North Korea documented six deaths from the Chinese coronavirus on Friday amid an “explosive” outbreak of the disease that infected 18,000 people in the country on Thursday, the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.
“On May 12 alone, some 18,000 persons with fever occurred nationwide and as of now up to 187,800 people are being isolated and treated,” KCNA wrote in an English-language report published May 13.
The article further revealed that six people had died from the Chinese coronavirus in North Korea as of Friday, with at least one of the deaths linked to the omicron variant of the disease.
The nation’s current epidemic of the Chinese coronavirus began in late April as an “unknown fever” before spreading “explosively” across North Korea, KCNA said Friday. The outbreak, which is the first Chinese coronavirus epidemic ever officially acknowledged by Pyongyang, has affected 350,000 people in North Korea, according to KCNA. The state news agency noted on May 13 that 162,200 people had been “fully treated” for the disease in recent weeks. North Korea’s population is estimated at 24 million.
Employees spray disinfectant and wipe surfaces as part of preventative measures against the coronavirus at the Pyongyang Children’s Department Store in Pyongyang on March 18, 2022. (KIM WON JIN/AFP via Getty Images)
The communist state of North Korea announced its first official cases of the Chinese coronavirus on May 12. The development marked the first time Pyongyang admitted to any infections of the disease since it sparked a pandemic in March 2020. Observers have suspected that North Korea likely endured periodic outbreaks of the Chinese coronavirus over the past two-plus years owing to the nation’s shared border with China, which is where the disease originated in the autumn or winter of 2019.
In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un acknowledges the officers and soldiers who took part in a celebration the 90th founding anniversary of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army, in North Korea on April 27, 2022. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File)
North Korea became the first country in the world to close all of its borders in January 2020 in the face of the then-impending Chinese coronavirus pandemic. The action sealed the country off from its neighbors — China, Russia, and South Korea — and seemed to largely prevent major outbreaks of the Chinese coronavirus within North Korea, at least officially.
One alleged case of the Chinese coronavirus may have occurred in North Korea in August 2020, though the World Health Organization refused to officially acknowledge the infection. The U.N. public health body said a coronavirus test on the patient in question proved “inconclusive.”
South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper alleged in July 2020 that “[t]he number of coronavirus fatalities in North Korea surpassed 500 late last month.”
“The number of confirmed cases stands at only around 40 while another 100 are suspected, but 390,000 people have been isolated, so the number of fatalities is rising sharply,” the publication claimed, citing unnamed sources.
Former Goldman CEO Warns of Potential Recession: ‘Very, Very High Risk Factor’
Appearing on CBS’s Face the Nation, former Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein warned the United States could plunge into a recession.
“Do you think we’re headed towards recession?” @margbrennan asks Goldman Sachs Senior Chairman Lloyd Blankfein amid U.S. inflation.
“It’s definitely a risk…If I were a consumer, I’d be prepared for it, but it’s not baked in the cake.” pic.twitter.com/IehxU4wSo6
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) May 15, 2022
A transcript is as follows:
MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you think we’re headed towards recession?
LLOYD BLANKFEIN: We’re certainly heading — it’s a very, very high risk factor. There’s a path, a narrow path, but I think the Fed has very powerful tools. It’s hard to finely tune them and hard to see the effects of them quickly enough to alter it. But I think they are responding well. It’s definitely a risk. If I was running a big company I would be very prepared for it. If I was a consumer, I would prepared for it. But it’s not baked in the cake.
White House Claims Baby Formula Shortage a Top Priority Since February After Joe Biden Claimed Ignorance of Problem
The White House claimed President Joe Biden’s administration made the baby formula shortage crisis a top priority as early as February, even though the president claimed ignorance of the problem on Thursday.
“This is something he is focusing on very acutely and again I said 24/7 we’ve been working on this since we have learned about this back in February,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during the daily briefing about Biden, calling the issue “one of the presidents top priorities.”
Biden bristled when asked by reporters on Friday if he could have acted sooner to fix the crisis.
“If we had been better mind readers, I guess we could’ve, but we moved as the problem became apparent to us,” Biden said.
The president did not even personally mention the crisis until Friday, despite weeks of reports highlighting the problem.
“I’ll answer the baby formula question because, all of a sudden, it’s on the front page of every newspaper,” Biden grumbled on Friday.
He announced the launch of a new government website to help parents locate baby formula in stores, but it was beset by extremely long hold times and unhelpful information.
Jean-Pierre alluded to a comment from Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Bacerra claiming the Biden administration had been working on the issue since February and even as early as last year in 2021.
CNN: “You are satisfied with the government’s response throughout [the baby formula shortage]?”
HHS Sec. Xavier Becerra: “FDA has kept me apprised of this from LAST YEAR. We have been moving as quickly as we can” pic.twitter.com/5WRZa5chYg
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) May 16, 2022
“You’ve heard us talk about this, you’ve heard colleagues talking about what we have done since February,” Jean-Pierre said. “We’ve been working on this 24/7.”
Jean-Pierre refused to offer a timeline for when supplies of baby formula would return to normal.
“What I can say is there are a lot of dates floating around out there,” she said.
Joe Biden Botches Name of Hero Killed in Buffalo Shooting Aaron Salter Jr.
President Joe Biden struggled Monday with the correct pronunciation of the name of Aaron Salter Jr., a heroic ex-cop and security guard who died Saturday confronting the Buffalo mass shooting suspect.
“We pay tribute to all law enforcement officers and their families who understand what it takes, what’s at risk, to save and protect all of us,” Biden said. “That includes paying tribute to the Buffalo police officer Aaron Salder — Slater, excuse me — who gave his life trying to save others.”
Biden spoke about Salter during a Public Safety Officer Medals of Valor ceremony at the White House for law enforcement and public safety officials.
Salter was a Buffalo police officer for 30 years before retiring in 2022 and taking a security job at the Tops Friendly Market where the shooting took place.
Salter hit the alleged shooter with at least one round from his pistol, but it was blocked by the alleged shooter’s bulletproof armor. Salter was later shot and killed during the attack.
“You’re the heart and soul and very spine of this country and communities,” Biden continued, praising the public safety officials in the room.
During the ceremony, Biden also botched the name of Rep. Adriano Espaillat, a Democrat congressman from New York.
“Excuse me. You can call me ‘Bidden,’” Biden joked, mispronouncing his own name. “We’ve known each other so long and I still stumbled. I apologize.”
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