Washington: US President Donald Trump has changed his position and turned to masks as a means to fight the US corona virus. European leaders agreed on Tuesday to provide large-scale relief programs for their pandemic economies.
Since the virus first appeared in China, it has infected more than 14.6 million people, killed more than 600,000 people, and has issued new alarms about the virus’s accelerated spread in Africa.
Although hopes for the two candidate vaccines are growing, despite the masks, there are few options for combating the spread of COVID-19. Trump and his political allies have denied this for months.
But he changed direction on Monday and posted a photo of himself wearing a mask on Twitter, saying, “We are united and working hard to defeat the” Invisible China Virus. “Many people said if you can, wear a mask “It’s patriotic. Social distance.”
“There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President!”
US authorities are struggling to handle the crisis as infections surge towards four million, with more than 140,000 deaths, and Trump has been slammed for his management of the crisis.
The president is scrambling to respond to public anger just over 100 days from the November election, with the human toll rising and the US economy devastated.
Tens of millions of Americans have been left jobless, and the extra unemployment benefits keeping some from poverty are set to expire at the end of July.
“I’m still struggling to pay the bills and I’m still looking for a job,” said Diana Yitbarek, 44, who has been unemployed since April.
“And nowadays it’s hard to find a job because everything is closed.”
EU agreement “landmarks”
On the other side of the Atlantic, European leaders agreed on a historic stimulus package worth € 750 billion ($ 858 billion) to help the group escape the worst recession in its history.
The plan will generate tens of billions of euros for the countries most affected by the virus (notably Spain and Italy, which are heavily indebted and lobby EU partners to show strong opposition).
“Deal!” Tweeted the head of the European Council, Charles Michel, his job is to lead the talks. At the meeting, some countries strongly opposed remittances to countries where they felt government spending was too loose.
Experts warn that even when richer countries are struggling, the impact will be greatest in poorer regions of the world, such as Africa.
There are new concerns about the continent, especially South Africa, where the death toll exceeded 5,000 last weekend.
Michael Ryan, head of the emergency at the World Health Organization, said the situation in South Africa could be a “warning” to the entire African continent.
“I am very concerned right now that we are beginning to see an acceleration of disease in Africa,” he added.
Latin America has been hit hard, Brazil is the second worst hit country, with more than 80,000 killed on Monday.
Hope for vaccine
However, two studies on Monday gave new hope for a possible vaccine.
A study conducted in more than 1,000 adults in the UK found that the vaccine may produce a “strong antibody and T cell immune response” against the coronavirus.
Another test in China with more than 500 people showed that most people have developed extensive immune responses to antibodies.
An effective vaccine is considered to be the key to normality, especially for large religious gatherings such as travel and pilgrimage.
This year, the Saudi authorities have drastically reduced the annual large-scale Islamic pilgrimage to about 1,000 people, which is usually 2.5 million people.
Before a vaccine is developed, many people worry that they will have to weigh the risk of COVID-19 against the need to earn a living.
“We have to learn to live with the virus,” said Daniel Bailo, a vendor at a hiking and fishing store in Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires.
“If we don’t, the economic damage will be worse than the damage caused by the virus.”