COVID-19 UPDATES : 5 new cases reported in China, 17,408 new cases recorded in Brazil, President Trump doubles down threat against WHO


20th May 2020 – (Hong Kong) Total worldwide COVID-19 cases have reached 4,985,982 with 324,890 deaths as of 10am today.

The little particles of mucus and saliva that people eject when they cough or sneeze could travel further than six feet – in theory at least, researchers reported Tuesday. A computer model — not a real-life experiment — shows that a light breeze could carry some droplets as far as 18 feet. It’s something to consider when setting up social distancing recommendations, said Dimitris Drikakis, an engineering professor at the University of Nicosia in Cyprus, and Talib Dbouk, his colleague.

An international study published in Nature Climate Change journal of global carbon emissions found that daily emissions declined 17% between January and early April, compared to average levels in 2019, and could decline anywhere between 4.4% to 8% by the year’s end. 


The number of daily deaths in Spain due to COVID-19 rose slightly by 83 on Monday, but were still less than 100 for the third consecutive day, figures reported by the Spanish Health Ministry on Tuesday show.

More than 20,400 health care workers in Germany have contracted coronavirus since the beginning of the outbreak, the country’s centre for disease control said Tuesday.

Six English Premier League players and members of club staff have tested positive for Covid-19 in the league’s latest round of testing, the Premier League said in a statement Tuesday. 

British finance minister Rishi Sunak has said it would take time for the economy to get back to normal even when the government’s coronavirus shutdown is lifted.

The French government Tuesday announced an order of one billion masks made by French producers. France has revised the total death toll from coronavirus infection downwards by 217 or 0.8 percent to 28,022, the health ministry said in a statement on its website said. 

The number of daily coronavirus deaths in Italy rose slightly Tuesday to 162, after four days of declining numbers, authorities said. Italy has now recorded 32,169 COVID-19 deaths.

Sweden, which has opted for a more open strategy in combating the virus than other European countries, has the highest number of deaths in Europe per capita from the COVID-19 disease over the last seven days, data shows.

The Netherlands will press ahead with a further easing of lockdown measures in June due to a steadily declining number of coronavirus infections and hospital admissions, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Tuesday.

U.S. and Canada

By Wednesday, every US state will have begun lifting measures enacted weeks ago to curb the spread of coronavirus though daily case rates still are rising in parts of the country. 

US stocks ended at session lows on Tuesday, with major indexes snapping their three-day winning streaks. The Dow finished down 1.6%, or 391 points.

A key coronavirus model has revised its death projection for the United States slightly downward, now forecasting that 143,360 people will die by 4th August. That’s about 3,700 fewer deaths than the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IMHE) model foresaw when last updated about a week ago

Coronavirus killed nearly 40% of critically ill patients treated at two New York City hospitals in the early days of the pandemic, doctors reported Tuesday.

Doctors described growing evidence Tuesday that inflammation is causing the severe effects of COVID-19 disease in patients, and said reducing those effects may be key to helping people get better.

President Donald Trump has said the WHO had to improve how it treated the US and other countries or Washington would pull out, doubling down on a threat made the previous day. 

 The head of the Pan American Health Organization, Carissa Etienne, has said that the WHO-affiliated body “hopes” to continue working with the US government, after President Donald Trump threatened on Monday to end US funding and withdraw from WHO.

US President Donald Trump has said he is considering imposing a ban on travel from Brazil, which has the world’s third highest number of people infected by the novel coronavirus.

US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he will sign an executive order directing federal agencies to eliminate “unnecessary regulations that impede economic recovery”.

President Trump defended Tuesday his use of hydroxychloroquine, the drug that is unproven to prevent coronavirus, and called a study warning of its risks a “phony study.” Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence said he is not taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventive treatment for the coronavirus.

The Trump administration is extending a public health order that allows for the swift removal of migrants apprehended at US borders, the Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday.

President Trump did not stop for questions and walked into the lunch with Senate Republicans. Jared Kushner, Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, and the President’s chief of staff Mark Meadows also arrived. None of the three were wearing masks. 

President Trump was asked if he plans to wear a mask when he visits a Ford facility on Thursday. He replied, “Where it’s appropriate, I would do it, certainly. Yeah.”

President Trump on Tuesday confirmed that the US-Canada border will remain closed to nonessential traffic.

The Republican leader of the US Senate has said the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress were still evaluating the need for more coronavirus relief legislation and would discuss plans in a couple of weeks.

During a cabinet meeting at the White House Tuesday, President Trump signed an executive order that he described as “instructing federal agencies to use any and all authority to weigh, suspend, and eliminate unnecessary regulations that impede economic recovery.”

The Department of Homeland Security inspector general is undertaking two new investigations into the department’s response to the coronavirus outbreak due to concerns that federal agencies mismanaged the pandemic.  

Young people who may have multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, a troubling complication of COVID-19 infection, need immediate attention and will probably need to be hospitalized, doctors said Tuesday.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Tuesday that any vaccine to prevent the coronavirus should be distributed fairly without regard for wealth and called for US crisis leadership based on competence and not Twitter posts.

Coronavirus particles spread by talking can linger in the air for 8 to 14 minutes, according to a recent study from the National Institutes of Health.

Farmers and ranchers who have experienced losses due to the coronavirus pandemic will be able to start applying for long-awaited federal funds on 26th May.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said the state’s health care system “remains in very good shape.” He said 48% of the hospital beds in the state are available, 41% of the beds in intensive care units are available and 76% of the ventilators are currently available.

Nearly 100 workers, environmental and food and agriculture groups sent a letter to Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia and members of Congress calling on them to protect meatpacking and production workers, as well as guarantee them hazard pay.

The University of California estimates the financial losses for the school system from mid-March through April to total nearly US$1.2 billion, as a result of closures to UC hospitals, health centres and campuses because of COVID-19.

Los Angeles County Supervisors are hoping to reopen businesses in the nation’s most populous county by 4th July.

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee announced today that new criteria will allow 10 more counties to be eligible to move onto phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan.

Illinois has now overtaken New York to become the number one state in the nation for testing per capita over the past seven days, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday. 

A Mississippi state official reported Tuesday the first case of a child with multi-system inflammatory syndrome.

Delaware’s retail establishments – currently scheduled to partially open 1st June may operate as soon as tomorrow under certain guidelines, Gov. John Carney announced in a statement Tuesday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday, as President Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have indicated, that the Senate will wait a couple weeks to decide on a “phase four” stimulus bill.

The Virginia Department of Health is reporting the state’s first confirmed case of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19. 

New Jersey reported 162 new deaths from COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 10,586 lab confirmed fatalities in the state, Gov. Phil Murphy said today at a press conference. Louisiana reported a total of 35,038 cases on Tuesday, up 329 since Monday’s report. More than 8,300 new test results were reported on Tuesday.

Montana will increase the number of people allowed in restaurants and gyms on 1st June, as the state begins its next reopening phase. 

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine today issued a new “urgent health advisory,” moving from orders combating the COVID-19 pandemic, to “strong recommendations.”

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday that the state plans to test every nursing home resident and staff starting next month.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced today that certain educational and cultural activities will be allowed to resume starting 8th June.

Major League Soccer announced Tuesday that the 2020 MLS All-Star Game between the best of MLS and a team of LIGA MX all-stars has been cancelled.

A church in Houston has cancelled mass indefinitely after the death of one of its priests, according to a statement from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. 

Schools in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, will not open at this time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Premier Doug Ford has said.  Canada and the US have agreed to extend a ban on non-essential travel between the two nations by another 30 days as part of the fight against the coronavirus, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said.

China and Hong Kong

China recorded five new coronavirus cases for 19th May, down from six a day earlier, the National Health Commission reported on Wednesday. Four of the new cases were local transmissions and one was an imported case involving a traveller from overseas, the commission said in a statement, compared with three imported cases reported the previous day.

The Hong Kong government announced it would extend a ban on public gatherings established as part of coronavirus distancing measures an extra two weeks through June 4, the day Hong Kong pro-democracy advocates mark the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. The government refuted the claim that the extension was decided based on political considerations.

Elsewhere in the world

Brazil recorded a new daily record of 1,179 deaths from the new coronavirus, with a total of 17,983 total fatalities and 271,885 confirmed cases, the health ministry said.  Brazil’s health ministry will issue new guidelines on Wednesday expanding the recommended use of chloroquine for treating the COVID-19, President Jair Bolsonaro said, days after the health minister quit under pressure to sign the new guidelines.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has warned that the new coronavirus is spreading rapidly in the tri-border area of the Amazon between Brazil, Colombia and Peru and threatens to infect remote indigenous communities in the rainforest.

 Russia has denounced President Donald Trump’s threat to pull the US out of the WHO over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.    

Iraq will reimpose a full curfew on vehicles and pedestrians during the Eid al-Fitr holiday, starting Sunday through 28th May, according to statement released by Iraq’s Council of Ministers today.

India will run more special trains and buses to allow millions of distressed migrant workers to leave big cities, the federal government said on Tuesday, as concerns grew in some states over rising infections from those returning home.

Pakistan has repatriated 274 students from the Chinese city of Wuhan, according to the ministry of foreign affairs. 

A batch of 50 ventilators destined for Russia as part of a package of US aid was expected to be ready for shipment Wednesday, aa US administration spokesperson confirmed to CNN Tuesday.

South Africa will resume classes for all grade 7 and 12 pupils on 1st June, after a nationwide school closure of more than two months due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Wealthy countries are failing Africa, with pledges of financial support and debt relief falling well short of the continent’s needs as it battles the COVID-19 pandemic, several African presidents have said.  “We’re not in a position to protect companies, to preserve jobs. There’s an injustice that is again being exposed by COVID-19,” Senegal’s President Macky Sall said during a virtual roundtable organised by the New York Forum Institute think-tank.