x

Society

COVID-19 Cases Rise in China, South Korea; Obama Bashes Trump

ROME — Both China and South Korea reported new spikes in coronavirus cases on Sunday, setting off fresh concerns in countries where local outbreaks had been in dramatic decline. 

Former President Barack Obama, meanwhile, harshly criticized President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic as an "absolute chaotic disaster," while U.S. states began gradually reopening, even as health officials are anxiously watching for a second wave of infections. 

China reported 14 new cases on Sunday, its first double-digit rise in 10 days. Eleven of 12 domestic infections were in the northeastern province of Jilin and one in Hubei, whose capital Wuhan was the epicenter of the global pandemic. The Jilin cases prompted authorities to raise the threat level in one of its counties, Shulan, to high risk, just days after downgrading all regions in the country to low risk. 

Authorities said the Shulan outbreak originated with a 45-year-old woman who had no recent travel or exposure history, but spread it to her husband, her three sisters and other family members. Train services in and out of the county were being suspended through the end of the month. 

Responding to the latest, cases, the Jilin Communist Party secretary, Bayin Chaolu, the province's highest official, told local media that "epidemic control and prevention is a serious and complicated matter, and local authorities should never be overly optimistic, war-weary, or off-guard." 

Jilin also shares a border with North Korea, where the virus situation is unclear but whose vastly inadequate health system has been offered help by China in dealing with any outbreak. 

South Korea on Sunday reported 34 additional cases as a spate of transmissions linked to clubgoers threatens the country's hard-won gains in its fight against the virus. It was the first time that South Korea's daily jump has marked above 30 in about a month. 

On Sunday, President Moon Jae-in said citizens must neither panic nor let down their guard, but warned that "the damage to our economy is indeed colossal as well."

Around the world, the U.S. and other hard-hit countries are wrestling with how to ease curbs on business and public activity without causing the virus to come surging back. 

During a conversation with ex-members of his administration, Obama said combating the virus would have been bad even for the best of governments, but it's been "an absolute chaotic disaster" when the mindset of "what's in it for me" infiltrates government, according to a recording obtained by Yahoo News.

The United States has suffered nearly 80,000 deaths from COVID-19, the most of any nation.

In Australia, Health Minister Greg Hunt said the government supports a European Union motion for an independent investigation into the origins of COVID-19 in China, a proposal stiffly resisted by Beijing, Australia's No. 1 trading partner.

"We support the EU motion which includes an independent investigation, regulatory work on wet markets and also the potential for independent inspection powers," Hunt told Sky News on Sunday.

Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the EU's executive arm, said last week she would like to see China work together with her organization, and others, to determine how the virus emerged.

While the virus is believed to have originated in Wuhan, most scientists say it was most likely transmitted from bats to humans via an intermediary animal such as the armadillo-like pangolin. That has placed the focus on a wet market in the city where wildlife was sold for food. 

However, Trump and allies have expressed confidence in an unsubstantiated theory linking the origin of the outbreak to a possible accident at a Chinese virology laboratory in Wuhan, something Chinese officials and state media have called an attempt to divert attention from U.S. failings through the dissemination of groundless accusations. 

China says its too early to launch an investigation into the virus' origin and angrily rejects accusations that it covered up the initial outbreak and didn't do enough to prevent the global pandemic. 

In New York, the deadliest hot spot in the U.S., Gov. Andrew Cuomo said three children died from a possible complication of the coronavirus involving swollen blood vessels and heart problems. 

Three members of the White House coronavirus task force, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, placed themselves in quarantine after contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. 

Worldwide, 4 million people have been confirmed infected by the virus, and more than 279,000 have died, including over 78,000 in the U.S., according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. Spain, France, Italy and Britain have reported around 26,000 to 32,000 deaths each.

Businesses in the U.S. continue to struggle as more employers reluctantly conclude that their laid-off employees might not return to work anytime soon. 

Some malls have opened up in Georgia and Texas, while Nevada restaurants, hair salons and other businesses were able to have limited reopenings Saturday or once again allow customers inside after nearly two months of restrictions. 

About 1,500 opponents of Washington's stay-at-home order to slow the coronavirus rallied again Saturday at the state Capitol, while  some residents who reported stay-at-home violators said they've received threats after far-right groups posted their personal information on Facebook. Such protests have drawn relatively small crowds in several states despite encouragement from the White House, which is anxious to see the economy reopen. 

The federal government said it was delivering supplies of remdesivir, the first drug shown to speed recovery for COVID-19 patients, to six more states, after seven others were sent cases of the medicine earlier this week. 

In the U.S. Southwest, some small Native American villages are embracing extraordinary isolation measures such as guarded roadblocks to turn away outsiders as the virus ravages tight-knit communities.

Italy saw people return to the streets and revel in fine weather and Rome's Campo dei Fiori flower and vegetable market was also bustling in Rome. But confusion created frustrations for the city's shopkeepers.

In Spain, certain regions can scale back lockdowns starting Monday, with limited seating at bars, restaurants and other public places. But Madrid and Barcelona, the country's largest cities, will remain shut down.

RELATED

NEW YORK — Tributes poured in Saturday for Flaco, the beloved Eurasian eagle-owl that became a feel-good New York story after escaping its Central Park Zoo enclosure and flying free around Manhattan.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

Zelenskyy Hosts Western Leaders in Kyiv as Ukraine Marks 2 Years since Russia’s Full-Scale Invasion

KYIV, Ukraine  — President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed Western leaders to Kyiv Saturday to mark the second anniversary of Russia's full-scale invasion, as Ukrainian forces run low on ammunition and weaponry and foreign aid hangs in the balance.

MOSCOW - The body of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been handed over to his mother, a top aide to Navalny said Saturday on his social media account.

OXON HILL, Md.  — Former President Donald Trump cast November's presidential election as “judgment day” and declared himself a “proud political dissident” during a speech before conservative activists outside of Washington Saturday as he again cloaked his campaign in religious imagery.

NEW YORK – Greek-American Ari Raptis, Founder and CEO of Talaria Transportation, was featured in an interview in Authority Magazine (AM) sharing his insights into secure logistics.

From shamrocks to leprechaun hats to green beer, it just wouldn't be St.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.