World coronavirus dispatch: US crosses 100,000 cases; jobs cuts fear global

Topics Coronavirus | IMF | world economy

Workers wearing protective suits spray disinfectant as a precaution against the coronavirus at a bus garage in Seoul | PTI
Bankruptcies and lay-offs might be lurking now, as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) head has already called the present slowdown a recession. “It’s now a recession,” asserted IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva on Saturday. Read

Meanwhile, the US Parliament has signed off on the largest economic relief package in its history – a $2.2-trillion whopper. This legislation will speed government payments of $1,200 to most Americans and increase jobless benefits for millions of people thrown out of work. Businesses big and small will get loans, grants and tax breaks. It will send unprecedented billions to states and local governments, and the nation’s all but overwhelmed health care system. Read 

 
Also, in a first for any country, the number of coronavirus cases in the US have crossed 100,000. As at 12:30 am IST on March 29, the US had reported 116,448 Covid-19 cases, and 1,943 coronavirus-related deaths.

Let’s look at the global statistics (as at 12:30 am on March 29)

Total confirmed cases: 650,926

Change over the previous day: 54,614

Total deaths: 30,299

Total recovered: 139,555

Nations with most number of cases: US (116,448), Italy (92,472), China (81,394), Spain (72,248), and Germany (56,202).

Source: Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center 

* Horde to make ventilators: Globally, there’s a horde to produce ventilators, with all kinds of large machine makers being asked to chip in. In the US, President Donald Trump has asked General Motors and Ford to get cracking (GM said it will offer 80,000 of those for $1 billion). Tesla and Toyota have pledged to help, too. In India, Maruti Suzuki has said it will produce ventilators, masks and protective gear.

* Nations discuss economic relief packages: The leaders of the European Union met on Thursday in a six-hour-long video conference to iron out measure to control the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, Japan (https://bre.is/aVkVoHpw) is mulling further relief after a $4-billion package announced on March 9.

* Dedicated Apple app for Covid-19 screening: Apple has launched an app and website dedicated to Covid-19 screening in collaboration with FEMA, the CDC, and the White House. The programme quizzes you on your symptoms and recent travel to let you know when (or if) you should seek medical care or Covid-19 testing.

Apple has also said it will donate 10 million face masks across the US and Europe.

* Wage cut for soccer celebs: Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and other best-paid footballers of the world look set for wage cuts, suggests this Financial Times report. 

* Wuhan breathes easy: The Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, has partly reopened after remaining locked down for two months. Read this BBC report. (https://bre.is/Nqd4aBzT)

* The infected: One of the latest to join the list of famous people down with coronavirus is KPMG Chairman Bill Michael.

* Condom shortage: One of the world’s largest condom makers – Malaysia’s KarexBhd – has predicted a global shortage of condoms as factories remain shut.

Business

* Fitch has downgraded (https://bre.is/yzbS2XkL) the UK’s credit rating from AA to AA-, citing the impact of the coronavirus and continued uncertainty over Brexit.

* Amazon boss Jeff Bezos sold $4.3 billion of his stock in the company just before the Covid-19 collapse. Read this report by The Guardian

Don’t miss...

* Listen to this Italian doctor’s unnerving account of the coronavirus situation in Italy. Dr Fabiano Di Marco, of the University of Milan, is at the frontline treating patients in Bergamo, the epicentre of cases in the country. “As a doctor, we are used to treating patients. And for us it’s normal. But it is difficult when the patient is your colleague,” he says. Listen on NYT’s The Daily Podcast.

Also, Italy’s frontline medical heroes — a photo series by AP.

* What we don’t know yet about coronavirus – Can a person be re-infected? Will there ever be a treatment? How long will the pandemic last? Keep in mind it's only been three months since the first case emerged from China. Read this Reuters report.


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