Coronavirus cases surpassed 530,000 worldwide, with more than 24,000 deaths while the U.S. now leads the world with more than 85,500 confirmed coronavirus, officially COVID-19, cases, overtaking China and Italy. There have been more than 1,288 deaths in the U.S. At least 122,000 people around the world have recovered. Among the recovered in Italy was an 86-year-old woman who was released from the hospital Tuesday after seven weeks.

The U.S. Senate has passed a record $2 trillion stimulus package with 96-0 votes. The House is expected to vote on it Friday. And unemployment claims in U.S. skyrocketed to a record 3.283 million. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says Congress’ $2 trillion stimulus bill has “failed to meet the governmental need.” “I’m disappointed,” Cuomo said on Thursday. “I find it irresponsible. I find it reckless. Emotion is a luxury. And we don’t have the luxury at this time of being emotional about what they [Congress] did. When this is over, I promise you I’m going to give them a piece of my mind.”

“This was the time [for Congress] to put politics aside,” Cuomo said. “Now is a time to actually step up, do the right thing, and do your job. And they haven’t as far as I’m concerned, especially when it comes to the governmental need.”

Trump rejects New York’s plea for ventilators

The U.S. President Donald Trump has rejected calls from New York’s governor that the state needed tens of thousands of new ventilators to treat a mass of patients infected with the novel coronavirus, saying he did not believe those numbers were accurate.

“I have a feeling that a lot of the numbers that are being said in some areas are just bigger than they’re going to be,” Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Thursday night. “I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You know, you go into major hospitals sometimes, they will have two ventilators. And now all of a sudden they’re saying can we order 30,000 ventilators?”

He added: “Look, it’s a very bad situation. We haven’t seen anything like it, but the end result is we’ve got to get back to work, and I think we can start by opening up certain parts of the country.”

The U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said that “we may well be in a recession.”

Worldwide, there are more than 531,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19, spanning every continent except Antarctica, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

With more than 85,500 diagnosed cases, the U.S has the highest national total, ahead of Italy and China.

A third of the world’s population is on coronavirus lockdown. China temporarily bars all foreign nationals from entering country.

New York

New York City’s Health Department updated its coronavirus total Thursday night and the city now has 23,112 confirmed cases.

New York has become the U.S.’s epicenter of the pandemic. The state has seen 385 deaths from COVID-19 and that number is expected to continue to rise, Cuomo said.

More than a quarter of the U.S.’s 82,000 COVID-19 cases are in the city. Roughly, 55% of New York City patients are under 50 years old, the health department said.

The city’s death toll is now at 365, according to the health department. The city has twice as many deaths as any state. New York officials are also scouting dorms and hotels for emergency beds.

Fatalities in Italy and Spain

Italy leads the world with COVID-19 fatalities, followed by Spain, which had 4,154, according to John Hopkins. Spain is followed by China, Iran and France.

Italy’s death toll reaches of 8,165, according to the country’s Civil Protection Agency (CPA). Italy’s number of diagnosed cases has now topped 80,000, according to the CPA. But over 10,000 have recovered in Italy, according to the Johns Hopkins data.

Hospitals simply lack the space and resources to help everyone, confining many to die from COVID-19 at home, warned Giorgio Gori, the mayor of Bergamo in Italy’s northern Lombardy region, which was hit hardest by the virus.

The healthcare system has been entirely overwhelmed by the outbreak, Gori told Il Messaggero on Wednesday, with everyone working from 8AM until we collapse exhausted in the evening. Too many people are arriving in hospitals late and in grave condition, requiring intubation in intensive care units.”

Grand Prince cruise ship passengers

Two male passengers who were aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship and were being housed at Travis Air Force Base in California have died from coronavirus complications, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

U.S. prisons

Amid concerns of the potentially devastating effects that a COVID-19 outbreak could have within the walls of the U.S. prisons, the U.S. Attorney General William Barr said he has issued new recommendations to the Bureau of Prisons to explore releasing certain at-risk prisoners to home confinement to reduce the prison population.

Of the 146,000 inmates serving time in federal prison facilities, one-third are considered to have preexisting medical conditions and roughly 10,000 are over the age of 60, Barr said at a news conference on Thursday.

Canada opposes U.S. move to deploy troops

The Canada government has confirmed rumors that the U.S. is considering troop deployments along the U.S.-Canada border for coronavirus enforcement, calling the proposal “unnecessary” and “damaging” to neighborly relations.

The White House is looking at sending about 1,000 troops to the border, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported on Thursday, citing an anonymous source familiar with the proposal. When asked about it, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government has “been in discussion” with the Trump administration, thereby confirming the plan’s existence. “Canada and the U.S. have the longest unmilitarized border in the world. it is very much in both of our interests for it to remain that way,” Trudeau told reporters.

China

China reported its first locally transmitted coronavirus infection in half a week as officials continue to struggle with cases coming from abroad.

Fifty-five new COVID-19 cases were reported across mainland China on Thursday, according to the latest figures from the country’s National Health Commission. All but one of the infections involved imported cases.

China’s Foreign Ministry announced Thursday that as of March 28, all foreign nationals, including those with valid visas and residence permits, would be temporarily barred from entering the country. Diplomats and flight crew are exempt.

China’s civil aviation regulator is ordering all airlines to cut international flights to one flight per week into China, and the flights can only be 75% full.

Early medical graduation

In the U.S., Columbia University will let medical students graduate early so they can help with the coronavirus response efforts in New York, university officials told ABC News.

The decision from the Columbia University Irving Medical Center comes after New York University announced the unprecedented decision to graduate its fourth-year students early. NYU said its commitment was in response to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s directive to get more physicians into the health system quickly.

Russia

The Russian government has ordered the grounding of all international flights as part of new measures against the coronavirus pandemic.

Russia’s civil aviation agency Rosaviatsiya will halt “regular and charter air flights from Russian airports to and from foreign countries,” with the exception of flights evacuating Russian citizens from abroad, according to the decree published Thursday on the government’s website.

The new travel restriction comes into force at midnight on Friday.

As of Thursday, there were 840 diagnosed cases of the novel coronavirus in Russia, according to the latest tally from Johns Hopkins University.

It is hardly escaped notice that while other major European cities, such as London, Berlin, Paris and Rome are in various forms of shutdown, life in Moscow remains relatively normal, with even bars and cafes still open.

Movement levels in the capital are only down about 50 percent on usual averages, and the same situation pertains in most of the country. Although cinemas, large nightclubs and other major entertainments have been closed, some think the government is being too lax; however, it seems officials are only following expert advice.

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) representative in Russia, Melita Vujnovic, believes that if people observe rules and use common sense, a strict lockdown is not a necessary measure, at this moment.

1.5 billion students

More than 1.5 billion students, nearly 90% of the world student population, are not attending schools and universities because of the pandemic, according to the latest figures from the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Governments across the globe have closed educational institutions in an attempt to contain the spread of the disease.

More than 160 countries have implemented nationwide school closure, impacting over 87 percent of the world’s student population, according to UNESCO monitoring.

Several other nations have implemented localized school closures and, should those become nationwide, UNESCO warned that millions more students would be affected.

In the U.S., at least 124,000 public and private schools have closed their doors due to the outbreak, affecting more than 55 million students, according to the latest count from the news journal Education Week.

Without interventions, 40 million people would die from virus, says a report

If no measures were taken to stop the spread of the pandemic, it would result in 40 million deaths across the world this year, says a new report.

The report – Report 12: The Global Impact of COVID-19 and Strategies for Mitigation and Suppression (March 26, 2020) – from the Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team, London, estimated that in the absence of any interventions, the virus would lead to seven billion infections worldwide.

For the UK, it predicted that if no measures were put in place, 591,887 lives would be lost, with 58,995,235 infected.

The study, which used data to predict the differences in estimated infection rates and deaths if no measures were put in place to limit the spread of the disease and if efforts like social distancing were put in place, analyzed the health impact on 202 countries.

It predicted that ‘mitigation strategies’ could reduce the number of people affected by half, potentially saving 20 million lives, but even in that scenario countries’ health systems would be overwhelmed.

It said: “We estimate that in the absence of interventions, COVID-19 would have resulted in 7.0 billion infections and 40 million deaths globally this year.

“Mitigation strategies focusing on shielding the elderly (60% reduction in social contacts) and slowing but not interrupting transmission (40% reduction in social contacts for wider population) could reduce this burden by half, saving 20 million lives, but we predict that even in this scenario, health systems in all countries will be quickly overwhelmed.”

The report also suggested that the effect would be more severe in ‘lower income settings’.

“Our analysis therefore suggests that healthcare demand can only be kept within manageable levels through the rapid adoption of public health measures (including testing and isolation of cases and wider social distancing measures) to suppress transmission, similar to those being adopted in many countries at the current time.”

The report is prepared by Patrick GT Walker, Charles Whittaker, Oliver Watson, Marc Baguelin, Kylie E C Ainslie, Sangeeta Bhatia, Samir Bhatt, Adhiratha Boonyasiri, Olivia Boyd, Lorenzo Cattarino, Zulma Cucunubá, Gina Cuomo-Dannenburg, Amy Dighe, Christl A Donnelly, Ilaria Dorigatti, Sabine van Elsland, Rich FitzJohn, Seth Flaxman, Han Fu, Katy Gaythorpe, Lily Geidelberg, Nicholas Grassly, Will Green, Arran Hamlet, Katharina Hauck, David Haw, Sarah Hayes, Wes Hinsley, Natsuko Imai, David Jorgensen, Edward Knock, Daniel Laydon, Swapnil Mishra, Gemma Nedjati-Gilani,  Lucy C Okell,  Steven Riley, Hayley Thompson, Juliette Unwin, Robert Verity, Michaela Vollmer, Caroline Walters, Hao Wei Wang, Yuanrong Wang, Peter Winskill, Xiaoyue Xi, Neil M Ferguson and Azra C Ghani.

Summary of the report 12

The world faces a severe and acute public health emergency due to the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic. How individual countries respond in the coming weeks will be critical in influencing the trajectory of national epidemics. Here we combine data on age-specific contact patterns and COVID-19 severity to project the health impact of the pandemic in 202 countries. We compare predicted mortality impacts in the absence of interventions or spontaneous social distancing with what might be achieved with policies aimed at mitigating or suppressing transmission. Our estimates of mortality and healthcare demand are based on data from China and high-income countries; differences in underlying health conditions and healthcare system capacity will likely result in different patterns in low income settings.

We estimate that in the absence of interventions, COVID-19 would have resulted in 7.0 billion infections and 40 million deaths globally this year. Mitigation strategies focusing on shielding the elderly (60% reduction in social contacts) and slowing but not interrupting transmission (40% reduction in social contacts for wider population) could reduce this burden by half, saving 20 million lives, but we predict that even in this scenario, health systems in all countries will be quickly overwhelmed. This effect is likely to be most severe in lower income settings where capacity is lowest: our mitigated scenarios lead to peak demand for critical care beds in a typical low-income setting outstripping supply by a factor of 25, in contrast to a typical high-income setting where this factor is 7. As a result, we anticipate that the true burden in low-income settings pursuing mitigation strategies could be substantially higher than reflected in these estimates.

Our analysis therefore suggests that healthcare demand can only be kept within manageable levels through the rapid adoption of public health measures (including testing and isolation of cases and wider social distancing measures) to suppress transmission, similar to those being adopted in many countries at the current time. If a suppression strategy is implemented early (at 0.2 deaths per 100,000 population per week) and sustained, then 38.7 million lives could be saved whilst if it is initiated when death numbers are higher (1.6 deaths per 100,000 population per week) then 30.7 million lives could be saved. Delays in implementing strategies to suppress transmission will lead to worse outcomes and fewer lives saved.

We do not consider the wider social and economic costs of suppression, which will be high and may be disproportionately so in lower income settings. Moreover, suppression strategies will need to be maintained in some manner until vaccines or effective treatments become available to avoid the risk of later epidemics. Our analysis highlights the challenging decisions faced by all governments in the coming weeks and months, but demonstrates the extent to which rapid, decisive and collective action now could save millions of lives.


SIGN UP FOR COUNTERCURRENTS DAILY NEWS LETTER


 

Comments are closed.