US Tops World In Virus Cases, Overtaking China And Italy
Washington, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 27th Mar, 2020 ) :The United States on Thursday took the grim title of the country with the most coronavirus infections and reported a record surge in unemployment as world leaders vowed $5 trillion to stave off global economic collapse.
More than 500,000 people around the world have now contracted the new coronavirus, overwhelming healthcare systems even in wealthy nations and triggering an avalanche of government-ordered lockdowns that have disrupted life for billions.
In the United States, more than 83,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19, edging out Italy, which has reported the most deaths, and China, where the virus was first detected in December in the metropolis of Wuhan.
The US has recorded 1,178 deaths, while the global death toll stood at 23,293.
"We are waging war on this virus using every financial, scientific, medical, pharmaceutical and military resource, to halt its spread and protect our citizens," US President Donald Trump said.
With about 40 percent of Americans under lockdown orders, Trump urged citizens to do their part by practicing social distancing: "Stay home. Just relax, stay home." With fears mounting of a global recession if not depression, leaders from the Group of 20 major economies held crisis talks by video link Thursday, pledging a "united front" to fight the outbreak -- along with an enormous financial injection.
"The virus respects no borders," the leaders said in a statement.
"We are injecting over $5 trillion into the global economy, as part of targeted fiscal policy, economic measures, and guarantee schemes to counteract the social, economic and financial impacts of the pandemic." They also pledged "robust" support for developing nations, where coronavirus could next take hold after ravaging China and then Europe.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte wants a "strong and sufficient" financial response that deploys "innovative financial instruments truly adapted to a war," his office said.
But the 365 deaths reported Thursday was its highest in a one-day period and, alarmingly, included a 16-year-old girl -- a rare case of a young person succumbing to a virus that has devastated the elderly.
"It is very difficult to estimate when the peak will come," French health official Jerome Salomon said. "People who are ill now were infected before the confinement began." "Now there is less contact, people are going out less and get infected less. So we hope there will be fewer people getting sick next week and fewer people going to hospital," he told reporters.
"If I've got five patients and only one bed, I have to choose who gets it," Sara Chinchilla, a pediatrician at a hospital near Madrid, told AFP.
"People are dying who could be saved but there's no space in intensive care." In Britain, the National Health Service said London's hospitals are facing a "continuous tsunami" of seriously ill COVID-19 patients, despite a lockdown imposed this week.
"Almost any scenario that is realistic will overwhelm the capacity of the current healthcare system," Governor Andrew Cuomo warned.
- Economic devastation - The pandemic has already, and rapidly, been catastrophic to the global economy.
"It is staggering. We are only seeing the initial numbers; they will get worse, unfortunately," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters, estimating that half a million people in the city would lose work.
But Wall Street soared for a third straight day, recouping more of this month's hefty losses, on expectations for the largest stimulus in US history.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi voiced confidence that the House of Representatives would follow suit on Friday.
- Glimmer of hope - The global lockdown -- which also hemmed in India's huge population this week -- tightened further on Thursday as Russia announced it was grounding all international flights, while Moscow's mayor ordered the closure of cafes, shops and parks.
China said it was barring entry to most foreigners, fearing that imported cases were undermining its success in bringing domestic transmissions way down.
The impact of the virus has stretched well beyond frontline health workers, with billions trapped in their homes and facing what experts say could be lasting psychological harm.
The World Health Organization called Italy's numbers "encouraging signs," but warned it was "still too early to say whether the pandemic is peaking."A study from Britain's Imperial College provided a grim prediction, saying 1.8 million people could die worldwide this year even with swift action to halt the virus.