RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — With Brazil emerging as one of the world's most infected countries, President Jair Bolsonaro is deflecting all responsibility for the coronavirus crisis, casting blame on mayors, governors, an outgoing health minister — and the media.

By contrast, he portrays himself as a clear-eyed crusader willing to defend an unpopular idea — that shutting down the economy to control COVID-19 will ultimately cause more suffering than allowing the disease to run its course. The refusal of governors to fall into line with his decree allowing gyms to open, he said, verged on authoritarianism.

Asked about Brazil's death toll surpassing China's, he feigned impotence: “I don't work miracles. What do you want me to do?” Confronted with a travel ban imposed on Brazil by the U.S. because of widespread COVID-19, one of his advisers called it press hysteria.

Since the outbreak started, the Brazilian leader has avoided acknowledging the potential effects of his actions, particularly in undermining local leaders’ stay-at-home recommendations.

The death toll in Brazil, a country of 211 million, has reached 22,666, and continues to accelerate.


UNDATED (AP) — President Donald Trump has threatened to pull the Republican National Convention out of North Carolina if the state's Democratic governor doesn't immediately sign off on allowing a full-capacity gathering in August despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Trump's tweets about the upcoming RNC in Charlotte come two days after North Carolina's largest daily increase in virus cases yet.

On Friday, Gov. Roy Cooper moved the state into a second reopening phase by loosening restrictions on hair salons, barbers and restaurants. But he said the state must move cautiously, and he kept indoor entertainment venues, gyms and bars closed.

“Unfortunately, Democrat Governor, @RoyCooperNC is still in Shutdown mood & unable to guarantee that by August we will be allowed... full attendance in the Arena,” Trump tweeted yesterday.

He added that if the governor didn’t guarantee the venue could be fully occupied, the party would seek another site.


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Richard Branson's Virgin Orbit has failed on its first attempt to launch a test satellite into space aboard a rocket carried aloft by a Boeing 747 and released over the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California.

The inaugural launch had appeared to be going well until moments after the rocket was dropped from beneath the left wing of the jumbo jet named Cosmic Girl.

In an official Twitter commentary, Virgin reported there was “a clean release” of the rocket from the aircraft, but “the mission terminated shortly into the flight.”

The tweet added that the plane and its crew were safe and were returning to base.

There’s no immediate word on what went wrong.


PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Cherry industry officials in Oregon and Washington state estimate a tree infection has substantially depleted the fruit for this year's harvest.

A report on Oregon Public Broadcasting says the infection, known as little cherry disease, has chopped an estimated 40 million pounds of cherries from the forthcoming harvest.

The Northwest harvest begins around the end of May every year.

Nearly 21 million boxes of cherries weighing 20 pounds each are expected to be picked in Oregon and Washington. That’s down about 20% from a record-setting 2017 crop.

Northwest cherry growers must cut down infected trees to prevent the disease from spreading before entire orchards are reduced to stumps.

Little cherry disease has also devastated growers in California and Canada.