US coronavirus deaths pass bleak 10,000 milestone
US coronavirus deaths pass bleak 10,000 milestone
WASHINGTON, United States —Americans were put on notice Monday not to let up in the fight against the coronavirus, as a grim milestone of 10,000 deaths cast a pall over the first signs of optimism about the trajectory of the outbreak.
The United States has emerged as one of the world’s worst-hit nations, with a steadily mounting number of fatalities and millions facing the possibility of economic ruin.
Authorities began the week by telling frightened communities to brace for one of the worst periods yet in the crisis as the outbreak has not yet reached its peak.
Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University, which has been keeping a running tally of coronavirus numbers, said at least 356,942 US cases had been confirmed, with 10,524 deaths.
Only Italy (15,877 and Spain (13,055 have seen more of their citizens killed by the deadly pandemic.
There was a glimmer of hope however in New York, the main focus of the US outbreak, where there have been more than 4,750 deaths statewide and 130,000 cases.
Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday the death rate had been “effectively flat” for two days. The state reported 599 new deaths, similar to Sunday’s tally of 594 and down from a record 630 on Saturday.
But the governor ordered schools and non-essential businesses to remain shut for a further three weeks, telling reporters: “Now is not the time to be lax.”
‘Social distancing is working’
“It is hopeful but it is also inconclusive,” Cuomo said, adding that it would be a “mistake” to relax restrictions too early.
“If the curve is turning, it’s because the rate of infection is going down. If the rate of infection is going down, it’s because social distancing is working.”
The pandemic has killed nearly 75,000 worldwide since the emergence of the new coronavirus in December in China, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources.
Authorities have warned that between 100,000 and 240,000 people could die in the United States, even in a best-case scenario with social distancing guidelines being observed.
Nine states — all controlled by Republican governors — have still not yet ordered total lockdowns, much to the frustration of public health experts.
Wisconsin, which is among those under stay-at-home orders, became the 15th state to delay presidential primaries after initially determining to forge ahead.
Governor Tony Evers, citing the risk to poll workers and voters, ordered that Tuesday’s Democratic presidential primary and local elections in the Midwestern US state be postponed until June.
“I cannot in good conscience stand by and do nothing,” said Evers, whose health officials have registered 2,267 positive tests and 68 deaths.
Evers moved to delay the election unilaterally after the Republican-majority state Senate and state Assembly ignored his repeated appeals for a postponement.
Pathway from crisis
Although hotspots like New York face a dire lack of protective gear, ventilators and medics, there was further cause for optimism, with early-hit states like Washington and California demonstrating a possible pathway out of the crisis.
Washington appears to be on the downward slope of its case curve and has even sent 400 ventilators to New York, but its governor Jay Inslee said he feared a second wave because of the ongoing patchwork response.
“Even if Washington gets on top of this fully, if another state doesn’t, it can come back and come across our borders two months from now, so this is important to have a national success,” he told NBC.
California is also showing how it is possible to get on top of the crisis, said epidemiologist Brandon Brown of the University of California, Riverside.
“We are now ramping up testing, starting to measure community spread, preparing spaces for when hospitals may be overrun,” he said.
On the sports front,the golf world has reconfigured its schedule — the Masters will now be in November, and the US Open and Ryder Cup will go ahead on back-to-back weeks in September.
“Sports, and particularly the game of golf, are important vehicles for healing and hope,” said PGA of America chief executive Seth Waugh.
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: April 8, 2020 – 8:02am
Follow this page for updates on amysteriouspneumoniaoutbreak that has struck dozens of people in China.
April 8, 2020 – 8:02am
US President Donald Trumpthreatensto put a “hold” on funds to the World Health Organization, accusing it of bias toward China and performing badly in the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump tellshe was “going to put a very powerful hold on” the WHO, the UN body whose biggest funding source is the United States. He gave no details about how much money would be withheld or when. —AFP
April 8, 2020 – 8:01am
The worldwide number of fatalities from the novel coronavirus rises80,142, according to a tally compiled by AFP at 1900 GMT from official sources.
More than 1,397,180 declared cases have been registered in 192 countries and territories since the epidemic first emerged in China in December. Of these cases, at least 257,100 are now considered recovered.
The tallies, using data collected by AFP offices from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO, probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections. —AFP
April 7, 2020 – 9:34pm
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was battling the coronavirus in intensive care on Tuesday, raising serious concerns about his health and the government’s response to the still-escalating outbreak.
“The prime minister has been stable overnight and remains in good spirits,” his official spokesman told reporters at a daily briefing.
He added the 55-year-old Conservative premier was receiving “standard oxygen treatment and breathing without any other assistance” and had not required a ventilator.
Johnson is the most high-profile leader to become infected and messages of support flooded in from across Britain and the world.
He was admitted to intensive care on Monday evening and asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to deputise for him “where necessary”, effectively putting him in charge. — AFP
April 7, 2020 – 7:04pm
Two elderly South Korean coronavirus patients recovered from severe pneumonia after being treated with plasma from survivors, researchers said Tuesday, offering hope in the face of the global pandemic.
Scientists have pointed to the potential benefits of plasma — a blood fluid — from recovered individuals who have developed antibodies to the virus enabling the body’s defences to attack it.
Since emerging in China in December, the coronavirus has killed almost 75,000 people as drugmakers worldwide race to develop a vaccine and treatments for the disease.
Plasma therapy could become “an alternative treatment for patients in critical condition who do not respond to antiviral drugs,” said Choi Jun-yong, a doctor and researcher at Severance Hospital in Seoul, where both patients were treated.
But large-scale clinical trials were needed to prove its effectiveness, he added. — AFP
April 7, 2020 – 5:06pm
The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM expects to process 10,000 COVID-19 test samples a day within the next three months, the coronavirus task force said.
The hospital is also preparing to distribute 900,000 testing kits to various accredited testing centers in the country.
“Focus on testing and we’ll take care of the logistics. We will help you fulfill your requirements. Tell us what you need and we will help you,” COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez told administrators of the medical facility.