China-U.S. COVID-19 blame game threatens WHO meeting, Pompeo under scrutiny and Michael Jordan sneakers fetch record price

President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama traded insults over the government's response to coronavirus.
Image: People try to keep social distance as they enjoy a warm day during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at Domino Park in Brooklyn, New York
People try to keep social distance as they enjoy a warm day at Domino Park in Brooklyn, New York, on Sunday. Eduardo Munoz / Reuters

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U.S.-China tensions are expected to dominate a global health meeting, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's alleged misuse of an aide is under scrutiny and a "Last Dance" in Michael Jordan's sneakers cost one lucky bidder over $500,000.

Here's what we're watching this Monday morning.


Coronavirus blame game threatens to mar World Health Assembly

The stage has been set for a possible showdown between the United States and China at the World Health Organization's virtual meeting of 194 member states starting today.

The World Health Assembly, which will be focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, comes after the virus has killed at least 300,000 people globally and brought a wrenching economic recession.

It has also triggered a drastic escalation in tension between the world's two largest economies, the United States and China — with the WHO stuck in the middle.

"The principal spoiler at this event, I think, is going to be the United States," said Mukesh Kapila, a former adviser to the WHO's previous director-general. "It may well use this forum to grandstand its attacks on China and, of course, the leadership of the WHO."

More than 100 health ministers from around the world are expected to call for an independent evaluation of the WHO's handling of the pandemic during the video conference.

Here are some other developments from over the weekend:

We apologize, this video has expired.

COVID-19 is a warning, experts say: U.S. is ill-prepared for a biological terror attack

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed a structural vulnerability to biological attacks in the U.S. and Europe that requires urgent government action, multiple current and former national security and public health officials told NBC News.

Former officials in the U.S. and the U.K. warn that the devastating impact of the coronavirus on health care infrastructures and economies may act as a "neon light" for terrorist groups looking to unleash pathogens on Western nations.

"The fact that this has created such a toxic shock around the world will be a neon advertisement to these people," said one bio-terrorism expert.


Fired State Department watchdog was looking into whether Pompeo made staffer walk his dog, pick up laundry

The State Department inspector general who was removed from his job Friday was looking into whether Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a staffer walk his dog, pick up his dry cleaning and make dinner reservations, among other personal errands, according to two congressional officials assigned to different committees.

The officials said they are working to learn whether former Inspector General Steve Linick may have had other ongoing investigations into Pompeo.

Over the weekend, a White House official said the ouster came on the advice of Pompeo.

Pompeo "recommended the move," and President Donald Trump "agreed," the official said.


Domestic abuse groups describe a ‘perfect storm’ for violence

Under lockdown for the coronavirus, domestic violence victims are suddenly harder to reach and help than ever.

Thirty-five local domestic violence organizations in 19 states shared with NBC News how their work has changed since the start of the crisis.

Most saw major disruptions in requests for services. Hotline calls became shorter and callers more frantic.

In some areas, calls more than doubled; in others, lines went eerily silent as victims trapped at home with abusers had limited privacy to call.

"Anything would set him off," said one victim who spoke to NBC News on the condition of anonymity.

"We didn't make it two weeks into our stay-at-home order," before she and her two teenage children fled home.


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Plus


THINK about it

Michael Jordan's "Last Dance" has a triumphant finale — but a depressing takeaway, sports writer Will Leitch argues in an opinion piece.


BETTER TODAY

Pandemic etiquette: How to not be a "coronavirus jerk."


Shopping

Despite privacy concerns, one mother found the Facebook Portal smart camera and assistant to be immensely useful during quarantine.


Quote of the day

"The sooner we get the virus under control, the sooner businesses can reopen."

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Sunday.


One fun thing

Michael Jordan was no stranger to smashing records during his basketball career, and a pair of his signed, game-worn Air Jordan sneakers just set a new one after selling for $560,000 at auction in New York.

The vintage 1985 pair — in the iconic white, black and red of the Chicago Bulls — were worn by the NBA legend during his rookie season in Chicago and brought to auction at Sotheby's by a private collector.

This pair of 1985 Nike Air Jordan 1s, made for and worn by Michael Jordan, sold for a record $560,000 at Sotheby's New York.Sotheby's / Reuters

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Be safe and stay healthy, Petra Cahill