Brazil Passes

Brazil passes 1 million coronavirus cases with no end in sight – CNBC

Brazil passed 1 million coronavirus cases on Friday and approached 50,000 deaths, a new nadir for the world’s second worst-hit country as it struggles with a tense political climate and worsening economic outlook.

Second only to the United States in both cases and deaths, Brazil confirmed its first case of the novel coronavirus on Feb. 26. The virus has spread relentlessly across the continent-sized country, eroding support for right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro and raising fears of economic collapse after years of anemic growth.

Brazil reported 1,032,913 confirmed cases on Friday, with 1,206 new deaths to take total official fatalities to 48,954, the Health Ministry said. Friday also saw a new record daily number of cases, with 54,771, suggesting the outbreak is far from over. Brazil is likely to surpass 50,000 deaths on Saturday, although weekend reporting can be lower.

Cemetery workers in protective suits shoveling earth during a funeral at the Vila Formosa cemetery in the middle of the Corona pandemic.

Lincon Zarbietti | picture alliance | Getty images

Even so, the true extent of the outbreak far exceeds the official figures, according to many experts, who cite a lack of widespread testing.

“That number of 1 million is much less than the real number of people who have been infected, because there is under-reporting of a magnitude of five to 10 times,” said Alexandre Naime Barbosa, a medical professor at the São Paulo State University. “The true number is probably at least 3 million and could even be as high as 10 million people.”

COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, arrived in Brazil via wealthy tourists returning from Europe to major southeastern cities such as Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and has spread deep into the interior, reaching 82% of Brazil’s municipalities, Health Ministry data showed.

Bolsonaro, sometimes called the “Tropical Trump,” has been widely criticized for his handling of the crisis. The country still has had no permanent health minister after losing two since April, following clashes with the president.

Bolsonaro has shunned social distancing, calling it a job-killing measure more dangerous than the virus itself. He has also promoted two anti-malarial drugs as remedies, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, despite little evidence they work.

Not wearing face mask, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro greets his supporters at Praça dos Três Poderes, in front of the Planalto Palace on Sunday, May 24, 2020.

Andre Borges | NurPhoto | NurPhoto

The far-right former army captain’s handling of the crisis has prompted Brazilians to bang pots and pans regularly outside their apartments in protest, but it has not stopped him from wading into costly political battles with his own cabinet and the Supreme Court, stoking fears of instability.

Pressure from Bolsonaro and public fatigue after months of ineffective state and local isolation orders has led governors and mayors to begin lifting restrictions on commerce and other economic activity.

Public health experts have warned that loosening restrictions too soon threatens to accelerate contagion and drive up fatalities.

“We think that there will be a new wave after the loosening of these measures,” said Ricardo Langer, a doctor treating COVID-19 patients at the Maracanã stadium field hospital in Rio de Janeiro.

A worsening outbreak could weigh on already-grim economic forecasts. The government has said the economy will contract by 4.7% this year, while economists surveyed by the central bank think it will fall more than 6%.

Latin America has registered 90,439 deaths, according to a Reuters tally, with nearly 2 million cases.

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million Passes

U.S. passes 2 million coronavirus cases as states continue to relax guidelines – CBS This Morning

CBS This Morning


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Published on 11 Jun 2020

As the U.S. passes 2 million coronavirus cases, states around the country are easing restrictions. Now, more than a dozen states are seeing an increase in average new COVID-19 cases compared with two weeks ago. Manuel Bojorquez reports.

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House Passes

House Passes Uighur Human Rights Bill, Prodding Trump to Punish China – The New York Times

Politics|House Passes Uighur Human Rights Bill, Prodding Trump to Punish China

The House overwhelmingly cleared legislation that would punish top Chinese officials for detaining more than one million Muslims in internment camps.

Credit…Greg Baker/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Catie Edmondson

WASHINGTON — The House voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to pass a measure that would punish top Chinese officials for detaining more than one million Muslims in internment camps, sending President Trump a bill intended to force him to take a more aggressive stand on human rights abuses in China.

The bipartisan vote, 413 to 1, cleared legislation that would compel Mr. Trump to impose sanctions on Chen Quanguo, the top Communist Party official in Xinjiang, where the camps are, and mandate that the director of national intelligence produce a list of Chinese companies involved in the construction and operation of the camps.

The bill’s passage reflected broad congressional support to punish Beijing for its ruthless campaign against Uighurs, Muslim ethnic minorities, and to press the administration into action to condemn China’s mass detentions. The Senate passed the legislation, which was sponsored by Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, earlier this month.

“With this overwhelming bipartisan legislation, the United States Congress is taking a firm step to counter Beijing’s horrific human rights abuses against the Uighurs,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. “We must continue to raise a drumbeat and shine the light of abuse perpetrated by Beijing against the Uighurs whenever we can, from this House floor to the State Department to other multilateral institutions.”

Representative Thomas Massie, Republican of Kentucky, was the sole lawmaker to oppose the bill.

The drive to pass the legislation has been a yearlong effort by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, especially China hawks, who have grown frustrated at the administration’s reluctance to punish human rights abuses by Beijing despite damning reports outlining a brutal indoctrination campaign against Uighurs.

China has vehemently denied reports of abuses in Xinjiang, and has described the camps as corrective facilities aimed at training workers. But overwhelming evidence, including official documents, news reports and testimony from released detainees, shows the country’s most sweeping internment program since the Mao era.

On the House floor on Wednesday, Representative Christopher H. Smith, Republican of New Jersey and one of the sponsors of the bill, recounted one such story that he heard from a released detainee who came before the House to detail her experience in one of the camps.

“She broke down weeping, telling us that she pleaded with God for her life, and her Chinese jailers restrained her to a table, increased the electrical currents coursing through her body and mocked her belief in God,” Mr. Smith said.

“We cannot be silent,” he continued. “Xi Jinping is smashing and obliterating an entire people.”

Last year, Congress unanimously passed legislation supporting the Hong Kong protests, forcing Mr. Trump to sign the bill. Mr. Trump, who had previously said he was “standing with” Mr. Xi, the Chinese leader, risked being overruled by Congress and criticized as weak on China if he had vetoed the measure. But when he signed the bill, he issued a statement saying he would “exercise executive discretion” in enforcing its provisions.

The focus on human rights in Congress has extended beyond China, with some Republicans breaking from Mr. Trump to support other human rights causes. Last year, over the administration’s objections, lawmakers passed legislation recognizing as a genocide the 1915 killings of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians, and another bill, included in the annual defense policy bill, that imposed sanctions on Syrian officials responsible for human rights violations during the nation’s civil war.

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