Photo Credit: Dick Thomas Johnson via Wikimedia
Tom Hanks

President Trump on Wednesday night announced the suspension of most travel from Europe to the United States for 30 days, starting Friday. The only Europeans allowed to travel freely to America are citizens of the United Kingdom, because the UK and Ireland are not in the free-passage Schengen Zone, which includes 26 EU member countries. The fact that the UK was, until very recently, part of the same Schengen Zone was apparently not taken into consideration. Trump also stressed that the Covid-19 was a “foreign virus” and a “horrible infection,” and insisted the US was better than Europe in handling the outbreak.

One wonders If the virus is aware of all of the above.

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Trump announced plans to rescue the economy in this time of crisis, including giving low-interest loans to small businesses, deferring tax payments for businesses and individuals, and urging Congress to cut payroll taxes. But he suggested “this is not a financial crisis, this is just a temporary moment in time that we will overcome as a nation and a world.”

God willing.

The National Basketball Association has suspended its 2019-20 season Wednesday night, after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert had tested positive for COVID-19. The teams were told by the NBA that, according to the CDC, the incubation period for the COVID-19 is about two weeks, so there’s no way to determine just how many players have been infected. The fans had already taken their seats Wednesday night at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, expecting to see the Utah Jazz playing the Oklahoma City Thunder, when the game was postponed.

And Tom Hanks, who is in Australia working on a movie about the life of Elvis Presley, announced on Wednesday night that he and his wife had tested positive for the coronavirus. The couple was tested after experiencing body aches and fever. They will remain in quarantine.

The World Health Organization defines an epidemic as a regional outbreak of an illness that spreads unexpectedly. The American Center for Disease Control prefers “an epidemic that has spread over several countries or continents, usually affecting a large number of people.” So the fact that the coronavirus has by now spread across more than 100 countries qualifies it as a global pandemic in the eyes of both organizations.

But WHO chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “We cannot say this loudly enough or clearly enough or often enough, all countries can still change the course of this pandemic.”

By now evidence exists on six continents that the virus has infected more than 120,000 people and killed more than 4,300.

Refuah shleima.

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