The sum of known US COVID-19 cases soared to more than 100,000, with more than 1,600 dead, as weary doctors and nurses coping with shortages resorted to extremes ranging from hiding scarce medical supplies to buying them on the black market.
Doctors have been especially concerned about a shortage of ventilators, machines that help patients breathe and are widely needed for those with the highly contagious novel coronavirus.
Hospitals have also sounded the alarm about scarcities of drugs, oxygen tanks and trained staff.
The number of confirmed infections in the US on Friday rose by about 18,000, the biggest jump in a single day, to more than 103,000. The US has led the world in coronavirus cases since its count of known infections eclipsed those of China and Italy on Thursday.
With at least 1,634 lives lost as of Friday night — also a record daily increase — the US ranked sixth in national death tolls from the pandemic, a Reuters tabulation of official data showed.
Alexander Salerno of Salerno Medical Associates in northern New Jersey described going through a “broker” to pay US$17,000 for masks and other protective equipment that should have cost about US$2,500, and picking them up at an abandoned warehouse.
US President Donald Trump on Friday issued an order that seeks to force General Motors to produce ventilators for coronavirus patients under the US’ Defense Production Act.
Negotiations with the automaker had been productive, “but our fight against the virus is too urgent to allow the give-and-take of the contracting process to continue to run its normal course,” Trump said.
Trump also signed an unprecedented US$2.2 trillion economic rescue package into law, after swift and near-unanimous action by the US Congress to support businesses, rush resources to overburdened healthcare providers and help struggling families during the deepening pandemic.
The legislation is to accelerate government payments of US$1,200 to most Americans and increase jobless benefits for millions of people thrown out of work.
Businesses big and small are to receive loans, grants and tax breaks. It would also send unprecedented billions to states and local governments, as well as the nation’s all but overwhelmed healthcare system.
The number of people from Hong Kong applying for residency in Taiwan last year rose 41 percent from a year earlier to 5,858, National Immigration Agency statistics showed. The statistics also showed that 600 applications were filed by Hong Kong residents in the first quarter of this year — three times the number filed in the same period last year — with applicants apparently not deterred by the COVID-19 pandemic. Just one day after it was reported that the Chinese government plans to enact new national security laws in Hong Kong, inquiries regarding immigration to Taiwan grew 10-fold, a Hong Kong-based immigration
‘BEGINNING OF THE END’: Democracy advocate Joshua Wong urged Hong Kongers to stand up and fight, and let the Chinese government know that they will not cave Hong Kong protesters yesterday battled with riot police in busy downtown areas, showing their opposition toward China’s dramatic move to crack down on dissent in the biggest demonstration since the coronavirus swept through the territory in January. Police deployed a water cannon and fired tear gas in the Causeway Bay shopping area after hundreds of protesters had gathered to oppose new national security legislation from China. Police warned the crowd they were taking part in an illegal gathering, and later said in a statement that “rioters threw umbrellas, water bottles and other objects at them.” At least 120 people were arrested,
‘TAIWAN IS SAFE’: As there have been no new local cases for 42 days, people should feel free to travel around the nation — as long as they follow disease prevention rules No new cases of COVID-19 were reported yesterday and only 20 of the people hospitalized after testing positive are still being treated in hospitals, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday in Pingtung County’s Kenting (墾丁) as he promoted a “new disease prevention lifestyle” for the nation. As yesterday was the 42nd consecutive day with no new domestic cases, and experts consider 28 consecutive days with no domestic case — the span of two incubation periods — a sign that a community is relatively safe, Taiwan is safe, said Chen, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC),
SMOOTHER TRANSIT: Japan Airlines reportedly planned to land the flight at Haneda Airport, but changed it to Narita for direct flights to Taiwan The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday thanked Japan for allowing 94 Taiwanese on a chartered plane evacuating others stranded in Russia, where COVID-19 cases are rising and many international flights have been canceled. Ninety-four Taiwanese exchange students and expats, as well as two Russian spouses, arrived at Narita International Airport in Japan yesterday morning on a charter flight operated by Japan Airlines, before taking a transfer flight to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport last night, ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said. As of press time last night, Russia had reported more than 362,000 cases of COVID-19, including more than 3,800 deaths. The government had