China

Matias Delacroix / AP

COMMENTARY

We’re now familiar with websites from Johns Hopkins and Worldometer that grimly tally each country’s coronavirus cases and deaths. But unless you’re a hemispheric policy dweeb, you probably haven’t checked out a web page the Wilson Center has launched that tracks COVID-19 aid from the U.S. and China to Latin America, the new pandemic epicenter.

You should – because it’s another indicator that China’s crusade to spread its influence in the Americas isn’t slowing down.

Updated at 3:11 p.m. ET

President Trump's nominee to serve as America's top spy vowed on Tuesday to operate independently in response to bipartisan questions as to whether he could keep politics out of intelligence work.

Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas., assured both Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that if confirmed as director of national intelligence, he would not apply a partisan filter to reporting, shade conclusions to please Trump, or apply inappropriate tests to workers in the intelligence community.

Virus researchers say there is virtually no chance that the new coronavirus was released as result of a laboratory accident in China or anywhere else.

The assessment, made by more than half-a-dozen scientists familiar with lab accidents and how research on coronaviruses is conducted, casts doubt on recent claims that a mistake may have unleashed the coronavirus on the world.

The U.S. is calling on China to permanently shut down the country's wet markets, where the deadly coronavirus is thought to have first emerged late last year, as Australia urged an international scientific investigation of the health risks associated with them.

Gobierno de Cuba (left); AP (right)

In Washington this month, President Trump announced the U.S. had just “bought a tremendous amount of hydroxychloroquine.” That’s the anti-malaria drug he insists is the most promising treatment for the new coronavirus, or COVID-19. "A game-changer,” the conservative leader likes to say.

In Havana, Eduardo Martínez – head of BioCubaFarma, communist Cuba’s state-run biotech and pharmaceutical industry – just as often touts the island’s anti-dengue drug interferon alpha 2B (or alfa 2b), which he and the government insist is a COVID-19 wonder drug.

China has made a huge upward adjustment to its official count of COVID-19 victims in Wuhan — the city where the novel coronavirus was first identified in December — adding nearly 1,300 deaths.

The change comes on the same day that the worldwide number of confirmed infections topped 2 million for the first time since the start of the pandemic, with well over a quarter of those in the U.S. Some 145,000 have died across the globe, with more than 33,000 of the deaths in the U.S.

China is reporting its highest number of new coronavirus cases in more than five weeks, saying most of them originated abroad.

Officials said Monday that mainland China had 169 new confirmed cases of infection, with 61 of them described as "asymptomatic" COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. The government said 98 of the cases were "imported" by people arriving from abroad. The total figure represents the highest number of new cases since March 6.

Originally from Cameroon, Pisso Nseke's work as a business consultant took him to Wuhan, China — where he was trapped when the city where the coronavirus first emerged sealed itself off from the world in January.

That changed on Wednesday. After 76 days, Nseke and the other residents of Wuhan are finally able to leave the city.

Updated 9:31 p.m. ET Thursday

The U.S. now has more coronavirus cases than any other country in the world, surpassing China's total and highlighting how rapidly the virus can move through a population.

The U.S. logged more than 83,000 cases as of 8 p.m. ET Thursday, while China reported more than 81,00 infections, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Updated at 7:38 p.m. ET

Two weeks after the U.S. told a handful of Chinese state media entities to slash their U.S.-based staff, Beijing has retaliated with an order of its own: Certain U.S. nationals working with The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post have been banned from working in China.

Hong Kong and Singapore were hit early with the coronavirus. But each now has fewer than 200 cases, while France, Germany and Spain, which were hit late, all have more than 10 times that number.

Three weeks ago, Italy had only three cases. Now it has more than 10,000.

These dramatic differences show that how governments respond to this virus matters, says Mike Ryan, the World Health Organization's head of emergencies.

The coronavirus outbreak that originated in Wuhan, China, is causing businesses, health officials and patients to worry about potential shortages of prescription drugs.

That's because the vast majority of active ingredients in medicines dispensed in the U.S. are made in factories overseas, many in China.

Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in China, has been in lockdown mode for weeks. But its delivery workers, zipping through empty streets on their motorcycles and scooters, are still very much on the move.

To avoid transmission of the virus, people have been told to stay at home and limit time outdoors. As a result, when they need food or other necessities, many of them turn to delivery workers, who put themselves at risk of exposure to the virus by interacting with dozens of customers, some of whom are sick, and handling multiple packages a day.

When it comes to the spiraling global coronavirus outbreak, scientists are still trying to pin down the answer to a basic question: How deadly is this virus?

Estimates have varied widely. For instance, at a Feb. 24 news conference in Beijing, a top Chinese health official, Liang Wannian, said the fatality rate for COVID-19 was quite high.

"Between 3 to 4% of patients have died," said Liang.

Updated on March 16 at 1:56 p.m. ET

Kids, this comic is for you.

It's based on a radio story that NPR education reporter Cory Turner did. He asked some experts what kids might want to know about the new coronavirus discovered in China.

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