Lowell Sun Wed, 24 Jun 2020 04:57:32 +0000 en-US hourly 30 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.2 /wp-content/uploads/2019/07/cropped-sun-site-icon.png?w=32 Lowell Sun 32 32 156563944 Voting in Lowell should not include mail-in ballots /2020/06/24/voting-in-lowell-should-not-include-mail-in-ballots/ /2020/06/24/voting-in-lowell-should-not-include-mail-in-ballots/#respond Wed, 24 Jun 2020 05:55:25 +0000 /?p=1256975 On Tuesday evening, Councilmen Nuon and Drinkwater raised the issue of voting by mail.

I am fully in favor of absentee ballots for all who request them. I voted absentee for 30 years, and liked it. However, mailing ballots to all voters shows a faulty analysis of the issue.

If we compare the 2020 US Census returns for our 26 Census Tracts with voting in our current 33 precincts, we see the same pattern. Those neighborhoods, which turn out to vote, return their census forms, online or by mail. Those neighborhoods with low voter turnout have low census return numbers.

This is about civic responsibility and education. Citizens should understand that voting preserves our democracy and high voting garners attention from politicians. But, we face failure. Failure of parents to inculcate the need to vote. Failure of our educational system. Failure of religious leaders and neighbors and coworkers and friends.  Failure of politicians, like the previous chairman of the Lowell Republican City Committee, to motivate potential voters.

Blanket mailing of ballots will not change voting habits and patterns, but will open us to new forms of voting corruption, such as ballot harvesting.

Please reject this proposal and work for real solutions to people not voting.

Clifford R Krieger
Lowell

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/2020/06/24/voting-in-lowell-should-not-include-mail-in-ballots/feed/ 0 1256975 2020-06-24T01:55:25+00:00 2020-06-23T13:38:15+00:00
Another investigation is kicked down the road /2020/06/24/another-investigation-is-kicked-down-the-road/ /2020/06/24/another-investigation-is-kicked-down-the-road/#respond Wed, 24 Jun 2020 05:21:02 +0000 /?p=1256996 By now, most veterans and people across Massachusetts have heard about Tim White. Tim White? Yes, Mr. White was the 62-year-old veteran who went missing at the Bedford VA for over five weeks, to only be found dead 20 yards from his room. He was found in a stairwell at the facility. He laid there dead and alone for five weeks, while his family was tortured with worry, wondering where he was.

Can you imagine the outrage Tim White’s family must feel? As a veteran who speaks with his fellow veterans daily and knows veterans who use the Bedford VA, I am angered, but unfortunately not surprised. How many of these incidents need to happen at the Bedford VA, before veterans, their families and the community get positive results other than calls for yet another investigation? Yes, another investigation. Almost on cue, our Massachusetts senators and congressional delegation all demanded an investigation was the proper course. Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan has also launched an investigation.

Give me a break with the orchestrated outrage by useless politicians. As I write, some other tragedy is undoubtedly unfolding at the Bedford VA. Some egregious horrific situation is evolving, getting covered up, only to be discovered six months from now. When this happens all the politicians will once again be outraged, will promise change and will demand another investigation. Nothing will change. Nothing will improve and unfortunately we can only expect things to just get worse.

Senator Ed Markey is in the battle of his political life, do not expect him to spend much time worrying about what happened to White. Senator Elizabeth Warren is heavily concentrated on trying to convince Joe Biden that she will be a great Vice President of the United States, so veterans should not hold their breath and wait for Liz to do much by way of getting answers.

Lori Trahan is counting her blessings that a good public relations push that held Dan Koh at arm’s length, prevented a challenger and a race to worry about this fall and heck who has time to step on Seth Moulton’s shoes? Yes, Seth Moulton, a veteran, the congressman representing the Massachusetts 6th Congressional District which includes Bedford where Tim White died alone and was left for dead in a VA facility stairwell. Will Moulton get answers for his fellow veterans’ family? Will he hound investigators daily, demand immediate policy, protocols and procedures be changed at the Bedford VA? Not likely.

The Bedford VA has had so many bad incidents take place there, that it’s difficult to keep up. Questions of how they handled the coronavirus, former whistleblower complaints, bad nurses, to veterans dying of drug overdoses, while under care from drug counselors who weren’t paying attention. All of these cases, investigations were demanded and not a lot changed. How can any veteran have confidence in the Bedford VA? How can any family member of a veteran using the Bedford VA have confidence that their loved one will get proper care? The answer is they can’t. Not until there is a massive overhaul of the administration at the Bedford VA. Not until heads roll, policies are changed and regular monitoring for results is implemented.

So, what can you the reader do? Write your public officials in volume! Demand change! Write the White House and demand that veterans are given a voice and have access to private doctor visits paid for while these investigations take place. Speak out! Demand action and hold politicians and the VA accountable.

John MacDonald is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Operation Desert Storm and a veteran advocate

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/2020/06/24/another-investigation-is-kicked-down-the-road/feed/ 0 1256996 2020-06-24T01:21:02+00:00 2020-06-23T13:29:11+00:00
COVID-19 legislation is needed to help prevent another pandemic /2020/06/24/covid-19-legislation-is-needed-to-help-prevent-another-pandemic/ /2020/06/24/covid-19-legislation-is-needed-to-help-prevent-another-pandemic/#respond Wed, 24 Jun 2020 05:17:29 +0000 /?p=1256992 The article “Global emergency aid delivery could end next month, UN warns” highlights that many countries still have a long way to go in the fight against COVID-19. Countries in dire need of humanitarian aid are being forced to choose to spend money on PPE and medical supplies for COVID-19 or on commercial transportation for aid deliveries. Some countries will turn to aid, which will make this countries more susceptible to COVID-19. While this seems like a problem for other countries, this problem affects Americans greatly. “(D)iseases do not respect borders” (Rep. Gerald Connolly). As a result, the emergence of COVID-19 in other countries could result in another spike of COVID-19 in the U.S. Therefore, the U.S. must work with other countries especially those with little resources to fight COVID-19.

There is a piece of bi-partisan legislation, the Global Health Security Act, which aims to facilitate cooperation with other countries and calls for the United States to take the lead in the fight against COVID-19. This bill also focuses on addressing and preventing future pandemics. “(I)nfectious diseases pose a substantial direct and indirect threat to U.S. interests” (Rep. Steve Chabot). I urge Americans to reach out to their congressional leaders in support of the Global Health Security Act.

Elizabeth Manning
Maynard

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/2020/06/24/covid-19-legislation-is-needed-to-help-prevent-another-pandemic/feed/ 0 1256992 2020-06-24T01:17:29+00:00 2020-06-23T13:57:37+00:00
Walpole deserves praise for refunding police department /2020/06/24/walpole-deserves-praise-for-refunding-police-department/ /2020/06/24/walpole-deserves-praise-for-refunding-police-department/#respond Wed, 24 Jun 2020 05:08:28 +0000 /?p=1256987 Three cheers for the town of Walpole for honoring and refunding their police department.

Walpole can continue to be a safe town to live in. The town used common sense in maintaining a healthy police department so that their citizens will continue to be safely protected from criminals and criminal activity.

Today, too often many government officials are caving in thinking that they are being politically correct in appeasing the “anti everything” group who believe that all police are abusive.  With new regulations and improved police training about to be enacted into law will help to weed out those incompetent cops who give the majority of good police officers a bad name.

A good example of good police leadership is Boston Police Commissioner William Gross. With his forward thinking and voice of unity, he appeals to all segments of the great city of Boston. He would make an effective mayor. He is a model for all large city police departments to follow. Our police  should be supported for they keep law and order in our cities and towns and go beyond their civic duties and some tragically give up their lives in keeping our cities safe.

We should not bite off our nose to spite our face.

Larry Fraticelli
Leominster

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/2020/06/24/walpole-deserves-praise-for-refunding-police-department/feed/ 0 1256987 2020-06-24T01:08:28+00:00 2020-06-23T13:54:56+00:00
Supports Alison Genest in Dracut /2020/06/24/supports-alison-genest-in-dracut/ /2020/06/24/supports-alison-genest-in-dracut/#respond Wed, 24 Jun 2020 05:03:09 +0000 /?p=1256979 This year, the voters of Dracut have the opportunity to elect an independent, experienced outsider for selectman: Alison Genest.

Alison is a Dracut native, a financial services professional with 30 years of private-sector experience and a political newcomer. She has the budgeting, management and oversight experience needed to help keep Dracut affordable for all of us as we move the town forward.

Alison isn’t an insider. She wasn’t picked to run for office by one of the political power brokers or fighting factions. She’ll be an independent voice and she’ll focus on getting results for the citizens of Dracut.

Join me and please vote for Alison Genest for selectman on Monday, June 29.

Ray Leczynski
Dracut

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/2020/06/24/supports-alison-genest-in-dracut/feed/ 0 1256979 2020-06-24T01:03:09+00:00 2020-06-23T13:40:01+00:00
With student gathering, Trump gets a more boisterous crowd /2020/06/24/with-student-gathering-trump-gets-a-more-boisterous-crowd/ /2020/06/24/with-student-gathering-trump-gets-a-more-boisterous-crowd/#respond Wed, 24 Jun 2020 04:57:30 +0000 ?p=1256878&preview_id=1256878 By JONATHAN LEMIRE and AAMER MADHANI

PHOENIX (AP) — It wasn’t quite one of his signature big-stadium rallies.

But President Donald Trump drew something closer to the jam-packed audience of political supporters he’s been craving as hundreds of young conservatives filled a Phoenix megachurch Tuesday to hear his call for them to get behind his reelection effort.

The crowded Dream City Church for the gathering of Students for Trump offered a starkly different feel compared to Trump’s weekend rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, his first of the coronavirus era, which drew sparser attendance.

Trump hailed the “patriotic young Americans who stand up tall for America and refuse to kneel to the radical left.”

“You are the courageous warriors standing in the way of what they want to do and their goals,” he told the boisterous crowd. “They hate our history. They hate our values, and they hate everything we prize as Americans.”

Trump was looking to regain campaign momentum after Tulsa, which was supposed to be a sign of the nation’s reopening and a show of political force. Instead, it generated thousands of empty seats and swirling questions about the president’s campaign leadership and his case for another four years in office.

The low turnout sharpened the focus on Trump’s visit to Arizona, which doubles as both a 2020 battleground state and a surging coronavirus hot spot.

With the Phoenix event, which was organized by Turning Point Action, a group chaired by Trump ally Charlie Kirk, the president hoped to turn attention — at least momentarily — away from his slumping poll numbers, surging coronavirus infections in huge swaths of the South and West, and a virus-ravaged economy.

His address was chock-full of typical Trump lines — boasts about television ratings, ridicule of his likely Democratic presidential opponent Joe Biden and sharply worded resentments over China’s handling of the coronavirus crisis. As he did in Oklahoma over the weekend, Trump referred to the virus as “kung flu,” a pejorative term that Asian-Americans say is racist.

But unlike his return to campaign stage before thousands of empty seats in Oklahoma, Trump seemed to revel in the energy of a packed — albeit smaller — venue. He also offered his supporters a dark warning.

“This will be in my opinion the most corrupt election in the history of our country,” said Trump, who has in recent days stepped up claims that expanded mail-in voting will lead to voting fraud. “And we can not let this happen.”

But throughout his daylong trip to Arizona, which included a visit to the U.S.-Mexico border, the COVID-19 pandemic shadowed Trump.

The Democratic mayor of Phoenix made clear she did not believe Trump’s speech could be safely held in her city — and urged the president to wear a face mask.

But Trump has adamantly refused to wear a mask in public, instead turning it into a red-vs.-blue cultural issue. Polling suggests Republicans are far less likely to wear face coverings than Democrats despite health experts’ warnings that it dramatically reduces the risk of transmitting the virus. Few in the crowd at the Students for Trump event donned masks.

Since late May, Arizona has emerged as one of the nation’s most active hot spots for the spread of COVID-19.

Photos of restaurants and bars crowded with unmasked patrons ignited controversy. Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, a Trump supporter, reversed himself last week and allowed cities and counties to require people to wear masks in public places. Most have, including Phoenix and Yuma and the counties that surround them.

Arizona is seeing disturbing trends in several benchmarks, including the percentage of tests that prove positive for the virus, which is the highest in the nation.

The state reported a new daily record of nearly 3,600 additional coronavirus cases Tuesday as Arizona continued to set records for the number of people hospitalized, in intensive care and on ventilators for COVID-19. Arizona’s total caseload in the pandemic stands at at least 58,179, with 42 more deaths reported Tuesday, raising the death toll to 1,384.

“Right now, the next couple of weeks are going to be critical in our ability to address those surgings that we are seeing in Florida, in Texas, in Arizona and other states,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s top infectious disease expert, told a House committee Tuesday. “They are not the only ones that are having a difficulty. Bottom line … it’s a mixed bag.”

Campaign officials stressed that rallies would remain a staple of the president’s reelection strategy but allowed that they may, in certain states, need to change slightly. Discussions were under way about having them in more modest venues or outdoors, perhaps in airplane hangars and amphitheaters, or in smaller cities away from likely protesters.

Trump campaign officials believe Trump’s ability to draw thousands of supporters out during a pandemic sets up a favorable contrasting image with Democratic rival Joe Biden. Still, the campaign has struggled to find effective attack lines on Biden.

Before the Students for Trump event, Trump visited the U.S.-Mexico border, where he tried to credit his new wall with stopping both illegal immigration and the coronavirus.

In the blazing summer heat, Trump briefly stopped to inspect a new section of the concrete and rebar structure. The president and other officials took a moment to scrawl their signatures on the wall.

Arizona health officials have said in recent weeks that an influx of virus patients from Mexico have added to the load on hospitals in the southern part of the state.

“We realize that this is a hotspot,” Ducey said earlier this week. “We also realize we’ve got a lot of good, hard-working folks that come across the border every day to work in Arizona industry. We also have a lot of good folks that want to take advantage of much of our Arizona health care system, and we want there to be that capacity.”

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Madhani reported from Chicago. Associated Press writers Jonathan Cooper, Astrid Galvan and Bob Christie in Phoenix and Elana Schor in New York contributed to this report.

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/2020/06/24/with-student-gathering-trump-gets-a-more-boisterous-crowd/feed/ 0 1256878 2020-06-24T00:57:30+00:00 2020-06-24T00:57:32+00:00
Asia shares higher after US rally despite rising virus fears /2020/06/23/asia-shares-higher-after-us-rally-despite-rising-virus-fears/ /2020/06/23/asia-shares-higher-after-us-rally-despite-rising-virus-fears/#respond Wed, 24 Jun 2020 03:26:41 +0000 ?p=1256861&preview_id=1256861 By YURI KAGEYAMA

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mostly higher on Wednesday with another mood boost from Wall Street, but fears persist over the surge in coronavirus cases in parts of the world.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 edged 0.1% higher to 22,576.63. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 also picked up 0.1% to 5,958.40. South Korea’s Kospi added 1.5% to 2,162.46. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.1% to 24,854.72, while the Shanghai Composite added 0.2% to 2,976.39.

Analysts are warning that, despite the recent market rallies, there is little reassurance infections won’t keep spreading, given the growing numbers in some parts of the U.S., Brazil and Asia.

“The nuance though is that the recovery falls short of being entrenched,” said Hayaki Narita of Mizuho Bank, adding trade contractions for various countries this year are expected to be the worst ever.

Prakash Sapal, senior economist for ING, said the focus is slowly shifting back to the COVID-19 pandemic from optimism about a rebound from loosening lockdown restrictions.

“The recent acceleration in infections has rekindled concern that governments will be forced to shut down their economies once again, squandering the chance for the much-hoped-for economic bounce back,” he said in a report.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose 0.4% and is on pace for its third straight monthly gain. The Nasdaq composite, which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, climbed to an all-time high for the second day in a row. Bond yields rose, another sign of increasing confidence in the economy.

Health care stocks and companies that rely on consumer spending were also among the big gainers, while safe-play sectors like real estate and utilities stocks fell.

Investors have been focused on the prospects for an economic recovery as more businesses reopen after being shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Encouraging economic data, including retail sales and hiring, have helped stoke optimism that the recession will be relatively short-lived.

Wall Street has grown confident that the Federal Reserve and Congress are prepared to continue providing a historic amount of support to the market and economy, said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA.

“All of the negative news has basically been built into share prices,” Stovall said. “If we are to stumble, then the Fed and Congress are likely to step in to put a fiscal and monetary floor underneath the economy and the markets. And now, with the likelihood that the economy will not be shutting down entirely should we end up with a second wave, the market is basically saying it’s ‘onward and upward.’”

The S&P 500 rose 13.43 points to 3,131.29. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 131.14 points, or 0.5%, to 26,156.10. The Nasdaq climbed 74.89 points, or 0.7%, to 10,131.37. The index has only fallen twice so far in June. The Russell 2000 index of small company stocks picked up 5.81 points, or 0.4%, to 1,439.34.

The market has continued to climb, despite bouts of volatility, even as a rise in new coronvairus cases in the U.S. and other countries clouds the prospects for an economic recovery.

The World Health Organization said over the weekend that the pandemic is still in its ascendancy. The U.S., which is seeing rapid increases in cases across the South and West, has the most infections and deaths by far in the world, with 2.3 million cases and over 120,000 confirmed virus-related deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Its global reckoning puts the total number of cases worldwide at more than 9.2 million, with more than 476,000 deaths.

On Tuesday, Federal health officials told Congress to brace for a second wave of coronavirus infections in the fall and winter of this year.

While the virus remains a concern as businesses reopen, new cases aren’t yet that concerning, said Jason Draho, head of Americas asset allocation at UBS Global Wealth Management.

“Right now, that’s something to monitor, but when you look at the underlying data, it’s all still at levels that are not too concerning as opposed to where we were back in March and April,” he said.

Investors have been placing more weight on economic data releases that suggest economies that have reopened are making strides to emerge from a deep recession. Further updates on the U.S. economy are expected toward the end of this week, when the government will issue data on consumer spending, weekly unemployment aid applications and durable goods orders.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude oil slipped 31 cents to $40.06 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 9 cents to $40.37 a barrel Tuesday. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 22 cents to $42.51.

The dollar rose to 106.54 Japanese yen from 106.53 yen on Tuesday. The euro cost $1.1316, up from $1.1307.

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AP Business Writers Alex Veiga and Damian J. Troise contributed.

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/2020/06/23/asia-shares-higher-after-us-rally-despite-rising-virus-fears/feed/ 0 1256861 2020-06-23T23:26:41+00:00 2020-06-23T23:26:51+00:00
Airwing helps Lowell police with search for child /2020/06/23/airwing-helps-lowell-police-with-search-for-child/ /2020/06/23/airwing-helps-lowell-police-with-search-for-child/#respond Wed, 24 Jun 2020 02:29:36 +0000 /?p=1257548 LOWELL — Police say a report that an intoxicated father showed up at a relative’s house and then left with his 1-year-old child sparked a search Monday night that included a state police helicopter before the child was found safe at his mother’s 凯发真人试玩首页home.

Police said the incident began when Luis Gonzalez arrived at a family member’s 凯发真人试玩首页home in the Highlands neighborhood while appearing to be intoxicated, and then left with his 1-year-old.

“The father Luis Gonzalez appeared under the influence of narcotics and was of concern to the family,” Capt. James Hodgdon said in an email.

Police began searching for Gonzalez and the 1-year-old, with the state police Airwing joining the search.

Hodgdon said the child was eventually located, unharmed, at his mother’s 凯发真人试玩首页home in Lowell, which is separate from the address where Gonzalez had picked the child up. He said police filed a 51A report with the Department of Children and Families in connection with the incident.

Hodgdon said Gonzalez is currently wanted on three arrest warrants, and will be charged with reckless endangerment of a child in connection with Monday night’s incident.

Gonzalez has not yet been located by police, Hodgdon said.

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/2020/06/23/airwing-helps-lowell-police-with-search-for-child/feed/ 0 1257548 2020-06-23T22:29:36+00:00 2020-06-24T00:56:31+00:00
The Latest: SKorea continues upward trend in new infections /2020/06/23/the-latest-skorea-continues-upward-trend-in-new-infections/ /2020/06/23/the-latest-skorea-continues-upward-trend-in-new-infections/#respond Wed, 24 Jun 2020 02:24:57 +0000 ?p=1256869&preview_id=1256869 By The Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea __ South Korea has reported 51 additional cases of the coronavirus over the past 24 hours, a continuation of an upward trend in new infections.

The figures released Wednesday by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took the country’s total to 12,535 with 281 deaths.

It says 10,930 of them have recovered while 1,324 people remain in treatment for the COVID-19 illness.

South Korea has been reporting roughly 40-50 cases every day over the past two weeks amid increased public activity and eased attitudes on social distancing. There has also been an uptick in imported cases.

The KCDC says 20 of the 51 newly reported cases came from overseas while 31 patients were infected locally.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Dr. Anthony Fauci cites institutional racism for virus’ impact on African Americans

— France’s official contact-tracing app has been downloaded 1.9 million times but sent only 14 notifications in three weeks

— Novak Djokovic and three other top tennis players test positive for virus after Balkans tournament.

— Hotels in Greece will have basic isolation and treatment areas, doctors on call this summer.

— One of the Arab world’s most prestigious universities has endured civil war, staff kidnappings and economic crises in its 154-year history. The American University of Beirut now confronts a triple threat simultaneously in a pandemic, a recession and the collapse of Lebanon’s currency. Meanwhile, a Saudi official says the hajj pilgrimage that usually draws up to 2.5 million Muslims is likely to see only a few thousand pilgrims.

— A coronavirus outbreak linked to a slaughterhouse in Germany has led a state government to impose week-long lockdown measures. More than 1,500 people tied to the slaughterhouse have tested positive. Thousands more are quarantined. The governor of North Rhine-Westphalia says area cinemas, fitness studios and bars will be closed again. In related news, China’s ban of imports from one Tyson Foods poultry plant with infected workers has raised concerns for the U.S. meat industry.

— People are flocking to beaches for vacation after being cooped up by COVID-19 for months. But the coronavirus is taking no vacation. The U.S. state of South Carolina now has the fourth-highest new infection rate in the nation when adjusted for population. One hot spot is around Myrtle Beach, which has seen COVID-19 cases jump from fewer 300 at the start of June to nearly 1,600. And that only counts residents, not visitors. Local entrepreneurs fear more infections could result in bad publicity.

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Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

MELBOURNE, Australia — Australia has recorded its first death from COVID-19 in a month, increasing the national toll from the new coronavirus to 103.

ities in Victoria state say a man in his 80s died overnight, lifting the state’s total to 20.

It comes as the state recorded double-digit increase in cases for an eighth consecutive day, with 20 new cases confirmed on Wednesday. There have been more than 7,500 infections in Australia.

Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews on the weekend said large family gatherings had been the catalyst for the virus taking off again in some areas after lockdown rules were eased.

Nine of the state’s new cases on Wednesday were identified through routine testing, seven were linked to known outbreaks, one was a returned traveler in hotel quarantine and three cases remained under investigation.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton says 241 cases in the state have been identified as community transmission, an increase of eight since Tuesday.

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PHOENIX — Hundreds of young supporters of President Donald Trump packed a megachurch for a Students for Trump event.

Ahead of Tuesday’s event, the Democratic mayor of Phoenix, Kate Gallego, made clear that she did not believe the speech could be safely held in her city — and urged the president to wear a face mask.

But only a smattering of attendees — young conservatives from around the country — wore masks and there was little room for the participants to practice social distancing.

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MEXICO CITY — Mexico has posted another record one-day increase in confirmed coronavirus cases, with 6,288, while 793 more deaths have been reported.

The Health Department on Tuesday said Mexico now has seen 191,410 cases and 23,377 deaths from COVID-19. Officials acknowledge both are undercounts due to extremely low testing rates. Mexico has performed only about half a million tests, or about one for every 250 inhabitants.

Officials claim the pandemic has stabilized and may have even started a downward trend this week, but they have made that claim several times before.

Mexico has also had an extremely high rate of infections among health care professionals. About 39,000 of the country’s confirmed cases are health care workers, about 20% of the total. There have been 584 deaths among doctors, nurses, technicians and hospital workers.

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BEIJING — China has announced a further decline in newly confirmed coronavirus cases both nationwide and in the capital Beijing where a roughly two-week old spike in cases appears to now be firmly on the wane.

A total of 12 cases were reported Wednesday for the country, down from 22 the day before. Beijing reported seven cases, down from 13, while the two other cases were reported in neighboring Hebei province and three were listed as having been brought from abroad by Chinese travelers.

No new deaths were reported and 359 remained in treatment for COVID-19, with another 118 in monitoring and isolation for testing positive for the virus while showing no symptoms or being suspected cases. China has reported a total of 4,634 deaths from among 83,430 cases of COVID-19 since the virus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

Beijing’s June outbreak saw more than 200 cases, most linked to the city’s biggest wholesale market, and led to some new lockdowns and the cancellation of classes. Since then, 3 million test samples have been taken from 2.43 million people in the city, a senior municipal health official said on Tuesday. A total of 249 people have been infected in Beijing since June 11.

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CAIRO — War-ravaged Libya has reported its biggest daily increase yet in coronavirus infections and deaths, raising fears that a major outbreak could overwhelm its health system, left in shambles by nine years of conflict.

Libya’s National Center for Disease Control announced 639 total virus cases, including 17 fatalities, after recording

44 new virus cases and four deaths on Tuesday. With such little testing, experts believe the number could be higher.

The North African country has become split between rival administrations in the east and west, each supported by an array of fractious militias and foreign powers. The National Center for Disease Control is one the few state institutions to bridge the country’s divide.

Libya’s case count has more than quadrupled in the last few weeks, largely due to its repatriation of stranded citizens from abroad. An alarming hot spot is the city of Sabha in the remote southern desert, where health facilities are drastically under-equipped and many citizens remain uninformed.

JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI — Mississippi’s health officer says he is not “remotely surprised” and is concerned for the future after the state saw its highest single-day increase in coronavirus cases.

The announcement came as the Mississippi Senate is working to limit lawsuits by customers who say they were exposed to COVID-19 at businesses or medical offices.

“We’ve been seeing this trend evolving over weeks,” Dr. Thomas Dobbs said in an interview with The Associated Press Tuesday. ” As people have tried to embrace normal, but unsafe normal, it is permitting the virus to spread. We’re really going to end up paying the price for it.”

The Mississippi Department of Health reported 611 new cases and 11 deaths Tuesday. Dobbs said the uptick is driven by community transmission of the virus from younger, asymptomatic people to their older relatives.

“If you drive around and look at how younger people are having social gatherings, they’re crowding into bars, it’s just not safe,” Dobbs said. “People are not complying, people are not wearing masks. It’s not a joke. Really bad things are going to happen.”

Dobbs said a big concern of his is the stress the new cases are putting on Mississippi’s heath care system. He said it’s already testing the state’s hospital bed capacity.

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OLYMPIA, Washington – Washington state will require people to wear facial coverings in public settings, under a statewide public health order announced by Gov. Jay Inslee in response to ongoing COVID-related health concerns.

The order, issued by Secretary of Health John Wiesman, takes effect Friday. The order requires face coverings when people are indoor in a public area, and outdoors in a public area when six feet of physical distancing can’t be maintained.

Washington joins several other states that already have statewide mask orders in place, including California, which issued its order last week.

A spokesman for Inslee said that violation of the statewide mask order is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. Violation of the Yakima County proclamation is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to 364 days in jail and up to a $5,000 fine.

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WASHINGTON — The chairman of a House committee conducting an oversight hearing on the Trump administration’s COVID-19 response says the panel was snubbed by the head of Medicare and Medicaid.

Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, would have joined Dr. Anthony Fauci and other top health officials testifying Tuesday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Chairman Frank Pallone, D-N.J., says Verma turned down repeated invitations.

She “could have provided valuable insight (about) what is working, what still needs to be improved and what more we can do to help these vulnerable communities,” said Pallone. “Unfortunately, she decided not to come.”

CMS said in response that Verma has been “fully transparent with Congress” and the other officials who appeared were able to represent the administration “appropriately and sufficiently.”

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UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations chief is criticizing the total lack of international coordination in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic and warning that the go-it-alone policy of many countries will not defeat the coronavirus.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press that what needs to be done is to make countries understand that by acting in isolation “they are creating the situation that is getting out of control” — and that coordinated global coordination is key.

He said COVID-19 started in China, moved to Europe, then to North America and now to South America, Africa and India, and some people are now talking about second waves coming at any moment — “and there is total lack of coordination among countries in the response to the COVID.”

Guterres said it’s important to use that fact “to make countries understand that bringing them together, putting together their capacities, not only in fighting the pandemic in a coordinated way but in working together to have the treatments, testing mechanisms, the vaccines … accessible to everybody, that this is the way we defeat the pandemic.”

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NEW YORK — The Macy’s July 4th fireworks will go forward in New York City, but with a twist meant to keep spectators from congregating in large numbers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that there will be a series of “unannounced displays” around the city leading up to the Fourth.

“With heights reaching up to 1,000 feet from some firing locations, staying close to 凯发真人试玩首页home and following social distancing guidelines is the best way to enjoy the show,” de Blasio said.

The mayor described the fireworks as “5-minute surprise displays” that will culminate in a national television broadcast featuring a final fireworks celebration and music performances.

The initial displays will start Monday and continue “on select evenings at one or two land or water based locations across New York City,” Macy’s said in a new release.

“The final display sites were chosen because they could safely accommodate the launch and firing of large-scale pyrotechnics.”

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Dr. Anthony Fauci is offering some advice for colleges attempting to reopen classes this fall: tailor plans to local conditions, make sure everyone is wearing masks, and don’t ignore the wellbeing of the maintenance and dining hall staff.

“Masks have to be done at all times,” Fauci told the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

He said colleges have to assume that some students will get infected, and they have to have plans for how to keep them and their classmates safe.

Fauci said online learning and teaching should be offered as options for all students and faculty.

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WASHINGTON — Federal health officials tell Congress to brace for a second wave of coronavirus infections in the fall and winter of this year.

Drs. Anthony Fauci of the NIH, Robert Redfield of the CDC, and FDA head Stephen Hahn agreed under questioning before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“It’s simple,” said Redfield. “We are going to experience significant coronavirus infection in the fall and winter.”

Other respiratory viruses follow a usual pattern of resurgence during the cold weather months, when people are likelier to be indoors, making it easier to transmit infection.

HHS assistant secretary for health Brett Giroir concurred with the other officials, adding that he wants to have enough supplies stockpiled so the health care system can treat COVID-19 patients without having to shut down access for people needing care for other conditions.

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TOPEKA, Kansas — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly is recommending that communities wait a little bit longer before moving to the next phase of reopening as coronavirus cases increase.

The “Phase Out” stage of Kelly’s Ad Astra reopening plan was set to begin Monday, but Kelly and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment are now advising communities to stay in Phase 3 for at least two more weeks.

The main difference is that Phase 3 limits mass gatherings to no more than 45 people. The “Phase Out” stage merely urges social distancing but doesn’t limit the size of crowds. The ultimate decision, though, rests with local officials.

“Though many Kansans and communities have been social distancing, wearing masks, and working hard over the past few weeks to mitigate the spread of the virus, we have unfortunately seen an increase in disease spread,” Kelly said in a news release.

New data released Monday shows Kansas has at least 12,465 cases, up 406 from Friday. The state health department also said the number of COVID-19 deaths rose by five to 259.

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AUSTIN, Texas — Republican Gov. Greg Abbott says Texas has surpassed 5,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day for the first time, recording another troubling milestone as America’s largest pediatric hospital, Texas Children’s Hospital, begins taking adult patients to free up bed space in Houston.

The announcement Tuesday comes days after Texas eclipsed 4,000 new cases for the first time just last weekend.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, told lawmakers in Washington on Tuesday that “the next couple weeks are going to be critical” in Texas and other states that are trying to curtail an alarming spike in new cases.

The infection rate in Texas has doubled since late May to nearly 9%. And on Monday, Texas recorded an 11th consecutive day of record COVID-19 hospitalizations with more than 3,700.

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WASHINGTON — The chairman of a House committee conducting an oversight hearing on the Trump administration’s COVID-19 response says the panel was snubbed by the head of Medicare and Medicaid.

Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, would have joined Dr. Anthony Fauci and other top health officials testifying Tuesday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Chairman Frank Pallone, D-N.J., says Verma turned down repeated invitations.

She “could have provided valuable insight (about) what is working, what still needs to be improved and what more we can do to help these vulnerable communities,” said Pallone. “Unfortunately, she decided not to come.”

There was no immediate comment from the Medicare agency. Pallone said he will keep pushing for Verma to appear before the committee.

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s Republican governor says he has no plans to shut down the economy even though he shares some of the concerns raised in a memo by the state’s epidemiologist who warned a “complete shutdown” might be imminent if the state can’t stop a prolonged spike of coronavirus cases.

Gov. Gary Herbert tweeted late Monday night that he appreciated the analysis by epidemiologist Angela Dunn in her memo that detailed the severity of a spread of COVID-19 that has doubled the infection rate and daily case count since Herbert allowed many businesses to reopen in mid-May.

But he reiterated his stance that economic growth can happen while keeping people safe.

“We will work to stem this tide, but I have no plans to shut down Utah’s economy,” tweeted Herbert.

Dunn recommended that the state reimpose some restrictions on businesses and group gatherings unless the state lowers its weekly average of case by more than half by July 1.

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WASHINGTON — Top federal health officials say they continue to deal with the World Health Organization despite President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the U.N. health agency, which serves as a forum for the global coronavirus response.

Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health and Dr. Robert Redfield, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Tuesday that they continue to have regular interactions with scientific peers at the WHO.

Trump pulled the U.S. out of the World Health Organization after complaining about its response to the coronavirus and alleged favoritism toward China.

Fauci and Redfield both said they were not directly consulted about the president’s decision.

Fauci said his National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has a memorandum of understanding that governs regular collaboration with the WHO. Redfield said his agency is working with the world body on Ebola, polio and influenza.

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BATON ROUGE, La. — The number of new COVID-19 cases reported in Louisiana jumped by more than 1,356 Tuesday, and the number of people hospitalized with the disease ticked up by 16.

The statewide increase to a total of 51,595 cases was the largest single-day rise in reported cases since early April — excluding days when delayed reporting of backlogged cases accounted for increases.

The daily record was reported by the state health department a day after Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that the recent surge in cases would prevent Louisiana from further easing restrictions aimed at keeping the new coronavirus from spreading.

On Twitter, the state health department said 95% of the cases reported Tuesday were the result of “community spread,” as opposed to infections in nursing 凯发真人试玩首页homes or other such settings.

The pandemic death toll in Louisiana as of Tuesday was 3,021.

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/2020/06/23/the-latest-skorea-continues-upward-trend-in-new-infections/feed/ 0 1256869 2020-06-23T22:24:57+00:00 2020-06-23T22:24:59+00:00
Fauci: Next few weeks critical to tamping down virus spikes /2020/06/23/fauci-next-few-weeks-critical-to-tamping-down-virus-spikes/ /2020/06/23/fauci-next-few-weeks-critical-to-tamping-down-virus-spikes/#respond Wed, 24 Jun 2020 01:26:30 +0000 ?p=1256873&preview_id=1256873 By LAURAN NEERGAARD and RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR

WASHINGTON (AP) — The next few weeks are critical to tamping down a disturbing coronavirus surge, Dr. Anthony Fauci told Congress on Tuesday — issuing a plea for people to avoid crowds and wear masks just hours before mask-shunning President Donald Trump was set to address a crowd of his young supporters in one hot spot.

Fauci and other top health officials also said they have not been asked to slow down virus testing, in contrast to Trump’s claim last weekend that he had ordered fewer tests be performed because they were uncovering too many infections. Trump said earlier Tuesday that he wasn’t kidding when he made that remark.

“We will be doing more testing,” Fauci, infectious disease chief at the National Institutes of Health, pledged to a House committee conducting oversight of the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic.

The leading public health officials spent more than five hours testifying before the committee at a fraught moment, with coronavirus cases rising in about half the states and political polarization competing for attention with public health recommendations.

Fauci told lawmakers he understands the pent-up desire to get back to normal as the U.S. begins emerging from months of stay-at-凯发真人试玩首页home orders and business shutdowns. But that has “to be a gradual step-by-step process and not throwing caution to the wind,” he said.

“Plan A, don’t go in a crowd. Plan B, if you do, make sure you wear a mask,” Fauci said.

Troubling surges worsened Tuesday in several states, with Arizona, California, Mississippi, Nevada and Texas setting single-day records for new coronavirus cases, and some governors saying they’ll consider reinstating restrictions or delaying plans to ease up in order to help slow the spread of the virus.

Arizona, where Trump was headed for a speech at a Phoenix megachurch, reported a new daily record of nearly 3,600 additional coronavirus infections Tuesday. Arizona emerged as a COVID-19 hot spot after Republican Gov. Doug Ducey lifted his stay-凯发真人试玩首页home orders in mid-May. Last week he allowed cities and counties to require masks in public places and many have done so.

Texas surpassed 5,000 new cases for a single day for the first time — just days after it eclipsed 4,000 new cases for the first time — as America’s largest pediatric hospital began taking adult patients to free up bed space in Houston. The infection rate in Texas has doubled since late May. And Nevada surpassed a record one-day increase for the fourth time in the past eight days. Other states also were experiencing worrisome surges, including Louisiana, Utah and South Carolina.

Another worrisome trend: an increase in infections among young adults. Fauci said while COVID-19 tends to be less severe in younger people, some of them do get very sick and even die. And younger people also may be more likely to show no symptoms yet still spread the virus.

If people say, “’I’m young, I’m healthy, who cares’ — you should care, not only for yourself but for the impact you might have” on sickening someone more vulnerable, Fauci said.

About 2.3 million Americans have been infected and some 120,000 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Republican Rep. David McKinley of West Virginia asked if Fauci regretted that the American public wasn’t urged sooner to wear face masks, and then interrupted before the visibly annoyed scientist finished answering.

Fauci said he didn’t regret the change in recommendations. Early in the pandemic there was a “paucity of equipment” for health workers “who put themselves daily in harm’s way” and “we did not want to divert” those scarce supplies, he said.

Scientists eventually recommended the general public use cloth masks, after they better understood that people with no symptoms could be spreading the virus — even though they don’t offer as much protection as the sophisticated masks reserved for health workers and aren’t a substitute for staying 6 feet away from other people.

Trump, meanwhile, doubled down on testing claims that have public health experts appalled, tweeting Tuesday:

“Cases are going up in the U.S. because we are testing far more than any other country, and ever expanding. With smaller testing we would show fewer cases! “

Less testing in fact means more infections going undetected. The U.S. was slow in ramping up and currently is testing about 500,000 people a day. Many experts say to control the spread of the virus, it should be testing 900,000 or more.

Brett Giroir, a Health and Human Services assistant secretary, told lawmakers Tuesday the next step is testing patient samples in large batches to stretch limited supplies, which would expand U.S. screening between fivefold and tenfold.

Instead of testing each person individually, health workers would pool samples from 50, 100 or more people from the same office or school, for example. A negative result would clear everyone, while a positive would require each person to be individually re-tested.

And Dr. Robert Redfield, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, added that it’s now recommended for workers in nursing 凯发真人试玩首页homes — hard-hit by the virus — to be tested weekly.

As for the anxiously awaited vaccine, Fauci said he believes “it will be when and not if” it arrives, and he’s “cautiously optimistic” that some vaccine could be available at the end of the year.

More than a dozen vaccine candidates are in various stages of testing around the globe, and the U.S. next month is poised to begin the largest study — in 30,000 people — to get the needed proof that one really works. Meanwhile, countries, including the U.S. under a program called “Operation Warp Speed,” are beginning to stockpile millions of doses of different shots, in hopes at least some will prove usable.

Health officials assured lawmakers Tuesday that there won’t be shortcuts on safety.

“We absolutely must maintain regulatory independence and make the right decision for the American people based on the science and the data,” said Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn.

Democrats blasted Trump for confusing the public with erroneous statements — from testing to masks to unproven treatments — and ignoring the public health experts’ advice.

“It costs lives,” Rep. Kathy Castor of Florida said of Trump’s false claims. She urged the public health specialists to do more to counter the president: “We really expect you to be more outspoken.”

Pushed on whether schools should reopen in August and September, Redfield insisted that will vary not just by state but by school district, depending on how many infections are in a particular area.

“Many jurisdictions will be reopening schools,” and CDC will soon issue some guidelines to help, he said.

Fauci noted that schools should tailor their decisions to local conditions, saying some might need few restrictions and others more. He offered the same advice to colleges, saying they should assume some students will get infected and that there must be ways to keep them and their classmates safe.

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