Are we on the verge of green camping’s golden age?

It’s a form of travel that is socially distant, cheap, and well-ventilated.

Travel will look different once this pandemic concludes. I suspect many people will feel repulsed by the idea of getting on a plane, of being in close proximity to so many strangers for a prolonged period of time. Interest in cruises will collapse because they feel more like floating petri dishes than luxurious escapes. Even famous tourist destinations that are chronically crowded, like the Trevi Fountain and the Louvre Museum, are less appealing than ever – because is seeing it really worth the risk of infection?

A new type of travel will explode in the aftermath of these strange times, a type of travel that gets people away from others. The inclination to maintain social distance will stick for a long time yet, and so wilderness destinations, remote getaways, and solitary accommodations will take precedence over hostels, resorts, vacation rentals, and packed city streets and squares. In fact, this could be the start of the golden age of camping because camping achieves many of the goals we’re working toward (and dreaming of) right now.

Most importantly, it allows us to keep our distance from others. Even when a campground is at full capacity, everyone has their own plot of land. Everyone has their own gear – tent, sleeping bag, cooking equipment, dishes, plastic tablecloth (I never camp without one!) – that is typically not shared by anyone else. Camping means you don’t have to wonder about who was there before you and what germs they may have left, because it’s all your own stuff.

Camping means you’re outside in the fresh air and these days nothing feels cleaner and safer than the great outdoors. With recent studies suggesting that indoor ventilation could be a vector for the coronavirus, and medical experts saying you should open windows and keep indoor air as fresh as possible, spending one’s vacation in the forest could be a smart move.

Chinese alumni who studied in Cuba raise US$19,823 to buy PPE and medical supplies to help the island nation

Chinese group skirts US sanctions to help Cuba

A total of 286 Chinese donors raised more than 140,000 yuan (US$19,823), purchased 420 pieces of medical protective outfits and 38,750 masks and sent the medical supplies to Cuba. Credit: Joaquin Hernandez, Xinhua.
Draconian US sanctions couldn’t stop Chinese alumni from helping the Cuban people fight the Covid-19 virus, The Global Times reported on Sunday.

A total of 286 Chinese donors raised more than 140,000 yuan (US$19,823), purchased 420 pieces of medical protective outfits and 38,750 masks and sent the medical supplies to Cuba successfully with the help of the Cuban embassy in China, Chen Ke, who initiated the donation campaign, told the Global Times.

Donors are mostly Chinese students who had studied in Cuba from 2006 to 2016 under Cuban government scholarships, said Chen, a 30-year-old from Southwest China’s Guizhou Province, who spent five years in Havana learning Spanish from 2009.

After the fundraiser was launched at the end of March, Chen was worried if the supplies could be delivered to Cuba smoothly due to existing US sanctions, the report said.

Trump says up to 100,000 Americans may die from coronavirus

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday he now believes as many as 100,000 Americans could die in the coronavirus pandemic, after the death toll passed his earlier estimates, but said he was confident a vaccine would be developed by the year’s end.

Trump alternated during a two-hour virtual town hall broadcast by FOX News between forecasting a rapid recovery for the U.S. economy and casting blame for the pandemic’s spread on China, where the disease is believed to have originated.

The COVID-19 illness, caused by the new coronavirus, has sickened more than 1.1 million in the United States and killed more than 67,000 Americans, shut wide swaths of society, including most schools and many businesses.

“We’re going to lose anywhere from 75, 80 to 100,000 people. That’s a horrible thing,” said Trump, who as recently on Friday had said he hoped fewer than 100,000 Americans would die and earlier in the week had talked about 60,000 to 70,000 deaths.

About half the states have now moved toward at least partial lifting of shutdowns as the number of new cases of the COVID-19 illness has begun to drop or level off and as citizens agitate for relief from restrictions that have sent the economy into a tailspin.

“We can’t stay closed as a country (or) we’re not gonna have a country left,” Trump said.

Trump has criticized FOX recently, casting the conservative-leaning network as insufficiently supportive. He faced few tough questions in the event, which gave him a new format to reach the public while he is unable to hold campaign rallies and after he faced widespread criticism for his combative daily briefings.

In an assessment that clashes with those of some public health experts, Trump said he believed that by the end of the year there would be a vaccine against COVID-19.

“I think we’re going to have a vaccine by the end of the year. The doctors would say, well you shouldn’t say that,” Trump said. “I’ll say what I think … I think we’ll have a vaccine sooner than later.”

Many health experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, have cautioned that a vaccine is likely a year to 18 months away.

U.S. President Donald Trump participates in a live Fox News Channel virtual town hall called “America Together: Returning to Work” about response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic being broadcast from inside the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, U.S. May 3, 2020.

There is an “incredibly small” chance of having a highly effective vaccine or treatment for the coronavirus within the next year, England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said on April 22.

Trump also said he wanted students to return to schools and colleges in the autumn, even as he acknowledged the possibility of a resurgence of the disease.

“We’ll put out the embers, we’ll put out whatever it may be. We may have to put out a fire,” he said.

Speaking the day before the Senate returns to Washington, Trump said it was possible that federal coronavirus aid could rise to $6 trillion from the nearly $3 trillion Congress has already passed to try to ease the heavy economic toll of the crisis.

Democrats have made clear they want to provide a sizable rescue package for state and local governments as part of a broader bill – one that could total over $2 trillion – while some Republicans criticized the idea as unreasonably expensive.

“We will be doing infrastructure and I told Steve (Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin) just today we are not doing anything unless we get a payroll tax cut,” Trump said.

Trump, who has been criticized for not moving faster early in the year to stop the spread of the disease, sought to blunt the criticism by blaming China.

Trump said China had made a “horrible mistake” without saying precisely what this was or providing specific evidence for his assertion.

Earlier in the day, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said there was “a significant amount of evidence” that COVID-19 emerged from a Chinese laboratory, but did not dispute U.S. intelligence agencies’ conclusion that it was not man-made.

Reporting By Nandita Bose, Arshad Mohammed, and Pete Schroeder; Writing by Arshad Mohammed; editing by Scott Malone and Diane Craft.

Michigan gov. says protesters displayed ‘worst racism and awful parts’ of US history

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer slammed the stay-at-home order protesters who stormed the state’s Capitol on Thursday, saying they represented the “worst racism and awful parts” of US history.

“Some of the outrageousnesses of what happened at our Capitol depicted some of the worst racism and awful parts of our history in this country,” Whitmer said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

The Democratic governor said the group of armed demonstrators — which she said included people wielding “Confederate flags and nooses” in addition to other racist signs — were “not representative of who we are today.”

“That’s a small group of people when you think of about the fact that this is a state of 10 million people, the vast majority of [whom] are doing the right thing,” she said.

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China opposes US interference in Hong Kong

Beijing, May 3 (Prensa Latina) China’s central government today expressed firm rejection to the support of U.S. politicians and agencies to Hong Kong’s opposition and denounced it as an act of interference in internal affairs.

The State Council Liaison Office (Cabinet) with the Special Administrative Region specifically criticized the National Democratic Institute (NDI) of that country for trying to glorify in a report the criminal acts perpetrated by opposition groups.

It also deplored the fact that the agency called the demonstrations a ‘struggle for democratization’ and made no reference to violations of the law, disturbance of public order and the One Country, Two Systems principle that governs the so-called Pearl of the Orient.

Hong Kong has been living under tension since last June, when protests broke out in rejection of an already nullified extradition law and mutated into demands for political, social and economic reforms.

7,613 citizens have been arrested in recent months in the Special Administrative Region for committing illegalities, provoking riots, unlawful assembly, damage to property, arson attacks and confrontation with the police.

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Pope Francis supports international cooperation to fight Covid-19

Vatican City, May 3 (Prensa Latina) Pope Francis conveyed on Sunday his support for international cooperation to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and asked that any medical breakthrough be made available to infected people anywhere in the world.

After concluding his prayer of the Queen of Heaven from the library of the Apostolic Palace, the Supreme Pontiff said it was important to bring together scientific capacities in a transparent and disinterested way to find vaccines and treatments.

He also called to guarantee universal access to essential technologies that will allow all infected people to receive the necessary health care, in any part of the world.

Francisco also reiterated his sympathy for patients of Covid-19, those who care for them and all those who suffer from the pandemic.

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