Posted on

Fauci Predicts 100K Coronavirus Cases Daily ‘If Things Don’t Turn Around’

The number of new Chinese coronavirus cases in the United States could reach 100,000 a day if the country fails to turn things around, Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, predicted while testifying before a Senate panel on Tuesday.

There are currently about 40,000 new daily infections of COVID-19, the disease associated with the novel coronavirus, Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), a component of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), testified.

“We are now having 40-plus thousand new cases a day,” Fauci told the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP). “I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around, and so I am very concerned.”

His comments came in response to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) asking, “How many COVID-19 deaths and infections should America expect before this is all over?”

In responding, Fauci added:

I can’t make an accurate prediction, but it is going to be very disturbing, I will guarantee you that, because when you have an outbreak in one part of the country even though in other parts of the country they are doing well, they are vulnerable… We can’t just focus on those areas that are having the surge. It puts the entire country at risk.

Fauci refused to estimate the overall number of COVID-19 fatalities, saying that he gleaned his prediction in March that there would be between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths from models that tend to change over time.

He told Senators:

I would really be hesitant to give a number [on the overall number of deaths] that will come back in either be contradicted, overblown, or under blown, but I think it’s important to tell you and the American public that I’m very concerned because it could get very bad.

Adm. Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) who testified alongside Fauci, struck a more optimistic tone, saying the country “can reverse these concerning trends.”

Dr. Giroir suggested that the United States is in a better position to handle a spike in cases, testifying:

All of us are concerned about recent data from several states indicating rising infections and now an uptick in hospitalizations and deaths even as other states and the majority of counties are maintaining a low infection burden.

Knowing what we know now about a symptom of the transmission and the fact that we are in a much better position today in terms of our mitigation strategies, PPE [personal protective equipment] and testing we can reverse these concerning trends if we work together.

He urged U.S. residents to maintain social distancing, wear a face-covering whenever physical distance is impossible, practice good hygiene, and stay home if they are feeling sick.

“If you have been in close contact with someone infected or in a gathering without appropriate precautions, get tested,” Giroir added. “Shield the elderly and the vulnerable of any age. And follow the guidelines for opening up America again.”

Echoing Fauci, Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), noted that cases are increasing across the United States, particularly in the southern part of the country, following “an extended decline.”

The CDC chief testified:

The number of jurisdictions with an upward trajectory has continued to increase. Now 29 of 55 jurisdictions [in the United States] fall into this category. The evidence tells us that these cases are driven by many factors to include increased testing, community transmission, and outbreaks in settings such as nursing homes and occupational settings.

While hospitalizations are going up in some states, the number of hospital visits and deaths remains stable in most of the country, Redfield indicated.

“Hospitalizations now are going up in 12 states, and as of this weekend daily death has now increased in the state of Arizona,” Dr. Redfield said. “CDC is closely monitoring these increases.”

Health experts predicted cases would go up as more people ventured out of their homes during the reopening phase. Some public health experts have also warned that the recent protests are an ideal breeding ground for spreading COVID-19.

Source link

Posted on

The European Union’s Security and Defence Policy Beyond COVID-19 – E-International Relations

As Europe went from being the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic to a situation where most European countries are confident that they are past the worst of the crisis, the focus of the European leaders is now towards the resurgence of the society back to normalcy. Beyond the epidemiological challenge of the virus – the economic, political, geopolitical as well as security challenges faced by the Union are also plenty. Though the European Union’s Global Strategy of 2016 (PDF) highlighted the detection, prevention and response to global pandemics as a priority, the massive consequences and implications on the security policy of the EU are unprecedented. In a continent that is always undergoing shifts, the outbreak of COVID-19 is likely to cause an impact much similar to that of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the 9/11 terror attacks on the United States of America in 2001.

The most direct and immediate impact is economic in nature which is taking place concurrently to the pandemic. Most European companies including the EU defence firms are witnessing a historic drop in their stock market prices. This is subsequently leading to a rise in their debt ratios and eventually causing a functional threat to their survival. Further, as the public authorities are channelling their resources towards fighting an unprecedented challenge, the funding towards the defence sector and its initiatives is bound to be diminished.

As Europe enters a massive economic recession, defence spending will also take a blow in terms of priority. Europe’s recovery from the outbreak will require unparalleled levels of financial stimulus and thus, the allotted funding to previous defence initiatives, which do not seem to play a key role in the overall recovery of Europe, is likely to decrease. Spending on the defence sector, which had finally reached its pre-2008 financial crisis level in 2019, is now likely to see a reverse trend. The lack of funds will also have a directly proportional relationship with the in-house Research and Development sector of the European defence firms. As long as the COVID-19 crisis persists, its impact will continue to be seen as the slowdown of innovation in the European defence sector, further diminishing the European competitiveness in the same.

As the spending on defence sector slumps, the development of several initiatives on the EU defence cooperation such as European Defence Fund (EDF) and the European Peace Facility (EPF) will lose their velocity. The number of Member States already questioning the political credibility and the value of financing these initiatives will rise, fragmenting the otherwise flourishing integration project of the supranational Union. With COVID-19 wreaking havoc on the already unequal economies of the Northern and Southern European states, unity and solidarity are already under stress as Member States embolden nationalist narratives, rather than European solutions. Political will is a crucial factor for a transnational actor like the EU in order to develop an effective framework for European security and to establish itself as a credible security partner alongside NATO. The EU defence project will only make sense if the Member States support each other in principle in times of crisis.

The EU’s position as a security actor is under question as a result of the pandemic. Owing to the high cost of dealing with the socio-economic damage caused by the outbreak, the EU’s operational readiness of crisis-management activities will be narrowed down. The Union’s willingness to contribute troops to civilian and military activities on Libyan, Syrian and Ukrainian territories is likely to decrease. This inward-looking perspective of the European security policy further creates a risk that crisis in such regions may worsen at the peak of a pandemic. This will not only add to the human suffering in the neighborhood, but also create a nexus of vulnerability and crisis for Europe. If not handled effectively, non-state actors may begin to take advantage of this period of vulnerability of the Union. Negative externalities could spill over to the EU, such as accelerating the migrant issue and leading to political polarization within the Member States.

While COVID-19 continues to transform political and economic realities in Europe, it becomes imperative for the EU to advocate a holistic recovery package that focusses not only on the reconstruction of economies but also on the diversified security needs of the alliance. The EU has to cope with the pandemic as well as the economic recession without sacrificing the European defence sector initiatives and competitiveness, which could play a functional role in not only maintaining security and stability but also in pushing towards an EU-wide plan of economic and industrial re-launch. At the same time, it is important to note that the need for advancing solidarity on the defence policy front has never been as compelling. With the EU facing the heat on both sides of the pacific in the face of US-China rivalry and transatlantic relations also under stress, the exigency for a more coherent, geopolitical, self-reliant Europe is emergent.

The European Union External Action Taskforce’s factsheet on ‘COVID-19: Lessons and Implications for EU Security and Defence’ (May 2020) highlights the need of the Union to confront all possible security consequences of the pandemic, in order to be truly prepared and resilient for the future. The document brings out the five key essential initial lessons learned in order to overcome the crisis: partnerships, solidarity, responsiveness, capabilities and preparedness. It is advisable for the EU to not abandon its pre-coronavirus agenda on security and defence policy, which is required to be truly responsive to imminent threats facing the continent. Thus, the EU must incorporate European defence cooperation to be a part of its post-pandemic recovery, in order to achieve the goal of strategic autonomy, and enhance its role a security actor in the international realm.

More from E-International Relations

Source link

Posted on

Instrumentalising the Health Crisis. On Herd Democracy and Human Dignity

In the series of Debates Digital online events, Dubravka Stojanović and Anna Lengyel talk to Debates on Europe’s Carl Henrik Fredriksson about how authoritarian politicians are using the Covid-19 pandemic to limit political freedom and further illiberal democracy.

They add elements of understanding of the situation in their respective countries to their articles we have published on Serbia and on Hungary, and evoke their personal experience.

Source link

Posted on

Pandemic life and hope – VoxEurop (English)

The day is grey, cold and rainy. I’m shivering in my light summer dress while waiting our turn to dance during the May Day parade in Minsk. As we waltz by the grandstand full of top state officials, I notice that they are bundled up in hats, gloves and coats. At the end of the huge square, my grandmother is waiting for me. Usually smiling, she looks worried as she wraps me in a warm jacket. As soon as we are home, she rushes me into the shower and vigorously scrubs me with soap. It is May 1, 1986, five days after the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. There is still no official news about the disaster and the government is hiding the truth, but everybody whispers that something terrible has happened. 

This childhood flashback came to me as I watched the surrealistic streams from this year’s May 9 Victory Day parade that took place despite the coronavirus pandemic. Belarus’ permanent president Lukashenka in his military uniform, surrounded with elderly veterans – none of them wearing a mask – proudly oversaw hundreds of soldiers and students marching by a live crowd in Minsk. In his address he claimed: “We had no other choice, and if we had, we would have done the same.” He suggested that we owe our lives to those who died in the war.

The parade and Lukashenka’s speech caused an outcry. Unlike 1986, Belarusians today are well-informed about the danger and scale of the Covid crisis in Belarus and elsewhere thanks to the internet and smartphones. The public’s response was that our grandparents who suffered for us wouldn’t want to see us die from a virus helped to spread by a parade. 

The authoritarian regime can still force citizens to attend and march in parades, but it has lost control over the information space. In the Soviet tradition, the state first tried to squelch news about the virus. But people started sharing their stories online and reports spread like wildfire through social networks, messengers, and online outlets. Independent journalists published the Covid stories of ordinary people and exposed the poor state of the healthcare system and its lack of means to protect patients and staff.

By making endless inquiries to state institutions and asking uncomfortable questions to state officials they succeeded in breaking the government’s information blockade and forcing the authorities to provide regular updates. However, the state continues to obfuscate, avoid responsibility, and try to silence critical voices. People here know all too well that, when the state TV promises the situation is under control, it means things are really bad. They have learned from this regime that, at such times, they have no choice but to take the initiative themselves. And they have. 

While Lukashenka issued hollow orders – shaking the air with empty words, as my grandmother used to say – for protective gear nobody had and blamed frontline doctors for getting infected, volunteers urgently launched a crowdfunding campaign, purchased thousands of respirators, safety masks with filters, and delivered them to hospitals across the country in just a few days. Several of the capital’s trendy restaurants, whose clients were mainly hipsters, switched to making free meals and delivering lunchboxes for medical workers.

The Minsk Hackerspace tech club designed and manufactured plastic face shields for healthcare staff using 3D-printer technology. A popular local clothing brand made reusable protective wear. A tech startup working on a VR suit produced masks. Hundreds of private companies and thousands of citizens donated money to support healthcare institutions and victims. Different civic initiatives joined forces in the national #BYCOVID19 campaign and raised 250,000 dollars in 45 days in one of Europe’s poorest countries. 

For more than two decades, the regime has tried to suppress freedom of association and expression by staging fake elections, building a propaganda machine, controlling the private sector, and employing pervasive repression. And yet today we see that it has failed. The remarkable response of citizens to the Covid crisis shows that civil society is rising in Belarus, despite adverse conditions. The so-called “strong state” is, in fact, a bully who is confused and cowardly in the face of a real threat. Committed and courageous citizens, who have self-organized and mobilized so quickly and on such a large scale, are proving more effective than the state’s bumbling bureaucracy. In Belarus, authoritarianism doesn’t seem to be the answer. 

Unfortunately, arrogant rulers rarely admit mistakes or back down. On the contrary, they often become even more aggressive. Rather than words of compassion and gratitude, Belarusians hear angry and threatening speeches from our head of state. Transparency and accountability remain alien concepts for government institutions. The virus has exposed the inability of the authorities to act responsively and responsibly. Accordingly, public trust has fallen. 

It seems to me that there is greater dissent in society now, across more groups, than ever before. With a presidential election scheduled for August, protests are starting to break out. These are led by bloggers who have been trying to hold the government accountable and speak truth to power. Medical workers, disappointed by the inability of the state to protect and support them, have joined demonstrations and spoke openly online for the first time. Some have been arrested and lost their jobs.

We’ve seen this story before. The police break up the protests and persecute activists, journalists and bloggers, even those diagnosed with the virus and already in hospitals. And our servile courts continue to sentence them to prison terms. But somehow this feels different. 

At the moment, Belarusians are focused on surviving the virus. But as uncertain as post-pandemic life might look like, people are already questioning if they want to see the existing state order in their tomorrow. Three decades ago, it took a tragedy at Chernobyl to shock people into perceiving a different future and launching the changes that led to a new and independent Belarus. Like then, the changes will not come fast or easy this time. But at this strange and challenging moment, I feel very proud of my compatriots and hopeful about my country’s future.

This piece is dedicated to the life and work of Yuri Zisser, a pioneer of internet media in Belarus, founder of the country’s largest independent portal, philanthropist, and renaissance man, who passed away on 18 May 17.

This article is part of the Debates Digital project, a series of digitally published content including texts and live discussions by some of the outstanding writers, scholars and public intellectuals who are part of the Debates on Europe network. An online discussion with the authors will take place on 9 June at 7 PM CEST, and will be streamed on YouTube.

Source link

Posted on

Practice Social Distancing, Wear Masks

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (D) requested on Thursday that “protesters” in the City of Lakes practice social distancing and wear masks to reduce coronavirus transmission. The municipal government claimed to provide hundreds of masks to the public for this purpose.

Frey’s comments came during ongoing protests and riots in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd, a man who died after a municipal police officer placed his knee on Floyd’s neck while handcuffed.

The city government issued a statement on Thursday via its website with the mayor’s request.

“The City encourages everyone to exercise caution to stay safe while participating in demonstrations, including wearing masks and physical distancing as much as possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” the statement reads. “The City has made hundreds of masks available to protesters this week.”

Frey linked the unrest to slavery during remarks he made on Thursday:

What we’ve seen over the last two days and the emotion-ridden conflict over last night is the result of so much built-up anger and sadness, anger and sadness that has been ingrained in our black community, not just because of five minutes of horror, but 400 years. If you’re feeling that sadness and that anger, it’s not only understandable, it’s right.

It’s a reflection of the truth that our black community has lived. While not from lived experience, that sadness must also be understood by our non-black communities. To ignore it, to toss it out, would be to ignore the values we all claim to have. That are all the more important during a time of crisis.

“This could be the marker,” added Frey. “This could be a point in time, when several years from now we can look back to know that we rose to right the wrongs of the past. Not just with words, but with action.”

Frey, who wore a mask for his Twitter profile photo, framed Lloyd’s death in racial terms.

Breitbart News Daily broadcasts live on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.

Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter.

Source link

Posted on

Coronavirus: City of Peterborough to reopen public washrooms at parks on June 1 – Peterborough

The City of Peterborough has announced it will reopen public washrooms at its city parks beginning June 1.

The city announced Thursday that bathrooms at parks, including at Beavermead Park and Millennium Park, will open with enhanced cleaning procedures during the coronavirus pandemic.


‘Simply unacceptable’ — Peterborough Public Health calls out human waste in public

The washrooms will be open from about 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Exact opening and closing times may vary depending on the availability of staff, the city stated.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

The washrooms will be cleaned twice daily with attention to commonly touched surfaces, including doorknobs, handles, faucets and light switches.

Story continues below advertisement

People are reminded to wash their hands before and after use and to be aware of high-touch surfaces. They should practise physical distancing of at least two metres apart from others when they go out and stay home if they’re sick.

Lack of public washrooms in Peterborough are hampering efforts to flatten the curve

Lack of public washrooms in Peterborough are hampering efforts to flatten the curve

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.