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World News

Global report: India’s Covid-19 case total surpasses Italy’s – The Guardian

India has overtaken Italy as the sixth worst-affected country, after another biggest single-day rise in confirmed Covid-19 infections.

India’s health ministry reported 9,887 new cases on Saturday, bringing the official total to 236,657. The country has fewer confirmed cases than only the USBrazilRussiaBritain and Spain.

India’s official death toll of 6,642 is relatively low compared with the other countries, but experts say the country is still nowhere near its peak and doctors fear what will happen once the imminent monsoon season begins.

Despite there being no sign the infection curve flattening, the country will begin opening up on Monday after more than two months of the world’s largest lockdown, which has involved 1.3 billion people. Shopping malls and places of worship will open their doors, but no large gatherings, distributions of food offerings, sprinkling of holy water or touching of idols and holy books will be allowed.

Almost half of the country’s known cases have been traced to the four densely populated cities of Delhi, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Mumbai, where hospitals have already run out of beds and patients sleep on floors and share oxygen tanks. As the millions of migrant workers who spent weeks trapped in the cities return home, however, they are spreading the virus to remote rural areas that often have no medical facilities to speak of.

The World Health Organization (WHO) noted on Friday that India’s lockdown had helped it dampen transmission of the disease but said there was a risk cases would rise again as people returned to their ordinary lives.

“As India and other large countries open up and people begin to move, there is always a risk of the disease bouncing back up,” Dr Mike Ryan, the head of WHO’s emergencies programme, told a news conference in Geneva.

Latin America remains a coronavirus hotspot, and the situation deteriorated in Mexico, where the health ministry reported an additional 4,346 cases and 625 new deaths. That brought the country’s confirmed total to 110,026 cases and 13,170 deaths.

Despite the rising infection rate, Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López, continued to insist his strategy had been effective. He dismissed media reports about the escalating death toll, which is second only to Brazil’s in the region, as alarmist and irresponsible.

The death toll also continued to rise in Russia, where 197 people died in the past 24 hours. The country’s official death toll is 5,725. There were also 8,855 new cases, according to officials. This pushed the total number of recorded infections to 458,689.

The official death toll has been called into question after mortality data from Russia’s second-largest city, St Petersburg, revealed it had issued 1,552 more death certificates in May 2020 than in May 2019, a rise of a 32%. It was a strong indicator that hundreds of deaths caused by Covid-19 are not being reflected in the city’s official coronavirus death toll for the month, which was 171.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases increased in Germany by 407 to 183,678.

China recorded three new confirmed cases, down from five the day before. All were imported from abroad, according to the National Health Commission (NHC). The total number of infections in China, where the virus first emerged late last year, stands at 83,030.

The G20 pledged on Saturday to provide more than $21bn (£17bn) to fight the coronavirus. The group called on all countries, NGOs, philanthropies and the private sector in April to help close a financing gap estimated at more than $8bn to combat the pandemic.

The group said in a statement: “The G20, with invited countries, has coordinated the global efforts to support the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. To date, G20 members and invited countries have pledged over $21bn to support funding in global health.

“The pledges will be directed towards diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutics and research and development.”

The airline industry continues to reel from the effects of the pandemic. United Airlines became to latest airline to announce cuts with the closure of cabin crew bases in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Frankfurt.

New Zealand is on course to declare itself free of Covid-19 by next week. It would be the first country among the OECD group of wealthy countries, and the first that has recorded more than 100 cases, to do so.

Hailed for its successful containment of the virus, New Zealand has recorded only 22 coronavirus deaths. The last person known to have contracted the virus domestically left quarantine on 18 May. Scientists said they would be able to declare the domestic elimination of the virus after 28 days of no known cases, which will be on 15 June.

“According to our model, that would put us nearly at the 99% probability of elimination,” said Nick Wilson, a public health specialist from the University of Otago.

Elsewhere around the world:

  • Poland plans to extend a ban on international flights until 16 June.

  • Australia’s deputy prime minister, Michael McCormack, said China’s warnings that its citizens were not safe from racist attacks in the country related tocoronavirus were based on “false information”.

  • Indonesia reported its biggest daily rise in Covid-19 infections, with 993 new cases, taking its total official number to 30,514.

  • The Philippines’ health ministry reported seven new coronavirus deaths and 714 new infections. The total death toll stands at 994, and official cases at 21,340.

Categories
Health News

Exclusive: nearly 600 US health workers died of Covid-19 – and the toll is rising – The Guardian

Nearly 600 frontline healthcare workers have died of Covid-19, according to Lost on the Frontline, a project launched by the Guardian and Kaiser Health News (KHN) that aims to count, verify and memorialize and every healthcare worker who dies during the pandemic.

khn logo

The tally includes doctors, nurses and paramedics, as well as crucial healthcare support staff such as hospital janitors, administrators and nursing home workers, who have put their own lives at risk during the pandemic to help care for others. Lost on the Frontline has now published the names and obituaries for more than 100 workers.

A majority of those documented were identified as people of color, mostly African American and Asian/Pacific Islander. Profiles of more victims, and an updated count, will be added to our news sites twice weekly going forward.

There is no other comprehensive accounting of US healthcare workers’ deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has counted 368 Covid deaths among healthcare workers, but acknowledges its tally is an undercount. The CDC does not identify individuals.

The Guardian and KHN are building an interactive, public-facing database that will also track factors such as race and ethnicity, age, profession, location and whether the workers had adequate access to protective gear. The database – to be released this summer – will offer insight into the workings and failings of the US healthcare system during the pandemic.

In addition to tracking deaths, Lost on the Frontline reports on the challenges healthcare workers are facing during the pandemic. Many were forced to reuse masks countless times amid widespread equipment shortages. Others had only trash bags for protection. Some deaths have been met with employers’ silence or denials that they were infected at work.

The number released today reflects the 586 names currently in the Lost on the Frontline internal database, which have been collected from family members, friends and colleagues of the deceased, media reports and unions, among other sources. Reporters at the Guardian and KHN are independently confirming each death by contacting family members, employers, medical examiners and others before publishing names and obituaries on our sites. More than a dozen journalists across two newsrooms – as well as student journalists – are involved in the project. 

This project aims to capture the human stories of compassion and heroism behind the statistics. None of the healthcare workers honored started 2020 knowing that simply showing up to work might expose them to a virus that would kill them.

When the crisis hit, they met the challenge. They steeled themselves against the long hours. Emergency medical technicians raced to ambulances to help. Others did the cleanup, maintenance, security or transportation jobs needed to keep operations running smoothly. 

They undertook their work with passion and dedication. They were also beloved spouses, parents, friends, military veterans and community activists.

Among those lost were Dr Priya Khanna, a nephrologist, who continued to review her patients’ charts until she was put on a ventilator. Her father, a retired surgeon, succumbed to the disease just days after his daughter.

Susana Pabatao, one of thousands of Philippine health providers in the US, became a nurse in her late 40s. Susana died just days after her husband, Alfredo, who was also infected with Covid-19.

Dr James Goodrich, a renowned pediatric neurosurgeon, acclaimed for separating conjoined twins, was also remembered as a renaissance man who collected antique medical books, loved fine wines and played the didgeridoo.

Some of the first to die faced troubling conditions at work. Rose Harrison, 60, a registered nurse, wore no mask while taking care of a Covid-19 patient at an Alabama nursing home, according to her daughter. She felt pressured to work until the day she was hospitalized. The nursing home did not respond to requests for comment.

Thomas Soto, 59, a Brooklyn radiology clerk faced delays in accessing protective gear, including a mask, even as his hospital was overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients, his son said. The hospital did not respond to requests for comment.

The Lost on the Frontline team is documenting other worrying trends. Healthcare workers across the US said failures in communication left them unaware they were working alongside people infected with the virus. And occupational safety experts raised alarms about CDC guidance permitting workers treating Covid-19 patients to wear surgical masks – which are far less protective than N95 masks. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the federal agency responsible for protecting workers, has launched dozens of fatality investigations into health workers’ deaths. But recent agency memos raise doubts that many employers will be held responsible for negligence. 

As public health guidelines have largely prevented traditional gatherings of mourners, survivors have found new ways to honor the dead: in Manhattan, a medical resident played a violin tribute for a fallen co-worker; a nurses union placed 88 pairs of shoes outside the White House commemorating those who had died among their ranks; fire departments have lined up trucks for funeral processions and held “last call” ceremonies for EMTs.

The Lost on the Frontline death toll includes only healthcare workers who were potentially exposed while caring for or supporting Covid-19 patients. It does not, for example, include retired doctors who died from the virus but were not working during the pandemic. 

The number of reported deaths is expected to grow. But as reporters work to confirm each case, individual deaths may not meet our criteria for inclusion – and, therefore, may be removed from our count. 

You can read our first 100 profiles here. And if you know of a healthcare worker who died of Covid-19, please share their story with us.

Categories
Crypto News

Is the price of bitcoin set to surge after the cryptocurrency halved last month? – This is Money

Bitcoin watchers have told investors who expect its price to boom on the back of its recent halving to be patient and not expect instant returns – despite the cryptocurrency rising more than 14 per cent in a month.

There was a surge in demand for it ahead of the event in early May, which has cut the reward for digitally mining bitcoin in half, making it harder to obtain in future, making it scarcer and potentially making existing coins more valuable.

Since 11 May, the price has steadily increased from just under £7,000, and hit a new post-halving high of £8,010 at the start of June. 

It has slid a little since then but that rise still represents a healthy return of 14.7 per cent since the halving, compared to a 4.2 per cent rise in the US S&P 500 index over the same period.

Golden ticket? Bitcoin went up 14% between its May halving and the start of June but some think it could take a while before the price really takes off

Golden ticket? Bitcoin went up 14% between its May halving and the start of June but some think it could take a while before the price really takes off

Golden ticket? Bitcoin went up 14% between its May halving and the start of June but some think it could take a while before the price really takes off

Danny Scott, the chief executive of Isle of Man-based cryptocurrency exchange Coin Corner, who previously made the eye-catching prediction to This is Money that bitcoin could reach $1million within five years, said the halving was ‘not usually an instant impact event’.

He said: ‘It takes time for the supply and demand curve to take shape. 

‘Looking back, we’ve typically seen bitcoin take between three to nine months after a halving event to reach the previous all-time high, which means, if history repeats itself, we can expect to see $20,000 – or £15,839 – anytime between August 2020 and February 2021.’

Investors who took a punt on bitcoin when it collapsed in price along with other assets in the big coronavirus-fuelled market crash in late February and March have already cashed in.

It hit a low of £3,900 a coin on 16 March and has since rebounded strongly. Scott added: ‘The second quarter has previously proved to be a strong quarter during bitcoin’s life, with only one of the last six years, 2018, resulting in a negative movement.

‘We are currently up around 53 per cent for the second three months 2020, and this is looking to be potentially one of the strongest of the last six years.’

While always unstable, Bitcoin has seen a steady increase in its price since 11 May

While always unstable, Bitcoin has seen a steady increase in its price since 11 May

While always unstable, Bitcoin has seen a steady increase in its price since 11 May

While last month saw bitcoin’s third halving since its inception, it is the first time it has taken place since the cryptocurrency has become a household name, with the two previous times occurring in 2012 and 2016.

These halvings take place every time 210,000 blocks are mined, and this year will cut the reward for mining blocks from 12.5 to 6.25. 

Bitcoin is mined as specialised computers add transaction records to bitcoin’s public ledger of past transactions.

Bitcoin can be mined in 10 minutes, but the process is energy-intensive, supposedly matching the energy usage of the population of Switzerland.

Bitcoin hit all-time highs in 2016 and 2012 when it previously underwent halvings, but those were both before it became well-known

Bitcoin hit all-time highs in 2016 and 2012 when it previously underwent halvings, but those were both before it became well-known

Bitcoin hit all-time highs in 2016 and 2012 when it previously underwent halvings, but those were both before it became well-known

While the price hit all-time highs in both 2012 and 2016 according to Coin Corner, both these were dwarfed by the subsequent boom in bitcoin which took place in the run-up to Christmas in 2017. 

In June 2016, the price sat at £610 a coin, by the following December it hit £14,000.

And although the increased name recognition of and demand for bitcoin likely complicates a like-for-like comparison, Scott is still confident we are set for another bull run on the back of this latest halving.

He said: ’22 days after previous halving events, we saw an increase of 0.7 per cent in 2012 and 8.5 per cent in 2016, which shows that we are currently outpacing history at a significant rate.’

If you do buy into bitcoin 

Find out how bitcoin and the blockchain works, so that you have some understanding of the system, the ledger, the major players and the public and private key elements.

Remember bitcoin yields nothing and its main source of value is scarcity. Most bitcoin activity is trading not investing. 

Research coin wallets, the digital vaults where cryptocurrency is held, and consider security carefully. Bitcoins have been stolen before, understand how this happened.

Be prepared for extreme volatility. The price can move by 20 per cent in one day and you could easily lose half of your cash in a far quicker time that investing in the stock market.

Consider how you would cash in any gains. There are reports that this has proved hard for some people. A time of market stress could lead to people being locked in and unable to trade.

Read our guide to How to be a successful investor, which looks at the far less high octane world of long-term investing and how to make it a success. 

What is bitcoin?

The digital currency that most will be familiar with is free from government interference and can be shared instantly online. It doesn’t rely on trusting one central monetary authority.

The underlying technology is blockchain, a financial ledger maintained by a network of computers that can track the movement of any asset without the need for a central regulator. 

Categories
Health News

Newest Coronavirus Hot Spots Include California And The South : Shots – Health News – NPR

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Forex News

ForexLive Americas FX news wrap: US jobs report crushes expectations – ForexLive

Forex news for North American trade June 5, 2020:

Markets:

  • S&P 500 81 points to 3139 – record volume
  • Nasdaq touches record high
  • Gold down $32 vs $1681
  • US 10-year yields up 5.5 bps to 0.87%
  • WTI crude oil up $1.72 to $39.13
  • NZD leads, CHF lags

The mode in the market has been slowly flipping from fear to greed and a shock jump in US employment sent it into overdrive. USD/JPY jumped to 109.75 from 109.25 on the headlines and it stuck around there most of the day.

The loonie also benefited from a strong Canadian jobs report as USD/CAD sank to 1.3400, and fell through the 200-dma.

Elsewhere in FX the result of the jobs report was garbled. The risk trade is dollar negative but bonds were getting beaten up after the numbers and that’s a dollar positive. On net, you had a AUD and NZD flattish in New York trade on that paradigm.

The euro lost ground to the dollar and finished near the lows but I tend to point to position squaring as the culprit — the pair had run higher for 9 straight days previously.

Cable tried the upside but didn’t like the view from above 1.27 and slipped back down to 1.2670. The Brexit bears are relentless and comments from negotiators on both sides stressed the lack of progress.

A clearer picture of the risk trade was in gold (way down) and oil (way up) along with equities, which surged on extremely high volumes. There were some concerns late in the day with high-flying stocks reversing but that appeared to be rotation with other stocks holding up well.

Forex news for North American trade June 5, 2020:

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Forex News

Forex News Round Up | Latest Forex Market Trend – Market Pulse – MarketPulse

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Health News

Can you get coronavirus from food? – North Carolina Health News

Can you get coronavirus from food? – North Carolina Health News

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Forex News

ForexLive Asia FX news wrap: NZD out performs on the session – ForexLive

Forex news for Asia trading Friday 5 June 2020 

Asia FX ranges were tight indeed for the session here with very little fresh news nor data that had much of an impact.  

Rumours circulated that next week’s OPEC+ (ie, OPEC plus non-OPEC producers, such as Russia) meeting will be brought forward to tomorrow, Saturday June 6. An extension of the output cuts said to be on the cards.

Other items included ECB head Lagarde expressing just a hint of optimism ahead (following her big boost to the Bank’s PEPP program Thursday), further protests and riots in the US, NZ extended support to more firms in the country (see bullets above – NZD/USD an out-performer on the session) and another firm working on a coronavirus vaccine attracted more funding . More on all of these above in the bullets.

As I said in the first line to the wrap, ranges were small for major FX. NFP data is due from the US Friday morning (1230GMT) but its not a focus to the intensity it has been in the past.

Forex news for Asia trading Friday 5 June 2020 

Categories
Crypto News

US Bank Regulator OCC Asks for Public Input on Cryptocurrency Use in Financial Sector – CoinDesk – CoinDesk

One of the federal bank regulators in the U.S., and the only one that charters national banks, is seeking public input on how it regulates new technologies and digital banking activities, including cryptocurrencies and blockchain tools.

In an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking published Thursday, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) said it was reviewing its regulations around digital bank activities to ensure that these regulations “continue to evolve with developments in the industry.”

The notice, one of two published Thursday, was signed by Acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks, the former chief legal officer of Coinbase who took office at OCC last week. 

In an emailed statement, OCC spokesperson Bryan Hubbard said:

“The request for stakeholder comment is part of the OCC’s commitment to responsible innovation and aligned with our understanding that banks must be able to evolve to meet the needs of the consumers, businesses, and communities that rely on them. Our role is to ensure there is a clear, supportive regulatory framework for banks to do so. The request for comments helps ensure we hear from stakeholders of all kinds on those important issues.”

The notice specifically asked what sort of cryptocurrency-related activities banks and other financial institutions are currently engaged in, and what activities customers engage in that impact banks.

“What are the barriers or obstacles, if any, to further adoption of crypto-related activities in the banking industry? Are there specific activities that should be addressed in regulatory guidance, including regulations?”

Separately from crypto assets specifically, the notice asked about the use of distributed ledger technology (DLT) in banking activities and – as with the crypto-related activities section – asked if there are any specific issues that need to be clarified.

“What new payments technologies and processes should the OCC be aware of and what are the potential implications of these technologies and processes for the banking industry? How are new payments technologies and processes facilitated or hindered by existing regulatory frameworks?” the filing said.

The notice also briefly addressed Brooks’ suggestion that his office could issue a national charter for cryptocurrency exchanges, which would essentially allow it to bypass the state-by-state framework that right now requires companies to secure 50 money services business (MSB) registrations to operate nationwide.

“The OCC is not seeking comment on its authority to issue a special purpose national bank charter,” it said.

In a statement, Blockchain Association executive director Kristin Smith said, “It’s heartening to see a top banking regulator understand the power of cryptocurrency. The notice today indicates that Acting Comptroller Brooks is serious about modernizing banking regulations so that innovators can bring new solutions to the legacy financial system.”

Individuals interested in providing public comment can email, mail, hand-deliver, fax or file feedback online, with comments due by Aug. 3, 2020.

Disclosure

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Forex News

Forex Today: Market cautious ahead of US data – FXStreet

What you need to know on Friday, May 5th:

The ECB expanded its PEPP by €600 billion and extended its stimulus scheme until June 2021 or as long as needed. Growth and inflation forecasts for this year and the next ones have been downgraded. President Lagarde said she expects the economy to bounce back in Q3.  The announcement helped EUR/USD extend its gains beyond 1.1300.

The German Merkel’s coalition reached a deal on a €130 billion stimulus package, which consists of tax cuts and infrastructure spending.

The greenback remained under pressure despite the market mood turned sour. Equities closed in the red in Europe, while US indexes closed mixed around their opening levels. US employment-related data came in below expected, somehow anticipating a dismal US Nonfarm Payroll report this Friday.

GBP/USD reached fresh highs above 1.2600, despite bad news in the Brexit front. After three days of talks, both parts recognized that they remain far apart on core topics, with no agreement on their future trade relationship. German’s ambassador in Brussels, Michael Clauss, said that EU leaders would intervene in the negotiations in the autumn in an attempt to clinch a deal by mid-October.

US Treasury yields advanced, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year note hitting 0.82%, underpinning USD/JPY which settled above 109.00.

Crude oil prices posted a modest intraday advance, as investors remained cautious amid uncertainty surrounding OPEC+  agreement on additional output cuts. Gold prices recovered after Thursday’s sharp slide. Spot settled around 1,715.

Cryptocurrency Market News: Bitcoin is stuttering toward 10K and much more….