U.S. toll nears 13,000 as drug touted by Trump put to test
1st day of Japan’s state of emergency sees trains still packed for morning rush
The first full day under Japan’s state of emergency has underwhelmed. While some popular retail and tourist spots were unusually quiet, it looked like business as usual on Tokyo’s infamously congested public transit.
The lax heeding of requests for people to stay at home generated a fusillade of disappointment, frustration and anger online.
“Even with the emergency declaration, this is Shinagawa train station at rush hour. It’s this morning, ok? Screwed up or what?” said one tweet.
“Eight am, on the train to Osaka,” said another, posting an image of people standing shoulder to shoulder on a train, some without face masks.
A salesman interviewed outside Omiya station north of Tokyo confessed he didn’t want to be there. “I’m extremely afraid,” he told the TBS network. “Salaried workers like us have to ride the train every day. What will become of us?”
The government’s official “3c” mantra — avoid close spaces, close conversation, and crowds — has become a wry joke. “Nothing has changed on the 3c Odakyu train line,” one commuter posted.
The turnout is undermining faith in Japan’s bid to slow the pandemic without a full-fledged lockdown.
Texas nursing home doctor testing drug touted by Trump on 27 COVID-19 patients
When a coronavirus outbreak hit a Texas nursing home, Dr. Robin Armstrong reached for an unproven treatment: the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine.
First, he needed to find a supply. But at a moment when President Donald Trump is heavily promoting the drug, Armstrong is no regular physician. He is a Republican National Committee member and GOP activist in Houston, and after calling Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the Texas chairman of Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016, Armstrong soon had enough doses to begin treating 27 infected residents of The Resort at Texas City.
Armstrong, the medical director at the facility, said Tuesday it is too soon to tell whether the treatment will work. But his sweeping use of the drug at one nursing home along the smoggy Texas coastline illustrates how Mr. Trump’s championing of the medication is having an impact on doctors across the U.S., even as scientists warn that more testing is needed before it’s proven safe and effective against COVID-19.
“I probably would not have been able to get the medication had he not been talking about it so much,” Armstrong told The Associated Press.
Republican Bryan Hughes, a Texas state senator, said he is helping organize a pipeline of hydroxychloroquine donations to other states through their GOP leaders. Hughes said he has spent recent weeks helping Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Georgia receive or expect shipments from Amneal Pharmaceuticals, a maker of the drug based in New Jersey. Last month, the company announced it had donated 1 million tablets to Texas.
– Associated Press
UN suspends peacekeeping deployments
The United Nations on Tuesday suspended new peacekeeping deployments due to the continuing coronavirus pandemic. The rotation and deployment of U.N. peacekeepers and international police will be suspended until June 30.
U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric made the announcement, saying the 13 peacekeeping missions of the U.N. “are working full-time to contain and mitigate the spread of COVID-19” and to ensure that incoming uniformed personnel don’t have COVID-19.
Dujarric explained to CBS News, “There is no movement of troops, coming in or out,” but added that, “A few, limited exceptions may be considered.”
“Our priorities are to ensure the COVID-19-free status of incoming uniformed personnel, and mitigate the risk that UN peacekeepers could be a contagion vector and simultaneously maintain our operational capabilities,” Dujarric said.
Both the pandemic outbreak and expenses related to coronavirus appear to be at issue.
John Prine, American folk singer and songwriter, has died at age 73
John Prine, the singer-songwriter who explored the heartbreaks, indignities and absurdities of everyday life in “Angel from Montgomery,” “Sam Stone,” “Hello in There” and scores of other works,, according to The Associated Press.
His family announced his death was due to complications from the new coronavirus. He died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, where he had been hospitalized last month.
Winner of a lifetime achievement Grammy earlier this year, Prine sang his conversational lyrics in a voice roughened by a difficult life, particularly after throat cancer left him with a disfigured jaw.
He joked that he fumbled so often on the guitar that people thought he was inventing a new style. But his open-heartedness, eye for detail and sharp and surreal humor brought him the highest admiration from critics, from such peers as Bob Dylan and Kris Kristofferson, and from younger stars such as Jason Isbell and Kacey Musgraves, who even named a song after him.
– Associated Press
Poor and minority communities hit hard by COVID-19 in the South
The coronavirus has been exploding across the South. In a dozen Southern states, there have been nearly 65,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 1,700 deaths.
Governor John Bel Edwards reported 70 new deaths Tuesday and said they’re still bracing for the worst.
There’s an alarming disparity in the state: more than 70% of the coronavirus deaths are African Americans, who comprise only 32% of the population.
“It’s very sad to say I’m not shocked this is happening if you have a disease that’s going to kill more people with hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and you have a health disparity like this, it’s not shocking,” said Dr. Amy Lessen of Dillard University. Louisiana has one of the nation’s highest rates of people with preexisting conditions.