The British medical journal The Lancet blasted what it called the Trump administration’s “inconsistent and incoherent national response to the COVID-19 crisis.” In an editorial, The Lancet wrote, “Americans must put a president in the White House come January, 2021, who will understand that public health should not be guided by partisan politics.” The U.S. death toll is rapidly approaching 86,000 with over 1.4 million confirmed coronavirus cases, though public health experts say both figures are certain to be underestimates.
In Michigan, lawmakers canceled a legislative session Thursday as protesters armed with assault rifles descended on the state Capitol in Lansing. Michigan’s latest anti-lockdown protests came as the Detroit Metro Times reported Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer has faced dozens of death threats on social media sites urging people to flout social distancing orders. Texas recorded 58 COVID-19 deaths and over 1,400 new infections on Thursday. It was Texas’s worst day yet during the pandemic. The spike comes two weeks after Republican Governor Greg Abbott allowed shopping malls, restaurants and theaters to reopen.
Amazon says it will end $2-per-hour hazard pay for workers at the end of May. The rollback comes after an Amazon employee recently told CBS more than 600 Amazon workers have tested positive for COVID-19, with six dying of the disease. An analysis by the Institute for Policy Studies released Thursday estimated Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos — the richest person on Earth — has seen his wealth increase by $30 billion since mid-March.
Here in New York, Governor Andrew Coumo has extended stay-at-home orders until May 28 but is opening some areas upstate. Meanwhile, a viral video shows New York police officers tackling a woman and handcuffing her in front of her young child in a Brooklyn subway station, after she allegedly failed to wear a mask properly. The mother, who is African American, was arrested Wednesday on charges of resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and harassment. This follows another viral video filmed earlier this month showing plainclothes NYPD officers violently pinning a Black man to the ground for allegedly violating social distancing rules, and assaulting a passerby who witnessed the arrest. The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office reports that of 40 people arrested for social distancing violations, 35 were Black, four were Latinx, and just one was white.
In Peru, hospitals in the Amazon region have collapsed and are in a state of “catastrophe” as cases of COVID-19 continue to surge, leaving at least 14 healthcare workers dead. The main hospital in the city of Iquitos reports only 13 to 15 doctors are healthy enough to care for the 300 new patients admitted daily. This is Dr. Enrique Sicchar.
Dr. Enrique Sicchar: “Today we are in a state of total catastrophe. At the regional hospital, the health system has collapsed. … The hospital has no more than 13 to 15 doctors for the entire hospital, and this situation has overwhelmed all of our human capacity.”
In the United States, a second immigrant has died of COVID-19 after being in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Columbus Free Press reports Óscar López Acosta had been detained at Morrow County Correctional Facility in Ohio for over a year but was reportedly released in late April for being at high risk of COVID-19 due to his diabetes. It is unclear whether he contracted COVID-19 in the ICE jail, but advocates say it is very likely, as the facility has also become a hot spot for the coronavirus with between 50 and 80 prisoners testing positive.
The family of a 20-year-old Indigenous woman from Guatemala who was shot dead in 2018 by a Border Patrol agent has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the agent and the U.S. government. Claudia Gómez González was crossing through the Texas-Mexico border with a group of people when border agents confronted her, prompting one of them to shoot her in the head.
In the Philippines, tens of thousands of people are being evacuated to shelters as Typhoon Vongfong continues to ravage the island nation. Evacuees are staying in overcrowded shelters as local officials urge people to maintain social distancing, and warn evacuation centers could become coronavirus hot spots.