Global Virus Deaths Surpass 50,000, Confirmed Cases tops a Million
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases around the world has soared past one million and deaths have topped 50,000 as the United States reported the highest daily death toll of any country so far.
Despite more than half the planet living in some form of lockdown, the virus is continuing to spread rapidly, and to claim lives at an alarming pace, with the US, Spain and Britain all seeing their worst days yet.
Financial ratings agency Fitch on Thursday predicted that the US and eurozone economies would shrink this quarter by up to 30 percent as struggling businesses slash investment and unemployment dampens consumer spending.
World leaders have announced huge financial aid packages to deal with the crisis and the World Bank on Thursday approved a plan to roll out $160 billion in emergency cash over 15 months.
The United States now accounts for around a quarter of all known infections around the globe, and its death toll is rocketing up. About 6,000 people have died in the US outbreak, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, more than 1,100 of them in the last 24 hours. White House experts say between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans could ultimately die from the disease. Around 85 percent of Americans are under some form of stay-at-home order.
Europe has been at the center of the crisis for weeks, but there have been signs that the epidemic could be approaching its peak there.
Spain and Britain saw record numbers of new deaths in a 24-hour period — 950 and 569 respectively. Italy and Spain together account for almost half of the global death toll, but experts say the number of new infections in both countries is continuing to slow. “The data show the curve has stabilized” and the epidemic has entered a “slowdown” phase, Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa said.
The virus has chiefly affected the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions, but recent cases of deaths among teenagers and even of a six-week-old baby have highlighted the dangers for people of all ages. “The very notion that ‘COVID-19 only affects older people’ is factually wrong,” said Hans Kluge of the World Health Organization on Thursday. Severe cases have been reported among teens and young adults, with some requiring intensive care and several deaths, he said.
In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed to “massively increase testing” as his health minister said the aim was 100,000 tests a day within weeks.
In Russia, President Vladimir Putin extended paid non-working days until the end of April as the number of confirmed cases jumped by more than a quarter to 3,500. Most of the Russian population is on lockdown, while Thailand became the latest country to impose strict measures with the introduction of a curfew from Friday.
Since the virus was first recorded in China late last year, the pandemic has spread around the world, prompting governments to close businesses, ground airlines and order hundreds of millions of people to stay at home to try to slow the contagion. China’s health commission reported on Friday four new deaths from coronavirus cases bringing the total to 3,322 as of the end of Thursday.
Italy had the most deaths, more than 13,900, followed by Spain. The United States had the most confirmed cases of any country, more than 240,000, the data showed.
South Korea has reported 86 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing its caseload above 10,000, the Associated Press reported. South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday said about half of the new cases came from the densely populous Seoul metropolitan area, where infections linked to international arrivals have been rising.
Singapore reported another coronavirus-related death on Friday, raising the city-state’s total fatalities from the disease to five. The country has reported 1,049 coronavirus cases in total.
More than 3,000 people in Iran have lost their lives to COVID-19, and the number of confirmed cases in the country has surpassed 47,500, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Turkey’s death toll from the coronavirus outbreak increased by 79 to 356, its highest daily rise, while the number of confirmed cases from the disease rose by 2,456 to 18,135, health ministry data showed. It said 18,757 tests had been carried out in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of tests conducted in Turkey to 125,556 since the outbreak began.
Canada’s public health agency data shows the number of coronavirus cases went up by 1,115 in a day to 10,132. The death toll increased by 22, bringing the total to 127.
Saudi Arabia has imposed a 24-hour curfew in Mecca and Medina today, the interior ministry said, extending measures taken to combat the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected more than 1,700 people and killed 16.
The number of deaths caused by an infection with the new coronavirus in the Netherlands has increased by 166 to 1,339, health authorities have said. The number of confirmed coronavirus infections in the country increased by 8 percent to 14,697, the Dutch Institute for Public Health said.
The Swiss death toll from the coronavirus epidemic has risen to 432, the country’s public health agency has said, from 378 people on Wednesday. The number of positive tests increased to 18,267 from 17,139 in Switzerland.
Coronavirus deaths in Belgium increased sharply and passed the 1,000-mark, health officials said. There have now been 1,001 deaths and 15,348 recorded cases since the outbreak started, officials told a daily news conference.
Malaysia has reported 208 new coronavirus cases, taking the total to 3,116, the highest in Southeast Asia. The Ministry of Health recorded a total of 50 deaths, five reported on Thursday.
Pakistan has now total 2450 coronavirus cases. Country on Thursday witnessed a sharp increase in cases, while six deaths were also reported within 24 hours, taking the death toll in Pakistan to 35. At least 126 people have recovered from the coronavirus in Pakistan, according to the government’s official portal for tracking the spread of the disease in the country.