Daily Archives: Jun 21, 2020

By EMILY SCHMALL and ELAINE KURTENBAC

NEW DELHI (AP) — The world saw the largest daily increases yet in coronavirus cases, with infections soaring in India’s rural villages after migrant workers fled major cities.

India’s coronavirus caseload climbed by nearly 15,000 as of Monday to 425,282, with more than 13,000 deaths, the health ministry reported.

After easing the nationwide lockdown, the Indian government has run special trains to return thousands of migrant workers to their natal villages in recent weeks. Nearly 90% of India’s poorest districts have cases, though the outbreak remains centered in Delhi, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu states, which are home to major cities.

Infections slowed in China and South Korea, suggesting some progress in stemming their newest outbreaks. But despite clear headway in containing the virus in regions that suffered early outbreaks, globally the number of new virus cases has soared in recent days. In Brazil, Iraq, India and the United States, hospitals are scrambling to cope.

Nearly 9 million people have been infected by the new coronavirus and more than 468,000 people have died, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Experts say the actual numbers are much higher, given limits to testing and the presumed large share of asymptomatic cases.

In a grim reminder of the pandemic’s ubiquitous reach, Philippine officials said Saudi Arabia’s king had asked that the remains of 282 Filipino workers who perished in recent months in the oil-rich kingdom be repatriated within three days. They died of varied causes, but virus restrictions delayed repatriations.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the Philippine government asked that the deadline be extended and that the bodies of about 50 Filipinos who died of COVID-19 be buried in Saudi Arabia.

The Philippines has reported more than 30,000 infections and 1,169 deaths, among the highest in Southeast Asia. It is struggling to help bring home tens of thousands of Filipinos who have lost their work abroad.

In Pakistan, infections are accelerating and hospitals are having to turn away patients, with new cases up to 6,800 a day in mid-June. The government has relaxed pandemic restrictions, hoping to salvage a near-collapsed economy as the number of people living in poverty has risen to 40%, up from 30% of the population of 220 million people.

In Iraq, masked workers were setting up makeshift coronavirus wards in Baghdad’s vast exhibition grounds as a long-dreaded spike in infections strained its overstretched hospitals, battered by years of conflict and poor infrastructure.

Late Sunday, the World Health Organization reported the largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases by its count, at more than 183,000 new cases in the latest 24 hours. Brazil tallied 54,771 and the U.S. was next at 36,617, the UN health agency said. India reported more than 15,400.

Experts say rising case counts reflect multiple factors including more testing and spreading infections. More than two-thirds of the new deaths were reported in the Americas.

Still, in East Asia there were signs of progress, as South Korea reported 17 new cases, the first time its daily increase fell to under 20 in nearly a month.

The recent outbreak has been centered around Seoul, the capital, where the mayor warned stronger social distancing measures may be reimposed if the daily new cases don’t fall below an average of 30 in the next three days.

“If Seoul gets penetrated (by the virus), the entire Republic of Korea gets penetrated,” Mayor Park Won-soon said, using the country’s formal name. He said the basic reproduction number of virus carriers, or number of infections caused by an individual, rose to nearly 1.8 between April 30 and June 11. Any number above 1 indicates a growing epidemic.

A rise in cases among people arriving from South Asia prompted a halt to new visas for travelers from Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Elsewhere in Asia, Beijing’s increase was in single digits for the first time in eight days. It reported nine cases.

But Australia’s Victoria state reported 16 new cases of the coronavirus as it tries to bring an outbreak there under control. The number of cases there is the highest in two months, accounting for more than 80% of Australia’s new cases over the past week.

In the United States, experts say the resurgence in infections there is not a so-called “second wave” but a continuation of the first wave of outbreaks as the number of cases plateaus.

New cases are dipping in some parts of the country while rising mainly in the the South, West and Midwest, swamping hospitals in some areas.

The coronavirus has killed about 120,000 people nationwide. More than 30,000 cases were reported on Friday and Saturday, with the daily totals their highest since May 1.

In New York City, the worst affected area so far, efforts to stop the pandemic’s spread through contact tracing are being hampered by the reluctance of many people to provide information to tracers.

The New York Times reported only 35% of the 5,347 city residents who tested positive or were presumed positive for COVID-19 in the first two weeks of the contact tracing program gave information about their close contacts.

But Dr. Ted Long, head of New York City’s new Test and Trace Corps, defended the program, saying 69% of the people who complete an interview provide contacts.

The city will hit a turning point Monday: allowing New Yorkers to dine out for the first time in three months, though only at outdoor tables. Shoppers can browse, shaggy heads get haircuts and kids climb playground monkey bars, instead of their apartment walls.

Office workers will be allowed to resume their commutes, though many won’t yet.

Larry Silverstein, the 89-year-old World Trade Center developer, said he couldn’t wait.

Returning to office life and in-person teamwork brings “a joy, a fulfillment, such a sense of being able to function,” he said.

“I went through 9/11. I remember people telling me we were never going to be able to get people to come back to lower Manhattan,” said Silverstein, who leased the twin towers six weeks before the 2001 terror attacks destroyed them. “Never bet against New York, because New York always comes back, bigger and better than ever before.”

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Associated Press journalists from around the world contributed. Kurtenbach reported from Bangkok.

 

    HAMPTON, GEORGIA - JUNE 07: Bubba Wallace, driver of the #43 McDonald's Chevrolet, wears a "I Can't Breath - Black Lives Matter" T-shirt under his fire suit in solidarity with protesters around the world taking to the streets after the death of George Floyd on May 25 while in the custody of Minneapolis, Minnesota police, stands during the national anthem prior to the NASCAR Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on June 07, 2020 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
    “Estamos enfadados e indignados, y no podemos decir con suficiente firmeza lo en serio que nos tomamos este acto infame”

    TALLADEGA, Alabama. Una soga con un nudo de horca se encontró el domingo en el puesto del piloto negro Bubba Wallace en la carrera de la Nascar en Alabama, menos de dos semanas después de que el piloto lograra convencer a la competición para que prohibiera la bandera confederada en sus circuitos e instalaciones.

    La NASCAR anunció el suceso el domingo por la noche y dijo haber lanzado una investigación de inmediato. La liga dijo que haría todo lo posible por encontrar a los responsables y “eliminarles del deporte”.

    “Estamos enfadados e indignados, y no podemos decir con suficiente firmeza lo en serio que nos tomamos este acto infame”, indicó la serie en un comunicado. “Como hemos indicado sin ambigüedad, no hay espacio para el racismo en la NASCAR, y este hecho sólo refuerza nuestra resolución para hacer este deporte abierto y hospitalario para todos”.

    Wallace es el único piloto negro a tiempo completo en la Cup Series, la máxima división de la NASCAR.

    “El despreciable acto de racismo y odio me deja increíblemente entristecido y sirve como doloroso recordatorio de lo mucho que nos queda como sociedad y lo persistentes que debemos ser en la lucha contra el racismo”, escribió el piloto en Twitter.

    “Como me dijo mi madre hoy, ‘Sólo intentan asustarte’”, añadió. “Esto no acabará conmigo, no cederé ni me rendiré. Seguiré defendiendo con orgullo aquello en lo que creo”.

    La soga se encontró el mismo día que la nueva prohibición a la bandera afrontaba su mayor desafío. La norma entró en vigencia antes de la carrera de la semana pasada cerca de Miami, pero ese día sólo había unos 1,000 militares en las gradas.

    En Talladega, en el corazón del sur de Estados Unidos, se permitió la entrada a hasta 5,000 aficionados, aunque la lluvia aplazó la carrera hasta el lunes. En un primer momento no había reportes sobre si se habían confiscado o retirado banderas en el circuito, pero la bandera estaba presente no muy lejos.

    El sábado y el domingo hubo protestas informales en los que autos y camionetas pasaron por carreteras cercanas ondeando la bandera y pasando ante el circuito. Una avioneta sobrevoló la zona con una bandera con la bandera y las palabras “Retiren el financiamiento a la NASCAR”.

    Wallace de 26 años y nacido en Alabama, pilota el número 43 para el equipo Richard Petty Motorsports. Dijo haber encontrado apoyo entre sus compañeros por su postura contra la bandera, algo que señaló en su tuit el domingo por la noche.

    A noose was found in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall, NASCAR says

    A noose was found in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall Sunday, according to a statement from NASCAR.

    Wallace, who is the only Black driver in NASCAR’s top circuit, has been very outspoken in the last few weeks about the Black Lives Matter movement and the corresponding protests. He even called on NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag, which they did on June 10.
    “We are angry and outraged, and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act,” NASCAR’s statement read. “We have launched an immediate investigation, and will do everything we can to identify the person(s) responsible and eliminate them from the sport.”
    The racing organization also said the incident “only strengthens our resolve to make the sport open and welcoming to all.”
    Wallace took to Twitter Sunday, saying the “despicable act” left him “incredibly saddened and serves as a painful reminder of how much further we have to go as a society and how persistent we must be in the fight against racism.”
    “This will not break me, I will not give in nor will I back down. I will continue to proudly stand for what I believe in,” Wallace said.
    NASCAR said the garage area where the noose was found is restricted to essential personnel, which includes race teams, NASCAR officials, security and health and safety personnel.
    Sunday also saw the first time NASCAR fans returned to the track in Talladega, Alabama, where a Confederate flag with a “Defund NASCAR” banner was seen flying over the track. Confederate memorabilia was also being sold across the street.
    The race was postponed to Monday due to weather, NASCAR announced.

     

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