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Trump’s Idiocy Just Condemned His Citizens

Trump’s Idiocy Just Condemned His Citizens — The Rest of Earth Must Practise ‘Social Distancing’ from the US (Source morningstaronline.co.uk)

US stock markets lifted today on a tide of investor enthusiasm following the announcement that the Federal Reserve was poised to give the US economy a limitless cash injection.

And in the closed mind of Donald Trump, this is simply the beginning and the end of the matter. The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 1,400 points putting on 7 per cent and the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite nearly matched this.But even the impregnable ignorance of Trump will be tested to destruction by the analysis coming from the World Health Organisation that the US is due to become the new global epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic.

If we bear in mind that the accurate recording of infection rates and associated deaths in the US is hobbled by a pattern of vastly inadequate and unequal health provision — with one in 10 of the population without health insurance — we can be sure that the actual infection rate is higher and the death rate will grow.

It is an unsavoury thought, but President Trump is truly an emperor without clothes.

But the only metric which conditions the president’s thinking is the stock market indices — and in very short order there will be a point in which the illusory trajectory described by Trump’s imaginings will be intersected by the guided missile that is reality.

US to free some prisoners amid coronavirus threat

US to free some prisoners amid coronavirus threat

(Source AFP)

US Attorney General Bill Barr said Thursday he had instructed federal prisons to free some inmates to lessen the impact of the coronavirus epidemic.

One day after the United Nations human rights chief urged countries to protect people held in overcrowded jails and other enclosed facilities, Barr said he had encouraged US prisons to release qualified inmates. “I’ve asked and issued a memorandum just today to the Bureau of Prisons to increase the use of home confinement, based on a number of factors… particularly for those older prisoners who have served substantial parts of their sentences,” Barr said.

He said the instruction was focused on prisoners who are not considered dangerous and who may have underlying medical conditions that make them particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus.

“We want to make sure that our institutions don’t become petri dishes” for the disease, Barr said.

His instructions apply to the some 170,000 inmates in the US federal prison system, where about a dozen cases of coronavirus have been discovered among prisoners and prison staff. The directive will favor prisoners over 60 years old who have not been convicted of violent or sexual crimes.

Possibly 2,000 inmates could qualify.

The majority of the 2.2 million people serving prison time in the United States are in state and local institutions. A number of state governors have come under pressure to free elderly inmates with greater risks of coronavirus infection. The leaders of California and New Jersey are already moving with similar actions to Barr’s.

Russia thanks ‘real friend’ Jack Ma for gift of a million masks

Russia thanks ‘real friend’ Jack Ma for gift of a million masks (Source Reuters)

Russia has received more than a million masks and 200,000 coronavirus testing kits as a gift from Chinese billionaire businessman Jack Ma, its Defence Ministry said on Thursday.

Calling Ma “a real friend”, the ministry said in a statement that the co-founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba had spoken by telephone to Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and told him how touched he had been by Moscow’s own help for China. The foundations of Alibaba and Ma said on Wednesday they had sent medical equipment to Russia. The Russian Defence Ministry said Ma’s gift had been delivered in a Russian air force plane which had flown from China.

President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday he hoped Russia would defeat coronavirus in two to three months if it imposed tough measures, as authorities suspended international flights, ordered most shops in Moscow to shut and halted some church services.

A RECORD 3.3 MILLION AMERICANS FILED FOR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AS THE CORONAVIRUS SLAMS ECONOMY

A RECORD 3.3 MILLION AMERICANS FILED FOR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AS THE CORONAVIRUS SLAMS ECONOMY (Source The Washington Post)

A record 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department said Thursday, as restaurants, hotels, barber shops, gyms and more shut down in a nationwide effort to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

Last week saw the biggest jump in new jobless claims in history, surpassing the record of 695,000 set in 1982. Many economists say this is the beginning of a massive spike in unemployment that could result in over 40 million Americans losing their jobs by April.

Laid off workers say they waited hours on the phone to apply for help. Websites in several states, including New York and Oregon, crashed because so many people were trying to apply at once.

“The most terrifying part about this is this is likely just the beginning of the layoffs,” said Martha Gimbel, a labor economist at Schmidt Futures.

Senate stimulus deal includes individual checks — but don’t expect the money right away

Senate stimulus deal includes individual checks — but don’t expect the money right away

(Source cnn.com) The Senate unanimously passed a $2 trillion stimulus deal late Wednesday that includes sending checks directly to individuals amid the coronavirus crisis — but it will likely take weeks before the money goes out.  President Donald Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are still pushing to get the direct payments issued by April 6, a White House official told CNN. Mnuchin said Wednesday that the administration expects to begin issuing direct payments to taxpayers within three weeks of a stimulus package being signed into law. “Our expectation is within three weeks we will have direct payments out where we have depository information,” Mnuchin said. “We’re looking to get a lot more information and we have procedures to do that.” Mnuchin added that by the end of next week, the administration wants all banks to be able to originate loans on a “same day” basis.

Under previous programs in 2001 and 2008, the government took longer than a month to distribute checks. “It is extremely unlikely that people will get payments by April 6 — just two weeks from now,” said Howard Gleckman, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center. “It is more realistic to expect them in a month or two.”

13 Deaths in a Day: An ‘Apocalyptic’ Coronavirus Surge at an NYC Hospital

13 Deaths in a Day: An ‘Apocalyptic’ Coronavirus Surge at an NYC Hospital

(Source The New York Times) Dr. Ashley Bray performed chest compressions at Elmhurst Hospital Center on a woman in her 80s, a man in his 60s and a 38-year-old who reminded the doctor of her fiancé. All had tested positive for the coronavirus and had gone into cardiac arrest. All eventually died.

Elmhurst, a 545-bed public hospital in Queens, has begun transferring patients not suffering from coronavirus to other hospitals as it moves toward becoming dedicated entirely to the outbreak. Doctors and nurses have struggled to make do with a few dozen ventilators. Calls over a loudspeaker of “Team 700,” the code for when a patient is on the verge of death, come several times a shift. Some have died inside the emergency room while waiting for a bed. A refrigerated truck has been stationed outside to hold the bodies of the dead. Over the past 24 hours, New York City’s public hospital system said in a statement, 13 people at Elmhurst had died.

“It’s apocalyptic,” said Bray, 27, a general medicine resident at the hospital. Across the city, which has become the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, hospitals are beginning to confront the kind of harrowing surge in cases that has overwhelmed health care systems in China, Italy and other countries. On Wednesday evening, New York City reported 20,011 confirmed cases and 280 deaths. More than 3,922 coronavirus patients have been hospitalized in the city. Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday offered a glimmer of hope that social-distancing measures were starting to slow the growth in hospitalizations statewide. This week, the state’s hospitalization estimations were down markedly, from a doubling of cases every two days to every four days. “Elmhurst is at the center of this crisis, and it’s the number one priority of our public hospital system right now,” the city’s public hospital system’s statement said. “The front line staff are going above and beyond in this crisis, and we continue surging supplies and personnel to this critical facility to keep pace with the crisis.”

Dr. Mitchell Katz said plans were underway to transform many areas of the Elmhurst hospital into intensive care units for extremely sick patients.

But New York’s hospitals may be about to lose their leeway for creativity in finding spaces. All of the more than 1,800 intensive care beds in the city are expected to be full by Friday, according to a Federal Emergency Management Agency briefing obtained by The New York Times.

Coronavirus: US overtakes China with most cases

Coronavirus: US overtakes China with most cases

(Source bbc.com)

The US now has more confirmed cases of coronavirus than any other country with more than 83,500 positive tests.

According to the latest figures collated by Johns Hopkins University, the US has overtaken China (81,782 cases) and Italy (80,589).

But with 1,200 Covid-19-related fatalities, the US death toll lags behind China (3,291) and Italy (8,215).

The grim milestone came as President Donald Trump predicted the nation would get back to work “pretty quickly”. Asked about the latest figures at a White House briefing on Thursday afternoon, President Trump said it was “a tribute to the amount of testing that we’re doing”. As many as 2,300 patients could die every day during the epidemic peak, set for some point in April, even if people observe strict social distancing, according to the study from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine.

Russia Was Targeting America When It Triggered the Oil War

Russia Was Targeting America When It Triggered the Oil War (Source thetrumpet.com)

Saudi Arabia has launched what could end up being one of the worst oil price wars in modern history, and American oil and gas companies could be caught in the cross fire. With fears about a coronavirus epidemic effecting demand for oil around the world, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) met in Vienna, Austria, on March 6 to propose that total oil output be reduced by 1.5 million barrels a day to prevent oil prices from dropping too fast. Yet Russia refused to cooperate with opec and cut its oil production. This refusal prompted Saudi Arabia to announce that it would not be cutting oil production either. Instead it would increase its oil production by 2 million barrels per day. In an already oversupplied global market, Saudi Arabia’s announcement caused Brent crude oil prices to plunge 31 percent to a low of $31.25 a barrel, its steepest single-day drop since the 1991 Persian Gulf War. It only costs $9.90 for Saudi Arabia to pump a barrel of crude oil out of an existing oil field, while it takes Russia $17.20 to do the same thing. So the Saudi government figures it can survive low oil prices much longer than Russia can.

But the heart of this dispute revolves around America’s oil and gas companies. On February 18, the Trump administration announced economic sanctions targeting Russia’s largest oil company.

The reason for these sanctions is that Russia is helping Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro bypass United States sanctions by transporting his oil for him. Russian President Vladimir Putin may have been retaliating against the Trump administration by refusing to cut oil production. Since most U.S. oil wells have a break-even point of $36.20 a barrel over their production life, American oil and gas companies (which rely heavily on expensive hydraulic fracturing techniques) cannot turn a profit when oil prices are this low. The U.S. has also passed sanctions against companies involved in constructing the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany, saying it is a “tool of coercion” to make the European Union more dependent on Russian gas. “The Kremlin has decided to sacrifice opec+ to stop U.S. shale producers and punish the U.S. for messing with Nord Stream 2,” the president of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations in Moscow told Bloomberg News.

Thousands arrive in Charleston on cruise ship, no health screenings planned

Thousands arrive in Charleston on cruise ship, no health screenings planned (Source live5news.com)

A carnival cruise ship docked at the Port of Charleston is letting 3,000 people off into the Holy City Thursday morning. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Charleston Port Authority all say they are working with the Centers for Disease Control and the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control to decide whether any additional health screenings are necessary. All passengers were required to have their temperature taken before boarding the ship five days ago. There have been no health screenings for the passengers since then. City of Charleston officials say they have no say in cruise ship arrivals. The Port of Charleston is a state port and falls under state authority. A Carnival Cruise spokesperson did not directly answer whether anyone on board is sick, only saying they were not aware of anything “that would impact the ship’s arrival.” The Sunshine will be leaving Thursday at 6pm.  A spokesperson for Carnival Cruises says the company is implementing new policies for cruises, including having employees serve buffet food. The company’s website states hand sanitizers are being made available for all staff and passengers. Cruise terminals are cleaned thoroughly before the next embarkation day and all guest and crew buses providing transportation to the terminals are being sanitized after every trip.

Trudeau in Isolation After Wife Tests Positive for Coronavirus

Trudeau in Isolation After Wife Tests Positive for Coronavirus (Source Bloomberg) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will remain in isolation for 14 days after his wife tested positive for coronavirus. Trudeau himself is in good health and isn’t exhibiting any symptoms, his office said in a statement. Nor is he planning to be tested. The prime minister’s office announced earlier Thursday that Trudeau was in self-isolation and working from home while his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, awaited the results of a Covid-19 test. “As a precautionary measure and following the advice of doctors, he will be in isolation for a planned period of 14 days,” Trudeau’s office said, adding his wife’s symptoms are mild and she is feeling well. “The Prime Minister will continue to fully assume his duties and will address Canadians tomorrow.” Gregoire Trudeau had been exhibiting flu-like symptoms after recently returning from a speaking engagement in London, before testing for Covid-19.