Posted on Leave a comment

Heated disagreement breaks out in Situation Room over hydroxychloroquine

(CNN)There was a heated disagreement in the Situation Room this weekend over the efficacy of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine — but multiple sources say it was mostly one-sided, as President Donald Trump’s top trade adviser Peter Navarro feuded with other officials over the drug’s unproven effectiveness to treat coronavirus.

The debate is not a new one inside the coronavirus task force — and medical experts have repeatedly explained to the President that there is a risk in enthusiastically touting hydroxychloroquine in case the drug doesn’t ultimately work to combat the virus. But other aides and outside advisers have sided with Trump, including Navarro, who is still not a formal part of the task force but has wedged himself into the meetings.

Axios first reported

on the disagreement inside the White House about the drug.

While discussing the latest on hydroxychloroquine this weekend, an exasperated Navarro lashed out at

Dr. Anthony Fauci

, one of the advisers who has urged caution about the drug, a person familiar with the meeting told CNN.

    Navarro had brought a stack of paperwork with him into the Situation Room on the drug, arguing it was proof that it could work to treat coronavirus, which Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, disagreed with because it was not data.

    “What are you talking about?” Fauci asked — a question that set Navarro off. He became indignant, and at one point, accused Fauci of opposing Trump’s travel restrictions on China, which confused many in the room, given Fauci was one of the initial few to agree with Trump on the move, the source said.

    Trump doubles down on unproven drugs to treat and prevent coronavirus

    A source close to the task force said Fauci is not backing off of his belief that hydroxychloroquine is not a proven treatment for coronavirus. When CNN’s Jeremy Diamond asked Fauci to comment on the matter Sunday night, Trump stepped in and didn’t allow Fauci to answer. But a source said the doctor has already offered his opinion on the drug in other venues and would continue to do so.

      Several aides later said they were unfazed by Navarro’s outburst, given he has them regularly. But the argument highlights how deep the divide runs over the task force’s

      response to the coronavirus pandemic


      Another source told CNN that despite the disagreement in the Situation Room between Fauci and Navarro, Fauci continues to have a good relationship with Trump and Pence, though some staffers have shown irritation when his opinions differ.

      Posted on Leave a comment

      How the very rich are different in the Covid-19 fight

      Vicky Ward is a senior reporter at CNN. She is the former executive editor of Talk Magazine, a former contributing editor to Vanity Fair and author of “The Devil’s Casino,” “The Liar’s Ball” and “Kushner, Inc.” The opinions expressed here are her own. Read more opinion at CNN.

      (CNN)I have spent two decades reporting on people at the nexus of money, power and culture. I’ve written books about corruption among the country’s wealthiest 1%, Wall Street greed and the ruthlessness of New York real estate titans. So these past few weeks I have been on the phone to many people who are not stuck, like me, in a New York City apartment, where we are on constant alert for the ominous sound of sirens puncturing the silence with increasing frequency.

      Vicky Ward

      Instead, many of those I spoke to are in places where they feel relatively safe. Many don’t realize they may be in a bubble of false security as the

      number of coronavirus infections

      spreads out into suburban and rural Long Island — including Suffolk County, home of the Hamptons — and other areas where the country’s extremely wealthy have second homes.

      One hedge fund billionaire is at his ranch in Texas; another is isolating from other family members on a compound in Martha’s Vineyard; a couple is in a villa on Harbour Island, Bahamas; an individual rented a yacht on the Long Island Sound … and so on.

        It would be unfair to say that these people are living without fear. If they needed any proof that Covid-19 doesn’t discriminate by pocketbook, they need look no further than some of the


        confirmed cases like Knicks owner James Dolan, actor Tom Hanks and Prince Charles.

        “We are just trying to do our best for ourselves and our families. You can’t blame us for that,” one multimillionaire with three country homes told me.

        All I spoke to did so on condition of anonymity; all felt they were better placed to outrun Covid-19 if they were not stuck in high-density areas like New York City. (I should add that those who spoke to me are not necessarily representative of the entire socio-economic group. Major Wall Street financiers have been spotted in Central Park and certainly billionaires like

        Bill Gates



        significant funding to coronavirus research.)

        'I'm very, very worried': Laid-off workers struggle with no social safety net

        But while the wealthy may not be immune, their affluence makes it easier for them to insulate themselves. Unlike essential workers, housekeepers or nannies who cannot survive without their weekly paychecks, publications like The New York Times have

        data showing how those of means

        were able adopt protective isolation measures earlier than lower-income workers.


        top 1% of US earners

        can do that even better than the rest of us. Some of those in the Hamptons seem even to be enjoying themselves. Some are playing golf while others are gardening and comparing notes about hygiene. One person I know has her family’s food driven out from New York City every day. It’s not the same experience as walking past the hospital tents in Central Park or the boarded-up stores. And it can be harshly antithetical to the experience of an essential worker who must take public transport to get to a hospital or grocery store for a day’s work.

        For some of the rich I speak to, a more urgent headache than the symptom of the virus is the possible ramifications of the economic shutdown — but even that may be much less meaningful than you’d think given the tax break some are getting from the stimulus package. A clause in the bill


        commercial real estate developers to offset paper losses from the depreciation of their buildings against taxes on profits from other investments like the stock market. A New York Times report says the

        estimated cost

        of the change over 10 years is $170 billion.

        Donald Trump's supreme challenge

        One real estate mogul told me that he cracked open the champagne beside the pool the day the

        CARES Act

        was passed by Congress.

        “Some people are going to get very rich out of this,” says someone else I know in the health care supplies business.

        Harvard-trained epidemiologist

        Dr. Ashwin Vasan

        told me that he’s heard disturbing stories of wealthy individuals procuring their own ventilators. This at a time governors of hard-hit states say they’re about to run out of their own essential supplies.

        Two people I spoke to told me that they have obtained prophylactically, their own stash of the malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, currently undergoing clinical trials as a possible therapy but not yet proven safe and effective for this use. Vasan says that whichever doctor supplied the drug behaved not only dangerously, but irresponsibly.

        “Every hospital in the city is doing clinical trials of that medicine under controlled conditions so to say: I’m going to give it to someone in their home without the ability to truly monitor them … I don’t consider them to be remotely responsible,” Vasan said.

        Vasan says that this is a time for health care professionals to pull together. “This is not a time for concierge medicine,” he says. And yet several in the Hamptons told me they felt safe precisely because there are private doctors who have homes there and whose private staff will pay house calls, assuming you have paid their multi-thousand-dollar subscription fee.

        How Congress can protect a vital segment of our workforce

        The self-protectionist mindset of the wealthy is not new, according to the

        historian Dr. Amanda Foreman

        . “During the Second World War, despite the rationing across the United Kingdom, those who could afford it, could have dinner in the Ritz hotel,” she says.

        But the irony of an elitist approach during these times is that it may well backfire, according to

        Dr. William Haseltine

        , a biologist and former Harvard medical professor who recently chaired the ninth US-China health summit in the pandemic epicenter of Wuhan.

        According to Haseltine, the people who have left the city have put themselves at greater risk than if they had stayed put and practiced careful isolation and hygiene, because they have put themselves further away from the best hospitals. His opinion was echoed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his April 3

        press conference

        , where he talked about the spike in Nassau and Suffolk counties. “Long Island does not have as elaborate a health care system as New York City … and that has us very concerned,” he said.

        Haseltine says it’s “a fundamental mistake” to think you are safer in a wide-open space.

        “It’s comfortable to be in a country house … People feel they have more control,” he says. “You have more space, you think that you’re not one of many, you’re more special. But it’s all psychological.”

        The risk of Covid-19, he says, is equated to how many people you meet who might be infected. It’s not like the bubonic plague of London that was spread by fleas and rats. With Covid-19 there is no reason to think that people in the countryside are any less infected than the people in New York City.

          Somewhere in all this, there is a very grim morality story.

          Foreman says that the social division of Covid-19 could be summarized as “The Makers and the Takers.” If you’re a Maker, you’re someone who has found a way to contribute to the community in various ways, from the student who

          set up

          a volunteer network to shop for the elderly to first responders and workers like caregivers who take daily personal risks to save others. If you’re a Taker, you’re fixated only on yourself, your survival — and what the pandemic will mean for your bottom line.

          Posted on Leave a comment

          Trump doubles down on unproven drugs to treat and prevent coronavirus

          (CNN)President Donald Trump on Sunday again doubled down on an unproven therapy for the novel coronavirus: hydroxychloroquine.

          Without citing evidence

          , he said it’s a “great” and “powerful” anti-malaria drug “and there are signs that it works on this, some very strong signs.”

          For people without heart problems, Trump recommended combining hydroxychloroquine with azithromycin, a common antibiotic. He said azithromycin “will kill certain things that you don’t want living within your body.”

          Trump on USNS Comfort: 'If we need it for the virus, we'll use it for that'

          Yet there is little reliable evidence that the drugs — either alone or in combination — are effective at treating the novel coronavirus.

            Still, Trump said: “What do you have to lose? What do you have to lose?”

            Without evidence, Trump says the drugs can be used to prevent infection

            For doctors, nurses and first responders, Trump suggested the drugs could be taken as a preventative. “They say taking it before the fact is good, but what do you have to lose?”

            Experts do not suggest taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventive for Covid-19 because there is no evidence yet to suggest it protects against contracting the virus.

            “They say take it,” said Trump, without citing any experts or sources. “I’m not looking at it one way or the other, but we want to get out of this. If it does work, it would be a shame if we didn’t do it early. But we have some very good signs.”

            Trump said people would have to go through medical professionals to get approval, “but I’ve seen things that I sort of like. So, what do I know, I’m not a doctor. I’m not a doctor. But I have common sense.”

            Washington governor slams Trump administration for comparing coronavirus' grim outlook to Pearl Harbor

            The President said, “I see people are going to die without it,” so “what really do we have to lose.” He added, “I am saying to do what you want.”

            When pressed by CNN’s Jeremy Diamond on why the President is not letting the science speak for itself, the President said that hydroxychloroquine “may not work and in which case, hey, it didn’t work, and it may work,” but he said he does not want to wait a “year and a half” to find out.

            One reporter asked whether doctors and hospitals would be free from blame if hydroxychloroquine does not help coronavirus patients. Trump said that the drug can “help them, but it’s not going to hurt them.”

            Experts say the drug, while generally considered to be safe, can come with side effects — including nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and skin rashes.

            Trump falsely claims FDA approval of the drugs

            At the news briefing, Trump also said the US Food and Drug Administration feels good about the drug, adding, “As you know, they’ve approved it, they gave it a rapid approval.”

            In fact, the FDA has not approved hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of Covid-19.

            The FDA issued a limited Emergency Use Authorization to facilitate the distribution of the drug from the national stockpile, but the agency explicitly said in its authorization letter: “Chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine sulfate are not FDA-approved for treatment of COVID-19.”

            Fauci said he tested negative for coronavirus Saturday

            In announcing a donation of hydroxychloroquine to the stockpile — along with chloroquine, a closely-related drug — the Department of Health and Human Services gave a tempered assessment of their potential benefits.

            A statement said that “anecdotal reports suggest that these drugs may offer some benefit” in coronavirus patients, but “clinical trials are needed to provide scientific evidence that these treatments are effective.”

            Vice President Mike Pence announced Sunday that hydroxychloroquine will be used in a trial of 3,000 patients at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, and the results will be tracked in a formal study.

            Pence added at the coronavirus task force briefing that they are “more than prepared” to make hydroxychloroquine available to doctors’ offices and pharmacies in the Detroit area “as they deem appropriate.”

            Trump won’t let Fauci answer medical question from reporter

            When the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, was at the podium, CNN’s Jeremy Diamond tried to ask him to weigh in on hydroxychloroquine — but the President jumped in and refused to let Fauci answer.

            On Saturday, Trump also made comments touting the drug as a preventative for coronavirus. He said that lupus patients — who are often treated with hydroxychloroquine — seem less likely to contract Covid-19, and that “there’s a rumor out there” and “there’s a study out.”

              “Maybe it’s true, maybe it’s not. Why don’t you investigate that?” Trump asked.

              At the briefing, though, Fauci said, “We don’t have any definitive information to be able to make any comment.” He also said the relationship between lupus and Covid-19 is currently under investigation.

              Posted on Leave a comment

              India has closed its railways for the first time in 167 years. Now trains are being turned into hospitals

              Bangalore, India (CNN)When Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed a nationwide lockdown on March 25, Indian Railways took the unprecedented move of suspending passenger trains across the country until April 14.

              It was the first time in 167 years that Asia’s oldest rail network had been suspended.

              Now the railway network has decided to convert as many as 20,000 old train carriages into isolation wards for patients as the virus spreads.

              This handout photograph from Indian Railways show how old trains will be used as Covid-19 isolation ward

              The network, which is the world’s fourth-largest rail operator and India’s biggest employer, already operates 125 hospitals across the nation, so has the expertise to expand into mobile beds.

                On April 1, India had recorded 4,288 cases of Covid-19, including 117 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University — a relatively small number for a nation of 1.3 billion. While India’s hospital system isn’t overwhelmed yet, the repurposed trains could ease some of the pressure if the number of coronavirus patients begin to rise.

                “Now, the railways will offer clean, sanitized and hygienic surroundings for the patients to comfortably recover,” Piyush Goyal, the Railways Minister said in a tweet.

                India’s railway network

                Normally, Indian Railways runs more than 20,000 passenger trains a day, on long-distance and suburban routes, from 7,349 stations across India.

                The lockdown has put nearly 67,368 kilometers of track out of use — enough to circle the equator 1.5 times — and left thousands of passenger trains sitting idle. Freight trains, or goods trains as they are called in India, remain operational.

                An Indian railway employee works to convert a train coach into an isolation ward for the fight against the new coronavirus in Gauhati, India, Sunday, March 29, 2020.

                Railway bosses have instructed each of India’s 16 railway zones to identify non-air conditioned carriages that are no longer in operation on passenger routes to turn into hospitals, and have them ready for use in case of an emergency.

                The first 5,000 isolation wards will be ready within a fortnight, and if necessary, more carriages can be converted within 48 hours, said Rajesh Dutt Bajpai, executive director of information and publicity at the Railway Board.

                This handout photograph from Indian Railways show how old trains will be used as Covid-19 isolation ward.

                Each sanitized carriage will be able to accommodate up to 16 patients, alongside a nurses’ station, a doctor’s cabin, and space for medical supplies and equipment.

                The trains, once ready, will be sent to any location that might be facing a hospital bed crunch due to a potential spike in positive cases.

                Local health authorities will assign government doctors, paramedics, nurses, and volunteers to the trains.

                The Indian government has also instructed railway factories to assess the feasibility of manufacturing hospital beds, stretchers, medical trolleys, masks, sanitizers, aprons, and medical apparatus such as ventilators for use in railway hospitals and other government hospitals.

                Indian railway employees fix mosquito nets as they work to convert a train coach into an isolation ward for the fight against the new coronavirus in Gauhati, India, Sunday, March 29, 2020.

                Bed shortage

                Even before the pandemic, India was suffering a shortage of hospital beds.

                According to


                , India has 0.5 hospital beds available for every 1,000 people. Most of these are clustered in urban areas, and availability


                hugely between states.

                In the eastern state of Bihar, for example, there are 0.11 beds per 1,000 people, while West Bengal has 2.5 beds per 1,000 people.

                China has a national average of four hospital beds per 1,000 people — and that was before it built a 1,000-bed hospital in 10 days in Hubei province, the epicenter of its outbreak.

                “We have seen what China has gone through. It is imperative to increase this density, by whatever means in the shorter term, and more systematically in the longer term, once this outbreak is over,” said Shahid Jameel, an Indian virologist and CEO of Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance, a public charity that funds research in health and biomedical sciences.

                Labourers work on train coaches that will be used as temporary isolation wards in preparation for coronavirus-infected patients during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus, at a workshop in Allahabad on April 4, 2020.

                With the number of Covid-19 positive cases rising, experts say the lack of robust public healthcare remains India’s biggest challenge.

                “It (isolation wards in train carriages) is a good initiative. The Railways and the Government should be commended for it,” said Jameel, the Indian virologist.

                “But, this is only a short-term solution. When this is over (and it will be), let this be a wake-up call to invest more towards improving health infrastructure and research.”


                Indian Railways has experience in running hospitals on trains. Launched in 1991, the Lifeline Express provides on-the-spot diagnostic, medical and advanced surgical treatment for adults and children.

                In its 29 years of service, the hospital-on-wheels has traveled across 19 Indian states and treated over 1 million people.

                Started as a collaboration between the

                Impact India Foundation,

                Indian Railways, and the Indian Health Ministry, the train is funded by the Institute of International Finance (IIF), international charities, Indian corporations, and individuals.

                Workers wearing facemasks carry on works on train coaches that will be used as temporary isolation wards in preparation for Covid-19 coronavirus patients, at a coach factory workshop in Chennai on March 30, 2020.

                The hospital train is equipped to treat a variety of ailments, from cataracts, cleft lips, hearing problems, and epilepsy, to mobility issues, plastic surgeries, dental surgeries, cancer screening and more.

                  The Lifeline Express is equipped with an operation theater, treatment rooms, recovery wards, a pantry car, and accommodation for medical staff.

                  The new coronavirus trains are not designed to function as full-service hospitals, but local health officials will have the option of using them for Covid-19 positive patients who are not critically ill.

                  Posted on Leave a comment

                  Sanctuary fears for animals featured in Netflix show

                  tigers the wild animal sanctuary weld county 1
                  tigers the wild animal sanctuary weld county 1

                    JUST WATCHED

                    Sanctuary fears for animals featured in Netflix show

                  MUST WATCH

                  Officials from an animal sanctuary in Colorado fear that animals like those featured in the Netflix documentary series “Tiger King,” may be at risk as private zoos close due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

                  Source: CNN

                  See More

                  Officials from an animal sanctuary in Colorado fear that animals like those featured in the Netflix documentary series “Tiger King,” may be at risk as private zoos close due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

                  Source: CNN

                  Posted on Leave a comment

                  How to make your own face mask

                  (CNN)There’s one thing you should know before diving into the conversation around masks: The public should not purchase surgical masks or N95 respirators. Health care workers are facing shortages and need those masks to treat coronavirus patients.

                  You should also note:

                  • Homemade masks are not a substitute for social distancing and staying in

                  Still, if you want to make a mask, here are step-by-step instructions — based on guidance from the

                  Vanderbilt University Medical Center


                  Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin


                  If you don’t want to sew, we’re also including a video that shows you how you can make a face-covering with items around the house.

                    Not sure how to wear or clean the masks? We answer those questions under the mask-making instructions.

                    If you know how to sew

                    Materials you’ll need

                    • 2 pieces of tight-weave cotton fabric, 9 x 6 inches (per mask)
                    • 4 strips of fabric, 2 x 16 inches (per mask)
                    • Ruler
                    • Sewing machine OR needle and thread
                    • Pencil or marker
                    • Scissors
                    • A handful of sewing pins
                    • Iron

                    Make your mask

                    1. Cut your fabric into two 9 x 6-inch rectangles. Place them on top of each other.

                    2. On the top of the 9-inch side, pin or mark a 2-inch opening in the center of the top edge of the 9-inch side, between the 3.5- and 5.5-inch points, along the top edge. Then, sew the edges on either side of where you pinned or marked the opening. You’ll need that 2-inch opening to turn the mask right side out.

                    3. Sew the other three sides of the mask shut, too.

                    4. Turn the mask right side out through the 2-inch opening you left on the top. Then, press the mask with an iron to get rid of wrinkles.

                    5. Line your ruler up vertically along the 6-inch side of the mask. Starting at the 1.5-inch line, pin where you’ll sew your pleats down the side. These pleats help the mask stretch.

                    Pin again at the 2-, 3-, 3.5-, 4.5- and 5-inch lines.

                      6. Bring the pin at the 1.5-inch line down to the 2-inch line, and voila, you’ve made a pleat! Repeat with the 3-inch to the 3.5-inch and the 4.5-inch to the 5-inch line. Pin your new pleats, and repeat on the other side.

                      7. Sew the sides of your mask up so the pleats are laid flat.

                      Make mask ties

                      1. Cut four strips of fabric, 2 inches wide by 16 inches long.

                      2. Fold them in half lengthwise.

                      3. Turn them under 1/4-inch on the long side.

                      4. Iron them in place, then stitch the long side shut.

                      5. Pin each tie to a corner of the mask.

                      6. Sew around the perimeter of the mask once more so the ties are attached — and now you’ve completed your mask.

                      If you don’t know how to sew

                      Here’s a video where Surgeon General Jerome Adams walks you through the steps to make a face covering with items found around the house: a T-shirt and rubber bands:

                      Mask FAQs

                      How do I wear it?

                        Masks are only effective if you wear them properly. The

                        World Health Organization

                        has the how-to:

                        • Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water before touching or putting on the mask.
                        • Make sure your entire nose and mouth are covered when you put it on.
                        • Avoid touching the mask while you’re out — this can contaminate it.
                        • Do not take the mask off while you’re in public.
                        • To take it off once you return, untie it from the back — don’t touch the front of it.
                        • You should immediately wash the mask after returning so it doesn’t contaminate your belongings.
                        • Wash your hands immediately after you’ve taken it off, and again after you’ve washed the mask.

                        Are masks even effective?

                        Homemade mask

                        studies have shown that they’re significantly less effective than surgical masks

                        — and they’re certainly no replacement for the essential N95 respirators health care workers must wear to treat patients.

                        “Homemade masks are partially effective,” said Dr. Koushik Kasanagottu, an internal medicine resident at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Maryland.

                        They offer a physical barrier from viral particles, he said, but they don’t have the filters that N95 respirators do.

                        But they’re better than nothing, especially for people who only go out in public to make a quick trip to the grocery store or pharmacy, said Anna Davies and Raina MacIntyre, public health researchers and authors of two separate studies on the effectiveness of cloth mask.

                        It’s important to note, though, that masks cannot replace social distancing measures. Maintaining at least six feet of distance from others and staying home as much as possible is still the best way to prevent the spread of the virus.

                          How do you clean them?

                          You should launder the masks before and after each use to clean off any germs you might have picked up in public. Hand wash the masks or put them in a mesh wash bag in the washing machine so they don’t fall apart, and use a high heat setting.

                          What if my craft store is closed or out of supplies?

                          Crafters on Etsy

                          aren’t sold out of face masks yet. It’s difficult to discern how effective these masks are since you didn’t craft them yourself, but you can compare them to our mask tutorial before you buy — does it cover your nose and mouth? Are there pleats? Will it tightly seal around your face?

                          You likely don’t need to buy more than a few masks — physicians recommend that

                          only one member of each household runs errands in public


                          It may take longer than usual to ship the masks, so be aware of this when you buy.

                          And be sure to wash the masks before you wear them.

                          If you can’t access masks at all, then

                          keep washing your hands

                          , maintaining distance from others and following other social distancing measures. Staying home is the best defense against coronavirus, after all.

                          CNN’s Holly Yan, Harmeet Kaur and Tami Luhby contributed to this report.

                          Posted on Leave a comment

                          The iShield: Apple to design and make medical gear

                          A medical student checks a handmade face shield before delivering them to doctors and nurses in Yangon, Myanmar.Image copyright
                          Getty Images

                          Best-known for phones and computers, Apple has now turned its hand to making face shields for medical workers.

                          Apple chief executive Tim Cook tweeted on Sunday that it has designed and is now making the protective gear.

                          The tech giant plans to make more than one million shields a week, which will be shipped first to US medical workers and then distributed globally.

                          It has also sourced 20 million face masks which it is donating worldwide to help prevent the spread of the virus.

                          Companies, from electronics firms to carmakers, have been shifting production to help make vital medical equipment and supplies for hospitals around the world.

                          “This is a truly global effort, and we’re working continuously and closely with governments at all levels to ensure these are donated to places of greatest need,” Mr Cook said in a video posted on Twitter.

                          Apple has pulled in designers, engineers and suppliers to shape, produce and ship the face shields.

                          Mr Cook said the first shipment of the plastic face shields, which can be assembled in less than two minutes, was delivered last week to some hospitals in Silicon Valley. The materials are sourced from both the US and China.

                          “In both these efforts, out focus is on unique ways Apple can help, meeting essential needs of caregivers urgently and at a scale the circumstances require,” Mr Cook added. “For Apple, this is a labour of love and gratitude, and we will share more of our efforts over time.”

                          With a worldwide shortage of hospital equipment such as ventilators and protective gear for medical workers, organisations, educational institutions and individuals have been joining the effort to meet the demand.

                          In the UK, around 1,400 3D-printer owners have pledged to use their machines to help make face masks for the NHS.

                          Posted on Leave a comment

                          UK domestic abuse calls ‘up 25% since lockdown’

                          Woman at window - reconstruction

                          Image caption

                          The lockdown means victims could find it harder to escape their abusers, say campaigners

                          The National Domestic Abuse helpline has seen a 25% increase in calls and online requests for help since the lockdown, the charity Refuge says.

                          It received hundreds more calls last week compared to two weeks earlier, the charity, which runs the helpline said.

                          Campaigners have warned the restrictions could heighten domestic tensions and cut off escape routes.

                          The charity said pressure on other services and awareness campaigns could have also led to the increase.

                          One woman, who fled her abuser a few days ago, told the BBC life had become intolerable since the lockdown started.

                          ‘Tara’, who asked the BBC not to use her real name, said she had been suffering mental and physical abuse from her partner for six months.

                          When the lockdown began things became markedly worse.

                          To start with the abuse was subtle: “Isolating me from my family and friends… thinking I’m cheating on him when I’m with him all the time… just controlling”.

                          Her abuser deleted her social media accounts and stopped her from seeing family.

                          She says he was “mentally abusive, verbally and obviously hitting me… recently it’s obviously been getting worse, since the lockdown.”

                          “It’s been bad… I didn’t care if I didn’t wake up like from the night before… I just knew what was going to happen the next day, I just wanted the days to go past.”

                          “As soon as he gets up, he tries to cause an argument out of nothing, and if I fire back he’ll just hit me.”

                          Tara has now fled to a refuge in Wales, and is being supported by Llamau, a charity for young people and vulnerable women.

                          Visits to the UK-wide National Domestic Abuse helpline website for information were 150% higher than during the last week in February, Refuge said.

                          Another high-profile campaigner, Rachel Williams, believes domestic violence and potentially homicides will escalate as social distancing restrictions in the UK continue.

                          Image caption

                          Escape routes such as the school run have been closed off by the lockdown

                          Many perpetrators already use isolation “as a tool of control” Sandra Horley, chief executive of Refuge said.

                          She said last year 1.6 million women in England and Wales experienced domestic abuse, and “while in lockdown or self-isolation, women and children are likely to be spending concentrated periods of time with perpetrators, potentially escalating the threat of domestic abuse and further restricting their freedom.

                          “Domestic abuse isn’t always physical – it’s a pattern of controlling, threatening and coercive behaviour, which can also be emotional, economic, psychological or sexual.”

                          Image caption

                          Domestic abuse survivor Rachel Williams believes lockdown will mean more homicides

                          Rachel Williams suffered at the hands of her husband for 18 years and when she told him she was leaving he shot her with a sawn-off shotgun.

                          “For me the homicide rate is going to go through the roof, and this is what we’re anticipating and bracing ourselves for,” she told the BBC.

                          “You can’t stop the perpetrator unless he’s visible.

                          “We’ll never eradicate domestic abuse, end of, we’ve got an epidemic at the moment in the UK, with a pandemic on top.”

                          Image caption

                          The National Domestic Abuse Helpline can be contacted online as well as by phone

                          Police are emphasising that women and men facing abuse at home during the lockdown should still report their experiences to police and seek support from domestic abuse services.

                          West Midlands Deputy Chief Constable Louisa Rolfe, who leads on domestic violence for the National Police Chiefs’ Council said: “We would always seek to remove the perpetrator…

                          “Because often victims in their own home where family, friends and neighbours can look out for them are much safer than if we remove them.”

                          Image caption

                          West Midlands Police Deputy Chief Constable Louisa Rolfe leads on domestic violence for the National Police Chiefs’ Council

                          Refuge says the helpline is still running 24 hours, seven days a week, with staff operating from home.

                          One effect of being locked down with your abuser could be that not only are people more vulnerable to domestic abuse – but also possibly less likely to be able to make an emergency phone call.

                          The National Domestic Abuse Helpline therefore offers the option of contacting them through its website, with a quick exit button which ensures no record of the attempt is left on the phone.

                          For Tara, although the abuse worsened when having to spend 24 hours a day in isolation with her partner, she feels the lockdown proved to her that she needed to escape her relationship forever.

                          For information and support on domestic abuse, contact:

                          • Police: 999 press 55 when prompted if you can’t speak
                          • Refuge UK wide 24-hour helpline: 0808 2000 247
                          • Welsh Women’s Aid Live Fear Free 24-hour helpline: 0808 80 10 800
                          • Scotland National Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriages 24-hour helpline: 0800 027 1234
                          • Northern Ireland Domestic Abuse 24-hour helpline: 0808 802 1414

                          Online webchats and text services are also available.

                          Posted on Leave a comment

                          More than 1.2 million novel coronavirus cases reported worldwide

                          Passengers look out from the deck of the Coral Princess cruise ship as it docks in Miami, Florida, on April 4.
                          Passengers look out from the deck of the Coral Princess cruise ship as it docks in Miami, Florida, on April 4. Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images

                          The US Department of Homeland Security and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are now restricting cruise ship passengers and crew arriving in the US from boarding domestic commercial flights.

                          The restrictions will apply even to people not showing symptoms and also would require 14-day quarantines for cruise passengers and crew.

                          CNN reported on the restrictions being finalized earlier Sunday.

                          An administration official said these new protocols would likely be agreements between cruise ship companies and the government, requiring that they be followed in order for these ships to dock at specific ports.

                          Exceptions: The official said that there could be a range of exceptions and specific circumstances that would divert from the new protocols, specifically as it relates to foreigners on the ships.

                          Limit onward travel: These new restrictions will limit cruise passengers and crew to flying on charter aircraft or using private transportation.

                          How many ships could be affected? The US Coast Guard said Saturday there are 114 cruise ships, carrying 93,000 crew members, either in or near US ports and waters.

                          This includes 73 cruise ships, with 52,000 crew members, moored or anchored in US ports and anchorages. Another 41 cruise ships, with 41,000 crew members, are underway and still in vicinity of the United States. The cruise industry has an ongoing obligation for the care, safety and welfare of their seafarers.

                          The Coral Princess cruise ship arrives in Miami on April 4.
                          The Coral Princess cruise ship arrives in Miami on April 4. Lynne Sladky/AP

                          A third passenger from the Coral Princess cruise ship has died after being transported by a private ambulance to a hospital in Hialeah, Florida, according to a news release from the office of Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez.

                          Chain of events:

                          • The Coral Princess departed Santiago, Chile, on March 5.
                          • Princess Cruises announced operations were halting one week later.
                          • On Saturday, Princess Cruises confirmed the ship arrived in Miami, Florida.
                          • The cruise line said Saturday that disembarkation of guests is expected to take several days due to limited flight availability and passengers “requiring shoreside medical care will be prioritized to disembark first.”
                          • Two passengers died on board the ship before it docked and six others were transported from the ship for treatment at local hospitals on Saturday, the release from Gimenez’s office said.
                          • Eight additional passengers were transported from the Coral Princess to local hospitals on Sunday, according to the release. Information on the condition of those patients is not known.

                          The county is not able to clear passengers to leave the ship, the release said. Vessels are required to report to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Customs and Border Protection and the US Coast Guard, to have their passengers offloaded, the release said.

                          Passengers and crew who have received medical screenings and clearance for travel are driven on charter buses to an isolated area of Miami International Airport and go directly to board charter flights coordinated by the cruise line, the release said.

                          Gimenez sent additional medical staff to assist the Coral Princess Sunday, the release said. The county also replaced the ship’s oxygen cylinders with full ones after learning the supply on board was critically low, the release said.

                          Samaritans' Purse members gather at a field hospital for coronavirus patients in Central Park on April 4 in New York City.
                          Samaritans’ Purse members gather at a field hospital for coronavirus patients in Central Park on April 4 in New York City.

                          There are at least 337,072 cases of coronavirus in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University’s tally of cases.

                          At least 9,619 people have died in the US from coronavirus. 

                          CNN is keeping track of coronavirus cases across the US and an interactive map can be found here.

                          A packet of hydroxychloroquine pills.
                          A packet of hydroxychloroquine pills. Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty Images

                          Hydroxychloroquine will be used in a trial of 3,000 patients at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan, and the results will be tracked in a formal study, Vice President Mike Pence announced Sunday.

                          Pence added that they are “more than prepared” to make hydroxychloroquine available to doctor’s offices and pharmacies in the Detroit area “as they deem appropriate.”

                          Rear Adm. John Polowczyk of the Supply Chain Logistics Task Force said that the government is working to put out millions of doses of hydroxychloroquine into areas with increasing number of coronavirus cases.

                          President Donald Trump has frequently claimed the drug has high efficacy against Covid-19 despite no evidence the drug is effective and safe for preventing or treating the coronavirus.

                          However, there is no “definitive information to be able to make any comment” on whether the drug can be used to treat coronavirus, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, at the White House briefing on Saturday. There are currently no products approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to prevent Covid-19.

                          Italy has recorded its lowest death rate in a 24-hour period with 525 deaths, the Italian Civil Protection Ministry said Sunday.

                          A total of 15,877 people have died of Covid-19 in Italy. 

                          There was a small decrease in patients in critical condition with hospital intensive care units reporting 17 fewer patients. A total of 2,972 new cases have been diagnosed, another decline, bringing the total active cases to 91,246. 

                          A total of 21,815 people have recovered from the coronavirus, an increase of 819. There are now almost 130,000 coronavirus cases in Italy.

                          Italy has been in a lockdown for almost four weeks now.

                          President Donald Trump speaks during a briefing after a coronavirus task force meeting at the White House on April 5.
                          President Donald Trump speaks during a briefing after a coronavirus task force meeting at the White House on April 5. Eric Baradat/AFP/Getty Images

                          President Donald Trump claimed Sunday that 1.6 million people in the United States have been tested for coronavirus and been given results.

                          “That’s far more than any country’s been able to do,” Trump said.

                          He also said that Abbott Laboratories will produce 1,200 of its new 15-minute coronavirus test weekly. Abbott’s test was approved by the Food and Drug Administration on March 27.

                          British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to stay in the hospital overnight, a Downing Street source told CNN on Sunday.

                          Johnson was admitted to the hospital on Sunday night in what Downing Street said in a statement was a “precautionary step” given that the “Prime Minister continues to have persistent symptoms of coronavirus ten days after testing positive for the virus.”

                          Johnson was diagnosed with coronavirus on March 27.

                          President Donald Trump wished Johnson well during a Sunday night press briefing.

                          “I want to express our nation’s well wishes to Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he wages his own personal fight with the virus,” Trump said. “All Americans are praying for him. He’s a friend of mine, he’s a great gentleman and a great leader.”

                          “I’m hopeful and sure that he’s going to be fine,” Trump said.