China boosts WHO funding as pressure mounts for coronavirus inquiry; U.S. unemployment claims soar





Clamor for an international inquiry into the coronavirus outbreak’s origins is growing, with the United States and Australia leading the charge. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said all members of the World Health Organization should cooperate with such a probe, which Chinese officials have so far resisted. On Thursday, China boosted its funding to the WHO.

Meanwhile, more than 26 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits since the outbreak began to paralyze the economy — a figure that grew by 4.4 million last week, according to jobless figures released Thursday.

Here are some significant developments:

Vaccine expert Rick Bright said he was ousted as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority because he resisted efforts to join President Trump in pushing hydroxychloroquine as a potential covid-19 cure. Recent evidence has shown that the anti-malarial drug can be dangerous for coronavirus patients.

The House is poised to pass a $484 billion aid package to replenish a small-business loan program that was overwhelmed with demand. Trump has said he will sign the bill, which also includes funding for hospitals and a new coronavirus testing program.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the pandemic is a stress test on democracy because it “restricts exactly the things that make up our existential rights.”

Doctors are seeing a mysterious complication involving blood clots showing up in many fatal covid-19 cases. Meanwhile, new data from New York’s largest hospital system shows that 88 percent of coronavirus patients who were placed on ventilators did not survive.

Trump signed an executive order restricting certain kinds of immigration for 60 days. The measure is narrower than the all-inclusive ban he had floated on Twitter.

As experts warn that states rushing to lift restrictions could be making a deadly mistake, Trump said he disagreed with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision to allow some small businesses to reopen this week.

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