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HeadlinesApril 09, 2020

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Coronavirus Pandemic Could Push 600 Million More People into Poverty

Apr 09, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic could push an additional 600 million people into poverty, unless urgent action is taken to bail out poor countries. That’s the finding of the British charity Oxfam, which is calling on world leaders to fund a $2.5 trillion rescue package to prevent “global economic collapse.” The proposal would cancel $1 trillion of poor countries’ debts to free up cash for food and medicine. Oxfam warns that without massive intervention, half of all jobs in Africa could be lost to the pandemic.

New York Reports Record 779 Coronavirus Deaths in Just 24 Hours

Apr 09, 2020

Worldwide, the coronavirus continues to spread exponentially, with over 1.5 million documented cases and nearly 90,000 deaths — though the true rate of infection is certain to be far higher due to a critical lack of testing. In Europe, there are signs that social distancing measures are flattening the curve of new infections, with Spain, Italy and France all recording fewer deaths over the past 24 hours. Here in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday the city has not yet reached its peak rate of deaths from COVID-19.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo: “The bad news is actually terrible: highest single-day death toll yet, 779 people. When you look at the numbers on the death toll, it has been going steadily up, and it reached a new height yesterday.”

Governor Cuomo acknowledged the true death toll is certain to be higher because hundreds of people who’ve died of COVID-19 in their homes have not been counted. This comes as The New York Times reports Governor Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio failed to trace the contacts of the first people known to be infected with coronavirus in early March, allowing the virus to spread undetected. The Times reports a failed federal response, combined with unheeded warnings, delayed decisions and political infighting at the state and local level to accelerate the spread of the virus across New York.

General Motors to Deliver 30,000 Ventilators, with Most Arriving Long After Projected COVID-19 Peak

Apr 09, 2020

The Trump administration said Wednesday it will pay General Motors nearly half a billion dollars to manufacture 30,000 ventilators amid a critical shortage of the life-saving devices. The White House says GM will deliver about 6,000 ventilators by the end of May, with the rest delivered through the summer to the end of August. Many models for COVID-19 in the United States predict the need for ventilators will peak this month before tapering off through the month of May.

Kansas to Allow Crowded Church Services as L.A. Expands Order on Face Coverings

Apr 09, 2020

In Kansas, Republican lawmakers have reversed an order limiting the size of church services, raising fears of community spread at congregations celebrating Easter services.

In Chicago, the Cook County Jail has emerged as the largest known source of coronavirus infections in the United States, with at least 353 COVID-19 cases linked to the jail.

In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti on Wednesday ordered all customers and essential workers to wear facial coverings in public.

Mayor Eric Garcetti: “Employers are required to provide these face protections or to reimburse employees for their cost. This applies to workers in grocery stores, drugstores, restaurants, hotels, taxis and ride-share vehicles, and construction sites.”

California Fast-Food Workers Strike, Demanding Hazard Pay and Protections Against COVID-19

Apr 09, 2020

In California, hundreds of workers at 30 fast-food restaurants are on strike today to demand personal protective equipment and paid sick leave. This is Irving Gaza, a McDonald’s worker in San Jose, who joined a strike earlier this week.

Irving Gaza: “I am the one who’s the most at risk. I am the guy who’s in the drive-thru. I’m in very close contact with people. McDonald’s doesn’t want to pay me hazard pay or any of us hazard pay. We’re getting no masks or anything like that. Nothing.”

Meanwhile, the United Food and Commercial Workers union is calling on the Trump administration to issue mandatory safety policies to protect grocery store workers. The union wants to ensure all shoppers wear masks, with limits on the number of people allowed into a store at any given time, enforced social distancing, disinfecting and sanitizing procedures, and personal protective equipment for all workers.

Trump Touts Unproven Treatments of Hydroxychloroquine and Zinc for COVID-19

Apr 09, 2020

At the White House Wednesday, President Trump continued to promote hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 curative, even though no clinical trials have shown the drug to be effective at treating the virus. A medical journal which published a French study suggesting a therapeutic use for the drug in treating coronavirus has since said the study does not meet expected medical standards. And cardiologists warn hydroxychloroquine has serious side effects and can cause sudden cardiac arrest in some patients. Meanwhile, President Trump added another chemical to his list of untested treatments.

President Donald Trump: “Zinc, they say. Zinc. You should add zinc. Now, this all has to be recommended by doctors, physicians. But they say zinc.”

There is no medical evidence showing zinc to be an effective treatment for COVID-19. President Trump appears to be promoting an unproven cocktail of drugs administered by Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, a self-described “simple country doctor” in New York who’s been widely promoted on Fox News.

Meanwhile, White House aides are discussing plans to reopen the U.S. economy as early as May 1, despite warnings from public health officials that an end to social distancing measures could lead to a new surge of infections and deaths.

World Health Organization Head: “Please Don’t Politicize This Virus”

Apr 09, 2020

The head of the World Health Organization said Wednesday he’s received death threats and racist insults while leading the international fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was responding to a reporter’s question about whether criticism from world leaders like President Donald Trump made his job more difficult.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: “Please don’t politicize this virus. It exploits the differences you have at the national level. If you want to be exploited and if you want to have many more body bags, then you do it.”

This week, President Trump tried to shift blame for his administration’s disastrous response to the pandemic onto the WHO, calling the agency too “China-centric.” Trump and senior Republicans, including Senator Lindsey Graham and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have said they may withhold U.S. funding for the WHO.

Researchers Find Coronavirus Arrived in New York from Europe in Mid-February

Apr 09, 2020

Medical researchers say the novel coronavirus likely circulated undetected for weeks in New York beginning in February — long before New York confirmed its first COVID-19 case on March 1. Two separate teams of researchers say genetic material taken from thousands of patients shows the main source of early infections came from Europe, and not from Asia. The finding undermines President Trump’s argument that his ban on travelers from China in late January delayed the arrival of the coronavirus in the U.S. It also underscores how a critical lack of testing laid the seeds for an explosion of COVID-19 illnesses and deaths in New York and beyond.

Meanwhile, the National Academy of Sciences warns the spread of the coronavirus is unlikely to slow as springtime temperatures return to the Northern Hemisphere.

Bernie Sanders Suspends Presidential Campaign

Apr 09, 2020

Senator Bernie Sanders said Wednesday he is suspending his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, making former Vice President Joe Biden the presumptive nominee to face Donald Trump in the November election. Sanders addressed his supporters in a live stream from his home in Burlington, Vermont.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: “Together, we have transformed American consciousness as to what kind of nation we can become, and have taken this country a major step forward in the never-ending struggle for economic justice, social justice, racial justice and environmental justice.”

After headlines, we’ll play extended remarks from Senator Sanders’s concession speech. And we’ll speak with journalist and activist Naomi Klein about his historic presidential campaign.

Saudi-Led Coalition in Yemen Declares Ceasefire as Coronavirus Takes Toll on Royal Family

Apr 09, 2020

In Yemen, the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels has declared a two-week unilateral ceasefire as COVID-19 spreads across the Arabian Peninsula. Five years of war have devastated Yemen’s healthcare and sanitation infrastructure, leading to what the United Nations calls the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe. Over 100,000 people are dead, with millions at risk of famine — as well as COVID-19 infection. Yemen has recorded over 2 million cases of cholera since 2016. Last month, the Trump administration cut off tens of millions of dollars in medical aid and other assistance for Yemen.

The Yemen ceasefire comes amid reports that as many as 150 members of the Saudi royal family have contracted COVID-19, including 76-year-old Prince Faisal bin Bandar, the governor of Riyadh, who has reportedly been admitted to an intensive care unit.

Palestinians Plead for Lifting of Gaza Blockade as Coronavirus Tests Run Out

Apr 09, 2020

Human rights groups are calling on Israel to urgently lift its blockade of occupied Gaza and the West Bank to allow the flow of medical supplies, equipment and medical personnel needed to stem the spread of the coronavirus and to treat COVID-19 patients. This comes as Palestinian health officials say Gaza has run out of coronavirus test kits and are pleading with international organizations for more ventilators and beds for intensive care units.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon has gifted 1 million surgical masks to the Israel Defense Forces, as soldiers remain on patrol in occupied Palestinian territories during the outbreak.

The Israeli government has ordered Palestinians who hold permits to work in Israel to download a smartphone app giving Israel’s military access to personal and GPS location data — and even to cameras.

Italy to Close Ports to Migrant Aid Ships; Asylees in Greece Must Remain in Camps

Apr 09, 2020

In immigration news, Italy has closed its ports to boats that provide humanitarian aid to migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean. Government officials say its ports are no longer safe amid the coronavirus outbreak.

In Greece, fears are mounting over the uncontrollable spread of coronavirus in overcrowded and unsanitary refugee camps. The Greek government says it won’t be reviewing new asylum claims until after the crisis is over, leaving thousands of people trapped in camps.

Hundreds of Bolivians Trapped in Quarantine as Chile Seals Border

Apr 09, 2020

In Bolivia, hundreds of people are stranded in a military quarantine camp after they tried to cross the Chilean border back into Bolivia to avoid Chile’s 14-day mandatory quarantine. The camp was built last week to hold Bolivians who were not in the country when the coronavirus outbreak began.

13-Year-Old Charlotte Figi, Whose Epilepsy Was Eased by Medical Cannabis, Dies of Suspected COVID-19

Apr 09, 2020

In Colorado, 13-year-old Charlotte Figi has died of respiratory failure and cardiac arrest stemming from a suspected case of COVID-19. As a small child, Charlotte suffered from relentless epileptic seizures that improved dramatically after her family treated her with oil from a strain of medical marijuana, high in the chemical CBD, that’s since been named “Charlotte’s Web.” The oil is now widely used to treat certain forms of epilepsy. Click here to read more about Charlotte’s case.

Air Pollution Plummets Worldwide Amid Coronavirus Lockdowns

Apr 09, 2020

In environmental news, the snow-capped Himalayas are visible from cities in northern India for the first time in 30 years, as pollution levels have dropped dramatically since the enactment of a nationwide coronavirus lockdown. Los Angeles saw some of the cleanest air of any city in the world this week, as the dark smog and pollution that usually clouds the city’s skyline have dissipated under California’s strict stay-at-home measures.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration is set to open more than 100 national wildlife refuges to hunting and fishing. The plan would allow fishing for the first time at several wildlife refuges, including the San Diego Bay and the Everglades Headwaters in Florida.

ACLU Demands Investigation After Migrant Forced to Birth Baby in Border Patrol Custody

Apr 09, 2020

The American Civil Liberties Union is demanding an investigation into the Border Patrol’s abuse of pregnant migrants in their custody. The complaint filed Wednesday details how a Guatemalan woman gave birth at the Chula Vista Border Patrol station near San Diego, standing up, holding onto a trash can while still wearing her pants. She had pleaded with Border Patrol agents for help, but they reportedly told her to sit down and wait to be processed. She had been detained with her husband and two young daughters in February as they hoped to apply for asylum in the U.S.

In related news, the Trump administration has quietly shut down the country’s asylum system for the first time in decades using an obscure public health law to justify one of the most aggressive U.S.-Mexico border crackdowns amid the pandemic.

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