World coronavirus dispatch: New York sees more deaths than during 9/11

Topics Coronavirus | New York | USA

A Sri Lankan fire brigade person disinfects his colleagues after they assisted transporting the coffin of a person who died not because of the new virus during a curfew in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Photo: PTI
In New York City, the number of deaths due to coronavirus has now exceeded the count of people who perished in the World Trade Center attack of September 11, 2001 (9/11). While the deadliest terror attack on the US soil 19 years ago had killed 2,753 people NYC, the city’s Covid-19 death toll now stands at 5,489, including an addition of 731, the most since the start of the outbreak, on Tuesday alone. These numbers seem to be dampening some cautious optimism that officials had.

Let’s look at the global statistics:

Total confirmed cases: 1,446,242

Change over the previous day: 166,196

Total deaths: 83,424

Total recovered: 308,146

Nations hit with most cases: US (399,929), Spain (146,690), Italy (135,586), France (110,070), and Germany (107,663).

US planning mass-testing: The White House is considering increasing the pace of testing Americans. It views this as a way to re-open the economy sooner, according to Bloomberg. Donald Trump has sought a pathway to return Americans to work and schools, and he expects to open up some offices in four to eight weeks.

UK and US record highest single-day deaths: About 1,800 people died due to coronavirus in the US, and 854 people in the UK, on Tuesday. The US fatality number was the highest single-day death toll for any country so far. The data could draw concerns over how the outbreak is being handled and force some governments to prolong lockdowns. .

Spain also sees spike in cases: Coronavirus deaths and new cases in Spain on Wednesday increased by the most in four days. There were 6,180 new infections in 24 hours, taking the total to 146,690. The death toll rose by 757 to 14,555, the biggest gain since April 4.

Trump threatens WHO for slow reaction: Trump threatened to freeze US funding to the World Health Organization, saying the international group “missed the call” on the coronavirus pandemic. He played down the release of January memos from a senior advisor that represented an early warning of a possible coronavirus pandemic, saying he had not seen them at the time.

Wuhan formally ends lockdown: The streets of Wuhan were clogged with traffic and there were long queues at railway stations on Wednesday as people left the Chinese city, the epicentre of the coronavirus, for homes and jobs elsewhere, after 11 weeks. Residents also waved flags and the city staged a light show to celebrate the efforts of the health workers.

China’s job crisis: China faces its worst job market in more than two decades, with tens of millions temporarily without work or unemployed in the first quarter, according to UBS Group. About 70-80 million people in services, manufacturing and construction have lost their jobs.


Emotional costs the doctors pay: The pressures on hospital ICUs in Italy and Spain may have eased in recent days, but the emotional and psychological toll the pandemic has taken on the doctors and nurses working there is only now beginning to emerge. Two nurses in Italy have killed themselves, and psychologists have mobilised therapists and online platforms to provide consultation to medical personnel. Individual hospitals are holding small group therapy sessions to help staff cope with the trauma of seeing so much death among patients who are utterly alone.

When the virus fades, services industry will have changed for ever: When the economy nosedives, it’s manufacturers — not service providers — who are hit first and hardest. But this time will be different. The virus has dealt a blow to businesses that depend on social gatherings — restaurants, cinemas, theatres, hotels, airlines, gyms, shopping centres. Now, consumers will think harder before squeezing themselves into crowded restaurants and movie theatres, more businesses will accept employees working from home, and everybody would move to online shopping.


Can the people who live in slums survive the virus? About a billion people live in slums. Cases of Covid-19 infection have already been reported from Dharavi in Mumbai, Orangi Town in Pakistan’s Karachi, and Payatas in the Philippines’ Manila. The Ebola epidemic in West Africa between 2014 and 2016 was largely driven by the virus entering the large and densely populated urban slums of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. In a 2018 report from Delhi, for example, researchers estimated that even with widespread vaccination and social distancing (staying home, closing schools, isolating the sick), slum populations would suffer 44 per cent higher influenza infection rates than those in non-slum communities. What are their chances to battle the coronavirus.


Dr Bruce Aylward, who was part of the WHO team that went to China after the coronavirus outbreak there in January, has urged all nations to use times bought during lockdowns to do more testing and respond aggressively. Aylward has almost 30 years of experience in fighting polio, Ebola and other diseases, and he is a senior advisor to the director general of WHO.


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