This year the Eid al-Fitr celebrations will be muted.
The usually joyous Eid al-Fitr holiday starts this weekend – in a Muslim world where many governments have imposed restrictions to prevent the virus from spreading. This means that the common prayers, celebrations and parties that normally take place on this occasion are restricted or discarded.
In Indonesia, where the number of coronavirus cases has risen sharply in the past few days, Islamic leaders have encouraged Muslims to celebrate the holiday that ends the holy month of Ramadan without gathering for traditional iftar dinners, on Saturday night to break her fast. And the country̵
In Bangladesh, the government has banned the huge communal oath prayers that usually take place in the open. Worshipers must gather in mosques. It also asked people not to shake hands or hug each other after praying, and children, the elderly, and all sick people to stay away from common prayers.
As for the mosques themselves, the government has said that they have to be disinfected before and after each oath meeting, and that all worshipers must wear hand disinfectants and wear masks when praying. Joynal Abedin, President Abdul Hamid’s spokesman, told the New York Times that Mr. Hamid would do his own prayers in a conference room in his offices.
Samima Akter, 36, who lives near the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, said she left home wearing a mask earlier this month to shop for oath. But the experience was stressful, she added, because many people disregarded the government’s advice on social distancing.
“This year it’s not a pleasant oath at all because this virus is a life and death problem for everyone in the country,” she said.
In neighboring India have imams and community leaders urged people to stay at home and follow social distance norms. Many cities have kept their curfews open from 7 p.m. to 7 p.m.
And in the Indian city of Lucknow, which is known for its kebabs, butchers are closed due to a restriction on meat sales that came into force in March.
Mohammed Raees Qureshi, who owns two butchers in Lucknow, said he had hoped – to no avail – that local officials would allow him to open near Eid for at least a few days.
“If they gave us some guidelines, we would make sure we follow them,” he said. “But at the moment there is only silence.”
As the United States continues to advance toward 100,000 coronavirus deaths, President Trump and members of his government have started to question the official death toll for coronaviruses, suggesting that the numbers are inflated.
Last Friday, Mr. Trump told reporters that he accepted the current death toll, but the numbers could be “lower” than the official number, which is now over 95,000.
But mainly Statisticians and public health experts say the death toll is likely to be far higher than publicly known. People are dying in their homes and nursing homes without ever being tested, and deaths earlier this year were probably mistakenly identified as influenza or just described as pneumonia.
Dr. White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah L. Birx has publicly stated that the American health care system contains a generous definition of death caused by Covid-19.
“There are other countries where if you had an existing illness and the virus caused you to go to the intensive care unit and then have a heart or kidney problem – some countries record this as a heart or kidney problem and none Covid 19 death, ”she said at a press conference at the White House last month.
In a short interview on Thursday, Dr. Birx that there was no pressure to change data. However, concerns about official statistics are not limited to the death toll or to civil servants.
Epidemiologists said they were stunned to learn that the C.D.C. Combined data from tests that showed active infection with data from tests that showed recovery from Covid-19 – a system that clouded the picture of the pandemic but increased the percentage of Americans tested as Mr. Trump said about testing boasts.
Experts said that data from antibody tests and active virus tests should never be mixed.
“It just doesn’t make sense,” said Natalie Dean, a biostatist at the University of Florida. “We are all really amazed.”
Epidemiologists, state health officials and a spokeswoman for the C.D.C. said there was no bad intention; They attributed the erroneous reporting system to confusion and fatigue in overworked government and local health departments that typically track infections – not tests – during outbreaks.
The corona virus pandemic has devastated the energy markets. Last month, the price of American reference crude fell below zero as the economy closed and demand fell.
And this weekend, a UK utility will actually be paying some of its private consumers to use electricity – to plug in and run the devices at full speed.
So-called negative electricity prices usually occur in the electricity wholesale markets when a large electricity consumer, such as a factory or water treatment plant, is paid to consume more electricity. Too much power in the line can result in damaged equipment or even power outages.
Negative prices were relatively rare in the past, but during the pandemic, they suddenly became almost routine in the UK, Germany and other European countries.
In the UK, electricity prices fell 66 times in April, more than twice as often as in the previous month of the past decade, according to Iain Chappell, a lecturer in sustainable energy at Imperial College, London. The reason for these slumps is similar to what caused them Oil price drops: oversupply in the event of a slump in demand.
The sub-zero price environment enables at least one innovative UK electricity trader, Octopus Energy, to pay some of its customers 2 to 5p per kilowatt hour for the electricity they expect to see on Sunday in times of low demand.
“This has to be normal,” said Greg Jackson, founder and CEO of the company, who said the UK pandemic provides a preview of “what the future will look like around the world.”
In recent weeks, renewable energy sources have played an increasing role in the European power grid, while at the same time the burning of coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, has decreased.
Such a large decline is of course good news for combating climate change. However, the combination of low demand and high wind and solar power is a major shift that network operators can hardly cope with.
China reported no new coronavirus deaths or symptomatic cases on Saturday. It was the first time that both numbers were zero on a given day since the country’s outbreak began. But in Wuhan City, the original epicenter of the outbreak, the virus is still high in residents’ minds.
In the past two weeks, thousands of Wuhan’s 11 million residents have been standing in line in front of rows of tents in alleys in the neighborhood. They have been waiting for their noses and throats to be wiped after the government announced an ambitious plan to test everyone in the city for the virus.
The so-called The “10-day battle” that started on May 14 is a move by the government to get a more accurate picture of the epidemic in Wuhan, especially those who have the virus but are showing no symptoms. Some public health experts are closely monitoring the campaign to find out if it can be a model for other governments that want to bring their societies back to a certain degree of normalcy.
“If you can quickly determine that a particular area is disease-free, people will have more confidence going out,” said Raina MacIntyre, who heads the biosafety program at the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.
In reality, Wuhan’s “10 day struggle” is not as rigid as some reports have suggested. The neighborhoods have postponed their start dates. Many residents seemed to support the free tests. However, others refused and feared that they could become infected again while waiting for tests.
Between May 14 and 20, the government reported that approximately 3 million Wuhan residents were tested. Ninety-nine of them had no symptoms.
In some districts, local officials went door-to-door to register residents and drove them to nearby test stations. The organizers distributed leaflets and made announcements via speakers and social media, asking residents to register.
The test drive mobilized thousands of health workers. A nurse who worked from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. without a lunch break we were caught sobbing on video.
He exchanged his blazer and tie for the uncomfortable fit of personal protective equipment, and left the boardroom for the emergency room at the Lisbon military hospital.
There, when a doctor was put into service in the coronavirus pandemic, he faced feverish, coughing patients and helped to arrange their care. However, some of them had a strange question.
“When they just looked at my eyes, they said, ‘Hey, aren’t you the President of Sporting? Can I have a selfie? “
Frederico Varandas is indeed the President of the Sporting Clube de Portugal, one of the largest soccer teams in the country. He is also Dr. Frederico Varandas, a reserve military doctor who toured Afghanistan a decade ago before changing careers.
The 40-year-old Dr. Varandas was recently in the hospital for about six weeks and worked 12-hour shifts to treat military personnel and their families. His main job was to test and evaluate the patients upon arrival before passing the more serious ones to his colleagues in the intensive care unit.
He is not the only sports figure to be pushed into medical service in the global fight against the virus. In Canada, for example, Hayley Wickenheiser, a four-time Olympic gold medalist in hockey, was a medical student Gathering protective equipment for workers and assisting in tracking the spread of the virus.
Although unexpected, Dr. Varandas fulfilling his medical service.
“The sport had stopped in Portugal and I thought I was more important to the country that works as a doctor,” he said.
It was not clear what authority President Trump was referring to on Friday when he marched into the White House meeting room and asked the states to “let our churches and places of worship open now.” He threatened to “override” all governors who did not.
Mr. Trump declared the places of worship “essential” operations and said that they should be allowed to hold church services personally this weekend, regardless of state quarantine orders resulting from the coronavirus pandemic killed nearly 96,000 people in the United States.
“The governors must do the right thing and allow these very important, essential beliefs to be opened for this weekend now,” Trump said, reading a prepared text before leaving without a question after just a minute. “If they don’t, I’ll override the governors. In America we need more prayer, not less.”
The White House could not explain what power the president actually has to override the governors, and legal experts said he had no such authority, but he could bring states to justice for freedom of religion, which could be time consuming. Attorney General William P. Barr, a strong advocate of religious rights, was already there Impending legal action against California.
In California, more than 1,200 pastors signed a statement protesting government restrictions on personal services and promised to reopen their churches by May 31, even if the restrictions are not lifted. Governor Gavin Newsom, a democrat, said on Friday that the state was working with faith leaders on guidelines for “safe and responsible reopening,” which would be released on Monday at the latest.
Elian Peltier reported on the coronavirus pandemic in Spain before returning to his home country of France. We asked him to tell us about a visit to his grandparents.
When France was banned in March, my mother was relieved. Her parents were in a nursing home and suddenly there were travel restrictions, she and her sister could no longer drive the 80 miles south of Paris every weekend to visit them.
At least at home, my grandparents would get the care they needed.
Then the virus slipped into nursing homes and the relief became alarming. Did an attempt to protect my grandparents convict them instead?
A long vigil started with daily calls, weekly video chats and individually created postcards that were created online.
When I told my grandfather about reporting in Spain, I omitted mentioning the bodies of residential buildings in Barcelona and the health workers in protective suits that disinfect nursing homes in remote villages. It felt better to keep him up to date on the uncertain fate of European football leagues and to remember our penalty practice in his garden in Beaugency, where I spent my summers as a child.
The corona virus killed approximately 14,000 French nursing home residents – half the death toll in the country. We are fortunate that none of these deaths have yet occurred at my grandparents’ home, where the caregivers have been vigilant about social distancing.
When France started to loosen its block last week, we could finally visit the house, or rather sit outside, while my grandparents were sitting a few meters away. So that we could hear each other, the staff opened the door, but put a table with a plexiglass partition in the door.
We could only see my grandparents one at a time, because they are in different parts of the house that can no longer mix socially. My grandfather, a former stonemason, misses many things, such as shorts, that we cannot yet deliver due to the strict rules of the house. It’s my grandmother’s company that he misses the most.
My grandmother, once a wonderful cook who was known for her Chicken Basquaise and cherry pie, has Alzheimer’s. When she tried to recognize me, I broke the rules and took off my mask for a second. A nurse gently stroked her hair as we spoke. My mother and I were a little jealous that the nurse could do what we couldn’t.
I am currently planning to finally read my grandfather’s diaries about his military service in Chad when he was about my age. He gave it to me for Christmas; I thought I had a lot of time to read it. That was before he had a stroke and before the pandemic brought a new normal.
Pandemics are often referred to as communication crises, in which executives have to persuade entire sections of the population to end their lives because of an invisible threat. The New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern excels in this – by brightening epidemiology with empathy and by legal matters with mother jokes.
It was remarkably effective.
Ms. Ardern helped the New Zealanders – “our team of five million,” she says – get involved in a ban so strict that even picking up a lost cricket ball from a neighbor’s yard was prohibited. Now, despite some previous contact tracking problems, the country has almost eradicated the virus and left isolation with only 21 deaths and a few dozen active cases.
Halos can make heretics out of legitimate critics, including epidemiologists, who argue that New Zealand’s ban has gone too far and that other countries have suppressed the virus with less harm to small businesses.
And Ms. Ardern’s canonization diminishes two powerful forces behind her success: her own hard work in connecting with constituents and New Zealand’s political culture, which revised her voting results in the 1990s and forged a system that empowered political parties Cooperation forces.
“You need the whole context, the way the political system has evolved,” said Helen Clark, a former prime minister who hired Ms. Ardern as a consultant over a decade ago. “It is not easily transferable.”
The corona virus is taking a “different path” in Africa than in other regions, the World Health Organization said on Friday.
Mortality rates are lower in Africa than anywhere else, the W.H.O. said and theorized that the young population of the continent could be responsible.
The virus has reached all 55 countries on the continent, which recently confirmed its 100,000th case with 3,100 deaths. When the number of infections in Europe reached this point, it had registered 4,900 deaths.
“At the moment, Covid-19 has landed gently in Africa and has spared the continent the high number of deaths that have devastated other regions of the world,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, Regional Director of the Organization for Africa.
More than 60 percent of people in Africa are under the age of 25, and Covid-19 is particularly hard hit by older populations. In Europe, around 95 percent of virus deaths were among those over 60 years of age.
However, many health experts have expressed doubts about the WHO numbers, stating that testing options in most African countries are extremely limited – also because they have difficulty getting the diagnostic tools they need – and that deaths from Covid-19 have been counted.
In some places, low official casualty and death numbers are said to mask a much more serious reality.
In Kano, a busy commercial center in northern Nigeria, the official number of confirmed cases is small, but so is the number of samples that can be tested. Gravediggers report that they bury many more bodies than usual, and doctors say so Deaths are almost certainly caused by Covid-19, but few of them are tested before the funeral.
“Most people who are dying are over 60 and most of them suffer from other diseases, such as high blood pressure or diabetes,” said Prof. Yusuf Adamu, a medical geographer in Kano. He said that many residents appeared to have mild symptoms, but often avoided testing.
The strong leader of Chechnya, a close ally of President Vladimir V. Putin, is hospitalized, according to state news agencies, with possible symptoms of the coronavirus. A spokesman suggests that he only holds back because he “thinks”.
The uncertainty about Ramzan Kadyrov’s health has far-reaching implications as the virus shakes the volatile and predominantly Muslim Caucasus region of southern Russia.
Even Chechnya’s status as part of Russia – which involved two wars in the post-Soviet era – is not least about the close relationship between Mr. Kadyrov and Mr. Putin.
Official numbers are still low – Chechnya has reported 1,046 cases of the virus and 11 deaths – but there are signs every day that the number of victims across the Caucasus is increasing is much bigger and growing.
The pandemic appears to be affecting the neighboring republic of Dagestan more. Mr. Putin held an unusual one This week’s television video conference with Dagestani leaders warned that traditional festivals marking the end of Ramadan this weekend pose a threat.
A top cleric, Mufti Akhmad Abdulayev, told Putin when called that more than 700 people, including 50 medical workers, had died there.
Russia has reported a total of 326,448 coronavirus cases, the second highest total in the world. The government insists that the relatively low number of deaths – 3,249 – is correct, although all-cause mortality suggests a higher total.
On Thursday, Tobi Lütke, the founder and managing director of Shopify in Ottawa, announced on Twitter that most of his company’s 5,000 employees had become permanent homeworkers.
This happened on the same day as a similar Facebook announcement, followed by remote steps from Twitter and OpenText, a cornerstone of the Canadian technology industry, is based in Waterloo, Ontario.
Shopify, the most valuable company on the Canadian stock exchange, offers products and services that allow small and medium-sized retailers to go online. This is a popular recourse for those affected by the pandemic.
In the post-pandemic world, the company’s Canadian offices become “recruitment centers” and places where employees can meet in person when needed.
It seems to anyone who still has a job to grumble about where they are doing their job. However, for many people, remote working is an undesirable novelty.
When India imposed a national ban on March 25, thousands and thousands of unemployed migrant workers began long, treacherous journeys from India’s cities, often on foot.
But Mohan Paswan, a rickshaw driver from a lower rung of the Indian box system, had been injured in a traffic accident in January and could hardly walk. He and his 15-year-old daughter Jyoti Kumari had no transportation and almost no money when they wanted to go to New Delhi to their village halfway through India.
Their salvation was a $ 20 purple bike they bought with their latest savings. From May 8, Jyoti cycled 700 miles with her father on her back and brought both safely home last weekend.
They had little to eat for many days. They slept at gas stations. They lived on the generosity of strangers. Cycling was not easy. Her father is tall and carried a bag. Sometimes people teased her and bothered him.
The nation’s press has picked up on Jyoti’s feel-good story the “Lionhearted”.
On Thursday, the Indian Cycling Federation, which seeks out young talent and sends the best to international competitions, including the Olympics, tracked down Jyoti through a journalist and invited her to test with the national team in New Delhi.
Jyoti was reached on Friday in her village Sirhulli in Bihar, one of the poorest states in India, by phone and said in a scratchy, exhausted voice: “I am thrilled, I really want to go.”
How to have a safer Memorial Day weekend.
This is the Memorial Day weekend in the US with beaches and barbeques on the agenda. Although many places are still open, you should still not gather in groups. However, since many people do this, here are some instructions on how to lower your risk of coronavirus.
The coverage was provided by Tariq Panja, Stanley Reed, Ian Austen, Julfikar Ali Manik, Shalini Venugopal, Richard C. Paddock, Mike Ives, Anton Troianovski, Jeffrey Gettleman, Suhasini Raj, Damien Cave, Peter Baker, Michael Cooper and Sui-Lee Wee composed by Louis Lucero, Jennifer Jett, Jin Wu, Elian Peltier, Maggie Haberman, Noah Weiland, Abby Goodnough, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Sheila Kaplan and Sarah Mervosh.