Photo Credit: Anthony Quintano via Flickr
Sign on boarded up restaurant in NY City: 'We're All In This Together,' April 16, 2020

Barring a second wave – always a looming threat – Israel is done with its coronavirus problem for the time being, as the number of patients on Wednesday morning resembles a routine flu season: 2,019. There were 32 new cases Wednesday, compared with 51 recoveries, a trend that has lasted close to three weeks. And no one died from the coronavirus by Wednesday morning. Meanwhile, 55,765 Israelis went back to work since Tuesday, and the overall number of Israelis back at their old jobs reached 147,917.

Things are not nearly as rosy in the United States, where the number of dead on Tuesday night reached 100,572. On May 21, the CDC projected the number of dead would exceed 110,000 by June 13, a figure that today appears optimistic. On Tuesday, the CDC projected 131,967 coronavirus dead in the US by August 4. There have been more than 1.6 million coronavirus cases in the United States, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally.

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Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has temporarily halted studying hydroxychloroquine as a potential COVID-19 treatment due to safety concerns.

Last week, President Trump announced new voluntary guidance for places of worship which would be allowed to open to their congregations despite the coronavirus pandemic. The president also said he had the authority in “many different ways” to override governors who would not allow their residents to worship in public.

On Tuesday, in the White House Rose Garden, the president said: “I can absolutely do it if I want to and I don’t think I’m going to have to because it’s starting to open up. We need people that are going to be leading us in faith. And we’re opening ‘em up, and if I have to, I will override any governor that wants to play games. If they want to play games, that’s okay, but we will win, and we have many different ways where I can override them.”

“There may be some areas where the pastor or whoever may feel that it’s not quite ready and that’s okay, but let that be the choice of the congregation and the pastor,” the president said.

According to the NY Times on Wednesday, new hot spots continue to emerge and hundreds more people are dying each day in the US.

In Canada, there have been 86,647 diagnosed cases of the coronavirus, with 6,639 deaths as of Tuesday. This compared with 1,725,275 cases in the US. On March 21, Canada closed its border with the United States – the first time the border had been shut coast-to-coast since 1867, when Canada received its independence. Unlike the US, in Canada handling the pandemic was not politicized, and politicians on both sides of the aisle deferred to public health professionals. Despite his country’s far lower damage than in the US (176 deaths per million, compared to 304 in the US), Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has repeatedly said that the strict guidelines would remain in place for several weeks and possibly even months.

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.