COVID-19 death toll passes 100K, total recoveries approach 500K in U.S.


County map of the U.S. shows the number of reported coronavirus related COVID-19 deaths as the total number has now officially reached 100,000 (AP Photo).

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 1:20 PM PT — Thursday, May 28, 2020

In just four months, the coronavirus has led to over 100,000 deaths in the U.S. The number was reported by Johns Hopkins University on Wednesday, with the first virus related fatality in the U.S. occurring in early February.

Though several coronavirus measures to limit the virus’ spread, like mask wearing and lockdowns, have turned partisan since they were introduced, the grief brought on by the so-called “invisible enemy” has been felt across party lines.

On Wednesday, the president extended his sympathies to those affected by COVID fatalities.

Presumed Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden also relayed his grief.

“There are moments in our history so grim, so heartrending, that they’re forever fixed in each of our hearts,” he said.

A woman waves an American Flag from Fort Monroe as the USNS Comfort returns to Norfolk from New York Friday, May 1, 2020. (Jonathon Gruenke/The Daily Press via AP)

The latest report on COVID deaths reflected only a small part of the loss that has impacted millions. Families and friends continue to grieve lost loved ones during these times.

“I kept texting her, wanting to believe that it wasn’t true that she had passed away,” said the daughter of one health care worker.

Meanwhile, workers on the front lines have been witnessing these losses firsthand.

“One of the hardest moments was having to see a family member of a COVID patient say goodbye over an iPad rooms away,” explained one medical worker.

Funeral home officials have worked tirelessly to keep up with the increase in demand.

“I don’t want to apologize, because I am doing the absolute best I can,” said one funeral director. “But if it’s not good enough, I am sorry, deeply sorry.”

In this May 22, 2020 photo, people walk past American flags flying at half-staff at the Washington Monument in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The knowledge of these lost lives has been felt across our nation, especially over Memorial Day weekend when flags were lowered to half-staff by the president.

However, there is cause for hope and optimism in the U.S. According to the CDC, nearly 500,000 Americans have recovered from the virus.

“I’m a man of faith,” stated one survivor. “As much as possible, I try to put things in God’s hands, and I got healed.”

In addition, critics have noted the current death toll may be inflated, since it counts all people who died with COVID-19 instead of counting only those who died as a direct result of the virus.

MORE NEWS: Long Island Reopens, Leaving New York City On Pause





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JobKeeper extension floated during COVID-19 Senate committee, wage freeze defended by NSW government, US death toll tops 100,000, Australia death toll at 103


“These measures will mean that fewer people will be able to visit and stay at resorts this season, so it is essential that people book and confirm their travel arrangements and accommodation before they travel,” Mr Barilaro said in a statement on Thursday.

People should continue to maintain proper physical distancing, he added.

The Shed Ski Hire owner Gary Vaughan was hoping to be open for the June long weekend but will accept June 22 instead.

“It’s fantastic because we weren’t sure if it was or wasn’t going to go ahead,” Mr Vaughan told AAP.

“Something is better than nothing.”

Mr Vaughan on Thursday already received numerous phone calls from people eager to hit the slopes.

“A couple of people from Queensland told me they are keen to get down here,” he said.

“They can come down to NSW but when their ski trip is finished they won’t be allowed back into Queensland (due to the border being closed).

“But they said they will worry about that when they get back.”

Thredbo, Charlotte Pass and Perisher will open but Selwyn resort will remain shut throughout this year’s snow season due to bushfire damage.

Thredbo Resort general manager Stuart Diver said it had been working hard with the government and stakeholders to open under COVID-19 restrictions.

“We’re going to need to limit the number of people who ski and board, and who are in the resort on a daily basis,” Mr Diver said in a statement on Thursday.

“It is going to look different this winter.”

Group ski and snowboarding lessons have been banned and hiring clothes will not be permitted.

Australian Ski Areas Association chief executive Colin Hackworth welcomed the government’s decision, saying it would provide a shot in the arm for NSW operators.

“The NSW resorts are of course disappointed to miss the traditional opening of the snow season on the June long weekend but operators are looking forward to the season ahead and are busily preparing for the safe opening of the resorts from June 22,” Mr Hackworth said in a statement.

Mr Hackworth has previously said the association was in “lock-step” with the government on safety protocols and would encourage conservative behaviour.

The announcement gives NSW resorts three-and-a-half weeks’ notice to bring staff in and train them where required, stock up and begin operations.

AAP



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Gladys Berejiklian announces NSW public sector pay freeze, Scott Morrison spruiks JobMaker plan, Australia death toll at 103


Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter has praised unions and business for their showing of good faith after the federal government announced an industrial relations roundtable on Tuesday.

“I think the responses from the peak union groups, the ACTU and union leaders, and also the responses from the peak industry and employment bodies have been very positive,” Mr Porter said.

Attorney-General Christian Porter will chair five new working groups to produce a JobMaker package.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

“They show there’s a strong level of agreement at least that problems exist that need to be solved to allow for job creation to happen on the other side of the COVID pandemic.”

Mr Porter praised the “goodwill and good faith” in response to Prime Minister Scott Morrison announcing the Industrial Relations Minister would assemble five different working groups, featuring unions and business leaders, to work together on workplace reform.

Two of the five working groups will focus on industrial awards and enterprise agreements, a third will examine casual employment, another will look at wage theft and the fifth group will examine “greenfields” enterprise agreements.



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Trump defends decision to play golf as toll rises; WHO pauses drug trial amid safety concerns


US President Donald Trump paid tribute to fallen members of the US military on Monday to mark the Memorial Day holiday, while defending his decision to spend most of the weekend playing golf as the US death toll from the coronavirus outbreak neared 100,000.

“Some stories about the fact that in order to get outside and perhaps, even a little exercise, I played golf over the weekend. The Fake & Totally Corrupt News makes it sound like a mortal sin – I knew this would happen!” Trump tweeted, saying this was the first time he had played in nearly three months.

Before becoming President, Trump had repeatedly criticised his predecessor, Democratic President Barack Obama, for playing golf, including during the 2014 Ebola outbreak.

The United States has more than 1.6 million infections, the highest in the world, while forecast models for possible COVID-19 deaths predict the death toll will exceed 100,000 by June 1. But almost all 50 states have begun relaxing their coronavirus restrictions.

Reuters, AP



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NSW COVID-19 restrictions to be lifted for more businesses as cases surpass 5.3 million, worldwide, Australia death toll at 102


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Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has announced the third stage of the federal government’s mental health response encompassing $20 million in mental health research funding, including $3 million for investigating the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on mental health.

Addressing media in Canberra on Monday, Mr Hunt said just over $10 million of the funding would go towards suicide prevention and more than $6 million was to be put towards better tailored mental health medication.

“As we focus rightly on the health of Australians, we must never lose sight of the mental health of Australians,” he said.

“Everybody in this room, everybody in any other room in Australia, if not themselves or their families, [will know] people that have had stress, anxiety and pressure at different points in their lives, but particularly during an unprecedented health crisis which has an unprecedented economic impact on the country.”



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Americans ignore social distancing measures as US death toll nears 100,000


Some US residents have been criticised for ignoring social distancing rules over the Memorial Day long weekend, with photos of packed lakes and beaches emerging on social media.

Video of a party at a bar in Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks showed hundreds of people crammed into a pool and its surrounding deck.

Missouri’s coronavirus guidelines say venues must adhere to social distancing measures by placing tables six feet apart and removing all communal seating areas. 

Backwater Jacks Bar and Grill hosted the event, the ‘Zero Ducks Given Pool Party’, and assured guests they would take “extra precautions and safety measures” to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

One guest said while the venue made hand sanitiser available for guests, social distancing was impossible.

“When we walked up my first words were ‘oh my gosh’ – it was intense for sure! Social distancing was nonexistent. However everyone was enjoying themselves,” Jodi Atkins told CNN. 

The Memorial Day weekend that signals the start of the US summer is normally a time when cemeteries across the nation fill with American flags and ceremonies to remember those who died in wars.

This year the, holiday week is when the US death from COVID-19 is expected to exceed 100,000.

The New York Times filled its entire front page with the names and selected details of 1,000 victims on Sunday to try to capture the humanity of the lives lost.

“We were trying to capture that personal toll,” Marc Lacey, the newspaper’s national editor, said.

“We were trying to humanise these numbers which keep growing and have reached such unfathomable heights that they’re really hard to grasp any more… This is about everyday people. It’s about a death toll, reaching a number that’s really just jaw-dropping.”

Around the country, the long weekend saw people sunbathing on beaches, fishing from boats and strolling on boardwalks, with the occasional person sporting a mask sometimes the only reminder that the world is still battling the coronavirus pandemic.

Few people wore masks on Saturday while walking on a crowded boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland.

A water park in Orlando, Florida reopened for the Memorial Day weekend.

Sipa USA Paul Hennessy / SOPA Images/Sipa

Masks were also a rare sight on other beaches, but people mainly kept their distance in small groups and avoided playing games like Frisbee and volleyball.

“Personally, I’m not sure I’m worried about that, but for those who are worried … I suggest they stay home. I like to get out,” said Bruce Clark at Daytona Beach in Florida.

A crowded Coney Island boardwalk in New York on Sunday afternoon.

A crowded Coney Island boardwalk in New York on Sunday afternoon.

AP

With additional reporting from Reuters. 

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits.

Testing for coronavirus is now widely available across Australia. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. 

The federal government’s coronavirus tracing app COVIDSafe is available for download from your phone’s app store.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus 



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UK government defends controversial aide to Boris Johnson over lockdown breach; Australian death toll stands at 102


“If they can’t manage a program like JobKeeper … then there has got to be a great question mark over how they’ll manage the economic recovery,” Mr Albanese said.

Sadly, a man in his 60s has died in a Victorian hospital from COVID-19, bringing the national COVID-19 toll to 102.

Victoria recorded 10 new cases on Saturday, but they are not believed to be linked to outbreaks at the Cedar Meats abattoir, Fawkner McDonald’s, or aged care facilities. However, investigations are still under way.

“It may be that (Saturday’s new) cases are linked to some of these outbreaks – these results often come in quite late at night and so it does require quite a bit of investigating sometimes to link back into other outbreaks or known cases,” deputy chief health officer Annaliese van Diemen said yesterday.

Nine people are currently in hospital in Victoria, including three in intensive care.

NSW recorded just three new cases yesterday, but the state’s health minister Brad Hazzard wants more people to come forward to be tested.

“As we try to relax the restrictions that we have lived under for the past two months, it is crucial, absolutely crucial, that people come forward for testing if they have the slightest hint of any respiratory issues at all,” he told reporters in Sydney.

with AAP



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Moscow reports 59 coronavirus deaths in past day, overall death toll hits 1,993 – World



MOSCOW, May 23. /TASS/. Another 59 patients who contracted the novel coronavirus infection died in Moscow in the past 24 hours, bringing the overall death toll in the Russian capital to 1,993, the anti-coronavirus crisis center said on Saturday.

“A total of 59 patients diagnosed with pneumonia, who tested positive for novel coronavirus, died in Moscow,” the center said.

By now, 1,993 people who tested positive for the infection have died in the Russian capital.

According to the anti-coronavirus crisis center, a total of 3,190 new cases were registered in Moscow in past day, while 3,831 patients recovered in the reported period.

So far, 47,413 novel coronavirus patients have already recovered and been discharged from Moscow hospitals.



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