US-China verbal clashes increase Global economy threatened by pandemic | Daily News


 

US-China verbal clashes increase Global economy threatened by pandemic

President Donald Trump with Dr. Anthony Fauci
President Donald Trump with Dr. Anthony Fauci

The coronavirus pandemic has now infected more than 3 million persons globally, and led to nearly 250,000 deaths. The USA now stands as the largest coronavirus infected country with 1,40,500 persons infected and 70,000 deaths. The US economy has also been badly hit by the pandemic, with the world’s largest economy sinking at an annual rate of 4.8%, the most severe contraction of the US economy in more than a decade, and posing a major threat to the global economy too.

There is also an increasing diplomatic and political clash between the US and China over the spread of the coronavirus with threats of rising international confrontations on economics, trade and diplomacy.

Expressing concern of the rising crisis in the USA, President Donald Trump said “It’s going to leave, It’s going to leave. It’s going to leave”, during a White House roundtable with business leaders.

There is some hope for the treatment of coronavirus patients with the US’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, saying the antiviral drug ‘remdesivir’ will become the standard of care for Covid-19 after early results showed it has helped patients recover quickly from the illness.

The US is in a major clash in politics and governance with several states calling for an end to the lockdowns and social distancing, and calling for a quick resumption of business and economic activities, largely supported by President Trump, and other states willing to take a longer time to resume social and business normalcy.

Policymakers at America’s central Bank have said this week that the pandemic “is causing tremendous human and economic hardship across the United States and around the world”.

Europe

UK (166543 Infected / 24,121deceased) the coronavirus death toll in the UK remains high. Prime Minister Boris Johnson who has returned to office after being in hospital with the coronavirus has warned the UK is at the point of ‘maximum risk”. He is against easing the current lockdown due to the possibility of a second peak. He said: It remains the “biggest single challenge this country has faced since the war”, and “every day I know that this virus brings new sadness and mourning to households across the land”.

It is now decided that families of National Health Service (NHS) and social care staff who die from coronavirus in the course of “essential frontline work” will receive a £60,000 payment. Scotland’s Chief Minister Nicola Sturgeon has ramped up pressure on the Prime Minister Johnson to disclose his lockdown exit plan.

As Britain’s coronavirus death toll grows by the day, and could be Europe’s worst. New analysis has revealed the UK’s five-day average for Covid-19 fatalities is now the highest of any major European economy at this point in the pandemic’s curve. Experts are concerned that the nation’s peak is prolonging longer than that in Italy, Spain or France. There are also questions about the daily death toll in the UK, because it does not cover deaths in Care Homes and residences, which are revealed later. The Office for National Statistics revealed a “perfect storm” in care homes as the coronavirus pandemic pushed the UK’s weekly death toll to a 27-year high.

Earlier this week the UK fell silent to honour front-line workers who have died with coronavirus. They were commemorated in emotional scenes across the UK. There is considerable criticism of sufficient Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for doctors and other frontline personnel handling coronavirus cases. It is now announced testing will be expanded to all care home residents and staff - plus over-65s and non-home workers as well as their households if they have symptoms - to reach his tests 100,000-a-day target.

Another concern in the UK is that a serious coronavirus-related syndrome may be emerging in the UK in children, according to an “urgent alert” issued to doctors, following a rise in cases in the last two to three weeks. The alert said that in the “last three weeks, there has been an apparent rise in the number of children of all ages presenting with a multisystem inflammatory state requiring intensive care across London and also in other regions of the UK”.

Meanwhile all other countries in Europe are taking steps to slowly return to normal with the lockdowns being eased, and trade and business places being allowed to open with the assurance of social distancing.

China - US : Corona clashes

The coronavirus pandemic has spiked tensions between China and the United States. US President Donald Trump has said China “will do anything they can” to make him lose his re-election bid, stepping up his criticism of Beijing amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In a White House interview with Reuters news agency, he said Beijing faced a “lot” of possible consequences from the US for the outbreak, and that China should have let the world know about the contagion much sooner.

The coronavirus has ravaged a formerly humming US economy that had been the president’s main selling point for his re-election campaign in November. Trump, who has waged a trade war with China, offered no specifics about how he might act against Beijing.

He told Reuters: “There are many things I can do. We’re looking for what happened.” Trump added: “China will do anything they can to have me lose this race.”

In Washington, hard-line lawmakers in Congress are seeking punitive legislation against Beijing, using their grievances over China’s handling of the outbreak to justify a more sweeping transformation of the relationship between the world’s two biggest economies.

Anti-Chinese voices in Washington, say the thousands of Chinese students given visas to attend U.S. universities should be restricted from enrolling in science and technology programs. Instead, they should be allowed “to come here and study Shakespeare and the Federalist Papers, that’s what they need to learn from America,” and that “They don’t need to learn quantum computing and artificial intelligence from America.”

Chinese officials, meanwhile, keep stoking coronavirus counter-narratives. On Monday, the Twitter account of the Foreign Ministry spokesperson reiterated claims that the Trump administration is participating in a cover-up and obscuring information about how the virus spread.

Also in a tweet, Hu Xijin, the editor in chief of the Global Times, an English-language state-run tabloid, argued that China is reckoning more responsibly with the virus than the United States, whose “ambitious politicians” are willing to risk the lives of the public by opening up the economy sooner than public health experts think wise.

International observers note the rising confrontation. China pursued “very authoritarian measures, while in the U.S., the virus was played down for a long time,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in an interview earlier this month with Der Spiegel. “These are two extremes, neither of which can be a model for Europe.”

New Zealand ( 1476/19) has begun to relax its strict lockdown, allowing residents to travel to work, spend more time outside and order takeaway food for the first time in more than four weeks, as the coronavirus has been brought under control.

The changes came as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, clarified that her country had not eradicated Covid-19 but was working towards its elimination. Many international publications ran prominent headlines that New Zealand was the first country in the world to eradicate the disease, after what were regarded as confusing comments by the government. PM Ardern said: “Elimination does not mean zero cases, it means zero tolerance for cases.”

Community transmission had ceased, she said, but isolated cases would continue to pop up and would continue “being stamped out” until a vaccine was found. Scientists were working on a vaccine overseas and domestically but a mass roll-out was thought to be at least a year away, she said.

Epidemiologists advising the government on the elimination strategy said the virus should be treated like measles, with the appearance of any cases treated as dangerous and requiring a strong public health response including rigorous contact tracing.

Schools around the country opened on Wednesday, but the prime minister said very few children were expected to attend, as she was advising anyone who could work from home or study from home to do so.

New Zealand is maintaining several social distancing policies with malls, pubs, hairdressers and other public shopping areas to stay shut for at least another two weeks.

South America - Brazil

In South America, Brazil is emerging as potentially the next big hot spot for the coronavirus amid President Jair Bolsonaro’s insistence that it is just a “little flu” and that there is no need for the sharp restrictions to slow the infections. He is following the initial policies of President Trump in the US, in delaying action to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The intensifying outbreak in Brazil — Latin America’s biggest country, with 211 million people — pushed some hospitals to the breaking point, with signs that a growing number of victims are now dying at home.

“We have all the conditions here for the pandemic to become much more serious,” said Paulo Brandão, a virologist at the University of Sao Paulo.

Brazil officially reported about 4,500 deaths and almost 67,000 confirmed infections. Some scientists said over 1 million in Brazil are probably infected. The country is heading into winter, which can worsen respiratory illnesses.

In Brazil, Bolsonaro has disputed the seriousness of the coronavirus and said people need to resume their lives to prevent an economic meltdown. But most state governors in the country have adopted restrictions to slow the spread and pushed people to stay at home.

In mid-April, Bolsonaro fired his popular health minister after a series of disagreements over efforts to contain the virus, replacing him with an advocate for reopening the economy. Residents protested, leaning out their windows to bang pots and pans.

Bill Gates - Vaccine

Billionaire Bill Gates is funding production of the seven most promising ideas for a vaccine to control the deadly coronavirus.

“If everything went perfectly, we’d be in scale manufacturing within a year,” Gates said, “It could be as long as two years.”

He said vaccine production will probably not start in September. “Dr. Fauci and I have been fairly consistent to say 18 months to create expectations that are not too high,” Gates said, referring to Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The availability of testing for the coronavirus has been a sore spot in the U.S. for months. President Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday that the U.S. “just passed 5 million Tests, far more than any other country.”

The Co-founder of Microsoft Corp. said his best-case scenario for a phased reopening of the economy is to “pick the high-value activities like school, manufacturing and construction, and figure out a way to do those with masks and distancing.”

Gates also warned that trying to rush a reopening and generating “exponential” growth in COVID-19 cases “will be seeding other parts of the country,” comparing it to the infection spreading via international travel in early 2020.

Gates defended the World Health Organization against accusations from Trump that the body had mishandled the virus response.

“Far from over”: - WHO Chief

The head of the WHO says the pandemic is still disrupting normal health services, especially live-saving immunization for children in the poorest countries. The WHO is concerned about the rising number of cases and deaths in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and some Asian countries, even as the numbers flatten in some wealthier nations.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference in Geneva that a second wave of infections could be prevented with the right actions. “We have a long road ahead of us and a lot of work to do”.

He expressed concern that the health of children was being threatened by the impact of the coronavirus emergency on vaccination programs for other diseases.

Some 13 million people have been affected worldwide by delays in regular immunizations against diseases including polio, measles, cholera, yellow fever and meningitis. Shortages of vaccines for other diseases are being reported in 21 countries as a result of border restrictions and disruptions to travel caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 


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