The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency approval to remdesivir, which President Donald Trump described as “the hot thing,” making it the country’s first therapeutic drug approved for use on COVID-19 patients.1 2 In New York City, where more than 16,000 people have died from the virus, a funeral home in Brooklyn was reported to be storing bodies in U-Haul trucks parked on nearby streets.3 Throughout Amazonia, COVID-19 victims have been buried in mass graves, and Manaus, the largest city in the region, has requested that coffins be airlifted from São Paulo to address a shortage.4 5 “So what?” said Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro when asked by reporters about the country’s record daily death count.6 “What do you want me to do?” Mike Pence, the leader of the U.S. coronavirus task force, did not wear a mask while meeting with patients and medical staff at a clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and in Guadalajara, the daughter of the Mexican drug lord El Chapo distributed sugar, flour, and rice on behalf of a cartel while wearing a mask featuring an image of her father.7 8 Experts warned that American extremist groups would increasingly use opposition to COVID-19 public-health restrictions as recruitment tools, and anti-vaxxers in Sacramento, California, organized a demonstration to protest the state’s lockdown measures.9 “We have always been,” said an organizer, “about freedom.” In Kansas, officials reported an increase in “cleaning chemical cases” as more people ingest disinfectants as a result of the rumor that they are an effective tool in preventing COVID-19 infection, and 5,011 people in Iran had been poisoned, and 700 people had died, from drinking methanol in hopes that it would combat the coronavirus.10 11 The city of Lund, Sweden, where most businesses are still open, dumped a ton of chicken manure in its central park to discourage residents from gathering in it.12 13 “It may not be so nice,” said a city official, “to sit and drink beer.”
Researchers confirmed that “murder hornets,” which can grow as large as two inches in length, had arrived on the West Coast of the United States from Asia, but that they did not know how the hornets got here.14 Citing “enormous evidence,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that the novel coronavirus originated from a laboratory in Wuhan, China.15 The president of Harvard admitted that Jeffrey Epstein had an office at the university and donated $9.1 million, $200,000 more than had been previously reported, prior to his 2008 conviction for sex crimes; the letter also revealed that Epstein made at least 40 visits to the campus after 2008.16 17 The Pentagon released videos of UFOs—which it called “unidentified aerial phenomena”—that had been recorded in recent years.18 “Look at that thing, dude!” a U.S. fighter pilot can be heard saying in one video. A city official in Vallejo, California, resigned after throwing his cat during a Zoom meeting of the local planning commission, and the bare leg of an ABC News reporter appearing via video was visible on Good Morning America.19 20 In Sheffield, England, police officers found patrons of a bar, which was operating illegally, hiding in cupboards.21 An 11-year-old girl wearing a medical mask was arrested after stealing a car in Boston.22 The police in Chandigarh, India, have begun using six-foot-long poles with clamps to apprehend individuals.23 “We can expand the size depending on the person’s waistline,” said the city’s head constable.
A man who was arrested at Disney World after he was found camping on the shuttered theme park’s Discovery Island claimed he had thought he was camping in a “tropical paradise” and did not know he was trespassing.24 A woman in South Carolina was killed by an alligator. “We live closely with nature,” said the town’s mayor.25 An aquarium in Japan asked that the public participate in an online “face-showing festival” with its 300 resident garden eels, asking that people wave and talk to the eels by video so that they don’t forget what humans look like.26 A funeral home in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, was offering drive-through viewings; couples in Florida were married in drive-through wedding services; it was reported that what was dubbed the “world’s last cruise ship” had returned to port, after being at sea for more than three months; and Carnival Cruise Line announced that some ships would set sail again on August 1.27 28 29 30 Tractors sprayed bleach on beaches in southern Spain in anticipation of the end of the lockdown there, and the Hong Kong International Airport began testing the CleanTech machine, which can disinfect a person’s entire body in 40 seconds.31 32 One of the stars of Impractical Jokers donated unsold barrels of beer from his Staten Island brewery to be turned into hand sanitizer. “It’s hand sanitizer, not beer,” said the comedian. “So please don’t try to drink it.”33—Sharon J. Riley