5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • Health experts say official U.S. coronavirus death toll is understated

  • Boris Johnson admitted to hospital for coronavirus

  • Inspector General Atkinson says Trump fired him for fulfilling 'legal obligations'

  • Surgeon general warns coming week 'hardest and saddest' yet

  • Wildfires boost radiation levels near Chernobyl

Public health experts and government officials agree that the United States' coronavirus death toll is almost certainly understating how many Americans have actually died from the virus. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention only counts deaths where the presence of the coronavirus is confirmed in a lab test, The Washington Post reports, and "we know that it is an underestimation," CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said. There are many reasons why the numbers are underreported: Strict criteria in the beginning of the outbreak kept many people from getting tested for coronavirus, and it's still difficult to get tested in some areas. There's also the matter of false negatives, and not all medical examiners have tests or believe they should conduct post-mortem testing. Experts also believe some February and early March deaths attributed to influenza or pneumonia were likely due to coronavirus.

Source: The Washington Post

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to a hospital in London on Sunday for "routine tests," 10 days after he tested positive for the novel COVID-19 coronavirus. Johnson has reportedly experienced "persistent symptoms" since his diagnosis, including a high fever, so his doctor advised him to go to the hospital as a "precautionary step." Johnson went into isolation at his home on March 27. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is reportedly prepared to step in should Johnson's condition worsen.

Source: The Guardian, BBC

Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson released an unusual statement Sunday night on President Trump's Friday night announcement that he is putting Atkinson on administrative leave and intends to fire him after a mandatory 30-day window. On Saturday, Trump said he thinks Atkinson "did a terrible job," specifically noting Atkinson's decision to send a "terrible, inaccurate whistleblower report and he brought it to Congress." The House corroborated most of the complaint and impeached Trump. Atkinson said in his statement that "it is hard not to think that the president's loss of confidence in me derives from my having faithfully discharged my legal obligations as an independent and impartial inspector general." Democrats and some Senate Republicans demanded more information on Atkinson's firing.

Source: Politico, The Washington Post

The surgeon general, Vice Admiral Jerome Adams, warned on Sunday that the coming week would be the "hardest and the saddest" for Americans as the coronavirus outbreak worsens. "This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment, only it's not going to be localized, it's going to be happening all over the country," Adams said on Fox News Sunday. The number of deaths in the U.S. reached 9,648, with a total of 337,646 confirmed cases, although experts said the lack of early testing meant the real toll was probably higher. There were signs of hope, as new infections and deaths declined in New York, the U.S. coronavirus epicenter, and in European hot spots like Italy and Spain.

Source: CNN

Ukrainian firefighters battled two wildfires on Sunday and Monday near the Chernobyl nuclear power station, which was evacuated during the Soviet era after a 1986 nuclear-reactor explosion. Radiation levels at blazes, which covered dozens of acres in the 1,000-square-mile Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, rose to 16 times above normal, said the head of the state ecological inspection service, Yehor Firsov. The zone has been unpopulated, except for about 200 people who refuse to leave, since the disaster at the plant produced a cloud of radioactive fallout that drifted over Europe. Fires in the forests around the shuttered plant have been common. Radiation levels in the capital, Kyiv, remained within the normal range.

Source: The Guardian, The Associated Press
Start every morning with all you need to know
Delivered to your inbox