MADRID – Spain on Monday reported no official deaths from the new coronavirus in a 24-hour period for the first time since March.
The development is “very, very encouraging,” emergency health response chief Fernando Simón said. Also, Spain recorded only 71 new COVID-19 infections over the past 24 hours, he told a news conference.
Spain reported its first two deaths on March 3. Another was reported two days later. Spain's number of infections and death jumped exponentially. On April 2, it recorded 950 deaths in 24 hours – the peak death toll. The official death toll now stands at 27,127, with 240,000 confirmed cases.
Traffic, businesses resuming in India
In India, more states opened up and crowds of commuters trickled onto the roads in many cities Monday as a three-phase plan to lift the nationwide coronavirus lockdown began despite an upward trend in new infections.
Businesses and shops reopened in many states and the railways announced 200 more special passenger trains. Some states also opened their borders, allowing vehicular traffic.
Although social distancing and the wearing of masks in public are still mandatory across India, some people were seen forgoing both in many places. Others violated lockdown rules. In Prayagraj, a city in northern India's Uttar Pradesh state, hundreds of Hindu devotees took a dip in the sacred Ganges river even though congregations at religious venues remain barred.
Drug helps mild cases, maker says
A California biotech company says its experimental drug remdesivir improved symptoms when given for five days to moderately ill, hospitalized patients with COVID-19.
Gilead Sciences gave few details on Monday but said full results would soon be published in a medical journal.
Remdesivir is the only treatment that's been shown in a rigorous experiment to help fight the coronavirus. A large study led by the National Institutes of Health recently found it could shorten average recovery time from 15 days to 11 days in hospitalized patients with severe disease.
Alumni rip Falwell for blackface joke
Nearly three dozen black alumni of Liberty University denounced school President Jerry Falwell Jr. on Monday, suggesting he step down after he mocked Virginia's mask-wearing requirement by invoking the blackface scandal that engulfed the state's governor last year.
In a letter to Falwell, 35 faith leaders and former student-athletes said his past comments “have repeatedly violated and misrepresented” Christian principles. They said they would not donate to the university and would urge fellow people of faith not to speak at the school unless Falwell changes his behavior or steps aside.
Falwell had tweeted that he opposed Gov. Ralph Northam's mask-wearing mandate until he designed his own, and included an image of a mask bearing the 1980s blackface photo from Northam's medical school yearbook. Falwell said his involvement in politics was in the spirit of Jesus Christ, “who was not silent about the establishment political folks of his era.”