World coronavirus dispatch: Tally of global cases goes past 2 million

Topics USA | Russia | Coronavirus

A medical staffer holds the hand of a patient, in the ICU of the Bassini Hospital, in Cinisello Balsamo, near Milan, Italy. Photo: AP/PTI
What began as a mysterious pneumonia-like illness in China’s Wuhan late last year has morphed itself into a global health crisis. In a grim milestone, the number of Covid-19 infections globally has gone past 2 million – more than 600,000 of them in the US alone. While the virus had taken about four months to infect the first 1 million people, it took only 12 days to double the tally to 2 million.

Let’s look at the global statistics:

Total confirmed cases: 2,000,984

Change over previous day: 66,401

Total deaths: 128,071

Total recovered: 3,120, 381

Nations hit with most cases: US (609,696), Spain (177,633), Italy (162,488), Germany (132,321) and France (131,362).

Source: Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center

US to hand out $25 billion to airlines: Prominent US air carriers have come to a preliminary agreement with the Treasury Department under which they will receive a payroll assistance of over $25 billion. The US is giving $5.8 billion to American Airlines, and $3.2 billion to Southwest Airlines, in return for a promise that they won’t fire their staff. Read more here.

IMF pegs global GDP loss at $9 trillion: The baseline scenario for global economic growth this year is a negative 3 per cent. In the worst-case scenario — lockdowns extending into the second half of the year and a second wave of infections next year — world GDP could fall by another 8 per cent in 2021. The figure could be as much as $9 trillion – more than the economies of Japan and Germany combined, the International Monetary Fund has estimated. Read more here.

Researchers say social distancing may be needed until 2022: People around the world might need to practise some level of social distancing intermittently through 2022 to stop Covid-19 from surging anew, a group of Harvard disease researchers have said. Read more here.

Germany extends lockdown till May 3: Germany has won plaudits for its aggressive measures to address fallout from the virus, even as its economy has plunged into a deeper recession than it did during the global financial crisis a decade ago. Comprehensive testing and protecting more vulnerable members of society have resulted in a lower fatality rate in Germany than many other affected countries. Read more here.

JPMogan sets aside $8.29 billion for bad loans: This is the biggest provision in at least a decade and more than double the amount some analysts expected. The US bank’s profits for the March quarter one also down 69 per cent, mostly driven by provisions. Read more here.

Hyundai restarts car plants in Russia and Czech Republic: South Korea’s Hyundai has begun resuming operations at Eurasian plants which have been shut down for weeks. It has started its Russian assembly plant in St Petersburg, followed by a reboot of the factory in the Czech Republic. Hyundai intends to recommence its Turkish plant on April 21. Read more here.

Trump freezes funding to WHO: US President Donald Trump has directed his administration to freeze funding to the World Health Organization, claiming the body didn’t deliver adequate early reports on the virus which cost the US valuable response time. Read more here.

Local governors to decide when to re-open up US states: Trump has reversed his previous assertion that he has “the absolute authority to decide when it's time to reopen the economy”. He has now said he will leave it to governors to determine the right time and way to revive activity in their states. Read more here.

New York death toll rises further: The official death toll in New York from the coronavirus soared after authorities began including people who died without ever being tested. City officials reported 3,778 “probable” deaths. Combined with virus deaths confirmed by lab tests that would put total fatalities in the city at over 10,000. Read more here.

Coffee demand grows during lockdown: The coronavirus pandemic set off a scramble for coffee beans last month as roasters in Brazil and South America worked flat out to meet demand while shutdowns disrupted the supply. Read more here.

Specials

China waited 6 days to warn public of outbreak: Internal documents reveal that warnings were muffled inside China, and it took a confirmed case in Thailand to jolt Beijing into recognising the possible outbreak. During that time, Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, hosted a mass banquet for tens of thousands of people and millions began traveling for Lunar New Year celebrations. Read this AP exclusive here.

The Surveillance question: Would you give up health or location data to return to work? As countries around the world edge towards ending lockdowns and restarting their economies and societies, citizens are being more closely monitored. New systems to track who is infected and who isn’t, and where they’ve been, have been created in China, South Korea, Singapore and India. The challenge is achieving the tricky balance between limiting the spread of the disease and allowing people freedom to move outside their homes. Read more here.


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