World coronavirus dispatch: Second US stimulus, and West Asia's burial woes

Topics Coronavirus | Italy | USA

Medical workers wearing equipment to protect themselves from coronavirus bring a patient to St Thomas' Hospital in Westminster in London. Photo: PTI
China on Tuesday reported no new coronarivus-related deaths in 24 hours, and the 32 new reported cases were all in people who returned from overseas. The country from where the coronavirus outbreak started, has so far recorded 81,740 cases and 3,331 deaths linked to the virus. Its number for daily new deaths has been hovering in single digits for weeks now — just one on many days.

Let’s look at the global statistics:

Total confirmed cases: 1,280,046

Change over the previous day: 79,352

Total deaths: 75,945

Total recovered: 291,991

Nations hit with most cases: US (368,449), Spain (140,510), Italy (132,547), Germany (103,375), and France (98,984).


Boris Johnson moved to ICU: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was taken into the intensive care unit of a London hospital on Monday, as his health deteriorated. He had been admitted the previous day after struggling to shake off the virus. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is now deputising for Johnson.

West Asian countries can’t bury the dead: Ancient burial rituals, common across West Asian countries like Iran and Egypt, are being disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak. These include the norm of bodies being solemnly washed by relatives, wrapped in shrouds and buried as quickly as possible with large crowds of mourners in attendance.

US, 3M deal for more masks: The US has struck a deal with 3M to import 166.5 million N95 respirator masks from abroad. Crucially, 3M will be allowed to continue selling its US-made N95 masks to Canada and Latin America, under deals that had been threatened by the Donald Trump administration’s crackdown on the export of protective medical equipment. Read more here

Second stimulus packaged in US: The US is in talks to prepare a second stimulus package of at least $1 trillion. The money would be for additional direct payments to individuals, extended unemployment insurance, more resources for food, and loans to small businesses. This will be over and above the $2.2-trillion package announced on 27 March and being administered currently.

Global markets follow Wall Street’s rally: On Monday, the US’ Nasdaq closed 7 per cent higher, and the rally was mirrored by stock indices around the world. European and Asian markets also picked up steam. Futures markets were predicting a robust opening. It has been a two-day rally fuelled in part by signs of progress in the US and Europe.

Hackers’ new target — Video conferencing calls: Hackers seem to have found a new target in video-conferencing platforms like Zoom, which are crucial for businesses, schools, churches and others to stay connected amid the pandemic. Bad actors are disrupting virtual meetings with racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic messages.


Greed and fear collide — Wall Street calls traders back to office: Internal conversations show that managers at Wall Street firms asked traders to report to office despite the coronavirus situation worsening in the country. They included hundreds of employees of JP Morgan Chase & Co’s New York office and other Wall Street firms.

What we know about the anti-malaria drug Trump has been talking about: Since the 1940s, hydroxychloroquine has been used to prevent and treat malaria, and arthritis. It is sold in the generic form and doctors also prescribe it “off label” for other purposes, as many are doing now for Covid-19.

‘Uncertainty is the only certainty’ — what the models say about the US: The latest statistical models show a glimmer of hope, forecasting fewer deaths in the US from the coronavirus pandemic before August. But there’s uncertainty in these models because health officials are still trying to get a handle on how the virus acts.

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