Coronavirus live news: US deaths near 150,000 as Italy extends state of emergencyJuly 29, 2020
Trump blames US case surge on protestors; WHO warns pandemic is “one big wave”, not seasonal; Air travel not expected to recover until 2024. Follow the latest updates
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US officials say Russian intelligence services are using a trio of English-language websites to spread disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, seeking to exploit a crisis that America is struggling to contain ahead of the presidential election in November.
Two Russians who have held senior roles in Moscow’s military intelligence service known as the GRU have been identified as responsible for a disinformation effort reaching American and western audiences, US government officials said on Tuesday. They spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
Related: Russia used English-language sites to spread Covid-19 disinformation, US officials say
Trump ended his press conference abruptly on Tuesday after sustained questioning from CNN’s Kaitlan Collins over a video he had shared by a doctor who said masks don’t work and that there is a cure for Covid-19.
In past videos, said Collins, the doctor has claimed that medicines are made from “alien DNA”.
“I thought her voice was an important voice, but I know nothing about her,” President Trump says of the video he retweeted where a woman claims masks don’t work & there’s a cure for Covid-19. Instead of explaining the contradiction given he’s endorsed masks, Trump left the room. pic.twitter.com/k8jKdrI1oz
The video in question featured Dr Stella Immanuel, a physician from Houston, Texas, speaking on the steps of the US Capitol in Washington, surrounded by members of a rightwing doctors’ group.
Immanuel made baseless claims about coronavirus, including hailing hydroxychloroquine as a “cure”, even though the drug, which has been repeatedly touted by the president, has not been found to be an effective treatment.
.@kaitlancollins: The woman you say is a ‘great doctor’ said masks don’t work & doctors make medicine using DNA from aliens-
TRUMP: “I can tell you this: She was on air, along with many other doctors, & they were big fans of hydroxychloroquine. I thought she was very impressive” pic.twitter.com/nSui8DOLDL
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar)July 28, 2020