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US Hits 5 Million COVID-19 Cases As Trump Is Criticised Over Relief Package

Channels Television  
Updated August 10, 2020
In this collage, US President Donald Trump arrives for a press conference in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, Lisa Taylor receives a COVID-19 vaccination, Medics with Austin-Travis County EMS transport a nursing home resident with coronavirus symptoms and Boxes of food are distributed by the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank to people facing economic or food insecurity amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The United States on Sunday reached the extraordinary milestone of five million coronavirus cases as President Donald Trump was accused of flouting the constitution by unilaterally extending a virus relief package.

The US has been hammered by the COVID-19 pandemic, recording nearly 163,000 deaths — by far the highest of any country, ahead only of Brazil, which on Saturday became the second country to pass 100,000 deaths.

The global death toll is at least 727,288 since the novel coronavirus emerged in China last December, according to a running tally from official sources compiled by AFP.

Nearly 20 million cases have been registered worldwide — probably reflecting only a fraction of the actual number of infections.

As around much of the globe, the small African country of Malawi on Sunday imposed tight social restrictions to try to contain the disease, shutting all bars and churches, while hot weekend weather drew crowds in Europe to the beach.

In Washington, the new virus relief package — announced by Trump on Saturday after talks between Republican and Democrat lawmakers hit a wall — was “absurdly unconstitutional,” senior Democrat Nancy Pelosi told CNN.

Fellow Democrat and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, appearing on ABC, dismissed Trump’s unilateral measures as “unworkable, weak and far too narrow.”

But with the nation’s economy still struggling to dig itself out of an enormous hole, Democrats appeared skittish about any legal challenge to a relief package they see as seriously inadequate.

READ ALSO: Trump Signs Orders Extending Economic Relief For Americans

The four executive orders Trump signed Saturday at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey will, among other things, defer payroll taxes and provide some temporary unemployment benefits.

The president was seen as keen to show himself taking decisive action ahead of a November 3 election that could see him ousted from office, with polls showing a large majority of voters unhappy with his handling of the crisis.

On Sunday night, Trump blamed what he called Democratic stubbornness for his being forced to take executive action.

“The Democrats were unwilling to do anything,” Trump told reporters as he boarded Air Force One to return to Washington.

“It was time to act,” he said. “We have to get money out to the people.”

Summer crowds

Democrats say the president’s orders infringe on Congress’s constitutional authority over the federal budget.

But Pelosi demurred when asked about possible legal action, saying, “Whether (it was) legal or not takes time to figure out.”

White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow defended the new measures.

“Maybe we’re going to go to court on them. We’re going to go ahead with our actions anyway,” he said.

Trump’s Democratic opponent in the presidential election, Joe Biden, tweeted that five million coronavirus cases was “a number that boggles the mind and breaks the heart.

“It shouldn’t have gotten this bad,” he said.

The US on Sunday had added 47,197 new cases in 24 hours, with 532 additional deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

US fatalities now total 162,913, and the number of infections is 5,041,473, the Baltimore-based university said.

Elsewhere, growing infections in and around Paris prompted French officials to make face masks compulsory outdoors in crowded areas and tourist hotspots in the city and surrounding areas from Monday.

The mask will be obligatory for all those aged 11 and over in “very crowded zones,” said a police statement, including the banks of the Seine River and more than 100 streets in the French capital.

As temperatures soared across western Europe, holidaymakers crowded beaches at the weekend despite warnings about the risk of infection.

Local authorities in Germany warned that some beaches and lakes would be closed if there were too many people.

Belgian police meanwhile arrested several people Saturday at the resort of Blankenberge after a brawl broke out on a beach between officers and youths they had told to leave for refusing to respect virus safety measures.

Around 5,000 people demonstrated in Vienna for increased financial support for nightlife and relaxing coronavirus regulations.

In Peru, indigenous people armed with spears and angry over what they consider government neglect of their communities in the pandemic assaulted a settlement for oil workers deep in the Amazon, triggering a clash with police that left three natives dead, the government said Sunday.

Back in the US, in another burst of defiance over health warnings, thousands of bikers converged on a town in South Dakota for what is billed as the largest cycle gathering in the world.

In past years, the 10-day rally in Sturgis has drawn hundreds of thousands of bikers to socialize, drink and party together — raising fears among some locals that this year’s version could be a superspreader event.

AUSTIN, TEXAS – AUGUST 03: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Medics with Austin-Travis County EMS transport a nursing home resident with coronavirus symptoms on August 03, 2020 in Austin, Texas. Texas has had the third-highest number of COVID-19 cases in the United States, following Florida and California. John Moore/Getty Images/AFP
PARAMOUNT, CALIFORNIA – AUGUST 06: Boxes of food are distributed by the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank to people facing economic or food insecurity amid the COVID-19 pandemic on August 6, 2020 in Paramount, California. Around 2,500 motorists were expected to collect the food boxes which included a pamphlet urging recipients to complete the 2020 census as the spread of the coronavirus continues. The problem of food insecurity is increasing with almost 30 million respondents telling the U.S. Census Bureau they did not have enough to eat at some point during the week ending July 21. Mario Tama/Getty Images/AFP
HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA – AUGUST 07: Lisa Taylor receives a COVID-19 vaccination from RN Jose Muniz as she takes part in a vaccine study at Research Centers of America on August 07, 2020 in Hollywood, Florida. Research Centers of America is currently conducting COVID-19 vaccine trials, implemented under the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed program. The center is recruiting volunteers to participate in the clinical trials, working with the Federal Government and major Pharmaceutical Companies, that are racing to develop a vaccine to potentially prevent COVID-19. Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP
HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA – AUGUST 07: A patients blood samples are seen during a COVID-19 vaccination study at Research Centers of America on August 07, 2020 in Hollywood, Florida. Research Centers of America is currently conducting COVID-19 vaccine trials, implemented under the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed program. The center is recruiting volunteers to participate in the clinical trials, working with the Federal Government and major Pharmaceutical Companies, that are racing to develop a vaccine to potentially prevent COVID-19. Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP
AUSTIN, TEXAS – AUGUST 07: Medical personnel train to receive Covid-129 patients at the Austin Convention Center on August 07, 2020 in Austin, Texas. The cavernous facility was prepared for use as a field hospital for Covid-19 patients, if Austin hospitals were to become overwhelmed. In recent weeks, however, Texas has seen the number of new Covid-19 hospitalizations decrease, even as pandemic-related deaths remain high. John Moore/Getty Images/AFP
AUSTIN, TEXAS – AUGUST 07: Austin-Travis County EMS medics transport a man with possible Covid-19 symptoms to the hospital on August 07, 2020 in Austin, Texas. Nationwide the African American community continues to be disproportionally affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Texas has seen the number of new Covid-19 hospitalizations decrease, even as Covid-19 deaths continue. John Moore/Getty Images/AFP
US President Donald Trump arrives for a press conference in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on August 5, 2020. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP)
MIAMI GARDENS, FL – AUGUST 08: General view of Atmosphere during Rick Ross Partners With Co-Founders of Feed Your City Challenge Music Industry Legend Tony Draper and Ricky Davis To Combat COVID-19 at Calder Casino on August 8, 2020 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Jason Koerner/Getty Images for Feed Your City Challenge/Tony Draper /AFP
MIAMI GARDENS, FL – AUGUST 08: General view of Atmosphere during Rick Ross Partners With Co-Founders of Feed Your City Challenge Music Industry Legend Tony Draper and Ricky Davis To Combat COVID-19 at Calder Casino on August 8, 2020 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Jason Koerner/Getty Images for Feed Your City Challenge/Tony Draper /AFP