RT – Europe’s leading economy, Germany, is bracing for a painful fallout from the coronavirus crisis that is likely to result in the country’s deepest recession in the post-war era.
After a decade of growth, the German economy is likely to shrink by 6.3 percent in 2020, according to Economy Ministry projections released on Wednesday. The outlook is a little brighter than figures announced by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) earlier this month, as the lender expects a seven percent contraction in Germany next year.
Al Jazeera – German pharmaceutical company BioNTech has begun testing a potential vaccine for the new coronavirus on volunteers.
BioNTech, which is working with the US-based Pfizer, said on Wednesday that 12 participants of a clinical trial in Germany received doses of the vaccine candidate BNT162 since April 23.
BBC – Authorities in a Spanish coastal resort have apologised after spraying a beach with bleach in an attempt to protect children from coronavirus.
Zahara de los Atunes, near Cadiz, used tractors to spray more than 2km (1.2 miles) of beach with a bleach solution a day before Spain allowed children out of lockdown for the first time.
Environmentalists say the move caused “brutal damage” to the local ecosystem.
Spain has been badly affected by the coronavirus, with 23,800 deaths.
It recently announced a four-phase plan to lift its stringent lockdown measures and return to a “new normality” by the end of June.
María Dolores Iglesias, who heads an environmental volunteer group in the Cadiz region, said she had visited the beach at Zahara de los Atunes and seen the damage for herself.
She said the bleach “killed everything on the ground, nothing is seen, not even insects”.
U.S. News, Politics & Government
CNN – As some researchers say deaths could rise significantly in coming weeks, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States has topped 1 million and the deaths toll has surpassed the total of US troop fatalities during the Vietnam War.
As of Tuesday evening, there are more than 1,012,000 people in the United States who have or have had the virus, according to a tally from health officials by Johns Hopkins University. At least 58,356 people have died.
A total of 58,220 Americans died during the war in Vietnam, where fighting lasted more than 10 years.
Newsmax – An ongoing U.S. government investigation into the origins of the global coronavirus pandemic has found “circumstantial evidence” that a Wuhan, China, laboratory released COVID-19 on the world, The Washington Times reported Tuesday.
A document obtained by the Times found that China’s explanations for the origins of the virus are less credible than the evidence pointing to a Wuhan lab accident.
“There is circumstantial evidence to suggest such may be the case,” the still-evolving report compiled from “open sources” states, per the report. “All other possible places of the virus’ origin have been proven to be highly unlikely.”
The document does not yet have more concrete, definitive evidence with which to officially blame the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) or the Wuhan branch of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, but President Donald Trump promised in Monday’s coronavirus task force briefing at the White House that the findings would be coming out soon.
The circumstantial evidence in the analysis points to WIV bat coronavirus researcher Shi Zhengli, and Dr. Wu Xiaohua’s online campaign exposing COVID-19 is among the 50 in Shi’s database.
Dr. Wu’s website claimed Shi used lab animals in testing, one of which might have been point of origin for the global pandemic. Also, per the report, Dr. Wu report WIV animals have been sold as pets – potentially carrying the virus – and dead lab animals “were not properly disposed of, and lab workers were known to boil and eat laboratory-used eggs,” according to the Times.
“Wu’s charges of WIV management negligence are specific and have not been convincingly rebutted by WIV,” according to the government analysis, per the Times.
China has pointed to the beginnings of the outbreak at a Chinese wet market in Wuhan, where animals are butchered and sold to the public. The country’s belief has been the virus jumped from an infected bat to another animal then to humans, per past reports, but the bats that have carried coronavirus’ are not sold at that wet market, but about 100 miles away.
“At this point, it’s inconclusive, although the weight of evidence seems to indicate natural, but we don’t know for certain,” Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The evidentiary findings suggest the first human infected with COVID-19 did not visit the wet market, per the report.
“The most logical place to investigate the virus origin has been completely sealed off from outside inquiry by the CCP [Chinese Communist Party],” the document stated, per the Times.
The labs, both having conducted extensive research on coronaviruses, are just a few minutes from the wet market, which Fox News reported it is believed “patient zero” – infected in the lab accident – had visited last November.
Huang Yanling is suspected of being Patient Zero and has mysteriously disappeared, per the report.
“Huang worked at WIV, but she is the only WIV employee whose biography, profile and picture have been deleted by WIV on its website, fueling speculation of foul play,” the analysis stated, according to the Times.
“But Huang herself has never appeared in public and she has since disappeared.”
Infowars – A California man has been locked in a psychiatric hold after he said he would ‘have to take things into my own hands’ regarding a theory involving Bill Gates, vaccines and 5G.
The Independent reports that the man “was placed in psychiatric hold for three days while police seized unregistered shotguns from his home.”
Citing a San Diego press release, the report notes that police “obtained a Gun Violence Restraining Order against the 52-year-old after he told family and friends about his plan to arm himself during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
According to the report, the man claimed the coronavirus outbreak is “an elaborate hoax to scare Americans into vaccines that made people trackable through 5G towers.”
Did Gates buy a $644 Million super-green yacht as a end-of-the-world bug out bag? And, he keeps doing “serious” interviews with comedians and using the same punchline about vaccines
Police got involved when the man allegedly became “enraged” after being denied a purchase of ammunition. The man is said to have expressed a belief that the incident was part of a government plot against him.
Officials said, however, that the purchase was denied owing to the man being on probation for a prior drink-driving conviction, which prohibits firearm sales until 2025.
Police said that the man began ranting about needing to arm himself against Bill Gates, saying that “people are going to try and get me and I need to defend myself”.
City Attorney Mara W Elliott commuted that “Thanks to public vigilance, police were able to safely intervene and remove firearms from someone who presented a danger to himself and others before he resorted to violence.”
Infowars – President Trump vowed Tuesday that the US will seek to secure hundreds of billions of dollars in reparations from China over the coronavirus outbreak, reiterating that the outbreak “could have been stopped at the source.”
Trump was asked by a reporter about Germany’s apparent intention to issue China with a $160 billion bill, relating to the impact the virus has had on the European economy.
“We have ways of doing things a lot easier than that,” Trump replied, adding “Germany’s looking at things, and we’re looking at things, and we’re talking about a lot more money than Germany’s talking about.”
“We haven’t determined the final amount yet. It’s very substantial,” Trump continued, adding that “There are a lot of ways you can hold them accountable.”
“We’re doing very serious investigations, as you probably know. And we are not happy with China. We are not happy with that whole situation,” the President urged.
“We believe it could have been stopped at the source. It could have been stopped quickly, and it wouldn’t have spread all over the world.” Trump stressed.
Reuters – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday pushed China again to provide the world access to its virology labs in Wuhan, saying the world needed to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic originated there and that Beijing had an obligation to be transparent.
Ties between the United States and China have significantly deteriorated since the eruption of the coronavirus outbreak, which has now killed more than 200,000 people around the world after originating in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.
Washington and Beijing have been trading insults and accusations over the handling of the pandemic, with Pompeo last week saying United States “strongly believed” China failed to report the outbreak in a timely manner and then covered up how dangerous the respiratory illness caused by the virus was.
“We still haven’t gained access, the world hasn’t gained access to the WIV (Wuhan Institute of Virology) there. We don’t know precisely where this virus originated from,” Pompeo told a news conference at the State Department, and added that U.S. concerns over the security of Chinese labs persisted.
Reuters – The U.S. Navy on Wednesday said that it would carry out a broader review into the spread of the coronavirus aboard an aircraft carrier, a move likely to delay a decision on the future of the ship’s fired captain.
Captain Brett Crozier was relieved of command of the carrier Theodore Roosevelt after the leak of a letter he wrote calling on the Navy for stronger measures to protect the crew.
Last week, the Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Mike Gilday recommended after a preliminary investigation that Crozier be reinstated.
“I have unanswered questions that the preliminary inquiry has identified and that can only be answered by a deeper review,” acting U.S. Navy Secretary James McPherson said in a statement.
“Therefore, I am directing Admiral Gilday to conduct a follow-on command investigation,” McPherson said.
He added that the report would look to provide a “more fulsome understanding of the sequence of events, actions, and decisions of the chain of command.”
The move appears to be in line with the wishes of U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who had been in favor of receiving a completed written investigation before making any decisions
Economy & Business
CNN – The US economy contracted for the first time in nearly six years between January and March, as the coronavirus crisis put the world in a choke hold.
CNN – Boeing said it will slash staff and production after posting a massive first-quarter loss. Demand for air travel has evaporated during the coronavirus outbreak, and the aerospace company continues to reel from the 737 Max grounding.
One Tyson employee, who is recovering after testing positive for the virus, says he can’t see his coworkers going back into the Iowa facility
CNN – Meat processing plant workers are concerned about President Donald Trump’s executive order that compels plants to remain open during the coronavirus pandemic. Some say they expect staff will refuse to come to work.
“All I know is, this is crazy to me, because I can’t see all these people going back into work,” said Donald, who works at Tyson’s Waterloo, Iowa, facility. “I don’t think people are going to go back in there.”
Donald asked to be referred to by his first name only. He is currently recovering after testing positive for the virus.
“I’m still trying to figure out: What is he going to do, force them to stay open? Force people to go to work?” he asked.
Telegraph – Simon Property Group, the biggest operator of malls in the United States, has come up with a game plan for reopening 49 shopping centers across 10 states starting on Friday.
Security officers and employees will “actively remind and encourage shoppers” to maintain a proper distance from others and to refrain from shopping in groups. Food court seating will be spaced to encourage social distancing, and reusable trays will be banished. Play areas and drinking fountains will be temporarily closed, mall-provided strollers won’t be available and, in restrooms, every other sink and urinal will be taped off. Regular audio announcements will be made “to remind shoppers of their part in maintaining a safe environment for everyone.”
The company shared its ideas for what its pandemic-era malls will look like in documents attached to an April 27 memo, which were given to retailers and obtained by The New York Times. They provide a glimpse of how the broader American shopping experience is likely to look as the country begins to slowly reopen. But the success of such an approach depends largely on whether retailers will also decide to quickly reopen stores and whether the public will feel comfortable going to malls when tests for the virus remain difficult to get.
Science & Technology
Activist Post – Like other telecoms, AT&T continues to expand their 5G network despite widespread opposition from multiple highly respected sources (including the U.S. Military) AND reports of people and animals getting sick where it’s already been turned on (see 1. 2, 3, 4).
From 5G Crisis:
AT&T’s 5G network is now live for consumers in 90 additional markets across the country and covers more than 120 million people. With today’s launch, AT&T now offers access to 5G on its best unlimited wireless plans for consumers and businesses in a total of 190 markets in the U.S.
For a complete list of where AT&T’s 5G network is now live, click here.
Daily Mail – Melanie Cook, 38, from Gypsyville, Hull, revealed her one-year-old son George was infected with coronavirus when he was struck down with mystery symptoms in mid-March.
She said she was ‘110 per cent sure’ her son’s red eyes, violent vomiting and fatigue was COVID-19-related, but claims her son was diagnosed with conjunctivitis and denied a swab.
Parents Sabrina and Steve Legge, from Bath, Somerset, have been left petrified that sons Dylan, 16, and Colston, 14, have the inflammatory syndrome after suffering from sickness, blisters on their tongues, diarrhoea and stabbing chest pains last week. The family claim their GP has refused to test the teens for coronavirus.
Chloe Knight, 22, from Edinburgh, revealed her two-year-old son, Freddie Merrylees, was ‘like a zombie’ after suffering from Kawasaki disease in March.
Scans showed the boy’s heart valves had become inflamed after he was taken to hospital with blotchy rashes, puffy red eyes and a loss of appetite. His mother says they were refused coronavirus tests.
A mother from Lancashire, who does not wish to be named, shared shocking images of her two-year-old daughter with blotchy purple rashes across her entire body. The parent said she was waiting on coronavirus test results with bated breath.
And Lewis Greig, 13, from Aberdeen, was finally diagnosed with the lethal virus after becoming so ill he needed to be hooked up to a ventilator. The teenager initially was struck down with inflammatory symptoms including bloodshot eyes and measles-like rashes.
Mail Online – A major American pharmaceutical corporation has announced it could have a coronavirus vaccine ready by the fall.
Pfizer Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said on Tuesday a coronavirus vaccine for emergency use could be ready by the autumn and for broader roll out by the end of 2020.
It has already started testing the vaccine on humans in Germany with its partner firm BioNTech and hopes to begin testing in America soon.
The company has already started mass manufacturing doses while trials are underway and is aiming to have ‘hundred of millions of doses ready for the end of the year.
Developing vaccinations usually takes many months or years but researchers are hurtling towards human trials. They say the process has been made easier because the virus is not mutating and is similar to other viruses seen in the past.
University of Oxford scientists are also confident they can get their jab for the incurable virus rolled out for millions to use by autumn.
Factories in China have poor sanitation and quality standards … will you trust them to make your masks?
NaturalNews – Factories in China that manufacture masks do not meet the basic sanitation and quality standards. According to a broker with knowledge of the situation, 60 percent of factories don’t have sterile work environments, raising more questions about the quality of medical supplies that Beijing has been using to curry favor with other countries.
The broker, going under the pseudonym Chen Guohua, told the Epoch Times of a visit to one dust-filled factory where workers were handling masks on the production line with bare hands and without wearing masks.
“Who would dare to use masks that are manufactured like this? Who would dare to wear it on their face?” asked Chen.
Chinese “mask diplomacy”
In an attempt to change the narrative surrounding the pandemic, Beijing has engaged in what has been dubbed “mask diplomacy.” The Chinese government has offered its assistance to virus-hit countries while trying to hide the mistakes it made early in the outbreak.
With Beijing saying that the pandemic is now under control in the country, Chinese factories have been mobilized to boost the production of medical supplies. As part of this, almost 5,500 mask manufacturers were set up in China between Jan. 23 and March 11.
Since March 1, China has exported around 3.86 billion masks, 37.5 million pieces of personal protective equipment, 16,000 ventilators and 2.84 million testing kits, according to Jin Hai, chief of the General Administration of Customs’ Department of General Operation.
This “mask diplomacy” has come into question however as more and more reports come out of issues with Chinese made masks and other medical equipment. Even before Chen made his revelation, countries around the world had found issues with the gear they’d received from China.
Chinese-made medical equipment found to be subpar
Chen’s revelation is just the latest in a string of reports regarding subpar medical equipment coming from China. Even as the country outputs supplies in large quantities, countries such as the Netherlands, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom are complaining that some Chinese-made medical supplies don’t meet quality standards.
On March 28, the Netherlands said that it had recalled about 600,000 masks that had come from a Chinese manufacturer. According to Dutch health officials, the masks either did not fit properly or had defective filters.
The United Kingdom, on the other hand, is seeking refunds for millions of virus antibody test kits ordered from China after a study showed that the results they produced were inaccurate. The failure was seen as a significant setback by the U.K. as it had been hoped that the tests would identify which of its citizens already had immunity, offering a swifter route out of lockdown.
On top of these, videos of unsanitary factory conditions have also surfaced on social media. Footage shared on Twitter shows working not using gloves when handling masks being processed on a conveyor belt.