Friday September 18th, 2020 2:06PM

Tokyo Olympics postponed, U.S. closes in on relief package

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

NEW YORK (AP) — The Tokyo Olympics were put off to next year as coronavirus deaths and infections surged in Europe and the U.S. on Tuesday, with New York warning it is about to get hit by a “bullet train." Stocks soared as Washington lawmakers closed in on a nearly $2 trillion deal to blunt the outbreak's economic damage.

Around the globe, India, with 1.3 billion people, or one-sixth of the Earth's population, ordered the biggest lockdown in the world. A flicker of hope that Italy might be turning the corner faded after officials reported an increase in new cases and deaths. And Spain had so many bodies it commandeered an ice rink to store them.

More than 400,000 people worldwide have been infected and over 18,000 have died, according to a running count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

In New York City, now one of the biggest hot spots, authorities rushed to set up thousands of hospital beds for potential victims. But the number of cases is doubling every three days, threatening to swamp the city's intensive care units in the weeks ahead, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. New York State has recorded more than 200 deaths, or one-third of the U.S. total.

“One of the forecasters said to me we were looking at a freight train coming across the country," the governor said. “We’re now looking at a bullet train.”

Cuomo proposed that the country send thousands of ventilators to New York City — the metropolitan area needs 30,000 of them, he said — and demanded that President Donald Trump use wartime authority to force manufacturers to produce them.

“People said it's a war. It is a war. Then act like it's a war!" Cuomo said.

Trump has invoked the Korean War-era Defense Production Act to deter hoarding but has been reluctant to use it to force companies to produce medical supplies. Vice President Mike Pence said on Fox News that 2,000 ventilators have been shipped to New York and 2,000 more will be sent on Wednesday.

The International Olympic Committee postponed the 2020 Tokyo Olympics until the summer of 2021 at the latest, acting on the recommendation of Japan's prime minister. That could be a heavy economic blow to Japan and could upset athletes' training regimens, perhaps costing some of them a shot at a medal.

Still, the decision met with relief from some competitors.

“A huge decision but I think the right one for sure,” British sprinter Adam Gemili said on Twitter. “Time to regain, look after each other during this difficult period and go again when the time is right!”

In Washington, top congressional and White House officials said they expected to reach a deal during the day on a package to shore up businesses and send relief checks to ordinary Americans of $1,200 per person or $3,000 for a family of four.

Stocks rallied around the world on the news. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged more than 2,100 points, or 11.4% — its biggest one-day percentage gain since 1933, during the Depression.

With Americans' lives and livelihoods hanging in the balance, Trump said he hoped to reopen the country in less than three weeks. “I would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter,” he said during a Fox News virtual town hall.

But with infections in the U.S. reaching nearly 50,000, including more than 600 deaths, public health experts warned that could be a mistake.

In one of the outbreak's first celebrity deaths, Terrence McNally, the Tony-winning playwright whose credits included “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “Ragtime,” "Love! Valour! Compassion!" and "Master Class," died in Florida of complications from the virus at age 81, his representative said. McNally was a lung cancer survivor who lived with chronic inflammatory lung disease.

Spain, meanwhile, registered a record one-day increase of nearly 6,600 new infections and a leap of more than 500 in the death toll to almost 2,700.

The country started storing bodies in an ice rink converted to a morgue until they could be buried or cremated. Also, army troops disinfecting nursing homes discovered elderly people living amid the corpses of suspected coronavirus victims. Prosecutors opened an investigation.

Spain’s Interior Minister said police have arrested more than 900 people for defying the government's order to stay home.

In France, authorities said the virus had claimed 240 more victims, raising the country's death toll to 1,100.

As health care workers worked around the clock, they also struggled with scarce supplies.

"All over the country, you see examples of workers inventing homemade suits using plastics," said Olga Mediano, a lung specialist at a hospital in Guadalajara, a city outside Madrid. "The protective suits are fundamental because without health workers we won't be able to do anything."

Relatives of elderly people and retirement-home workers were fearful.

"We live in anguish. We have no information whatsoever," said Esther Navarro, whose 97-year-old Alzheimer's-stricken mother is at a home in Madrid where coronavirus cases have been identified.

In Italy, a jump in the number of new deaths and cases over the last 24 hours dashed hopes fed by two days of declines. The 743 deaths reported Tuesday pushed Italy's toll past 6,800, by far the highest of any country.

“Woe to whoever lets down the guard,'' Health Minister Roberto Speranza said. ”Now, more than ever, the commitment of everyone is needed."

In a distinct shift in the crisis, some 85% of new infections are coming from Europe and the United States. In fact, Chinese authorities said they would finally end the two-month lockdown in hard-hit Hubei province, where the outbreak first began.

World Health Organization spokeswoman Margaret Harris said cases around the world are expected to increase "considerably."

"Just to put it in proportion: It took two years in the worst Ebola outbreak we ever had, the West African outbreak, to reach 11,000 deaths,” she said.

In Britain, confusion rippled through the country on the first morning after Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered a three-week halt to all nonessential activity.

The government told most stores to close, banned gatherings of three or more people and said everyone apart from essential workers should leave home only to buy food and medicine or to exercise. But photos showed crowded trains on some London subway lines.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted: "Ignoring these rules means more lives lost.”

For most people, the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever or coughing. But for some older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. More than 100,000 people have recovered.

Elsewhere around the world, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi decreed a “total lockdown” of the country for 21 days. India has reported about 500 cases.

“To save India and every Indian, there will be a total ban on venturing out of your homes,” Modi said.

Neighboring Pakistan ordered its railways shut down as infections climbed past 900.

The Philippine Congress approved a bill declaring a national emergency and authorizing President Rodrigo Duterte to launch a huge program and tap private hospitals and ships to help as the virus outbreak starts to take hold in the country, which reported more than 550 cases.

In contrast to other European countries, Germany offered some hope that it has flattened the exponential spread of the virus, which has infected some 30,000 people. The death toll was relatively low at about 130, and Germany has even taken in patients from France and Italy for treatment.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's government approved a massive aid package to counter the economic fallout, offering more than 1 trillion euros ($1.1 trillion) to tide over small companies and entrepreneurs and pump capital into bigger companies.


Rising reported from Berlin. Associated Press reporters around the world contributed to this report.


Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Health, AP World News, AP Entertainment, APOnline Celebrity News, AP Business, AP Business - Economy, AP Business - Financial Markets
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Tokyo Olympics postponed, U.S. closes in on relief package
The International Olympic Committee has postponed this summer's Tokyo Games for a year as coronavirus deaths mount around the world and U.S. lawmakers close in on a nearly $2 trillion deal to help cushion the economic damage from the crisis
9:05AM ( 7 minutes ago )
The Latest: IOC, Japan agree to postpone Tokyo Olympics
The International Olympic Committee along with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and local organizers have decided that the Tokyo Games cannot go ahead as scheduled this year because of the coronavirus outbreak
9:02AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Abe says IOC agrees '100%' that Olympics should be postponed
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says IOC President Thomas Bach has agreed “100%” to his proposal of postponing the Tokyo Olympics for about one year until 2021 because of the coronavirus outbreak
8:46AM ( 27 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: Japan PM to propose postponement of Olympics
Japan’s NHK public television says Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will propose a one-year postponement for the Tokyo Olympics during talks with IOC President Thomas Bach
8:08AM ( 1 hour ago )
Global stocks rebound on hopes for US stimulus package
Global stocks are surging while U.S. futures have raced ahead so much that trading had to be halted
7:34AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: WHO expects rise in reported cases, deaths
A spokeswoman for the World Health Organization says case counts and deaths globally from the new coronavirus are expected to increase considerably when global figures are published later Tuesday
7:26AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
The Latest: Former Finnish president has the coronavirus
Former Finnish president, UN diplomat and 2008 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Martti Ahtisaari has tested positive with the coronavirus
5:00AM ( 4 hours ago )
The Latest: Thailand decrees state of emergency over virus
Thailand's prime minister says his government has agreed to declare a state of emergency to implement stricter measures to control the coronavirus outbreak
3:45AM ( 5 hours ago )
Asian stocks rise after US Fed promises economic support
Asian stock markets are higher after the U.S. Federal Reserve promised economic support as Congress delayed action on a $2 trillion aid package
3:08AM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
African jazz great Manu Dibango dies in France of virus
Manu Dibango, who fused African rhythms with funk to become one of the most influential musicians in world dance music has died with the coronavirus
7:57AM ( 1 hour ago )
Egypt announces 2-week, night-time curfew to slow virus
Egypt has announced a two-week, 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew for its over 100 million people to slow the spread of the new coronavirus
7:49AM ( 1 hour ago )
Volunteers sew masks for health workers facing shortages
People are banding together to sew face masks for hospitals running desperately short of personal protective equipment as the coronavirus pandemic intensifies
7:04AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Health
10 Things to Know for Today
Get ready for Tuesday, March 24, with a few things to know about the day’s news from The Associated Press
7:23AM ( 1 hour ago )
South Africa's cases leap again as 3-week lockdown looms
South Africa's coronavirus cases have leapt again to 554
7:01AM ( 2 hours ago )
China to lift lockdown in most of virus-hit Hubei province
Chinese authorities are lifting a two-month lockdown of most of coronavirus-hit Hubei province, as domestic cases of the virus continue to subside
5:37AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Business
House considers voting options as members fall ill
With at least two members of the House testing positive for coronavirus, Democrats are recommending that they pass a nearly $2 trillion economic rescue passage by unanimous consent
11:31PM ( 9 hours ago )
The Latest: Australia registers 8th COVID-19 death
A woman who was infected with the new coronavirus on a cruise ship has become Australia’s eighth COVID-19 death
11:14PM ( 9 hours ago )
The Latest: China testing overseas arrivals for COVID-19
All individuals arriving in China’s capital from overseas must take a COVID-19 test in addition to being quarantined starting Wednesday, the Beijing municipal government announced
10:44PM ( 10 hours ago )
AP Business - Economy
Stocks slump, despite Fed aid, as virus bill stalls again
Stocks fell about 3% on Wall Street after Congress hit another roadblock in talks to inject nearly $2 trillion into the economy
5:10PM ( 16 hours ago )
The Latest: Market swings may accelerate rebalancing needs
Investors usually have to rebalance their mix of stocks, bonds and cash periodically to ensure their portfolio remains aligned with their goals
3:48PM ( 17 hours ago )
Stocks fall, despite Fed aid as traders wait for Congress
Stocks are down 3% in tumultuous trading on Wall Street as investors wait to see if Democrats and Republicans can settle their differences on a rescue package for the economy
2:03PM ( 19 hours ago )
AP Business - Financial Markets
The Latest: IOC, Japan agree to postpone Tokyo Olympics
The International Olympic Committee along with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and local organizers have decided that the Tokyo Games cannot go ahead as scheduled this year because of the coronavirus outbreak
9:02AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Abe says IOC agrees '100%' that Olympics should be postponed
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says IOC President Thomas Bach has agreed “100%” to his proposal of postponing the Tokyo Olympics for about one year until 2021 because of the coronavirus outbreak
8:46AM ( 27 minutes ago )
The Latest: Germany to take patients from Italy
Germany's hardest-hit state of North Rhine-Westphalia will take in 10 COVID-19 patients from Italy, which has been struggling to treat all those sickened by the virus
8:39AM ( 34 minutes ago )
Egypt announces 2-week, nighttime curfew to slow virus
Egypt has announced a two-week, 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew for its over 100 million people to slow the spread of the new coronavirus
8:36AM ( 36 minutes ago )
Albert Uderzo, a creator of French hero Asterix, dies at 92
A creator of the iconic comic book character Asterix has died
8:33AM ( 39 minutes ago )