WHO Reviews Impact From U.S. Funding Withdrawal

The latest in COVID-19

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WHO Reviews Impact From U.S. Funding Withdrawal

Quick Take

  • Trump halts WHO funding as the administration reviews its role in handling the virus.
  • Trump administration reaches a $25 billion agreement with major airline companies.
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state will be moving from its broad stay-at-home order to a more individual approach.
  • NYC death toll spikes as 3,778 unaccounted deaths are added.

There are now more than 2 million global confirmed coronavirus cases with fatalities topping 130k. Yesterday, the U.S. reported a spike of 2,407 fatalities in one day.

Trump Halts Funding For World Health Organization

US President Donald Trump has announced a halt on funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) as the administration reviews its role in handling the virus. Trump accused the WHO of not telling the truth about what was happening at the center of the outbreak in Wuhan.

WHO director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has since responded to the halt on funding, noting that the agency is reviewing the impact of the withdrawal of US funds to ensure work continues uninterpreted. US financial contributions to the WHO account for nearly 15% of the organization’s $6B budget. The US is currently at the epicenter of the outbreak with over 600k cases and 25k deaths.

NYC Deaths Spike As Unaccounted Deaths Are Added

In a new count released Tuesday, NYC has reported 3,778 unaccounted fatalities, bringing the city’s total death toll to more than 10,000. Previously, the city had not counted people who died at home or who died in nursing homes or at hospitals without a confirmed positive test result. Mayor Bill de Blasio admitted last week that the true number of deaths was far higher than the official tally, and said the city would start including presumed coronavirus cases in its data.

The latest statistics include probable coronavirus deaths through April 13th, but even the new statistics may understate the death toll. People whose death certificates don’t mention the virus still are not counted. Over the last 30 days, more than 8,000 city residents died with the cause of death not classified as confirmed or probable coronavirus.

The city’s death toll has filled morgues and overwhelmed funeral homes. Thousands of unclaimed remains are being buried in mass on Hart Island. NYC has more than 100,000 confirmed cases with many more undetected due to a lack of testing.

Airlines Reach $25B Bailout Agreement

The Trump administration has reached an agreement with major airline companies over the terms of a $25 billion bailout. Alaska, Allegiant, American, Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue, United, SkyWest, and Southwest will be participating in the payroll support program. The program was created as part of the $2T economic stabilization package that Congress passed last month.

American Airlines said it would receive $5.8 billion as part of the deal, with more than $4 billion in grants and the remaining $1.7 billion as a low-interest loan. The funds are intended to be used to pay employees and prohibit pay cuts through September. American Airlines also plans to apply for another $4.8 billion loan from the department.

As of April 9th, American airlines had idled 2,200 aircraft and reported passenger volume was down 95 percent from a year ago. The industry expects global passenger revenues to fall by $250 billion this year.

California To Ease Restrictions

California, Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state will be moving from its broad shelter-in-place order to a more individual approach to suppressing the virus. Numbers of infections and deaths have stabilized, but he said that any decisions about reopening society would be based on “public health, not politics,” and would be gradual and depend in part on building and tracking immunity within the population.

California, which has the nation’s largest economy, has been ahead of the curve, locking down early and avoiding worst-case scenarios. Newsom warned Californians that even in the next phase, restrictions might be loosened and tightened as the state toggles from stricter to looser interventions.

Virginia Pastor Dies After Holding Mass

A Virginia pastor who defiantly held church service, despite warnings against gatherings of more than 10 people, has died of coronavirus. Happily announcing he was being “controversial” by being “in violation” of safety protocols, he vowed to keep his church open unless jailed or hospitalized. The pastor then died one week after being diagnosed with COVID-19. His daughter is now urging everyone to stay home.

Kidney, Liver, Heart, And Neurological Damage

Lastly, clinicians around the world are seeing evidence that coronavirus may be causing heart inflammation, acute kidney disease, neurological malfunction, blood clots, intestinal damage and liver problems. According to Alan Kliger, a nephrologist from Yale University School of Medicine, says almost half the people hospitalized from COVID-19 have blood or protein in their urine, indicating early damage to their kidneys.

Early data from Wuhan and New York shows 14 to 30 percent of intensive-care patients have lost kidney function and require dialysis. Researchers in Wuhan conducted autopsies on people who died of COVID-19 and found nine of 26 had acute kidney injuries and seven had particles of coronavirus in their kidneys.