Coronavirus Updates: US Demands Answers And Transparency From Beijing Over Its Handling Of The Pandemic

China did not give Americans access when it was needed the most in the beginning, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said, demanding answers and transparency from Beijing over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Pompeo also criticised the World Health Organization (WHO) for taking an awfully long time in declaring COVID-19 a global pandemic. “The Chinese Communist Party didn’t give Americans access when we needed it in that most timely point at the very beginning. The President talked about that today. And then we know they have this lab. We know about the wet markets. We know that the virus itself did originate in Wuhan. So all those things come together,” Pompeo told Fox News on Tuesday. There’s still a lot that the US does not know, he said. “We need to know answers to these things. We still have this virus out there. You talked about trying to get the economy going not only here in the United States but around the world,” he said. “We need answers to these questions, we need transparency, and we need the World Health Organization (WHO) to do its job, to perform its primary function, which is to make sure that the world has accurate, timely, effective, real information about what’s going on in the global health space. And they didn’t get that done here,” Pompeo said.

The death toll from the novel coronavirus surpassed 10,000 in New York City after health authorities included more than 3,700 people who were presumed to have died due to COVID-19 but never tested positive. The New York City Health Department changed the way in which it counted the number of people who died from the virus. It will now include those who did not have a confirmed COVID-19 test but will be presumed to have died from the virus. This change dramatically increased the death toll in the city from the virus. Prior to the adjustment, the death toll was 6,589 and it now stands at 10,367. New York is the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the US and has seen the highest number of cases and fatalities so far. Of the 601,472 confirmed coronavirus cases in the US, 199,756 are in New York State, according to estimates by the Johns Hopkins University. A report in The New York Times said the new fatality figures, released by New York city’s Health Department appeared to increase the overall United States death count by 17 per cent to more than 26,000. The report said that the coronavirus outbreak is likely to have led indirectly to a spike in deaths of New Yorkers who may never have been infected. Between March 11 and April 13, 3,000 more people died in New York City than would have been expected during the same time period in an ordinary year, commissioner of the city Health Department Oxiris Barbot said in an interview to NYT. It added that while these excess deaths were not explicitly linked to the virus, they might not have happened had the outbreak not occurred, in part because it overwhelmed the normal health care system. “This is yet another part of the impact of COVID,” she said, adding that more study was needed. “What New Yorkers are interested in, and what the country is interested in, is that we have an accurate and complete count,” Barbot said. “It’s part of the healing process that we’re going to have to go through.” Until now, only deaths where a person had tested positive for the virus were officially counted among those killed by COVID19 in New York. The report added that for weeks, the Health Department had also been recording additional deaths tied to the virus. Those were cases involving people who were presumed to have been infected because of their symptoms and medical history. The report noted that the number of people presumed to have died from the virus were not included in the counts given publicly by Mayor Bill de Blasio because no tests had confirmed that the victims had the disease, Covid-19. But de Blasio decided to release the presumptive cases, the report said, adding that most of the added deaths took place in hospitals, others occurred in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities and in residences.

A doctor, who was till now the lone COVID-19 patient in Meghalaya, died on Wednesday morning while six members of his family, including his wife, tested positive for the disease, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said. Dr John L Sailo Ryntathiang, the 69-year-old founder of Bethany Hospitals, died at 2.45 am in the morning, a family member told PTI. He had tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday evening. “I am saddened to inform that the first #COVID19 positive patient in Meghalaya passed away this morning at 2.45 am.

A 69-year-old man from Chikkaballapura became the eleventh COVID-19 related fatality in Karnataka taking the toll in the state to 11, state Health Minister B Sriramulu said on Wedneday. “A 69-year-old person from Chikkaballapura has died due to COVID-19 infection. His body is in Bengaluru’s Victoria Hospital, and the department was preparing for last rites according to central government rules,” Sriramulu tweeted. The Minister also appealed to citizens to stay safe in their houses.

The West Bengal health department has adopted a slew of containment strategies for COVID-19 “high-risk spots” in the state, without naming them. The multipronged strategies will help break the chain of virus transmission, according to the order issued by the department. “An analysis of the available data reveals that some geographical areas in the state show a higher number of COVID-19 infected persons. As a significant number of these cases can be traced to a few pockets, settlements and families, it calls for heightened vigilance and preventive steps,” the department stated. The order also emphasised on the need for early detection of cases by tracing and tracking primary and secondary contacts of those that have contracted the disease. “Aggressive listing, tracing and tracking of all primary and secondary contacts will be undertaken with utmost promptness. Asymptomatic, low-risk and secondary contacts will be placed under home quarantine and thereafter closely monitored for symptoms,” it said. For urban areas, the department noted, teams constituted for dengue surveillance may be roped in for this purpose, too, following their orientation in this regard.

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