While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, April 13

US could start reopening in May: Fauci

The United States may be ready to start gradually reopening next month, the government’s top infectious diseases expert said Sunday, as signs grew that the coronavirus pandemic was peaking.

US President Donald Trump had earlier wanted the world’s largest economy to be “raring to go” by Easter Sunday, but most of the country remained at a standstill and churches took celebrations online to halt the spread of the virus that has killed more than 20,000 people in the US.

Trump has cast the decision on when to ease the lockdown as the biggest of his presidency as he faces competing pressures from public health experts and businesses along with some conservative allies who want a swift return to business as usual.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the veteran pandemic expert who has quietly sought action to stem infections, said in a televised interview that parts of the country could begin easing restrictions in May – but was cautious.


UK death toll passes 10,000 as government defends response to coronavirus outbreak

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson left hospital on Sunday and thanked staff for saving his life from Covid-19, but his government was forced to defend its response to the coronavirus outbreak as the national death toll passed 10,000.

The sombre milestone came after Britain reported two days in a row of hospital deaths increasing by more than 900. Friday’s death toll of 980 surpassed the highest daily total recorded in Italy, the hardest-hit country in Europe so far.

Reflecting the gravity of the emergency, Queen Elizabeth issued the first Easter message in her 68-year reign.“Coronavirus will not overcome us,” the 93-year-old monarch said in her second address to the nation in a week.


Europe’s coronavirus spread slows as lockdown-easing ways sought

Italy, Spain and France reported a slowdown in new coronavirus cases, allowing governments in Europe to look for ways to safely ease lockdowns that are strangling the region’s economy.

Italy reported the fewest number of deaths in more than three weeks as declining numbers of intensive care patients pointed to a lessening severity of the country’s outbreak.

New cases slid in Spain, confirming a broader decline since the end of March, while France saw the smallest increase in infections in a week.


Opec, Russia approve biggest-ever oil cut amid coronavirus pandemic

OPEC and allies led by Russia agreed on Sunday to cut oil output by a record amount – representing around 10% of global supply – to support oil prices amid the coronavirus pandemic, and sources said effective cuts could amount to as much as 20%.

Measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus have destroyed demand for fuel and driven down oil prices, straining budgets of oil producers and hammering the US shale industry, which is more vulnerable to low prices due to its higher costs.

The group, known as OPEC+, said it had agreed to reduce output by 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) for May-June, after four days of marathon talks and following pressure from US President Donald Trump to arrest the price decline.


Froome says recovery almost complete as he waits out coronavirus lockdown

Four-times Tour de France winner Chris Froome said his recovery from a horrific accident last year was nearly complete and his training load was back to normal as he prepares for when competition resumes after the new coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking during a Team Ineos virtual race on Sunday, Froome described his recovery as “going really well” as he waits out the coronavirus lockdown at home in France.

“I’d go as far as saying it’s pretty much complete,” said the 34-year-old British rider. “I am still doing some exercises off the bike just to strengthen that right side that was injured but I’m back to normal training loads again.”


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