Sanders ends presidential campaign » It is now all but official that Joe Biden will be the man to challenge President Trump in November.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders pulled the plug on his second White House bid Wednesday.
SANDERS: While we are winning the ideological battle, and while we are winning the support of so many young people and working people throughout the country, I have concluded that this battle for the Democratic nomination will not be successful.
The self-proclaimed socialist took a commanding lead early in the delegate race, Biden shot ahead on Super Tuesday and never looked back. The senator noted Wednesday that he is “now some 300 delegates behind” Biden and conceded that a path to “victory is virtually impossible.”
CDC issues new guidelines for essential workers exposed to virus » The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention is easing guidelines for workers in critical industries who have been exposed to someone with the coronavirus.
The new guidance rolls back the 14-day self-quarantine the CDC had recommended for anyone who comes within 6 feet of someone who tests positive for the virus.
CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield announced the changes at the White House last night. He said essential workers can return to work if they take certain precautions.
REDFIELD: Take their temperature before they go to work, wear a face mask at all times, and practice social distancing when they’re at work.
He asked such workers to take other common sense precautions, such as staying home if they feel sick and maintaining social distance as much as possible on the job.
As for who is considered an essential worker, Redfield specifically mentioned first responders, healthcare workers, and “individuals [who] help maintain our food supply.”
U.S. monitoring second wave of coronavirus infections in China » The Chinese government said it passed a major milestone this week in its fight against COVID-19. But Washington remains skeptical of China’s claims. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has that story.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: For the first time since the start of the outbreak, mainland China on Tuesday reported no new coronavirus deaths.
But U.S. officials aren’t taking China’s word for much of anything. And The Daily Beast reports that it reviewed a State Department cable noting a second wave of coronavirus cases—mostly among asymptomatic carriers. It said China reported that more than a thousand people with no symptoms were “under medical observation.”
And the CIA has been working to get a more accurate read of the current and past coronavirus numbers in China. The U.S. government is hoping to get the real story on both the emergence of the outbreak and China’s recovery to get ahead of a possible second wave of coronavirus cases here at home.
Bloomberg reported last week that intelligence officials sent a classified report to the White House—stating that China has under-reported both total cases and deaths.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.
Trump admin withholding funding from W.H.O. pending review » Also at the White House on Wednesday, President Trump announced that the United States will withhold U.S. funding from the World Health Organization pending a review.
Some in Washington and across the globe have questioned whether the WHO is too cozy with China and whether it’s truly independent. The group has repeatedly heaped praise on China for it’s response to the coronavirus—even for its transparency.
WHO Director Tedros Gebreyesus praised Chinese leader Xi Jinping, saying he’s shown—quote—“very rare leadership” amid the outbreak. The group also disapproved of an early U.S. travel ban.
TRUMP: They criticized me very strongly when I said we were going to shut down flights coming in from China.
Gebreyesus did not directly respond to Trump but said—quote—“please don’t politicize this virus.” And he insisted the group does not favor any nation over another.
GEBREYESUS: We see everybody equally because we belong to all member states equally.
But the president also complained that member states aren’t equally footing the bill. He said the United States gave roughly $450 million to the WHO last year, compared to about $40 million from China.
And Trump’s not alone in his criticism. Some have pointed to China’s successful efforts to block Taiwan from accessing the WHO as evidence of Beijing’s influence. Japan’s deputy prime minister recently went so far as to call it the “Chinese Health Organization.”
Texas sets up checkpoints at Louisiana border » Texas this week began setting up checkpoints along its border with Louisiana, which has been especially hard hit by the coronavirus. WORLD’s Leigh Jones reports from Houston, Texas.
LEIGH JONES, REPORTER: As of Wednesday, the state of Texas had more than 9,000 confirmed coronavirus cases. But Louisiana, with a population one-sixth that of the Lone Star State had more than 17,000 cases!
And Texas officials are trying to avoid a surge of new cases from the neighboring state. That’s especially true in Houston where many New Orleans residents resettled after Hurricane Katrina.
Texas is requiring anyone traveling from Louisiana to self-quarantine for 14 days. And starting this week, state troopers wearing cowboy hats and face masks set up checkpoints at the border.
Along Interstate-10, the visitors center in Orange, Texas was closed, but the parking lot was still packed with a long line of cars at a checkpoint. Travelers from Louisiana filled out forms stating the reason for their visit and providing an address where they planned to self-quarantine.
The state also requires two-week quarantines for those arriving at Texas airports from COVID-19 hotspots.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Leigh Jones.
W.T.O. chief issues dire warning about world economy » World Trade Organization chief Roberto Azevedo warned that the world may soon face the deepest economic recession of our lifetimes. He said as the pandemic recedes, every nation will need to pull out all the stops to try to drive sustainable growth.
AZEVEDO: Governments around the world can and must lay the foundations for a strong and socially inclusive recovery. Trade and international coordination, more generally, will be important ingredients here.
He said “in an optimistic scenario, our economies see the volumes of global trading goods stumbling by 13 percent in 2020.” But he said if the world does not bring the pandemic under control “and if governments don’t coordinate policy responses, the decline could be 32 percent or more,” devastating the global economy.