Brazil records big surge as global deaths approach 400,000

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Fears continue to grow over the growth of COVID-19 in Latin America, with the number of confirmed cases in Brazil passing that of Italy to make it the second worst-affected country, after the United States.

Brazil recorded 1,349 deaths in a single day Thursday — only the U.S. and the U.K. have declared more COVID-19 related deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. President Jair Bolsonaro has been accused of minimizing the effects of the crisis.

Elsewhere, more shops, businesses and places or worship are opening up. The Las Vegas strip was abuzz this week with tourists and revelers after some casinos reopened. Across the Muslim world, from Saudi Arabia to Indonesia, Friday prayers are starting again after weeks of mosques being off-limits.

Meanwhile authorities across the world are struggling to ensure that people attending protests sparked by the death of George Floyd practice social distancing.

More than 1.84 million coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the U.S. along with more than 107,000 deaths.

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WHO changes COVID-19 mask guidance: Wear one if you can't keep your distance

The World Health Organization is broadening its recommendations for the use of masks during the coronavirus pandemic and said Friday it is now advising that in areas where the virus is spreading, people should wear fabric masks when social distancing is not possible, such as on public transportation and in shops.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said people over age 60 or with underlying medical conditions also should wear masks in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained. WHO previously had recommended that only health care workers, people with COVID-19 and their caregivers wear medical masks, noting a global shortage of supplies.

Read more.

Black Americans talk of pain, uncertainty with soaring jobless rates due to COVID-19

Victor Patterson, a human resources executive who moved from Chicago to Atlanta, thought his six-month job search had ended, but then the coronavirus pandemic hit.

“I was positioned to receive a job offer in late February/early March,” he said. “As the virus anchored itself in America, the position was postponed or put on hold with projected ‘new’ dates when an offer and hire date would occur. At this point, it has not materialized.”

Patterson, 51, is not alone. More than 43 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits, according to government figures, and African Americans are disproportionately affected by the sudden economic collapse.

According to statistics from the Department of Labor on Friday, the jobless rate dropped to 13.3 percent and 2.5 million jobs were added in May. But the unemployment rate for African Americans rose to a staggering 16.8 percent; Hispanic women 19.5 percent. The jobless rate for whites dropped from 14.2 percent to 12.4 percent. That’s not comforting news for many African Americans.

Read the full story here.

CDC report on COVID-19 cleaning practices finds some gargling with bleach. That's very dangerous.

People are engaging in extremely dangerous behaviors — including gargling with bleach — in an effort to prevent COVID-19, according to a report published Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Such acts are not only harmful, they also do nothing to prevent infections and should never be done.

Read more. 

Surgeon General: You don't have to choose between being heard and being safe

Protesters against the killing of George Floyd may feel they're caught between the two pandemics of COVID-19 and racism. While it'll be at least another week or two before cities and states see an uptick in new cases related to protests, many public health experts seem certain there will be a rise in transmissions — they just don't know how much. They also say there's a way to lessen the risks of being in close proximity to other protesters and police.  

In a series of tweets Friday, the U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams advised participants that they "don’t have to choose between being heard and being safe." 

"If going out in public for any reason — especially to protest in large groups — wear a face covering. Pay attention to hand hygiene (carry hand sanitizer & avoid touching your face), and practice social distancing as much as possible," Adams wrote. 

Florida announces more than 1,300 new coronavirus cases

Florida's health department announced 1,305 new COVID-19 cases Friday, bringing the statewide total to 61,488.

The state also announced 53 additional deaths related to the coronavirus outbreak; some 2,660 people have died across Florida.

Wisconsin's World Dairy Expo canceled due to COVID-19

The World Dairy Expo, a Wisconsin tradition that drew more than 60,000 attendees in 2019, was canceled for the first time in its 53-year history due to COVID-19 concerns.

This year’s expo was scheduled for Sept. 29 through Oct. 3 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.

By that point, members of the expo’s Executive Committee expect Dane County to be in the third phase of the state’s reopening plan, which sets a 250-person limit for outdoor events.

“Our collective heart is heavy as we share with you that World Dairy Expo 2020 has been cancelled,” Scott Bentley, WDE General Manager, said in a statement. “We know how much this hurts; we feel it, too. Please know other options were explored and considered by the World Dairy Expo Executive Committee and staff.”

CBP seizes 'unapproved' COVID-19 products, including hydroxychloroquine

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said Friday that it "continues to ... seize a large number of counterfeit, unapproved or otherwise substandard COVID-19 products" and "unproven medicines," including chloroquine.

A CBP official said chloroquine is an umbrella term for drugs that include hydroxychloroquine, and that the agency's drug seizures included hydroxychloroquine. President Trump has taken the drug and touted it as a treatment for COVID-19. 

Among the items CBP said it had seized as of June 1 were 107,300 FDA-prohibited COVID-19 test kits in 301 incidents; 750,000 counterfeit face masks in 86 incidents; 2,500 EPA-prohibited anti-virus lanyards in 89 incidents; and 11,000 FDA-prohibited chloroquine tablets in 91 incidents.

In a press release, CBP said, "Criminal organizations are attempting to exploit the limited supply of and increased demand for some pharmaceuticals, personal protective equipment and other medical goods required to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other products, these criminals are smuggling and selling counterfeit safety equipment, unapproved COVID-19 test kits, unproven medicines and substandard hygiene products through the online marketplace."