Spain’s coronavirus death toll surpasses 4,000

Spain’s overall number of coronavirus cases soared to 56,188 from 47,610 on Wednesday. (AP)
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Updated 26 March 2020

Spain’s coronavirus death toll surpasses 4,000

  • The overall number of coronavirus cases soared to 56,188 from 47,610 on Wednesday.

MADRID: MADRID: The coronavirus death toll in Spain surged to 4,089 after 655 people died within 24 hours, the health ministry said on Thursday. It was a 19 percent increase on figures released Wednesday by the authorities in Spain, which has the world’s second highest death toll from the disease after Italy. The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 rose to 56,188, the ministry said. Despite a national lockdown imposed on March 14, which parliament on Thursday agreed to extend until April 11, both deaths and infections have continued to mount, with officials warning this week would be particularly bad.

But the rise in the number of new deaths was smaller than that recorded on Wednesday when the figure rose by 738 or 27 percent. Health authorities are hoping it will soon become clear whether the lockdown is having the desired effect. The Madrid region has suffered the brunt of the epidemic with 17,166 infections — just under a third of the total — and 2,090 deaths, or 51 percent of the national figure. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, whose wife is infected with the virus, has said this is the country’s most difficult moment since its 1936-39 civil war. “Only the oldest, who knew the hardships of the civil war and its aftermath, can remember collective situations that were harsher than the current one. The other generations in Spain have never, ever had to face as a collective something so hard,” he said when he imposed the state of emergency on March 14. Spain’s demographics partly explain why it has been one of the worst-affected nations. The country has one of the longest life expectancies in Europe and the pandemic has taken a high toll on its large elderly population, who are especially vulnerable to the disease.


Acting US Navy secretary resigns after ridiculing commander of coronavirus-hit USS Theodore Roosevelt

Updated 5 min 59 sec ago

Acting US Navy secretary resigns after ridiculing commander of coronavirus-hit USS Theodore Roosevelt

  • Thomas Modly’s resignation highlighted the US military’s struggle to meet increasingly competing priorities
  • As of Tuesday, 230 of about 5,000 personnel on the USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for the coronavirus

WASHINGTON: Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly resigned on Tuesday after he faced mounting backlash for firing and ridiculing the commander of a US aircraft carrier who pleaded for help stemming a coronavirus outbreak onboard.
Modly’s resignation highlighted the US military’s struggle to meet increasingly competing priorities: maintaining readiness for conflict and safeguarding servicemembers as the virus spreads globally.
The episode deepened upheaval in Navy leadership. The Navy’s last secretary was fired in November over his handling of the case of a Navy SEAL convicted of battlefield misconduct. The Navy SEAL had won the support of President Donald Trump.
US Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced Modly’s resignation on Twitter, saying the Navy’s top civilian had “resigned of his own accord.” Trump concurred, saying it was a selfless act and adding he had nothing to do with it.
“The whole thing was … very unfortunate. The captain should not have written a letter. He didn’t have to be Ernest Hemingway. He made a mistake, but he had a bad day,” Trump said at the White House.
Modly’s resignation occurred only after mounting pressure from Congress and a backlash from the crew, and followed Trump’s own suggestion on Monday that he might get involved in the crisis — saying the Navy captain whom Modly fired was also a good man.
“I briefed President Trump after my conversation with Secretary Modly,” Esper said, as he named an Army Undersecretary Jim McPherson to replace Modly as acting Navy secretary.
Captain Brett Crozier, whom Modly relieved of command last week, favored more dramatic steps to safeguard his sailors aboard the Theodore Roosevelt in a four-page letter that leaked to the public last week.
When Modly fired him over the leak, his crew hailed Crozier as a hero and gave him a rousing sendoff captured on video, apparently upsetting Modly and leading the Navy’s top civilian to fly to Guam to castigate the captain in a speech to the crew on Monday.
Modly questioned Crozier’s character, saying at one point he was either “stupid” or “naive.” After audio of his speech leaked, including expletives, Modly initially stood by his remarks. But later, at Esper’s request, he issued an apology.
But the apology was not enough to satisfy critics, who were calling for his resignation.
US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi added her voice to calls for Modly’s removal.
“Sadly, Acting Secretary Modly’s actions and words demonstrate his failure to prioritize the force protection of our troops,” Pelosi said in a statement.
A fellow Democrat, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith, had already called for Modly’s removal.
Modly’s apology also did little to mollify the crew on the carrier.
“He said what he said and nobody is going to forget it,” a sailor on the carrier told Reuters.
As of Tuesday, 230 of about 5,000 personnel on the Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for the coronavirus.