Former President Barack Obama slammed U.S. politicians for their handling of the coronavirus pandemic at a virtual commencement address to graduating high school seniors across the country on Saturday night.
"Doing what feels good, what’s convenient, what’s easy, that’s how little kids think. Unfortunately a lot of so-called grownups, including some with fancy titles, important jobs, still think that way, which is why things are so screwed up," he said without naming President Donald Trump or his administration.
He was speaking at the televised "Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020" event hosted by NBA star LeBron James that included appearances from the Jonas Brothers, Megan Rapinoe, Pharrell Williams, Maren Morris and Malala Yousafzai.
At another virtual commencement ceremony for graduates of historically black colleges and universities, Obama offered his most public and direct criticism yet of the Trump administration's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
"More than anything, this pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain on the idea that so many of the folks in charge know what they’re doing," he said. "A lot of them aren’t even pretending to be in charge."
His comments came a day before the U.S. death toll surpassed 90,000, with almost 1.5 million cases recorded, according to an NBC News tally. Globally, 311,827 have died and there have been more than 4.6 million infections, according to John Hopkins University data.
- MAPS: Confirmed cases in the U.S. and worldwide; confirmed deaths in the U.S. and globally
- Reopening America: See what states across the U.S. have already reopened.
- The coronavirus has destroyed the job market in every state. See the per-state jobless numbers and how they’ve changed.
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South Korea sees decrease in new cases relating to nightclub outbreak
South Korea reported 13 new virus cases on Sunday, raising hopes that a new outbreak linked to nightclubs in Seoul may be waning.
These figures brought the national total to 11,050, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. No new deaths were recorded on Sunday leaving the death toll at 262.
Health authorities have expressed worries about new cases from Itaewon district-related infections over the weekend and have conducted rigorous contact tracing followed and testing to contain the infection from spreading.
After many weeks of a slowdown of new cases, South Korea’s daily jumps associated with the nightclubs marked an average of about 30 for several days. But starting Saturday, the country saw the beginning of a decrease with 19 reported cases.
Knock-knock no more: Doors are being redesigned amid COVID-19
Doors carry disease. A contaminated doorknob can infect half an office in just a few hours. But you can't exactly socially distance from a door.
As some companies plan a return to the office, entrepreneurs, engineers and architects are confronting a design challenge: how to keep the public safe from shared items that require constant decontamination. Grabbing a doorknob is almost as unconscious as touching your face — and both are now considered health risks.
"I’m not seeing my family, but I’m touching things that a thousand other people have, too," said Ziad Salah, 26, from Edmonton, Alberta. His wife, Maram, is pregnant with their first child and both have older parents. "It’s not enough to socially distance from being around people. You have to socially distance from things that are publicly shared, too."
UN warns of vulnerability of LGBTI community during outbreak
The United Nations warned of the increasing vulnerability of the LGBTI community during the pandemic on Sunday — the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.
The day is observed to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision to remove homosexuality from the international list of diseases on that date in 1990, according to the Associated Press.
The U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the day comes at a time of challenge when the world needs to protect the LGBTI community.
Guterres said in a statement many LGBTI people who already face bias, attacks and murder “are experiencing heightened stigma as a result of the virus, as well as new obstacles when seeking health care.”
Pakistan resumes domestic flights, insists on masks and empty seats
Pakistan resumed domestic flights between major cities for the first time in nearly two months on Saturday with the requirement that face masks be worn and vacant seats left between passengers, officials said. International flights will remain suspended till May 31.
Domestic and chartered flight operations will require disinfection of the aircraft prior to boarding, at least one vacant seat between the passengers and compulsory wearing of masks and use of hand sanitizers. No food and beverages will be allowed during domestic flights, the statement added.
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said that the country could not afford an indefinite lockdown and the nation would have to learn to live with the pandemic. Pakistan has reported over 38,000 cases of infection from the virus, and 834 deaths.
China reopens some schools, revives flights
China reported five new cases of the virus on Sunday, as the commercial hub of Shanghai announced the reopening of some schools and airlines revived flights.
In Shanghai, students retain the option of continuing to follow classes online rather than facing virus testing and social distancing measures at schools. Meanwhile, the number of domestic flights has returned to 60 percent of pre-outbreak levels, exceeding 10,000 per day for the first time since Feb. 1, the country’s civil aviation regulator reported Sunday.
No new deaths have been reported for the past month, although the province of Jilin — which has recently seen a small spike in cases — added one fatality retroactively, bringing China’s death toll to 4,634. 82,947 cases have been recorded since the outbreak was first detected in the city of Wuhan late last year. 78,227 cases are recorded as recovered.
This comes as the last COVID-19-designated hospital in Wuhan restored normal operation on Saturday after nearly four months of treating the coronavirus, according to a state media report.
Brazil confirms more cases than Italy and Spain
Brazil's confirmed cases of the coronavirus rose on Saturday past those of Spain and Italy — which was once the epicenter of the pandemic — making Brazil's outbreak the fourth largest in the world, according to official figures.
Brazil's Health Ministry registered 14,919 new confirmed cases in the prior 24 hours, taking the total to 233,142, behind only the U.S., Russia and the U.K. Brazil has done just a fraction of the testing seen in those three countries.
The global distinction is likely to pile pressure on Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, who lost his second health minister in a month on Friday as he defies public health experts and calls for widespread use of unproven drugs.
Bolsonaro has been fiercely critical of the orders by many of Brazil's state governors for strict social isolation and quarantine to combat the spread of the virus, including the closure of schools, shops and restaurants. The president argues that the toll on the economy is becoming unbearable and businesses must be allowed to reopen as soon as possible.
Mexico reports 47,144 cases, 5,045 deaths
MEXICO CITY - Mexico registered 47,144 cases of coronavirus on Saturday, with the country's death toll rising to 5,045, health authorities said.
Mexico has seen a slightly higher death rate from coronavirus than the global average so far due to the widespread presence of pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity, experts say.
Obama tells 2020 high school graduates they'll have to grow up fast
Former President Barack Obama gave a virtual commencement address to graduating high school seniors across the country Saturday night during a televised event hosted by NBA star LeBron James.
It was part of a special called "Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020" that included appearances by numerous musical stars, celebrities and athletes, including the Jonas Brothers, Megan Rapinoe, Pharrell Williams, Maren Morris and Malala Yousafzai.
The former president expressed pride in the class of 2020, especially because "the world is turned upside down by a global pandemic," he said.
"You’re going to have to grow up faster than some generations," he said.
New Orleans takes first steps toward reopening
NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans began taking its first steps Saturday toward loosening two months of restrictions on businesses, restaurants and houses of worship.
The city is restricting buildings to 25% of capacity and requiring restaurants, nail salons and other businesses to only take customers by reservation. Malls and retail stores can reopen, but casinos, video poker, live entertainment and bars are still closed.
Officials are still urging people to stay home as much as possible and requiring people to wear masks in public unless exercising.
The coronavirus struck New Orleans so quickly in March there were worries the pandemic would overwhelm the state health system. Hospitalizations have been going down for nearly a month, but officials warned a spike in cases or deaths could lead to putting restrictions back in place.