House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s team claims she was invited and she followed the salon’s rules when not wearing a mask.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is facing controversy over footage of a solo hair salon visit in San Francisco at a time when California businesses are limited by concern over coronavirus.
Media (known to Noble Reporters Media) first reported on the footage, which shows Pelosi in the salon, face mask around her neck. A stylist can be seen following her with a mask covering her mouth.
But Pelosi’s spokesman said she was complying with the rules as presented to her by eSalon.
“This business offered for the Speaker to come in on Monday and told her they were allowed by the city to have one customer at a time in the business,” said spokesman Drew Hammill in a statement. “The Speaker complied with the rules as presented to her by this establishment.”
The salon owner said she rents chairs to stylists, one of whom let her know in advance that Pelosi wanted a wash and a blow-dry.
California guidelines on salons vary by county, but San Francisco officials have not yet permitted indoor salons to open. The owner said she considered the service “a slap in the face” to business owners who have been forced to close.
Conservatives pounced, casting Pelosi as a hypocrite.
“Speaker Pelosi has pushed policies that would keep our economy closed and our small businesses shut down. But for herself?” Senate Republicans tweeted. “A salon visit whenever she pleases.”
President Donald Trump Tweeted that Pelosi “is being decimated for having a beauty parlor opened, when all others are closed, and for not wearing a Mask – despite constantly lecturing everyone else. We will almost certainly take back the House, and send Nancy packing!”
Pelosi says Republicans could help create the conditions to safely reopen if they would only “listen to the scientists”.
“Republicans are rejecting the funding needed for testing and tracing to crush the virus and safely reopen schools and the economy,” she wrote in a letter on Friday to her Democratic colleagues.
Pelosi recently faced some controversy for endorsing Joe Kennedy III in his primary challenge to Senator Ed Markey in Massachusets.
Democrats have long discouraged primaries to sitting colleagues in good standing with the party. Pelosi said her endorsement came because Kennedy worked hard to help Democrats win a majority in the House of Representatives in 2018.
Markey won on Tuesday night, with roughly 55 percent of the vote.
The World Health Organization on Thursday warned that spikes in coronavirus transmission in a number of countries were being driven by young people “letting down their guard”.
“Young people are not invincible,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual news conference in Geneva.
While the pandemic, which has killed nearly 670,000 and infected more than 17 million people worldwide, has disproportionately impacted the elderly and people with pre-existing conditions, he stressed that “younger people are at risk too”.
“Young people can be infected, young people can die, and young people can transmit the virus to others.”
Tedros lamented that a major challenge in trying to rein in the novel coronavirus was “convincing younger people of this risk”.
He pointed to evidence that “spikes of cases in some countries are being driven in part by younger people letting down their guard during the northern hemisphere summer”.
“Young people must take the same precautions to protect themselves and protect others as everyone else,” he insisted.
WHO ‘s technical lead for COVID-19 Maria Van Kerkhove lamented in particular that nightclubs in a number of places had become “amplifiers” of transmission.
“We are asking for all people, including young people, to be your own risk manager” and avoid behaviours that could easily increase transmission of the disease.
– Long term impacts –
Michael Ryan, WHO’s emergencies director, also stressed that very little is still known about the long term effects of even mild COVID-19 infections.
“This disease while it may be mild, it may be moderate, it can affect many organs,” he told Thursday’s briefing.
“We just don’t know what the long-term impact of those infections will be,” he said, pointing to a study in Germany following COVID-19 patients who were never admitted to hospital, which hinted the long-term impacts could be serious.
MRI scans of their hearts had found shown “profound changes, inflammatory changes in the cardiac linings of the heart and the cardiac muscles,” he said.
While those issues will likely pass for most patients once the virus is out of their system, he warned that “inflammatory responses can also in themselves do damage and they can do long-term damage”.
“Any inflammatory process in the cardiovascular system can lead to longer term heart disease and can actually accelerate other chronic heart conditions that may develop much later in life,” he pointed out.
“We just don’t know… Why take the risk?”
Young people, he warned, should of course try to rein in transmission as an altruistic act to avoid spreading the virus to more vulnerable groups, he said, but they should also do so out of consideration for their own health.
“Play it safe,” he said.
“Use your brain… Don’t take a risk that you cannot quantify.”
One in five patients hospitalised in Germany over the coronavirus succumbed to the disease, with the fatality rate rising to 53 percent for those who received ventilation, a study showed Wednesday.
Data of 10,000 patients admitted to 930 German hospitals between February 26 and April 19 were analysed by the German Interdisciplinary Association of Critical Care and Emergency Medicine, the Technical University of Berlin and AOK health insurance group’s research arm WIdO.
Hospitalised male patients had a higher mortality rate than women, with 25 percent compared to 19 percent.
Older patients were also significantly more vulnerable, as 27 percent of patients in their 70s died while 38 percent of those above 80 years old failed to pull through.
“These high mortality rates clearly show that a relatively high number of patients with a very serious course of disease were treated in hospitals,” said Juergen Klauber, director of WIdO.
“Such serious course of diseases mainly affect older people and people whose health is already compromised, but also occur in younger patients,” he warned, urging the population to take necessary precautions to prevent new infections.
Of the 10,021 patients, 1,727 were given mechanical ventilation. While almost twice as many who received ventilation were men, the mortality rates were similar gender-wise, the study said.
Patients were staying in hospitals for an average of 14 days, with those not on ventilation hospitalised for an average of 12 days while the duration for those who needed help breathing rose to 25 days.
Reinhard Busse, professor of healthcare management at TU Berlin, noted that on average, 240 days of ventilation would be required for every 100 hospitalised patients.
“These are important numbers to prepare for a second wave of the pandemic. However, we do not anticipate any problems with normal hospital beds, even with high infection rates,” he added.
Thanks to its decentralised healthcare system, Germany has been able to significantly ramp up its capacity to treat COVID-19 patients, avoiding scenes like in Italy where some hospitals were overwhelmed by the sudden huge caseload.
However, health experts have urged against complacency, with the head of the RKI disease control agency, Lothar Wieler, repeatedly urging the population to keep to hygiene rules like social distancing or mask wearing.
With the summer holiday season in full swing, politicians are also watching anxiously at infection numbers which have ticked up in recent weeks.
As of Wednesday, Germany has recorded 206,926 cases of infections including 9,128 deaths.
The Catalan government on Friday ordered the closure of all nightclubs, discos and event halls across this region of northeastern Spain following a surge in cases of coronavirus.
The order, which will come into effect on Saturday and remain in force for two weeks, was given as Spain watches more than 280 new outbreaks, with virus cases tripling in the past fortnight.
Nearly half of all new cases have been in Catalonia, where just a week ago, officials urged nearly four million residents of metropolitan Barcelona to stay home unless absolutely necessary.
Friday’s order by the region’s civil protection agency also banned musical events with dance floors and imposed a midnight curfew on gambling establishments, casinos, bingo halls, bars and restaurants and their terraces, and music bars.
Barely a month after Spain ended its months-long state of emergency, new infections have been rising, with health officials increasingly pointed to nightlife as fertile ground for the spread of the virus.
Earlier this week, the southeastern region of Murcia also ordered the closure of nightclubs unless they had an outdoor terrace space for customers.
The closure came a month after Barcelona’s nightclubs and discos reopened but within days, regional officials had issued an order banning dancing unless you know your partner well.
Spain has been badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic which has so far claimed 28,432 lives and infected more than 272,000 people.
France has also been worriedly watching the situation in Catalonia, with Prime Minister Jean Castex on Friday urging French nationals “to avoid going there until the health situation improves”.
South Africa’s central bank on Thursday cut its key interest rate for the fifth time this year in a bid to breathe life into the coronavirus-stricken economy.
Along with other central banks around the world to aggressively lower borrowing costs in a bid to soften economic blow from COVID-19, the South African Reserve Bank cut its repurchase or “repo” rate by 0.25 percentage points to a record low of 3.5 percent.
Already this year, the bank had previously cut the rate by a total 2.75 percentage points to provide relief to indebted consumers as the negative effects from the coronavirus pandemic make themselves felt.
President Cyril Ramaphosa imposed a lockdown in March, but began loosening some of the restrictions in June to allow for economic activity to resume.
But the country’s economy was already in tatters before the onset of the pandemic, with credit ratings agencies downgrading South Africa’s sovereign debt.
Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago warned that even as the lockdown is relaxed in coming months, investment, exports and imports are expected to decline sharply across the year as a whole.
Job losses and unemployment, already at record highs of above 30 percent, are also expected to climb further.
The central bank also downgraded its growth estimate for the second quarter and said it expected gross domestic product to contract by 7.3 percent in 2020, instead of the 7.0 percent forecast in May.
“The deepest contractions are expected in the second quarter of 2020, with gradual recoveries in the third and fourth quarters of the year,” Kganyago said.
The rate decision comes at a time when consumer inflation is at a 15-year low at 2.1 percent.
Since January, the rand has depreciated by 15.2 percent against the dollar, the governor said.
More than 500 women test positive for coronavirus at facility holding inmates with medical and mental health issues.
Hundreds of female prisoners in the US state of Texas have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, in one of the largest confirmed outbreaks at a federal prison in the country hit hardest by the pandemic.
The number of confirmed cases at the Federal Medical Center-Carswell in Fort Worth jumped to 510 on Tuesday, just two days after the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) reported that 200 women there had been diagnosed with COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus.
Only the federal prison in Seagoville, also located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, had more infected inmates, with 1,156 cases as of Tuesday.
“We’re like a whole bunch of hamsters in a cage chasing our own tails,” FMC-Carswell inmate Holli Chapman told The Associated Press news agency.
Three weeks ago, the facility had reported only three confirmed cases of the virus among inmates. As of Monday, three women had died of the virus.
FMC-Carswell holds female inmates with medical and mental illnesses. It currently has 1,357 prisoners.
The BOP said in a statement it was taking precautions to stem the spread of the virus.
“As with any type of emergency situation, we carefully assess how to best ensure the safety of staff, inmates and the public,” it said.
“All of our facilities are implementing the BOP’s guidance on mitigating the spread of COVID-19.”
Last week, several women at Carswell told the Forth Worth Star-Telegram newspaper the facility did not have enough sanitising supplies or personal protective equipment (PPE).
The women also noted that cells are not immediately cleaned after someone tests positive. Inmate Sandra Shoulders said mattresses used by women who have tested positive are piled up in a TV room.
“We feel basically abandoned,” she was quoted as saying by AP. “(Officers) are saying they’re doing all this stuff for us, that they’re in here with us. But they’re not the ones in 24-hour quarantine, left in a six-by-six cell with three other people with 10 minute showers, 10 minutes to be on the phone or email to communicate with their families.”
Coronavirus infections have been surging across Texas, which has recorded more than 350,000 cases with 4,270 deaths, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.
Teams of military medics were deployed on Friday to help hospitals deluged by coronavirus patients after 10,000 new daily cases were reported for a third straight day last week.
Hospital officials in Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo say they are struggling to cope with a rush of coronavirus patients despite the distribution of a herbal drink touted as a remedy by the president.
President Andry Rajoelina has been promoting an infusion derived from artemisia — a plant with proven anti-malarial properties — as a homegrown cure for COVID-19.
He has brushed off warnings by the World Health Organization (WHO) that there are no published scientific studies of the drink — which has been called Covid-Organics — and that its effects have not been tested.
But COVID-designated hospitals in Antananarivo warn they are starting to run out of beds.
“We are now only accepting severe cases,” Andohotapenaka Hospital director Nasolotsiry Raveloson told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media) on Tuesday.
“The number of cases is increasing more and more,” he explained. “We now have 46 severe cases and so we only have four spaces left.”
At Joseph Raseta Befelatanana Hospital, director Mamy Randria said the facility was “overwhelmed”.
“It is impossible to free up spaces for the moment,” he said.
The head of Anosiala University Hospital, Rado Razafimahatratra echoed the concerns, noting that the facility was “constantly overwhelmed”.
To date the Indian Ocean island-nation of Madagascar has recorded 7,548 coronavirus cases, including just 65 deaths.
Infections have spiked over recent days, however, raising concern in a country where three-quarters of the population live on less than $1.90 per day, according to the World Bank.
“Two factors have contributed to the spread of this disease,” said health department official Zely Arivelo Andriamanantany on local television.
“Firstly… people took CVO (Covid-Organics) and then didn’t respect social distancing. Secondly, CVO only guarantees protection for two to three weeks,” he said.
The government, meanwhile, has blamed the rise in cases on “increased testing capacity”.
“Positive COVID-19 cases did not take CVO or only took it sporadically, without following the prescribed dosage,” said official documents sent to AFP on Tuesday.
“Almost systematically, within the same family unit, those who result positive were not drinking CVO — or at least not regularly — while those who tested negative were taking the solution (and) remained negative despite living together without necessarily social distancing.”
Leaders at odds over proposed $858bn package aimed at pulling the bloc out of what could be its deepest ever recession.
European Council President Charles Michel has offered a revised plan for the European Union’s (EU) proposed economic recovery fund to break a deadlock between the bloc’s 27 leaders on the second day of a summit in Brussels, according to a document, diplomats and officials.
The EU leaders are meeting on Saturday for further talks over a 750 billion euros ($858bn) stimulus plan to breathe life into economies ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic after a meeting that ran late into Friday evening ended without a deal.
To assuage concerns by the northern camp of thrifty EU countries led by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, the share of free grants in the proposed recovery fund would be reduced to 450 billion euros from 500 billion euros.
This, along with plans for an “emergency brake” on the disbursement of funds, would appease wealthy northern states who want conditions attached to grants and would prefer to see those countries worst affected by the coronavirus crisis take loans.
The proposal would also increase rebates on the core EU budget for Austria, Denmark and Sweden.
The leaders spent Friday discussing a proposal put forward by Michel that outlined the $858bn recovery fund and a 1 trillion euros ($1.14 trillion) long-term budget for 2021-27.
Officials on Friday night said a thrifty camp of wealthy northern states led by the Netherlands stood its ground on access to the recovery fund, in the face of opposition from Germany, France, southern nations Italy and Spain, and Eastern European states.
The proposed sums under discussion will be funnelled mostly to Mediterranean coast countries worst affected by the pandemic.
Diplomats said the 27 remained at odds over the overall size of the package, the split between grants and repayable loans in the recovery fund and rule-of-law strings attached to it.
But the main stumbling block was over vetting procedures to access aid, an EU official said, with Rutte demanding that one country could block payouts from the fund if member states backslide on economic reform.
“If they want loans and even grants then I think it’s only logical that I can explain to people in the Netherlands … that in return those reforms have taken place,” Rutte said on Friday, estimating the chances for a deal at fifty-fifty.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki was even more gloomy. As the leaders broke up for the day, he tweeted that they were divided by a bundle of issues and said it was “highly probable” that they would fail to reach a deal on Saturday or even on Sunday if the summit drags past its scheduled two days.
‘Very difficult negotiations’ German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who celebrated her 66th birthday on Friday around the negotiating table in Brussels, was also cautious on chances for an agreement, envisaging “very, very difficult negotiations”.
After initial elbow bumps between the leaders – all wearing face masks – and birthday gifts for Merkel and Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa, tense meetings followed in the evening with Rutte and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Orban, whom critics accuse of stifling the media, academics and NGOs, threatened to veto the entire plan over a mechanism that would freeze out countries that fail to live up to democratic standards.
With EU economies deep in recession and immediate relief measures such as short-time work schemes running out, the spectre of months of hardship and discontent is looming.
The EU is already grappling with the protracted saga of Britain’s exit from the bloc and is bruised by past crises, from the financial meltdown of 2008 to feuds over migration.
Another economic shock could expose it to more eurosceptic, nationalist and protectionist forces, and weaken its standing against China, the United States or Russia.
“The stakes couldn’t be higher,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. “The whole world is watching us.”
Despite wrangling over medicines, medical gear, border closures and money, the EU has managed to agree on a half-a-trillion euros ($571.4bn) scheme to cushion the first hit of the crisis.
Mediterranean countries now want the recovery financing to prevent their economies from taking on ever-greater burdens of debt.
“The big picture is that we are faced with the biggest economic depression since World War II,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said. “We need … an ambitious solution because our citizens expect nothing less from us.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) warned Monday that too many countries were bungling their response to the coronavirus pandemic, meaning there could be no return to normality any time soon.
After a daily record of 230,000 new COVID-19 cases reported on Sunday, the UN health agency said the pandemic was only going to get worse unless people stuck to the basics of physical distancing, handwashing, wearing masks and staying home if sick.
WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that some countries easing their way out of lockdowns were now witnessing a resurgence of the virus because they were not following proven methods to reduce risks.
“I want to be straight with you: There will be no return to the ‘old normal’ for the foreseeable future,” Tedros told a virtual news briefing.
“Let me be blunt: Too many countries are headed in the wrong direction.”
“The virus remains public enemy number one, but the actions of many governments and people do not reflect this.”
He said mixed messages from leaders were undermining trust.
If governments do not roll out a comprehensive strategy to suppress transmission of the virus, and if the public do not follow the basics, “there is only one way this pandemic is going to go,” Tedros said.
“It’s going to get worse and worse and worse.”
The novel coronavirus has killed nearly 570,000 people and infected more than 12.9 million so far, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP.
Tedros said four scenarios were now playing out around the world.
They were: countries that were alert and avoided large outbreaks; those that got a major outbreak under control; those that eased restrictions but are now backsliding; those in an intense transmission phase.
Tedros said the heart of the crisis remains in the Americas – accounting for more than half of infections – but stressed it was never too late to bring “explosive transmission” under control.
In a study released on Monday – the first of its kind – a team led by researchers from King’s College London said patients who recover from coronavirus infections might lose immunity to reinfection within months.
WHO Emergencies Director Michael Ryan said that it was not yet known whether recovered COVID-19 patients could be infected again, but “with other coronaviruses, that is the case.”