WHO warns of ‘second peak’; some U.S. states see uptick in hospitalizations

The World Health Organization has warned that countries could face a second peak of coronavirus cases at any point, even before a presumed second wave of infections months from now, echoing concerns expressed by opponents of rapid reopening in countries around the world.

Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s emergencies program, stressed in a Monday briefing “that the disease can jump up at any time” and warned North America, Southeast Asia, Europe and other regions against scaling back coronavirus restrictions and public health measures too quickly.

His comments came as crowds in the United States flooded newly reopened beaches and other public spaces over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, and as officials in Europe increased calls to reopen the European Union’s internal borders in anticipation of its summer holiday season. The former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday said the small increase of hospitalizations because of the coronavirus is probably due to reopening measures.

Here are some significant developments:

At least 5.5 million coronavirus infections have been reported around the world — more than 1.6 million of them in the United States, where the death toll is nearing 100,000.

A government watchdog, briefing members of a House committee on Tuesday, defended a report released by her office in March that detailed a shortage of personal protective equipment and other supplies at hospitals. The report was sharply criticized by President Trump and other Republicans.

The New York Stock Exchange partially reopened its trading floor more than two months after it was forced to shift to all-electronic trades because of the pandemic.

A junior minister in Boris Johnson’s government resigned over the British prime minister’s defense of an aide who violated travel restrictions. Meanwhile, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he did not see his mother in her final eight weeks until hours before her death because of his government’s restrictions on nursing-home visits.

The ripple effects of the pandemic are likely to cause meat shortages to worsen as the virus spreads through America’s meatpacking plants. Infections at three of the nation’s largest meat processors have quadrupled over the past month despite new safety measures.

The WHO said it has temporarily halted its global trial of the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine due to safety concerns. Trump has promoted the drug as a potential treatment for covid-19 and even announced that he was taking it himself in an attempt to ward off the coronavirus.

Face coverings were once again a partisan issue on Memorial Day, with former vice president Joe Biden wearing a mask while Trump went without one. Trump later shared a tweet from Fox News commentator Brit Hume, who mocked Biden for covering up.

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