By Robert A. Vella
The latest coronavirus pandemic statistics put the number of confirmed cases and deaths worldwide at 2,993,000 and 208,000 respectively which represents a death rate of 6.95%. In the U.S, the figures are 990,000 and 56,000 for a death rate of 5.66%. For comparison, the seasonal flu death rate in the U.S. is about 0.1% or 56.6 times less than COVID-19. The number of U.S. fatalities will probably exceed the total number of Americans killed during the Vietnam War later this week.
Social isolation forecast
Some form of social distancing will probably remain in place through the summer, Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus task force coordinator, said Sunday — the same day several governors expressed optimism about the course of the virus and outlined their plans for a piecemeal reopening of their economies.
It was the latest instance of conflicting signals coming not just from state and federal leaders but also from within the Trump administration in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic that so far has claimed the lives of more than 54,000 Americans. Last week, Vice President Pence predicted that “we will largely have this coronavirus epidemic behind us” by Memorial Day weekend.
The UK is at the moment of maximum risk in the coronavirus outbreak, Boris Johnson has said as he urged people not to lose patience with the lockdown.
Speaking outside No 10 for the first time since recovering from the virus, Mr Johnson said he knew “how hard and how stressful” the lockdown had been for many people.
But he urged people to keep going “in the way you have kept going so far”.
In January, when the world was starting to learn about the new coronavirus, Vietnam’s leader likened it to an enemy the nation must fight. Tens of thousands of people were quarantined in state-run facilities over the following months and entire villages locked down in response to even small clusters of infection.
Three months after its first case was detected, the Southeast Asia country appears to have beaten back the virus, at least for now.
Vietnam has reported just two new infections in the last 10 days, both students who returned from Japan last week. The country of more than 95 million people hasn’t reported a single death from the virus. Most of its 270 confirmed cases have recovered.
Food supply disruption
Tyson Foods is warning that “millions of pounds of meat” will disappear from the supply chain as the coronavirus pandemic pushes food processing plants to close, leading to product shortages in grocery stores across the country.
US farmers don’t have anywhere to sell their livestock, he said, adding that “millions of animals — chickens, pigs and cattle — will be depopulated because of the closure of our processing facilities.”
“There will be limited supply of our products available in grocery stores until we are able to reopen our facilities that are currently closed,” Tyson wrote.
The disbelieving preacher
Every day Landon Spradlin was growing weaker, and now, on the morning when he would leave New Orleans for the last time, the 66-year-old preacher and blues guitarist was unable to load his bags into the white Ford F-250 that was supposed to carry him home.
The world had changed since the Spradlins crossed the same bridge weeks earlier to begin their annual New Orleans street ministry. The couple from rural Gretna, Va., had arrived Feb. 18, several days before President Trump declared on Twitter that the novel coronavirus was “very much under control in the USA.” They left on March 16, the same day the president would recommend that Americans stop gathering in groups of more than 10.
“I don’t believe there are incurable diseases. God can heal anything,” Landon said during an interview at a 2016 motorcycle rally in Daytona Beach, Fla. “There are documented cases of God healing AIDS. God can cause limbs to grow out where they’ve been chopped off. God can raise the dead.”
A new malady had emerged as his Mardi Gras ministry ended last month. But not everyone acknowledged its threat. Three days before leaving, Landon — an avid Trump supporter — posted a meme on his Facebook page about the coronavirus, which at the time had killed about 40 people in the United States. The media, it warned, was trying to “manipulate your life” by creating “mass hysteria.”
A council of inspectors general that went dark after President Donald Trump removed the top coronavirus relief watchdog earlier this month resurfaced Monday, naming a top staffer to oversee the government’s pandemic response and launching a website that will catalog their efforts.
The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, a panel of two dozen federal inspectors general charged with coordinating work to investigate the coronavirus relief effort, named Robert Westbrooks, a veteran inspector general as the committee’s executive director on Monday. Westbrooks, a certified public accountant, attorney and inspector general of a massive federal retirement benefit program, has held senior watchdog positions at the Small Business Administration, the Department of Transportation, the Postal Service and the National Archives.
WASHINGTON, April 27 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled in favor of health insurers seeking $12 billion from the federal government under a program set up by the Obamacare law aimed at encouraging them to offer medical coverage to previously uninsured Americans.
The 8-1 ruling authored by liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor paves the way for a significant one-time cash infusion for major companies such as Humana Inc, Anthem Inc and Centene Corp. The justices reversed a lower court’s ruling that Congress had suspended the government’s obligation to make such payments.
The insurers had said that the lower court ruling, if allowed to stand, would have let the government pull a “bait-and-switch” and withhold money the companies were promised.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court sidestepped a major decision on gun rights Monday in a dispute over New York City’s former ban on transporting guns.
The justices threw out a challenge from gun rights groups. It ruled that the city’s move to ease restrictions on taking licensed, locked and unloaded guns outside the city limits, coupled with a change in state law to prevent New York from reviving the ban, left the court with nothing to decide. The court asked a lower court to consider whether the city’s new rules still pose problems for gun owners.
The anti-climactic end to the Supreme Court case is a disappointment to gun rights advocates and relief to gun control groups who thought a conservative Supreme Court majority fortified by two appointees of President Donald Trump, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, might use the case to expand on landmark decisions from a decade ago that established a right to keep a gun at home for self-defense.