Foreign Affairs

Overseas Wrap: Johnson in intensive care

UK PM put into intensive care; US death toll over 10k; Trump tweets about 'fake news' as New York buries dead in parks; Germany and Israel tighten lockdowns

Boris in intensive care: Shortly after Downing Street reported him to be in "good spirits", BBC political editor Laura Kuensberg tweeted that Prime Minister Boris Johnson "has been taken to intensive care". Control is now likely to shift for the duration of his incapacity to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

In The Guardian's rolling coverage, it reported: "The prime minister is understood to be conscious and to have been moved as a precaution in case he needs ventilation." (The scurrilous but often ultimately correct political news site Guido Fawkes earlier said it was checking whether Johnson had pneumonia as a child).

Deadly numbers game hides as much as it reveals: The death toll in the United States, the best-reported-on epicenter of Covid-19 is now beyond 10,000 people. Nearly 350,000 cases have been reported in the US as of early today New Zealand time, according to the Johns Hopkins University Covid-19 tracker. Deaths in the US are reported at the state level, so The Washington Post tracker is handy and shows 10,335 as I write this and it'll be more by the time we publish it.

The Surgeon General forecast “the hardest and saddest week of most Americans’ lives" which contrasted with President Donald Trump's upbeat, tweeting "light at the end of the tunnel.” (As the old joke goes: "Yes, it's a train!"

Surges and rebounds: In the rest of the world there are signs of slowing death or infection rates in some of the hot spots such as Italy and Spain and France. Yet there is a state of emergency about to be declared in Japan, and Indonesia and Singapore have reported a surge, as has Russia. More on those deeper looks, below.

Hubei = New York now: Total Covid-19 cases reported by Johns Hopkins are 1,309,439 with 72,638 deaths. Italy still tops the list of dead for now with 16,523. Remember, Hubei, the Chinese province where this all started, has an official death toll of 3,212 - just about the number now registered only in New York.

US crisis marked by partisan brawling as deaths rise: Donald Trump clearly sees his daily televised briefing and his florid Twitter stream, lapped up and re-broadcast by his followers, as a huge political device and advantage. Despite the darkly comedic moments the briefings provide the sentient, Trump knows he is going direct in what is an election year.

Trump quadruples down: As New York authorities acknowledged contingency plans to bury the Covid-19 dead in city parks, Trump tweeted: "My Press Conferences are vital. They are reaching millions of people that are not being told the truth, & haven’t been for years (Witch-Hunts, Fake News)!"

Quack, Quack: Trump then took a moment to attack The Washington Post and The New York Times which have been forensic in their coverage of errors, missteps, denialism and obfuscation by Trump and his administration from dismissing it as no worse than flu to promoting quack medical solutions.

'Buy subscriptions instead' : "Advertising in the Failing New York Times is WAY down. Washington Post is not much better. I can’t say whether this is because they are Fake News sources of information, to a level that few can understand, or the Virus is just plain beating them up. Fake News is bad for America!" he tweeted overnight.

'Thankyou Donald': The subscriptions managers at these papers no longer having to bother spending money on marketing. They can just retweet trump with a link to their subscription pages.

He launched comparable barrages against his political opponents, particularly leading Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, suggesting shady shenanigans were behind the idea of holding a virtual Democratic Party convention: "Joe Biden wanted the date for the Democrat National Convention moved to a later time period. Now he wants a “Virtual” Convention, one where he doesn’t have to show up. Gee, I wonder why?"

Flatter curve? In the world outside 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, New York governor Andrew Cuomo said he saw signs the curve was flattening in New York and, of course, Italy. had its lowest rise in deaths in a week. Financial markets perhaps saw the light Trump sees in that data and the Dow Jones industrial average jumped more than 900 points, or 4 percent, at the opening bell Monday. (The Washington Post).

Israel locks down harder and Germany tightens: Israel imposed a tighter lockdown, limits on religious gatherings and festivals and travels given emerging hotspots among Orthodox Jewish groups. (Haaretz).Israel imposed similar messages to New Zealand but has 9,000 cases and has had 56 deaths. Haaretz reported that in the Palestinian territories there were 240 cases in the West Bank with one death and 12 cases diagnosed in Gaza.

Germany, which has had some success in intensive testing and tracking to contain the spread, the government is considering a mandatory mask requirement (The Guardian). Denmark, meanwhile, which imposed border controls and lockdowns, said it is considering ways to ease back on the limits as soon as next week, believing it had made progress in suppressing the spread of the novel coronavirus. (Reuters).

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