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COVID ’19 and Global Isolation

COVID 2019 continues to send everybody to isolation from developing to developed and from ordinary citizens to world leaders making the prospect of successful containment razor thin. Those who underestimated the virus are now rolling out a massive stimulus plan to help families laid off due to emergency plans to contain the virus. It is now hard to predict the direction the world economy is going starting from China to Europe, America to Africa and so on.

Again we present to you the latest update on how the big economies are responding to the Virus. Prof AGWU Ezera

BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel has gone into quarantine after being informed that a doctor who administered a vaccine to her has tested positive for the new Covid virus.

Merkel, 65, was informed about the doctor’s test shortly after holding a news conference Sunday announcing new measures to curb the spread of the virus, her spokesman Steffen Seibert said. He said that Merkel had received a precautionary vaccine Friday against pneumococcal infection.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever or coughing. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. About 93,800 people have recovered, mostly in China. Seibert said in a statement that Merkel would undergo “regular tests” in the coming days and continue with her work from home for the time being.

Merkel had earlier expressed her gratitude to Germans who were following the rules on social distancing, saying it was important to remain at least 1.5 meters (about five feet) apart to reduce the likelihood of infection.

Merkel on Sunday thanked “the overwhelming majority” of Germans who were following rules on social distancing to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. “I know that it means sacrifice,” she said, citing the economic and social costs that the lockdown is having. “I’m moved by the fact that so many are abiding by these rules. This way we show care for older and sick people, because the virus is most dangerous to them. In short: we are saving lives with this.” Merkel said the lockdown had already affected her profoudly, too.

“My life has also fundamentally changed and now consists largely of phone calls and video conferences,” she said.

The development illustrated how even world leaders aren’t free from the risk of infection. “With a certain distance the risk of infections is reduced almost to zero,” Merkel told reporters. “Whether you are half a meter apart or 1.5 meters apart makes a huge difference.”

Seconds later, she was informed that her doctor had tested positive for COVID-19.

Senator Rand Paul has tested positive for COVID ’19,” reads a statement on his official Twitter feed. “He is feeling fine and is in quarantine. He is asymptomatic and was tested out of an abundance of caution due to his extensive travel and events. He was not aware of any direct contact with any infected person. “He expects to be back in the Senate after his quarantine period ends and will continue to work for the people of Kentucky at this difficult time. Ten days ago, our D.C. office began operating remotely, hence virtually no staff has had contact with Senator Rand Paul.”

Last week, Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., and Ben McAdams, D-Utah, announced they had tested positive for the Covid virus and dozens of other lawmakers who fear they may have been exposed have undergone self-quarantines. Paul was on Capitol Hill several days last week. The statement did not say when Paul tested positive, nor when he might have contracted the illness, but his infection could mean several more lawmakers were exposed. 

– William Cummings -Yahoo website

McConnell to move forward with Senate stimulus bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he plans to move forward on a massive Covid stimulus package Sunday, after failing to reach an agreement with Minority Leader Charles Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who plans to introduce her own version of the bill.

The Kentucky Republican said the Senate still hold a cloture vote on the bill, scheduled for 3 p.m. EDT, which will limit debate to less than 30 hours before a final vote that he plans to hold on Monday. McConnell said it “would be best for the country” if Pelosi and House Democrats pass the Senate measure. “I believe that’s the way it will end, and that’s the way we’re going to go forward,” he said. He added that negotiations will continue during the 30 hours before the Senate votes. “We’re still talking about those issues where there’s still some disagreement,” McConnell said. “But make no mistake about it we’ll be voting tomorrow. I mean the wheel has to stop at some point.”  

– William Cummings

Pelosi: ‘No deal’ on stimulus package

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday there’s “no deal” yet on a massive stimulus package, as she and other congressional leaders tangled over the details of a $1 trillion-plus package aimed at stabilizing an economy reeling amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ll be introducing our own bill,” Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters on the Capitol Hill. Her remarks dimmed the prospect of speedy congressional action on legislation aimed at helping individuals who have been laid off and businesses that have shuttered amid severe travel restrictions quarantines and lockdowns.

Pelosi spoke to reporters after meeting behind closed doors with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel, R-Ky., and other congressional leaders. McConnell is pushing a bill that would send $1,200 checks for most U.S. adults and hundreds of billions for businesses that have been hit by the Covid pandemic. 

Pelosi’s spokesman did not immediately respond to questions about what the sticking points are, but she and other Democrats are reportedly concerned that McConnell’s proposal does not offer enough protections for workers and needs tougher measures to prevent bailed-out corporations from engaging in stock buybacks that enrich executives. 

– Deirdre Shesgreen 

AOC tells young Americans to stay home

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, has a message for her generational cohorts amid the coronavirus outbreak: stop going out. “If you are a young person in America today, you need to stay home,” the New York Democrat said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”  “There was so much messaging about how coronavirus is only impacting older people and that younger people don’t have to worry about it for their personal health,” she said. “Well, let me tell you something. In the state of New York, about 55% of our cases are with folks 18 to 49.”

Ocasio-Cortez, 30, warned young Americans they risk not only exposing themselves, but their parents and grandparents “if you continue to go out and live life as usual.” She also repeated Democratic lawmakers’ call for President Donald Trump to use the Defense Production Act to ramp up the production of medical supplies.

“There are not enough face masks, gloves, ventilators, hospital beds to get us through this. Many hospitals are already at capacity or approaching capacity,” she said. “Companies are donating what they can. That is great. It is not enough,” she said, adding that a failure to use the Defense Production Act “is going to cost lives.”

– William Cummings 

Illinois governor says states are competing against each other for coronavirus supplies

WASHINGTON – Governors are saying their states are competing with each other to buy medical supplies needed to fight the coronavirus, driving up prices and creating a “Wild West” atmosphere – and drawing a rebuke from President Donald Trump.

“We’re all competing against each other” and “this should have been a coordinated effort by the federal government,” Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker told CNN’s State of the Union.

Trump responded by tweeting that Pritzker and other governors “shouldn’t be blaming the Federal Government for their own shortcomings. We are there to back you up should you fail, and always will be!”

The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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