- UK death toll passes 10,000
- Boris Johnson released from hospital, says “I owe my life to the NHS”
- Pope delivers Easter blessing at an empty St. Peter’s Basilica
- Pope says debts of poor nations should be ‘forgiven’
- Japanese report record single-day jump in cases for 5th day running
- NY deaths, hospitalizations continue to fall.
- FDA’s Hahn, Dr. Fauci say US will begin reopening on May 1.
- Asian nations worry about Indonesia being “weak link”
- Bill Gates warns we’re in “uncharted territory”
- Spain leads rebound in European deaths, cases, snapping streak of declines
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Update (1140ET): Andrew Cuomo kicked off a special Easter Sunday edition of his daily press briefing with some more good news: both deaths and hospitalizations have continued to fall across New York State. According to health officials, deaths over the last 24 hours declined to 758, bringing the statewide death toll to 9,385.
Cuomo said he would sign an executive order mandating that essential businesses supply employees with gloves and masks. He also complained that NY was only getting $12k per patient from the trio of federal coronavirus bills passed since the outbreak began. He complained that less densely populated states are getting up to $300k per patient, amount received by Republican-controlled Montana.
Watch Cuomo live below:
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) April 12, 2020
Meanwhile, the UK Department of Health released figures for the rest of the UK, confirming that the rate is accelerating across the country. The UK reported 5,288 new cases and 737 new deaths, for a total of 84,279 cases and 10,612 deaths.
But before we go, a little Easter-themed coronavirus humor:
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As millions of Christians wake up to an Easter Sunday largely devoid of cherished holiday traditions (Easter Egg hunts, baskets filled with candy, gathering to celebrate with family), the UK Health Department reported some more grim news: As expected, the COVID-19 death toll in the country passed 10k over the last 24 hours, according to numbers released Sunday morning.
The UK Department of Health and Social Care revealed that the death toll rose in England by 657 to 9,594 on Sunday, bringing the total across the UK to more than 10,500. Unfortunately, the daily deaths have become part of the world’s grim routine in the coronavirus era. But at least the British people received some good news: PM Boris Johnson has left the hospital in London where he was briefly moved to the ICU about a week ago.
After Italy reported a sudden jump in deaths yesterday, ending a promising streak of declines, Spain on Sunday reported a daily death toll of 16,972, up 619 on Sunday, compared with a jump of 510 yesterday. The Saturday number was a nearly three-week low, and marked the third day in a streak of declines.
So much for that trend of leveling off that experts hailed as signs of a possible peak. On Saturday, both the Spanish and Italian governments celebrated what looked like progress in combating the virus, and assured the population that the transition back to “normalcy” would begin soon.
In the Vatican, Pope Francis spoke before an empty St. Peter’s Basilica for the annual Easter Vigil. This year, he urged Catholics celebrating the holiday weekend in lockdown to “not yield to fear”. More controversially, the pope called on the debts of poor nations to be ‘forgiven’ to help them deal with the virus.
For the fifth day in a row, health authorities in Japan confirmed yet another daily record of new cases. Japan is roughly one week into a state of emergency that can’t be enforced by law, but appears to be setting in nonetheless, as non-essential businesses close and Japan’s students reckon they won’t return to a classroom until the fall, at the earliest. Like Trump, Japanese PM Shinzo Abe has been criticized for not ramping up testing, and for getting complacent after the “Diamond Princess” fiasco.
In the US, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said the White House had targeted May 1 as the date to start relaxing stay-at-home restrictions. “We see light at the end of the tunnel,” he told ABC’s “This Week.”
Hahn, however, warned that there were many factors to take into account in finally determining when it would be safe to lift restrictions, he said
President Trump is considering May 1 as a new target for opening the country, sources tell ABC News.
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) April 12, 2020
Dr. Fauci said something similar during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union”.
— CNN (@CNN) April 12, 2020
Meanwhile, more attention is being paid to several other European countries, including the Netherlands, where the number of confirmed coronavirus cases has topped 25,000, health authorities said on Sunday, with the number of deaths rising by 94 to 2,737. Belgium reported 1,629 new cases and 268 new deaths on Sunday, for a total of 29,647 cases and 3,600 deaths. Portugal reported 598 new cases of coronavirus and 34 new deaths, for a total of 16,585 cases and 504 deaths.
Yesterday, Sweden reported 77 new deaths and 544 new cases, bringing the country’s case total north of 10k to 10,151. Its death toll, meanwhile, is about to cross 1k. As time goes on, how things play out in Sweden offers an interesting contrast to the US and the rest of Europe.
While Japan deals with its resurgence, across Asia, media reports and governments are looking at Indonesia, which engaged in some short-lived denialism before finally acknowledging that the virus had arrived, as the weak link in the neighborhood. A riot in a prison in Indonesia’s North Sulawesi province where at least one guard is reportedly exhibiting COVID-19-like symptoms has highlighted the risk as prisoners in overcrowded jails take matters into their own hands to avoid being infected – a phenomenon that has also played out in Italy and China.
Finally, in an interview with the BBC, Microsoft founder Bill Gates said “we find ourselves in uncharted territories” after the international community failed to properly prepare for a pandemic. Gates has emerged as a major critic of government responses, saying very few countries warrant “an A” grade for their coronavirus responses.
Gates has also advocated a mandatory 10-week strict lockdown to eradicate the virus that would likely cause immense suffering among the poorest and most vulnerable among us.