Coronavirus US news summary: cases and deaths - 29 April

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Coronavirus live United States live: Covid-19 news on 29 April

US coronavirus update

US coronavirus update at 13:30 EST, 16:30 PST (22:30 CEST) on Wednesday 29 April

According to the latest figures published by Johns Hopkins University3,173,036 cases have been detected worldwide, with 225,927 deaths. 959,774 people now recovered.

In the USA, there have been 1,030,487 cases with 60,316 deaths. 116,811 people have recovered from the virus.

White House could store 'several hundred million' barrels of oil - Mnuchin

President Donald Trump on Wednesday said his administration will soon release a plan to help U.S. oil companies, which Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said could include adding millions of barrels of oil to already-teeming national reserves, as the global coronavirus pandemic crushes demand for gas.

"We're also exploring potentially having the ability to store another several hundred million barrels, so we're looking at lots of different options," Mnuchin said during a White House briefing on the coronavirus' effects on industry.

Trump administration to speed coronavirus vaccine development -senior administration official

The Trump administration is planning to speed up development of a coronavirus vaccine with the goal of having 100 million doses ready by the end of 2020,  a senior administration official said on Wednesday. The official declined to be publicly identified.

Jared Kushner calls US response to coronavirus a 'success story'

The US is approaching 60,000 deaths from the coronavirus and it has become the global epicenter of the virus with more than 33% of the global cases at over 1,000,000. Jard Kushner, the President's son-in-law, however, says it is a success story as to how the US has responded.

“We’re on the other side of the medical aspect of this,” Kushner said in an interview with Fox News. “We’ve achieved all the different milestones that are needed. The federal government rose to the challenge, and this is a great success story.” 

U.S. coronavirus outbreak soon to be deadlier than any flu since 1967 as deaths top 60,000

U.S. deaths from the novel coronavirus topped 60,000 on Wednesday and the outbreak will soon be deadlier than any flu season since 1967, according to a Reuters tally.

America's worst flu season in recent years was in 2017-2018 when more than 61,000 people died, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The only deadlier flu seasons were in 1967 when about 100,000 Americans died, 1957 when 116,000 died and the Spanish flu of 1918 when 675,000 died, according to the CDC.

The United States has the world's highest coronavirus death toll and a daily average of 2,000 people died in April of the highly contagious respiratory illness COVID-19, according to a Reuters tally. The first U.S. death was recorded on Feb. 29 but recent testing in California indicates the first death might have been on Feb. 6, with the virus circulating weeks earlier than previously thought.

On Tuesday, COVID-19 deaths in the United States eclipsed in a few months the 58,220 Americans killed during 16 years of U.S. military involvement during the Vietnam War. Cases topped 1 million.

The actual number of cases is thought to be higher, with state public health officials cautioning that shortages of trained workers and materials have limited testing capacity.

The outbreak could take nearly 73,000 U.S. lives by Aug. 4, compared with an April 22 forecast of over 67,600, according to the University of Washington's predictive model often cited by White House officials.

In early March, the prospect that the coronavirus would kill more Americans than the flu was unthinkable to many politicians who played down the risk of the new virus.

Republican President Donald Trump tweeted on March 9: "So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!"

On March 11, Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told New Yorkers during a radio interview to eat out at restaurants if they were not sick.

That same day, top U.S. infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Congress that the coronavirus was at least 10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu.

There is as yet no treatment or vaccine for coronavirus while flu vaccines are widely available along with treatments.

The league's commissioner makes $40 million a year but will forego that this year and staff who make more than $100,000 will take pay cuts ranging between 5 and 10%.

USA's GDP has fallen 4.8% in what is the worst economic decline since 2008

The US economy has shrunk by 4.8% in the first quarter due to stay-at-home orders caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Bureau of Economic Analysis says the coronavirus lockdown measures "led to rapid changes in demand, as businesses and schools switched to remote work or cancelled operations, and consumers cancelled, restricted, or redirected their spending."

"Consumers adjusted very rapidly as the lockdowns were put in place,” Michelle Meyer, the head of US economics research at Bank of America, said, noting the sharp declines in spending on restaurants and travel. “Following this Covid shock, the tendency will be to build up savings and there will also be a change in how people spend and how people live."

NCAA supports plan for athlete compensation

(Perform) -- The NCAA has announced that its board of governors is in favour of a rule change that would allow athletes to receive compensation for endorsements as well as opportunities involving social media platforms and personal appearances. 

It is a step the NCAA had been moving towards after a number of states passed legislation that would prohibit its member institutions from denying athletes the opportunity to use their name, image or likeness to earn income.

The proposal is based off recommendations made by the Federal and State Legislation Working Group panel the NCAA created last year. 

"Throughout our efforts to enhance support for college athletes, the NCAA has relied upon considerable feedback from and the engagement of our members, including numerous student-athletes, from all three divisions," said board chairperson and Ohio State president Michael Drake.

"Allowing promotions and third-party endorsements is uncharted territory." 

The changes would go into effect beginning with the 2021-22 academic year if approved, with a formal vote scheduled to take place at the next NCAA convention in January. 

Death toll in US

The New York Times report US death toll higher than reported

In a report on the New York Times website, they say the death toll in the US is higher than being reported. The death tolls in seven states that have been hit hardest by the pandemic including New York and Michigan are 50% higher than normal. That would add 9,000 to the reported death toll up until April 11.

Cuomo bites back

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo criticised Florida Senator Rick Scott for asking why the federal government should provide funding to states facing budget shortfalls, noting that New York puts more into the federal coffers every year than it gets back.

'Who is we and who is them?' Cuomo asked rhetorically at a daily briefing, referring to Scott's comments on Monday lamenting the idea that 'we're supposed to go bail them out'. 'New York state bails them out every year.' (Reuters)

WHO updates

Fear of medical cost

It suggests that almost 35 million people might avoid seeing a doctor for the symptoms, which are known manifestations of Covid-19.

Wall St

Wall Street surges on hopes for new Covid-19 drug

Wall Street jumped on Wednesday as Gilead Sciences gave an encouraging update on a potential Covid-19 treatment and upbeat earnings from Google-parent Alphabet boosted shares of other technology and internet giants. Gilead rose 4.8% after the drugmaker said its experimental antiviral drug remdesivir helped improve symptoms for Covid-19 patients who were given the drug early.

"The news on Gilead is really powering the market," said Linda Duessel, senior equity strategist at Federated Hermes in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. "While we wait for a vaccine, we are looking out for anything that will help us get back into society, and we're all hanging on this data on a day-by-day basis."

The three main indexes have recovered 30% from their mid-March lows, boosted by aggressive stimulus efforts and, more recently, on hopes of an economic revival as many US states begin to relax lockdown measures. Growth stocks such Facebook Inc, Apple Inc, Inc and Netflix Inc gained between 2% and 6%, while Alphabet Inc surged 8.6% as its quarterly report showed Google ad sales steadied in April. The S&P 500 communication services sector index jumped 4.6%, the most among the 11 major sub-indexes. Boeing Co reported a loss for the second straight quarter, but its shares rose 3.7% after the planemaker said it would cut jobs and try to boost liquidity.

All eyes will be on the policy statement by the Federal Reserve at the end of its two-day meeting at 2 p.m. EDT (19:00 hours CEST). The policymakers are expected to keep their promise to do whatever it takes to support the world's largest economy. 

Big Bro Government

Interesting poll on the role of the US federal government.

Kiwi decision making

With the southern hemisphere nation claiming to have got rid of the virus that is devastating most of the world, we look into how exactly that happened and what can be learned.

Veterans home count cost of massive Covid-19 outbreak

Approximately 70 elderly veterans are reported to have died while a further 82 residents and 81 employees have tested positive for Covid-19 at the Soldiers' Home in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Officials are trying to determine whether residents were denied proper medical care as the death toll continue to climb.

There were close to 230 residents living at the home at the end of March according to The Boston Globe. It is believed that less than half that number are still in residence. 

Paulo Dybala tests positive for coronavirus for the fourth time

The Juventus star's Covid-19 test came back positive for the first time a month and a half ago, on 21 March.

Impossible to stage Tokyo Olympics unless pandemic is contained

It will not be possible to host the Tokyo Olympic Games next year unless the coronavirus pandemic is contained, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Wednesday.

The International Olympic Committee and the Japanese government postponed the Games last month until July 2021 because of the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

With the epidemic's worldwide infection rate climbing and experts suggesting a vaccine is still a long way off, questions are being asked about whether the huge setpiece event might need to be delayed further.

"We've been saying the Olympic and Paralympic Games must be held in a complete form, in that athletes and spectators can all participate safely. It would be impossible to hold the Games in such a complete form unless the coronavirus pandemic is contained," Abe said today.

He was replying to a query from an opposition lawmaker whether Tokyo could host the Games next year, after this year's delay caused by the pandemic. Tokyo confirmed 112 new infections on Tuesday, said national broadcaster NHK. Numbers for Wednesday were not yet available. The national tally stands at 13,895 infections, including 413 deaths, according to NHK.

That tally is still low compared to other nations, but critics say Japan is not doing enough testing to reveal the scope of a problem that has driven some hospitals to the brink.

"When we look at what we face now, we must brace for a protracted battle against the pandemic ... We will be in close contact with the IOC, the Tokyo organising committee and the Tokyo gubernatorial government," said Abe.

He added that the Olympics "must be held in a way that shows the world has won its battle against the coronavirus pandemic. Otherwise, it will be hard to hold the Games."

Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori told a sports daily Nikkan Sports on Tuesday that the Games would be "scrapped" if they could not take place in 2021. Also on Tuesday, the head of the Japan Medical Association (JMA), Yoshitake Yokokura, told a news briefing that "unless an effective vaccine is developed, I expect hosting the Olympics will be difficult".



New addition to the Johnson family

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's fiancee, Carrie Symonds, has given birth to a baby boy, Downing Street said on Wednesday. Both mother and child are doing well. The boy was born at a London hospital.

Johnson returned to work on Monday, a month after testing positive for Covid-19 which he said had threatened his life. Symonds also had symptoms of Covid-19 but recovered swiftly. The couple, who have been living together in Downing Street since Johnson became prime minister in July, announced in February that they were expecting their first child.

Politicians began sending their congratulations to the couple. "So thrilled for Boris and Carrie. Wonderful to have a moment of unalloyed joy!" Health minister Matt Hancock said on Twitter.

Johnson, who refuses to say how many children he has in total, was previously married to Marina Wheeler, and they had four children together. They announced in September 2018 that they had separated and they divorced earlier this year.

Covid-19 virus inspires global street artists.

The pandemic has seen a series of coronavirus inspired graffiti and street art around the world as showcased in this gallery.

Three US children with Covid-19 have rare inflammatory syndrome

Three children, ranging in age from 6 months to 8 years, have undergone treatment for a rare inflammatory syndrome that appears to be similar to the one that has been causing concern in Spain, Italy and the UK, according to Reuters. 

Doctors in Europe have been investigating links between the coronavirus and clusters of severe inflammatory disease among children. The patients suffer from high fevers and swollen arteries. 

According to a pediatric rheumatologist and immunologist, talking to Reuters, the pattern of this syndrome in children in some ways follows what is happening with some adult COVID-19 patients, who get very sick, begin to recover, and then have a secondary immune response.

It should be noted that while these symptoms are highly concerning, they are affecting a very tiny percentage of patients infected with the coronavirus. 

US coronavirus update

US coronavirus update at 18:30 EST/15:30 PST on Tuesday 28 April (00:30 CEST on Wednesday 29 April)

According to the latest figures published by Johns Hopkins University3,110,219 cases have been detected worldwide, with 216,808 deaths. 923,724 people now recovered.

US figures

In the USA, there have been 1,010,717 cases with 58,365 deaths. 115,372 people have recovered from the virus.

Dog tests positive for coronavirus in Cincinnati

A dog has tested positive for coronavirus in the US. Two cats tested positive in New York some weeks ago but this is believed to be the first dog to have tested positive.

Trump's advisers considering further direct cash support

Speaking to reporters at the White House earlier, one of Trump's economic advisers said the administration was studying "very carefully" the possibility that Americans might need more than a single $1,200 stimulus check to make it through the pandemic.

Some of our stories from the US on Tuesday:

What you need to know about Trump’s 60-day immigration ban

Car insurance refunds over Covid-19 pandemic

Coronavirus pandemic inspires global graffiti artists

US surpasses 1 million cases

The USA has passed 1 million cases as on Tuesday 29 April. Lockdown measures are being rolled back in many states despite the fact they the total figure is one-third of the world's total. Many medical professionals have said that there is a chance the virus could spike again if the proper social distancing measures are not kept in place and adhered to.

The Guardian have compiled a list of the turning points during the pandemic in the US, which has led to it being the epicentre of the crisis worldwide.

Hello and welcome to our live feed covering US breaking news, updates, statistics and comments in relation to coronavirus on 29 April 2020.

The US surpassed 1,000,000 cases on Tuesday, which is more than 33% of the world's total. Despite that number, some states are rolling back lockdown measures as pressure ramps up to re-open struggling businesses. Donald Trump has said that there will be 5 million tests done daily, something seen as an important aspect of keeping it under control. They are currently only doing 200,000 tests a day and it's unclear as to how Trump plans to increase that figure to 5 million.