Sep 26, 2017

Tillerson will visit China to talk North Korea

Tillerson and US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley wait for the arrival of Trump at the Palace Hotel. Photo: Evan Vucci / AP

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is going to China Sept. 28-30 in advance of Trump's visit in November, State Department Press Secretary Heather Nauert told reporters today. Tillerson will discuss denuclearization of the Korean peninsula as well as trade.

Other highlights from the press briefing:

  • On Cuba: Tillerson is meeting with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez this evening. The Cuban government requested the meeting, Nauert reports. The U.S. government is reviewing whether to close down the U.S. Embassy in Havana after it was uncovered that 21 American diplomats serving in Cuba are experiencing brain damage and hearing loss. Raul Castro denies involvement in the incidents.
  • On the Kurdish referendum for independence: The U.S. "did not support that referendum…we don't see it as taking sides with Baghdad. We support a unified, democratic Iraq." Instead, Nauert said the U.S. wants everyone to focus on defeating ISIS. "This type of division right now could hurt Iraq."
  • On the news that Saudi Arabia will allow women to drive: "It's a great step in the right direction."

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The pandemic shows why we're never ready for the big one

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As the confirmed number of COVID-19 cases passed 1 million on Friday, two words sum up the U.S. response to the coronavirus: not enough. Not enough hospital beds, not enough ventilators, not enough protective equipment. Not enough preparation.

Why it matters: COVID-19 has demonstrated our normal defenses aren't enough in the face of a low-probability, but high-consequence catastrophe.

U.S. coronavirus updates: New York reports record 630 deaths in 24 hours

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New York reported 630 new deaths in 24 hours, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday — an "all-time increase" that beat the previous day's record of 562 deaths in a single day.

The big picture: As expected, COVID-19 death tolls are rising in the U.S., killing more than 7,100 people in total, and over 1,000 in 24 hours alone. The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread, marking a significant change in messaging from the Trump administration.

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World coronavirus updates: Spain tracks more cases than Italy

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

Spain overtook Italy in its number of coronavirus cases on Saturday, as the global death toll surpassed 60,000, per Johns Hopkins data.

The latest: About half the planet's population is on lockdown amid the coronavirus crisis. Fatalities are exponentially increasing across Europe, with roughly half of deaths worldwide located in Italy and Spain.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 11 mins ago - Health