A version of this story appeared in the July 10 edition of CNN’s Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction newsletter. Sign up here to receive the need-to-know headlines every weekday.
(CNN)The world’s lack of solidarity and leadership, not the coronavirus, is the biggest threat humanity faces.
That was the message from the World Health Organization’s director-general, who made an emotional plea Thursday for international unity to fight the pandemic, blasting a lack of global leadership after President Donald Trump announced his intention to pull the United States from the organization.
“How difficult is it for humans to unite to fight a common enemy that’s killing people indiscriminately?” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus asked, tears in his eyes. “Can’t we understand that the divisions or the cracks between us actually are to the advantage of the virus?”
He made the remarks as the US set a world record for the number of new Covid-19 cases reported in a single day: 63,247. It’s not the only place seeing surges. Records are being smashed in hotspots scattered across the globe, from India to Mexico, and Tokyo, Japan, to Victoria, Australia.
But countries are still divided in their response to the crisis.
US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Thursday said that America was collaborating on Covid-19 vaccine development with the international community, but not with China. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom has opted out of the European Union’s vaccine program, citing cost delays, The Telegraph reported on Thursday.
A fragmented approach is not the way to beat the virus, Ghebreyesus says: “‘Together’ is the solution unless we want to give the advantage to the enemy, to the virus, that has taken the world hostage, and this has to stop.”
YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED
Q: What derailed America’s great summer reopening?
A: Countries such as South Korea, Germany and Taiwan succeeded in slowing the spread of the virus with steps that included moving quickly to monitor those quarantined and conducting widespread testing and tracing. But the US hasn’t had a coordinated national strategy — and it shows.
One analyst says most states took “half hearted” steps to combat the spread of the virus; stricter shelter-in-place orders could have been implemented earlier than March and April. “If we had all locked down simultaneously and taken that two-month period to do what we needed to do with preparing and meeting the gating criteria (for reopening) and then all lifted slowly, we’d actually be in a very different place right now,” Dr. Celine Gounder, a CNN medical analyst, said.
Now most of the country is living with the consequences of reopening too soon. And the tremendous sacrifices made by millions of Americans — who lost their jobs, missed out on school, and avoided seeing loved ones for months on end — feel as though they were for nothing.
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WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY
A snapshot of the crisis in America
Coronavirus is winning the battle in El Centro, California. Almost every patient in the hospital is infected. Tents are being put up in parking lots to handle even more cases. It’s on the streets, forcing rescuers to put on protective suits and masks before they approach people needing help. Now the regional hospital is down to its last defense: There’s only one tent left.
It’s a snapshot of just how bad the situation has become in America. The surge in infections is being spurred by states in the South and West that lifted lockdowns during the spring, as the initial outbreak of the virus was still widening. Florida, Arizona, Texas and California now account for about 50% of all new cases.
Officials in those four states need to aggressively keep people socially distanced, including by closing bars and preventing crowds, Dr. Anthony Fauci, America’s top infectious disease expert, said on Thursday, calling for regions with spiking Covid-19 cases to pause reopening efforts. “Rather than think in terms of reverting back down to a complete shutdown, I would think we need to get the states pausing in their opening process,” Fauci told The Hill’s Editor-at-Large Steve Clemons.
Black nurses battle twin pandemics in Britain
The pressures of the pandemic have exacerbated existing racial inequalities in Britain’s healthcare system, leaving Black nurses vulnerable to harassment and discrimination.
A dozen Black nurses interviewed by CNN described being pressured to treat Covid-19 patients without proper personal protective equipment (PPE), to work in the highest-risk areas with larger caseloads, and left too scared to speak out, for fear of reprisals. Their testimony highlights what they say is a pattern of systemic racism in one of the world’s most highly regarded public health care systems, Salma Abdelaziz reports.
In response to their testimonies, NHS England said, “Covid-19 has shone a spotlight on stark health inequalities in our country.”
The latest Covid-19 science
Transmission: The World Health Organization on Thursday released a new scientific report detailing how the coronavirus can pass from one person to the next — including through the air during certain medical procedures, and possibly through the air in crowded indoor spaces. And a new study from Italy suggests that coronavirus can cross the placenta from a pregnant woman to her fetus.
Symptoms: Some Covid-19 patients are known to develop blood clotting issues, but the degree and the extent to which that occurs was described as “dramatic” by one pathologist who found clots in “almost every organ” during autopsies on Covid-19 patients.
Treatments: A two-drug cocktail used to treat hepatitis C may also help patients recover more quickly from coronavirus, researchers reported Thursday.
ON OUR RADAR
- Bolivia’s interim president has become the third Latin American leader to test positive for Covid-19, after Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández.
- Kazakhstan has denied a Chinese government report that the country is grappling with an “unknown pneumonia” outbreak more deadly than Covid-19.
- Hong Kong is suspending all schools in the city following a surge in locally transmitted cases.
- Australia will slash the number of its citizens and permanent residents allowed to return home from overseas each week, in an effort to stem new Covid-19 cases.
- Seven incarcerated people have died in a coronavirus outbreak at a California prison. They’re among hundreds who have died from Covid-19 in jails across the US.
- The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is not issuing new guidelines on reopening schools, despite comments to the contrary made by Vice President Mike Pence.
- Neo-Nazis and far-right groups are encouraging their followers to “deliberately infect” Jews and Muslims with coronavirus, a UK government counterterrorism agency has warned.
Don’t go to the bar. Seriously. That’s the message from two of America’s top health experts, who warn that crowding at bars and pubs — where people are not social distancing nor wearing masks — poses an unnecessary risk.
“People lined up two and three deep at a bar in an indoor place with air conditioners circulating … people don’t have their masks on, and that’s a real vulnerable area, are the bars,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said during a pre-recorded interview with SiriusXM Doctor Radio airing on Friday.
Dr. Robert Redfield, the CDC director, echoed that message on CNN’s coronavirus town hall on Thursday: “Let’s not be going to bars right now. It’s just not the time for us to do that.”
Desperate for a drink with friends? Depending on local guidelines, you’re better off meeting up outside, where there’s better air circulation and more space to social distance.
“I think I can speak for corporate America: We’re all frustrated with the politicization of safeguarding the health and well-being of our employees as well as our customers.” — Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian
The airline industry has been hit hard by the pandemic. Potential flyers have serious questions about whether airlines are doing enough to protect their health. CNN anchor and Boss Files host Poppy Harlow speaks with Delta Air Lines’ CEO about how one of the largest airlines in the world is responding to the coronavirus (from mandating masks to blocking middle seats). Listen Now.