Pompeo says Iran supreme leader ‘lies’ over virus

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a televised speech, in Tehran, Iran March 22, 2020. (Official Khamenei Website/Handout via Reuters)
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Updated 23 March 2020

Pompeo says Iran supreme leader ‘lies’ over virus

  • Khamenei said Washington could bring in a drug to keep the coronavirus alive
  • Pompeo accused an Iranian airline of bringing in what he called the “Wuhan virus” through its continued flights to China

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday accused Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of lying about the coronavirus pandemic as the Supreme Leader rejected US assistance for his hard-hit country.
In a televised address Sunday, Khamenei described the United States as “charlatans” and charged that Washington could bring in a drug to keep the virus alive.
Pompeo in a statement also used loaded language, accusing “Iran’s chief terror airline” Mahan Air of bringing in what he called the “Wuhan virus” through its continued flights to China.
“The regime continues to lie to the Iranian people and the world about the number of cases and deaths, which are unfortunately far higher than the regime admits,” Pompeo said.
He said that the United States remained open to offering aid and was “working tirelessly” to develop a vaccine.
“Khamenei rejected this offer because he works tirelessly to concoct conspiracy theories and prioritizes ideology over the Iranian people,” Pompeo said.
He also signaled that the United States was unreceptive to the Islamic republic’s first-ever request for a loan from the IMF, where Washington effectively holds a veto, accusing the regime of funding “terror abroad” with its resources.
President Donald Trump’s administration has maintained its policy of “maximum pressure” and sanctions as Iran is hit hard by the virus, with an official death toll of more than 1,800.
Trump, who is close to Iran’s rivals Saudi Arabia and Israel, has sought to stop all of Iran’s oil sales and the two countries have increasingly fought a proxy war in Iraq.


COVID-19 could age brain by 10 years: Study

Updated 44 min 13 sec ago

COVID-19 could age brain by 10 years: Study

  • Lead author describes findings as ‘shocking’
  • ‘You would notice an impact on the ability to cope with your normal job and everyday life’

LONDON: Survivors of COVID-19 could be at risk of lasting mental damage that in the worst cases triggers cognitive decline equivalent to aging 10 years or losing 8.5 IQ points, according to a new study by Imperial College London.

The “brain fog” that many survivors report experiencing in the weeks and months after recovering from the disease could be a symptom of more serious cognitive defects, according to the study of 84,285 people.

It found that damage to the brain afflicted survivors to varying degrees and was dependent on the severity of the disease. It is not yet clear how long the effect lasts.

The worst-impacted patients — those who required ventilation or were treated in intensive care — suffered an 8.5 IQ point drop, equivalent to aging 10 years.

Adam Hampshire, lead author of the study, warned that the “shocking” results did not only apply to patients who ended up in hospital.

People who recovered at home experienced an average deficit equivalent to aging five years or a drop of 4 IQ points, the study found.

“In real terms this is a large enough difference that as an individual you would notice an impact on the ability to cope with your normal job and everyday life,” Hampshire said.

“The results align with the ‘brain fog’ reported by many people who, even months after recovery, say they are unable to concentrate on work or focus how they did before.”

The study’s results are likely to further turn public and clinical attention to the long-term effects of contracting “long COVID,” the most common symptoms of which are reported anecdotally as chronic fatigue and weariness.