Coronavirus World Updates – The New York Times

The World Health Organization’s decision-making body will hold a virtual meeting starting Monday with all 194 member states in attendance, and a key question will be whether the United States and other countries will call for the W.H.O. to investigate China’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.President Trump and some other world leaders have accused China’s authorities of allowing the novel coronavirus to spread worldwide by suppressing or withholding vital information about it after it emerged in Wuhan in December. In recent weeks, European and Australian officials have joined Mr. Trump in calling for an investigation into China’s handling of the coronavirus and its origins there.Mr. Trump’s own response to the pandemic has been criticized as slow and ineffective, as he has abdicated responsibility to the nation’s governors and clashed with his scientific advisers. The United States has by far the world’s worst known outbreak, accounting for more than 1.4 million cases of the global total of 4.6 million, and nearly 90,000 of the global total of more than 312,000 deaths.Mr. Trump has sought to deflect some of the criticism aimed at him by stirring anger at China and the W.H.O. Last month, after repeatedly claiming that the organization had been too quick to believe the information about the virus coming from China, he ordered his administration to halt funding for the organization — a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars, although his administration has raised the possibility of partially restoring it.The W.H.O. meeting on Monday is the annual gathering of the organization’s World Health Assembly. Typically held in May in Geneva, it is for deciding major policy priorities, electing the organization’s leaders and adopting its budget.But at this year’s shortened, virtual meeting, member states “will deliver statements focused largely on the Covid-19 pandemic, report their progress in fighting Covid-19, share knowledge on the evolving situation and consider a draft resolution on Covid-19,” according to the W.H.O.Fighting foreign pressure to account for the initial spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the Chinese Communist Party deflected in one of its leading journals, saying in effect the virus could have come from anywhere.The article, published in the party’s magazine Qiushi over the weekend, is China’s latest effort to push back against demands on multiple fronts for a fuller accounting of where the virus came from and especially how it spread from Wuhan. Last week, Xinhua, China’s main state-run news agency, also issued a long question-and-answer article disputing the ideas that the virus leaked from a lab in that city and that China failed to act quickly to stop its spread.The Trump administration has pressed the lab theory, which is viewed skeptically by many scientists in China and abroad. Ahead of the World Health Assembly, convening on Monday to discuss the crisis, Australia, the European Union and other governments have called for an international inquiry into the pandemic while keeping distant from the lab theory. Such calls are discomfiting for the Chinese government, which has been eager to set aside evidence that officials downplayed the outbreak and restricted reporting, delaying a response from the central government.The article in Qiushi argues that questions of the origins of the coronavirus are best left to scientists free of political interference. But the same article uses highly tendentious descriptions of the research to suggest the coronavirus may not have first spread from China.The article cites a research paper about cases of coronavirus infection in France in January to assert that “the virus that led to a local epidemic outbreak in France did not come from China,” although nothing in the paper denies that the virus first spread from there. Similarly, the Qiushi article cites a paper published in April on variations in the coronavirus — findings disputed by other scientists — to assert that the virus that erupted in the United States in March “did not come from abroad,” while hinting at the idea that it leaked from a lab there.The article in Qiushi implored readers to “respect the facts, respect the science” and “cut back on the unreasonably shifting the blame with no basis in fact.”Japan fell into a recession for the first time since 2015, as its already weakened economy was dragged down by the coronavirus’s impact on businesses at home and abroad.The world’s third-largest economy after the United States and China shrank by an annualized rate of 3.4 percent in the first three months of the year, the country’s government said on Monday.That makes it the largest economy to officially enter a recession, often defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth. Other major economies around the world are set to follow as efforts to contain the outbreak ripple around the globe.Businesses had already been staggering before the coronavirus hit.Consumer spending dropped after the Japanese government in October increased a tax on consumption to 10 percent from 8 percent, a move that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration said would help pay down the national debt — the highest among developed nations — and fund the growing demand for social services as the country’s workers age.Days later, a typhoon slammed into the country’s main island, inflicting enormous damage and further driving down economic activity.The situation has only worsened this year. The outbreak crushed Japan’s exports, forced it to postpone the Olympics and then put the country on a soft lockdown as it joined other nations scrambling to stop the coronavirus.On the health front, the efforts seem to have paid off. Cases rose briefly before receding. The country’s health system never became overwhelmed. The total number of deaths attributed to the outbreak was under 750 as of Sunday, far lower than in other major developed nations. But each of those decisions had a profound economic impact.The coronavirus is presenting another enormous challenge to Facebook’s ability to combat misinformation, scammers and conspiracy theorists. It’s also giving Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s founder and chief executive, an opportunity to demonstrate that he has grown into his responsibilities as a leader.Mr. Zuckerberg has long been the face of the social network, which claims more than 2.6 billion average monthly users, or a third of the world’s population. But he has also been a kind of binary executive — extraordinarily involved in some aspects of the business, and hands-off in other areas.The beginning of the end of Mr. Zuckerberg’s distanced leadership came on Nov. 8, 2016, with the election of Donald Trump. From that moment, a series of crises revolving around fake news, data sharing and political manipulation jolted Mr. Zuckerberg to tighten his grip.The revamp has not gone without incident. In early May, Facebook struggled with how to handle a conspiracy video called “Plandemic,” waffling as the footage spread to millions of users. Last week, The Detroit Metro Times showed that the company was blind to assassination-stoking activity on pages with 400,000 members.In theory, the current crisis plays to some of Mr. Zuckerberg’s strengths. Through his personal philanthropy, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, he has long been interested in public health.Or the pandemic could take all that is dangerous about Facebook and amplify it. And if Mr. Zuckerberg is fully in control of his company, responsibility for its response will reside entirely with him.When a sprinkling of a reddish rash appeared on Jack McMorrow’s hands in mid-April, his father figured the 14-year-old was overusing hand sanitizer —- not a bad thing during a global pandemic.But over the next 10 days, Jack, a ninth-grader in New York City, felt increasingly unwell. Then, one morning, he awoke unable to move.He had a tennis ball-size lymph node, raging fever, racing heartbeat and dangerously low blood pressure. Pain deluged his body in “a throbbing, stinging rush,” he said.“You could feel it going through your veins and it was almost like someone injected you with straight-up fire,” he said.Jack, who was previously healthy, was hospitalized with heart failure that day, in a stark example of the newly discovered severe inflammatory syndrome linked to the coronavirus that has already been identified in about 200 children in the United States and Europe and killed several.Appearing mostly in school-age children, the syndrome causes inflammation throughout the body and can cripple the heart. It often appears weeks after infection in children who didn’t experience first-phase coronavirus symptoms.Thirteen sailors aboard the virus-stricken aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt have retested positive for Covid-19 after seeming to have recovered from the disease, Navy officials said on Sunday.The infected sailors, who had all tested negative twice before reboarding the Roosevelt in recent days, have been removed from the warship to self-quarantine. The Roosevelt has been docked in Guam since March 27 as Navy officials wrestle with how to deal with sickened sailors, disinfect the vessel and prepare for it to resume operations in the Western Pacific.Navy officials have said they are aggressively screening and testing as crew members return to the Roosevelt after quarantining at the U.S. military base in Guam, as well as at hotels and in other lodging there. Officials on the ship are requiring masks and repeatedly cleaning and sanitizing to prevent another outbreak of the virus, which has infected about 1,100 crew members since March. One sailor has died.About 2,900 of the 4,800 crew members are now back on board. They are under strict orders to report to doctors the slightest cough, headache or other flulike symptom. In the past week or so, the new testing even turned up a sailor who tested positive for tuberculosis. That set off a wild contact-tracing scramble that found no other cases on board, Navy officials said.The results of the Navy’s latest investigation into events surrounding the Roosevelt are due by the end of this month.Recent research in South Korea suggested that dozens of patients there who had tested positive a second time after recovering from the illness appeared to be “false positives” caused by lingering — but likely not infectious — bits of the virus.A Canadian Air Force jet crashed, killing one of the military personnel on board, in Kamloops, British Columbia, on Sunday during a flyover that was intended as a tribute to Canadians, especially those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, the authorities said.It appeared that two people ejected from the plane in a plume of dark smoke before the aircraft nose-dived into a house in the Brocklehurst neighborhood of Kamloops, which is about 220 miles northeast of Vancouver.As of Sunday evening, the authorities had not confirmed any deaths or injuries.One person was taken to a hospital, Adrian Dix, British Columbia’s minister of health, said on Twitter.Witnesses said they had heard a loud boom and soon realized a plane had crashed in the area.Photos shared on Twitter showed what appeared to be a parachute on the roof of a house.The Canadian Forces Snowbirds last month announced Operation Inspiration. The mission consisted of the squadron flying over cities across Canada in a nine-jet formation with trailing white smoke. The Snowbirds were scheduled to start in Nova Scotia and work their way west throughout the week.Squadron officials could not be immediately reached for comment on Sunday night.Reporting was contributed by Abby Goodnough, Ben Dooley, Makiko Inoue, Mike Isaac, Sheera Frenkel, Cecilia Kang, Pam Belluck, Sandra E. Garcia, Christopher Buckley and Eric Schmitt.

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