Live updates: W.H.O. The chief warns against the politicization of the virus

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In response to President Trump, the head of the W.H.O. said politicizing the epidemic would lead to “many more body bags”.

Responding to President Trump’s criticism, the head of the World Health Organization on Wednesday launched a passionate appeal for solidarity, warning that the politicization of the coronavirus pandemic would result in “many more body bags.”

Trump launched a tirade against the organization on Tuesday, accusing him of acting too slowly to sound the alarm and treating the Chinese government too favorably. While the president, who threatened to end US funding for the W.H.O., spoke in unusually harsh terms, he was not the only one to criticize in this way.

More than six weeks after Saudi Arabia reported its first case, the coronavirus is spreading terror among the kingdom’s ruling family.

According to someone close to the family, as many as 150 members of the royal family inside the kingdom had contracted the coronavirus, including members of the lower branches of the family.

Doctors at the elite hospital that treats the Saud clan are preparing up to 500 beds for a planned influx of royal family members and their relatives, according to an internal “high alert” sent Tuesday evening by officials of the ‘hospital.

“The guidelines must be ready for VIPs across the country,” operators of the elite facility, King Faisal Specialty Hospital, wrote electronically to experienced doctors. A copy was obtained by the New York Times.

“We don’t know how many cases we will receive, but a high alert,” said the message, stating that “all chronic patients should be removed as soon as possible,” and sick staff will be treated elsewhere, to make sure room for the royal family.

The Saudi senior who is the Governor of Riyadh, Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, is in intensive care with Covid-19, according to two doctors linked to King Faisal Hospital and two others close to the royal family. Prince Faisal is King Salman’s nephew.

King Salman, 84, has isolated himself in an island palace near the city of Jeddah on the Red Sea. Her son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the 34-year-old de facto leader, with many of his ministers, withdrew to the remote site on the same coast.

Like the British Prime Minister’s hospitalization this week or the death last month of several senior Iranian officials, the affliction of the Saudi royal family reminds us that the rich and powerful are not immune and that they have a better access to tests and expert care.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is stable and “reacts to treatment” of the coronavirus, but remains in intensive care, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

Mr. Johnson was admitted to London’s St. Thomas Hospital on Sunday and transferred to the intensive care unit the following day, where he received oxygen but was not placed on a ventilator. He does not have pneumonia, his officials said on Tuesday, but his illness has raised concerns about the government’s ability to make important decisions during the crisis.

Downing Street declined to comment on Wednesday’s treatment, although he reiterated previous claims that he was breathing on his own except for oxygen.

The office said it was in a good mood, but said Foreign Minister Dominic Raab, originally asked to replace Johnson “if necessary,” is now doing it full time. The Prime Minister can talk to people if necessary, but does not work.

Raab is already chairman of a key pandemic committee as the government strives to control the epidemic and stabilize an economy hit hard by the foreclosure measures it imposed.

The government is expected to review next week the measures that have shut down much of the economy, although there are no signs of any easing at the moment.

I think we are far from lifting the lockdown, “London Mayor Sadiq Khan said in a BBC interview on Wednesday. “I speak regularly to experts. We think the peak, which is the worst part of the virus, is probably in a week and a half. “

The Nightingale, an emergency hospital which was built in less than two weeks in a London conference center, received its first patients on Tuesday, a spokesman said on Wednesday. It will be able to provide ventilation treatment to more than 2,800 patients.

Children were a less common sight, with many parents still worried about allowing them to go out while the risk of infection persisted.

Some have found the official projection of the city’s return to normal life higher than the reality on the ground.

“It seems like all the excitement only exists on the Internet,” wrote a Weibo user. “After all, we are still trapped in our neighborhoods. “

Food has turned out to be the universal language, many on social media sharing photos of their first meal after the lockdown – most often the city’s famous hot dry noodles and beef noodles – or pictures of their cravings. ‘be satisfied as soon as possible.

While news from the Joaquín Rosillo nursing home on the outskirts of Seville filtered that a few residents had tested positive for coronavirus, worried families rushed to get information.

But in the middle of a nationwide lock, with their limited movements, there were no clear answers. Manuel Borrego, whose mother lives at home, learned from contacts that people were dying. But the management of the nursing home told him it was “fake news.”

He said his mother was alive, but suffered from dementia and had not been tested for the virus, to his knowledge.

“We are in crisis, but you cannot leave someone without clear information about their mother or where she lives,” said Borrego. “I don’t think anyone really understood what was going on inside the retirement homes. “

Frustrated relatives have been forced to sue to shed light on the situation. Finally, on Monday afternoon, the Andalusian regional health minister, Jesús Aguirre, revealed that 24 people had died in the facility, “possibly directly related” to the coronavirus.

Aguirre, speaking at a press conference, did not say when the deaths occurred. Some residents were transferred to a nearby hotel in late March, one of many converted to field hospitals to treat patients with coronavirus.

The Seville tragedy is the last to hit Spanish retirement homes, which have been in the spotlight since the country’s defense minister revealed last month that soldiers deployed to disinfect homes had found abandoned or elderly people. dead in their beds.

And the crisis in Spain is far from over. The health ministry announced a further increase in the death toll – with 757 overnight deaths – bringing Spain’s death toll to 14,555 since the start of the epidemic on Wednesday.

Some Americans living in African countries watch the pandemic has spread across the United States, and decide that they had better stay put.

Mask shortages in hospitals. Inadequate diagnostic tests. Medical supplies have arrived from abroad. And an international charity setting up a field hospital in Central Park.

“Africa felt better,” said John Shaw, who has lived in Nairobi, Kenya for two years, with his wife and two sons. “There are many unknowns about how the Americans will handle this crisis. It was not at all obvious to us that everything would be fine there. “

As the pandemic spreads and infections spread around the world, many Americans working or studying abroad have returned home. US embassies have organized evacuation flights for citizens seeking to flee countries that have long been criticized for their shabby health care systems and government misinformation.

The virus has taken a long time to settle in many parts of Africa, but as confirmed infections and deaths increase, the continent’s willingness to cope with a pandemic is questioned. The World Health Organization said on Tuesday that the number of cases on the continent has increased to more than 10,000, with more than 500 deaths.

The United States has reported a considerably higher number – at least 397,000 cases, the highest total in the world. With the collapse of the health care system and the downturn in the economy, some American citizens – especially those living abroad – are beginning to see their country in a new and disturbing light.

As a result, some Americans decided to stay in Africa, which was one of the places that President Trump notably described with a disparaging and vulgar epithet.

The normally dirty sky over India has cleared in recent days, locks intended to stifle the pandemic have limited car traffic, significantly reduced air travel and closed factories and construction sites.

One result is the emergence of something rare: pure blue sky.

“I don’t know how long it will last,” said Sudhir Kumar Bose, a retired English teacher in New Delhi, the capital. “But right now, I feel much better. “

These clear skies could do more than just lift people’s spirits.

Numerous studies have shown that exposure to fine particles puts people at increased risk for lung cancer, heart attacks, strokes and even premature death. But new study by researchers at Harvard University – the first of its kind in the United States – shows a statistical link between dirty air and death or serious illness from Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

In an analysis of 3080 US counties, the study authors found that a small increase in long-term pollution exposure could have serious consequences related to coronaviruses, even taking into account other factors such as smoking rates and population density. A person living for decades in a county with high levels of fine particulate matter, for example, was 15% more likely to die from the virus than a person in an area with slightly lower air pollution.

This is worrisome for countries where pollution is far worse than that of the United States – including India, where the number of coronavirus cases now exceeds 4,000 and doubles every four days.

“Most countries do not take it seriously enough and do not do it enough given the extent of the damage that air pollution does to all of our health,” said Beth Gardiner, journalist and author of a book on the subject.

The prevailing narrative has implications far beyond an international blame game. When the epidemic subsides, governments around the world will face paralyzed economies, an unknown death toll and a profound loss of confidence among their populations. Whether Beijing can enter this void or be pilloried may determine the fate of its ambitions for world leadership.

The reports were provided by Benjamin Mueller, Richard Pérez-Peña, Karen Zraick, Max Fisher, Javier C. Hernández, Dionne Searcy, Ruth Maclean, Stephen Castle, Chris Buckley, Elaine Yu, Steven Erlanger, Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Mark Landler, Megan Specia, Jeffrey Gettleman, Vivian Wang, Raphael Minder, Aurelien Breeden, Iliana Magra, William Grimes, Neil Genzlinger, Abdi Latif Dahir, Tariq Panja, Vanessa Friedman, Raymond Zhong, Katrin Bennhold, Mike Ives, Russell Goldman, Dan Levin, Andrea Frazzetta, Jason Horowitz, Rick Gladstone, Victor Mather, Catherine Porter, Lisa Friedman, Ian Austen , David D. Kirkpatrick, Ben Hubbard and Constant Meheut.

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