms. Whitmer “has no idea what’s going on,” he said.

He then said he told Vice President Mike Pence, his coronavirus coordinator, to stop calling Mr. Inslee and Ms. Whitmer: “Don’t call the woman in Michigan, doesn’t make any difference,” he said of Ms. Whitmer.

“Very simple. I want them to be appreciative,” he said, saying his administration has “done a hell of a job.”

In a subsequent CNN town hall event on Friday night, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who is likely to face Mr. Trump in the general election, took issue with how the president has spoken about some governors. Ms. Whitmer is a national co-chair of his campaign.

“This is not personal,” Mr. Biden said. “It has nothing to do with you, Donald Trump, nothing to do with you. Do your job. Stop personalizing everything.”

Mr. Biden said he would recommend to governors that they lock down their states for several weeks, and he expressed support for a rent freeze for at least three months.

President Trump on Friday signed into law the largest economic stimulus package in modern American history, backing a $2 trillion measure designed to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Under the law, the government will deliver direct payments and jobless benefits for individuals, money for states and a huge bailout fund for businesses battered by the crisis.

Mr. Trump signed the measure in the Oval Office hours after the House approved it by voice vote and less than two days after the Senate unanimously passed it.

In brief remarks, Mr. Trump, flanked by Republican leaders in Congress, thanked “Democrats and Republicans for coming together and putting America first” and said it would help pave the road to economic recovery.

“I think we are going to have a tremendous rebound,” he said.

The legislation will send direct payments of $1,200 to millions of Americans, including those earning up to $75,000, and an additional $500 per child. It will substantially expand jobless aid, providing an additional 13 weeks and a four-month enhancement of benefits, and for the first time will extend the payments to freelancers and gig workers.

The measure will also offer $377 billion in federally guaranteed loans to small businesses and establish a $500 billion government lending program for distressed companies reeling from the crisis, including allowing the administration the ability to take equity stakes in airlines that received aid to help compensate taxpayers. It will also send $100 billion to hospitals on the front lines of the pandemic.

The law was the product of days of talks between members of Mr. Trump’s administration and Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress. And even before Mr. Trump held a bill signing on Friday afternoon, congressional leaders said they expected to negotiate more legislative responses to the pandemic in the coming months.

A second wave of coronavirus cases is charting a path far from coastal Washington State, California, New York and New Jersey, and threatening population centers in America’s middle that had no known cases of coronavirus not long ago.

Emerging hot spots include smaller communities like Greenville, Miss., and Pine Bluff, Ark., and large cities like New Orleans, Milwaukee, Detroit and Chicago. The areas around Cleveland, St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo., have also seen spikes.

As the toll of the virus grows, mayors, county executives and governors are sounding the alarm over a dearth of equipment and struggling to deal with the deadly onslaught.

“I look to New York to see what’s going on there, and I think, it’s a cautionary tale for the rest of us,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago, a Democrat, said in an interview on Friday. “I look at New York and think, what do we do so that we are as prepared as possible as this begins to ramp up in a city like Chicago?”

Officials in nearly 200 U.S. cities, large and small, report a dire need for face masks, ventilators and other emergency equipment to respond to the coronavirus outbreak, according to a survey released on Friday.

The United States Conference of Mayors questioned officials in 213 municipalities and found serious shortages that underscored the “scope and severity” of the crisis. The organization, a nonpartisan association of mayors from across the country, urged the federal government to provide more support.

More than 90 percent — or 192 cities — said they did not have an adequate supply of face masks for police officers, firefighters and emergency workers. In addition, 92 percent of cities reported a shortage of test kits and 85 percent did not have a sufficient supply of ventilators available to local health facilities.

Roughly two-thirds of the cities said they had not received any emergency equipment or supplies from their state, the report said. And of those that did receive state aid, nearly 85 percent said it was not enough to meet their needs.

In total, the conference tabulated that cities need 28.5 million face masks, 24.4 million other items of personal protection equipment, 7.9 million test kits and 139,000 ventilators.

For the millions of Americans who found themselves without a job in recent weeks, the sharp and painful change brought a profound sense of disorientation.

They were going about their lives, bartending, cleaning, managing events, waiting tables, loading luggage and teaching yoga. And then suddenly they were in free fall, grabbing at any financial help they could find, which in many states this week remained locked away behind crashing websites and overloaded phone lines.

For Joseph Palma, so much has changed so quickly that he barely recognizes his life.

On Tuesday last week, he was going to work, helping passengers in the customs area of the Miami airport. The next day, he was laid off without severance or benefits. Five days later, he moved back in with his 59-year-old mother, loading his bed and his clothes into the back of his friend’s pickup truck.

Now he is staring at his bank account — totaling about $3,100 — and waiting on hold for hours at a time with the unemployment office, while cursing at its crashing website.

“I’m feeling scared,” said Mr. Palma, who is 41 and nervous about the $15,000 in medical debt he has from two recent hospital stays. “I don’t know what’s the ending. But I know I’m not in good shape.”

Meanwhile, stocks fell Friday as investors who initially cheered progress on a $2 trillion U.S. aid package saw further economic troubles ahead. The S&P 500 dropped more than 3 percent on Friday. Stocks in Europe were also lower.

For days Mr. Trump resisted using the Defense Production Act to mobilize private industry to produce the critically-needed supplies, arguing at points that private industry was stepping up on its own, and at other points suggesting dismissively that using it would be analogous to “nationalizing” businesses.

But on Friday afternoon Mr. Trump said that he had directed his administration “to use any and all authority available under the Defense Production Act to require General Motors to accept, perform, and prioritize Federal contracts for ventilators.”

“Our negotiations with G.M. regarding its ability to supply ventilators have been productive, but our fight against the virus is too urgent to allow the give-and-take of the contracting process to continue to run its normal course,” the president said in a statement. “G.M. was wasting time. Today’s action will help ensure the quick production of ventilators that will save American lives.”

Earlier on Friday, Mr. Trump lashed out at General Motors on Friday, blaming it for overpromising on its ability to make new ventilators for critically ill coronavirus patients.

In a series of tweets, the president had emphasized the urgent need for the ventilators, an abrupt change of tone from the night before, when he had told Sean Hannity, the Fox News host, that states were inflating their needs.

Mr. Trump appeared to be reacting to reports that the White House had dragged its feet in awarding contracts to G.M. and Ventec Life Systems, to start new production lines in a converted G.M. plant in Kokomo, Ind.

No country has been hit harder by the coronavirus pandemic than Italy, where officials announced Friday that more than 950 people had died in the past 24 hours. It was the highest daily tally yet, lifting the national death toll to 9,134 — by far the highest in the world.

The virus has also penetrated the high walls of the Vatican.

The Vatican on Tuesday said an official who lives in the pope’s residence has tested positive and required hospitalization. Now the Vatican is testing scores of people and considering isolating measures for Francis, 83, who has tested negative in two separate tests, according to top Vatican officials.

“For weeks now, it has been evening — thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets and our cities,” Pope Francis, who had part of his lungs removed during an illness in his youth, said on the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica Friday. “It has taken over our lives.”

Pope Francis also expressed support and appreciation for “doctors, nurses, supermarket employees, cleaners, caregivers, providers of transport, law and order forces, volunteers, priests, religious men and women and so very many others who have understood that no one reaches salvation by themselves.”

The coronavirus mostly infects the lungs, causing pneumonia in severe cases; the typical symptoms are fever, cough and difficulty breathing. But some infected patients, including one recently in Brooklyn, have arrived at the hospital with symptoms not of respiratory disease, but of heart attack.

On close examination, the Brooklyn patient and some others were suffering from acute myocarditis, a severe inflammation of the heart. The condition also has been seen in patients with other viral infections, such as MERS and the H1N1 swine flu. Patients with coronavirus infections and heart complications have a risk of death nearly four times higher than patients without heart complications.

Other doctors have been keeping a close watch on the virus’s impact on the youngest targets. Newborns and babies have so far seemed to be largely unaffected by the coronavirus, but three small new studies suggest that the virus may reach the fetus in utero.

Even in these studies the newborns seem only mildly affected, if at all. That is reassuring, experts said; in theory, the virus could pose a risk to the fetus early in gestation, when the fetal brain is most vulnerable.

“We don’t have any knowledge of that at all, said Dr. Christina Chambers, a perinatal epidemiologist at the University of California in San Diego. “That is a complete open question at this point.”

After four passengers died aboard Holland America’s Zaandam cruise ship, the fate of the vessel became increasingly unclear on Friday night when it was denied permission to cross the Panama Canal. The ship is currently off the southern coast of Panama, conducting an evacuation of healthy passengers to one of the company’s sister ships, the Rotterdam.

The Panama Canal Authority posted an announcement on Twitter saying that new health regulations aimed at preventing contagious diseases would prohibit the Zaandam from crossing the canal.

Both ships had hoped to cross the Panama Canal and head to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., which has not given them permission to dock. The Zaandam was originally scheduled to disembark in Chile on March 21, but the country shut its ports to cruise ships and ultimately closed its borders.

There were 1,243 guests and 586 crew members on board the Zaandam, with passengers from 34 nations. People who are sick as well as their close contacts and all of the crew will remain on the Zaandam, the company said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for the coronavirus and is suffering mild symptoms, he said on Friday. He is the first leader of a major Western country known to have contracted the virus.

“I’ve developed mild symptoms of the coronavirus,” Mr. Johnson said in a video posted on Twitter, noting that he was tested on Thursday after he began running a temperature and suffering a persistent cough.

The prime minister said that he would isolate himself in his official residence, 10 Downing Street, but would not relinquish his duties.

“Be in no doubt that I can continue, thanks to the wizardry of modern technology, to communicate with all my top team to lead the national fight back against coronavirus,” Mr. Johnson said.

But a critical member of his cabinet, Matt Hancock, the health secretary, also tested positive, meaning that the two people most directly responsible for dealing with the virus are now afflicted with it.

The government’s chief medical adviser, Chris Whitty, also reported symptoms of the virus and said he was isolating himself. There are fears that other officials who have been in meetings with Mr. Johnson could also have been exposed.

If Mr. Johnson becomes incapacitated, his duties would be taken over by the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, who has tested negative for the virus. It is a head-spinning turn of events for a government that, just two weeks ago, was brimming with confidence after a landslide election victory in December.

Mr. Johnson’s diagnosis rattled a country that was already unnerved by news that Prince Charles, the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and the heir to the throne, had tested positive for the virus. Buckingham Palace said the queen remained healthy and was sequestered at Windsor Castle. Mr. Johnson delivered his weekly briefing to the queen by telephone on Wednesday.

South Africa, Africa’s most industrialized nation, ordered most of its 59 million people to stay at home for three weeks starting today. It is by far the biggest and most restrictive action undertaken on the African continent to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The nationwide lockdown followed an alarming increase in confirmed cases across South Africa’s nine provinces. Three weeks after detecting its first infection, the country is now the center of the pandemic on the continent, with more than 1,000 confirmed cases, double the number of the next hardest-hit country, Egypt.

While the deadly virus was slow to take hold in Africa, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths has gradually increased in recent days, raising fears about the continent’s readiness to deal with a pandemic.

To date, 46 African states have reported a total of 3,243 positive cases and 83 deaths, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

You can take several steps to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and keep yourself safe. Be consistent about social distancing. Wash your hands often. And when you do leave your home for groceries or other essentials, wipe down your shopping cart and be smart about what you are purchasing.

Reporting was contributed by Michael Cooper, Alan Blinder, Julie Bosman, Emily Cochrane, Donald G. McNeil Jr., Maya Salam, David E. Sanger, Maggie Haberman, Annie Karni, Mark Landler, Stephen Castle, John Eligon, Amy Qin, Marc Santora, Megan Specia, Elian Peltier, Raphael Minder, Jason Horowitz, Fabio Bucciarelli, Nikita Stewart, Michael Crowley, Jason Horowitz, Elisabetta Povoledo, Lara Jakes, Jesse Drucker, Abdi Latif Dahir, Vikas Bajaj, Carl Hulse, Steven Lee Myers, Caitlin Dickerson, Annie Correal, Adam Liptak, Neil MacFarquhar, Frances Robles, Thomas Kaplan, Sabrina Tavernise, Audra D. S. Burch, Sarah Mervosh and Campbell Robertson.



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Almost 30,000 invalid UK coronavirus tests had to be redone | Society

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Tens of thousands of Britons had to be retested for coronavirus after the government sent their swabs to the US.

Nearly 30,000 tests were found to be invalid after being flown out following problems at a UK laboratory last month.

The 29,500 voided tests were among a batch of 67,000 sent to the US following technical issues at the privately run Randox laboratory in Northern Ireland.

It emerged last month that the government had to send 50,000 tests abroad owing to processing problems in the UK. However, it has now emerged that 17,000 more tests than previously admitted were sent to the US and that 29,500 came back void.

Samples have to be tested within 72 hours of the test being taken, which means that any delay in their processing could leave people with symptoms unsure if they have the virus.

On 18 May, Matt Hancock announced coronavirus testing is being extended in the UK to anyone over the age of five with symptoms.

Before then, eligibility had been limited to a series of groups including key workers, those aged over 65, people who could not work from home, or people who lived with someone from one of these groups.

Those with symptoms can now use the gov.uk website to book home test kits or appointments at drive-through centres across the country.

The Telegraph reported that the 67,000 tests were airlifted to a university lab on the east coast of the US over 10 days last month after officials failed to find capacity for them to be analysed in the UK.

The swabs were returned a few days later in two large bags, the paper reported, one containing a “much higher than expected void rate”. It said part of the problem appeared to be different equipment standards in the US.

The Department of Health and Social Care said: “We worked hard to get complete tests for people under difficult circumstances. In many cases that worked and we are grateful for the team for their efforts. 

“But in some cases it didn’t, and the correct judgment was made to void the tests. Everyone affected was offered a new test immediately and we worked quickly to restore full capacity in the UK.”


Lisa McNally, the public health director at Sandwell council in the West Midlands, said on Thursday she was surprised the lockdown had been eased before the test-and-trace system was “at full speed”.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “What surprises me, I guess, is that we are moving ahead so quickly with easing lockdown before the system is at full speed. We need to allow time to assess how things are going, get this system up to speed.

“To be honest with you, I’m concerned that by the time we realise we need to hit the brakes, we will have spun off the road and be over the cliff-edge.”

McNally predicted the UK could be “going back to a place we really don’t want to be, which is where we were at the end of April” in terms of the number of coronavirus-related infections and deaths if test and trace did not prove effective.

On Wednesday Boris Johnson committed to getting “all tests turned around in 24 hours by the end of June, except for difficulties with postal tests or insuperable problems like that”.


He made the promise in the Commons after the former health secretary Jeremy Hunt said getting tests done within 24 hours was “absolutely essential” to the success of the government’s much-vaunted test-and-trace system.

The government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) has said the system must get infected people’s contacts to isolate within 48 hours to be effective. However, tests currently take 48 hours on average to produce results.

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Coronavirus Updates: June 3, 2020 | As it happened

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More than 3,009,000 people have been recovered from coronavirus infection so far: Summary

Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of coronavirus news in India and across the world, with me, Sushmita Panda and my colleagues Himanshu Shekhar, Shashwat  Bhandari, Vani Mehrotra, Priya Jaiswal,  Sidhant Mamtany and Rashi Hardaha. You can get in touch with us directly on twitter​​ ​​@sushmitapanda@himaanshus@ShashBhandari​ @vani_mehrotra​ @priyajais@SidMamtany, and  @rashihardaha for news, tips, photos, questions and comments.

Here’s a quick overview: 

The total number of global cases has surpassed 6.4 million, including more than 382,000 fatalities. More than 3,009,000 patients are reported to have recovered.

Deaths by country:

  • United States- 1,08,059
  • Brazil-31,278
  • Italy- 33,530
  • Spain- 27,127
  • France- 28,833
  • United Kingdom- 39,369
  • Belgium – 9,505

Coronavirus in India: Total COVID-19 positive cases cross 207,000-mark
Coronavirus Death Toll in India: As of Friday evening, the death toll stood at 5,829