Fri, 10 Jul 2020

Congress Proposes Ways to Honor US COVID-19 Victims

Voice of America
29 May 2020, 16:05 GMT+10

Some U.S. lawmakers are calling for an official nationwide remembrance for the more than 100,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States - the world's largest death toll by far.

President Donald Trump ordered flags to fly at half-staff on all federal buildings for three days, including Memorial Day this past Monday.

"To all of the families and friends of those who have passed, I want to extend my heartfelt sympathy and love for everything that these great people stood for and represent," Trump tweeted Thursday - one day after the country reached that depressing milestone.

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators Thursday called for a national moment of silence for the 100,000-plus victims.

"The nation must mark this dark moment with unity and clarity," Hawaii Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz said. "At this time of almost unimaginable pain, it is essential that we pause to honor every life lost, and that we grieve together."

A separate proposal in the House of Representatives calls for a daily moment of silence whenever the House is in session, a national day of mourning after the pandemic ends and a national memorial for the victims.

Developing nations

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres warned that the pandemic could cause "unimaginable devastation and suffering around the world," including famine and massive unemployment, unless governments start taking preventative action now.

Measure include such vital steps as debt relief for less developed nations and using the recovery period to tackle other crises, such as global warming and social inequality.

"Developed countries have announced their own relief packages, because they can," Guterres told a virtual summit of nearly 50 world leaders. "But we have not yet seen enough solidarity with developing countries to provide them with the massive and urgent support they need."

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama suggested that the price of a global post-coronavirus recovery for poorer countries would be a bargain.

He said wealthy nations have already dedicated $8 trillion for their own comeback. "Even if the equivalent of one-half of 1 percent of this was dedicated to all the world's small island developing states, it would provide us with the vital support we need."

Cancer patients

Oncology experts holding an online conference this weekend said they plan to discuss a new study that says COVID-19 is especially dangerous for former and current cancer patients.

The study in the journal Lancet looked at more than 900 patients with both diseases in Britain, Canada, Spain and the United States. Researchers found that cancer patients were more likely to die within a month than COVID-19 patients who never had cancer.

One of the authors of the study, Dr. Jeremy Warner of Vanderbilt University, said this is the reason many hospitals are urging cancer patients to delay or modify care by staying away from facilities where there are many coronavirus patients.

"If they don't have COVID-19, they want to do anything they can to avoid getting it," he said.

Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon has been canceled for the first time in 124 years because of the coronavirus.

The legendary road race had already been postponed from April, and organizers had said they hoped to be able to run it on September 14.

Mayor Marty Walsh said Thursday that date looked "less and less plausible."

"There's no way to hold this usual race format without bringing large numbers of people into close proximity," Walsh said.

The first Boston Marathon was held in 1897 and is the longest running such event in the world.

Travel

If you're wondering where you want to travel when pandemic restrictions are finally lifted but are still wary of the virus, Cyprus wants you.

The Cypriot government said Thursday it will cover all vacation costs for anyone who comes to the island and catches the coronavirus - including all hotel rooms, food and drink, and any necessary medical treatment.

According to a count by Johns Hopkins University, there are 939 COVID-19 cases on Cyprus and 17 deaths.

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