The Analyzer News Roundup for May 5, 2020

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As polls indicate a striking divide among Americans on the size of the death toll from the virus, models are now projecting a sharp rise in U.S. deaths.

A handful of states, including Florida, Texas and Georgia, have reopened their economies since the weekend, while many other states look to ease restrictions. A key model used in the White House, from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, has revised its projections to 134,000 deaths by August, nearly double its previous estimate, citing the “premature relaxation of social distancing.”

An Axios-Ipsos poll showed two-thirds of Americans doubt the death count. Along partisan lines, a majority of Democrats in the survey believe there is an undercount, while most Republicans polled said the deaths are likely over-reported. However, many polls have shown Americans widely oppose reopening the country.

On Monday, California became the first state in the nation to borrow from the federal government to make unemployment payments. The state may borrow up to $10 billion in federal funds. The Treasury Department has also approved loans for Illinois and Connecticut.

The Navajo Nation, the country’s largest Indian reservation, is on lockdown as state and local authorities grapple with one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the United States.

Last week, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham invoked the state’s Riot Control Act to close down the entire city of Gallup, a regional hub for the Navajo and other nearby pueblos. According to data from the New York Times, the tribal nation has over 2,000 known cases and a death rate higher than most states.

Early on Tuesday, Chinese state media hit back at U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s claim that there was “enormous evidence” the virus may have escaped from a lab in Wuhan. Beijing has been angered by the allegations and the state-backed CCTV news outlet labelled Pompeo as “evil” and “insane.”

An intelligence report from the “Five Eyes” – the alliance consisting of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States – concluded the virus was not man-made, genetically modified or an accident, backing a previous assessment by the U.S. intelligence community. However, Trump administration officials continue to blame China for its purported role in spreading the virus.

Meanwhile, mass graves are being dug in Brazil as the country surpassed China in deaths from COVID-19. Health officials warn the situation is dire and will get worse, but President Jair Bolsonaro has refused to take the virus seriously and has taken little action to curb the outbreak.

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