A version of this story appeared in the May 18 edition of CNN’s Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction newsletter. Sign up here to receive the need-to-know headlines every weekday.
(CNN)China has been trying to avoid fallout from the coronavirus. Now more than 100 countries are pushing for an investigation.
In a virtual meeting of the World Health Organization’s decision-making body today, the countries plan to back a resolution demanding an independent inquiry into the pandemic.
But it does not single out China, or any other country, instead calling for an “impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation” of “the (WHO)-coordinated international health response to Covid-19.”
While the wording is weak compared with calls for accountability from the European Union, Australia, and United States, which have repeatedly blamed Beijing for the global outbreak, it doesn’t mean China should rest easy. The potential for the probe to turn up damning or embarrassing information is high, James Griffiths writes.
Top officials, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, have admitted they knew that the infection was spreading, even as the Wuhan government downplayed its severity and police were detaining whistleblowers.
In an interview with CNN over the weekend, Dr. Zhong Nanshan, the Chinese government’s senior medical adviser and the public face of the country’s fight against Covid-19, said the local authorities “didn’t like to tell the truth at that time.”
YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED
Q: How easy is it to take the coronavirus test?
A: “There is nothing about this test that should intimidate people,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said yesterday before demonstrating it himself. A doctor plunged a long swab deep into Cuomo’s nose for about five seconds, and that was it. The swab is just the first part of the diagnostic PCR test, the most common and most accurate test for determining whether someone is infected with the coronavirus. The sample is then sent to a lab to determine if the virus is present. In general, the entire process takes a day or more. While questions remain over whether the US can meet a possible surge in testing demand, those who are able to get tested can expect a fairly straightforward, and maybe even familiar, process.
Send your questions here. Are you a health care worker fighting Covid-19? Message us on WhatsApp about the challenges you’re facing: +1 347-322-0415.
WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY
Trump officials deflect blame for death toll
Two of President Donald Trump’s top officials are now pointing the finger at the administration’s own scientists and Americans’ pre-existing health conditions to explain the country’s world-leading Covid-19 death toll, Stephen Collinson writes.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar suggested yesterday that underlying health conditions, including among minorities, were one reason for the high number of deaths — now nearly 90,000 nationwide. And Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro added the government’s own Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to its list of scapegoats alongside China and the Obama administration.
Fed Chair says US recovery could drag through 2021
The US economy is going through an unprecedented recession and a recovery will take time. It may even take until the end of next year, depending on when a vaccine is made available, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned in an interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes yesterday. Even so, you don’t want to bet against America, he said.
Meanwhile, Japan has become the largest economy to fall into recession. Already struggling before the outbreak, the virus took it over the edge.
The pandemic has pushed countries with pre-existing piles of debt into disastrous territory. Three had already defaulted on their debt this year — Argentina, Ecuador and Lebanon — but many more are at risk.
As states reopen, governors balance risks
Governors across the US are navigating a balancing act as they try to reopen their economies without triggering a second spike of cases, Christina Maxouris writes.
By now, all but two states (Connecticut and Massachusetts) have loosened restrictions in place to help curb the spread of the virus — allowing limited gatherings, restaurants and some businesses to reopen. But while many parts of the country have expressed hope about their number of cases seemingly slowing, other states have reported hikes.
Europe enters next phase of reopening
Italy is further easing its lockdown today, as shops, restaurants and Catholic churches reopen with strict social distancing measures in force. At St Peter’s Basilica, worshippers will be required to undergo temperature checks, and wear masks, while priests will don gloves during communion.
As restrictions loosen across the continent, Europeans enjoyed a weekend of sun. Parisians gathered for picnics at the base of the Eiffel Tower, a group of yogis joined a flow class in a Berlin park and sunbathers flocked to public beaches in Greece.
“I can’t send money back home”
Migrant workers around the world are being laid off as the coronavirus crisis cripples economies and lockdowns shutter many industries, such as construction, that employ them. Their families back home are already feeling the consequences.
The World Bank estimates that global remittances will fall 20% in 2020 due to Covid-19 — cutting about $100 billion to the world’s poorest people. For comparison, the fall in 2009 after the global financial crisis was 5%.
ON OUR RADAR
- At least one person was killed when a Canadian military jet crashed during a flyover honoring essential workers.
- The Mayor of Sao Paulo has warned that the city’s health system is on the verge of collapse, as Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro addressed crowds of anti-lockdown protesters.
- A professional soccer team in South Korea has apologized for using sex dolls as substitutes for fans during a game this weekend.
From a stunning sunset over Uluru to “finding Nemo” in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia launched a bid to win back tourists in a virtual tour of destinations down under.
A single, intense dance workshop has been linked to more than 100 coronavirus infections, revealing just how rapidly the disease can transmit in enclosed spaces.
A coronavirus-stricken aircraft carrier moored in Guam is simulating being at sea in preparation for returning to operations.
Police have interviewed a man in connection with an incident in which a rail worker died from coronavirus after allegedly being spat on at a London train station.
TODAY’S TOP TIPS
Worried that beef shortages and price spikes will leave you with less meat to eat? That may not be a bad thing. An optimal diet should be low in red meat — only three servings a week is recommended. More than that increases your chances of certain types of cancer, heart disease and diabetes — and some of these underlying conditions are especially serious during the pandemic. You can get plenty of protein, vitamins and minerals without eating meat. Here are some tips on how to switch up your diet.
“Same rules apply — just maintain physical distance. With all the heavy breathing, you might even want to double the usual six feet to twelve feet, just to be safe.” — CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta
Fitness centers are starting to reopen. Whether you are ready to go back or prefer to exercise at home, Gupta shares some tips on how to stay active and safe.Listen Now.
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