U.S. Surpasses China for Most Infections Worldwide: Virus Update
The U.S. overtook China for the most coronavirus cases worldwide, fueled by a large jump in infections in New York.
President Donald Trump offered a plan to restore normal business by ranking counties by their virus risk. Equities jumped on optimism the $2 trillion U.S. stimulus package will blunt the pandemic’s impact.
China, where the outbreak began, will temporarily suspend the entry of foreigners holding valid visas and residence permits starting Saturday.
- Cases top 526,000; 23,700 dead, 122,000 recovered: Johns Hopkins
- U.S. fatalities top 1,100; confirmed cases in Canada surge 72%
- Italy’s new cases surged again
- Ventilators are top fear in New York as deaths mount
- Second shockwave is hitting China’s factories
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U.S Surpasses China to Lead the World in Cases (6:30 a.m. HK)
The U.S. surpassed China as having the most confirmed cases in the world, Johns Hopkins data show. Infections in America have topped 82,400, compared with 81,782 in the Asian country where the outbreak began three months ago.
The American tally was bolstered by a large jump in New York, which had 6,448 new cases Thursday, bringing the state’s total to 37,258. That accounts for almost half the outbreak nationwide, according to data collected by Bloomberg.
New Jersey and California also saw large increases in patients, and smaller hot spots in states like Michigan and Illinois began to grow more quickly.
Italian health officials reported 6,153 new cases Thursday, the most in five days, bringing the country’s total to 80,539. The outbreak in mainland China remains the largest globally
Trump Says G-20 Leaders Discussed Data-Sharing (5:48 p.m. NY)
U.S. President Donald Trump said leaders from the Group of 20 nations discussed the importance of sharing data and information on the pandemic during a video conference chaired by Saudi Arabia.
The G-20 leaders said earlier Thursday that they were injecting over $5 trillion into the global economy and committed to do “whatever it takes” to overcome the pandemic and its fallout.
Read the full story here
Washington’s New Cases Slow (3 p.m. NY)
Washington state has seen a drop in the rate of new cases being reported, Governor Jay Inslee said at a press conference, led by improvement in three counties in near Seattle where the outbreak began a month ago. Other counties aren’t seeing the pace of new cases slow, he said.
While hospitals are not yet full, the state — which ranks fourth in U.S. cases — needs to see a significant further reduction in cases in order to avoid running out of beds and equipment in the coming days, he said.
“We should not be within 10,000 miles of champagne corks on this,” Inslee said. Without further decreases to the case count “a lot of people in the state of Washington are going to die.”
Inslee called for a national system for buying personal protective equipment and other supplies in order to use the federal government’s buying power and avoid putting Washington in a “mad scramble” with all the other states for supplies.
U.K. Helps Self-Employed Workers (2:30 p.m. NY)
The U.K. government offered self-employed workers cash grants of as much as 2,500 pounds ($3,040) a month.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced the three-month plan, at a cost the Treasury estimates will be about 9 billion pounds, after his offer last week to pay a portion of citizens’ wages was widely criticized for omitting self-employed workers.
About 95% of self-employed workers, 3.8 million people, will be eligible for the grants, Sunak said.
Full story here.
Latin Bank Offers Aid (2:30 p.m. NY)
The Inter-American Development Bank will make $12 billion available to countries for responding to the crisis and its aftermath. That includes $8.8 billion for other purposes that the nations can redirect, and $3.2 billion added to the the 2020 lending program.
The IDB wants to support the immediate public health response, safety nets for economically vulnerable people, aid for small- and medium-sized businesses and fiscal policies that support member countries.
The Washington-based IDB provided loans and technical assistance in a region with chronic infrastructure and financial shortages.
Trump Considers Plan to Rank Counties by Risk (2:15 p.m. NY)
President Donald Trump said his administration is working on a plan that would rank U.S. counties into one of three categories as a step toward the relaxing the tight restrictions put in place to halt the spread of the coronavirus.
The administration, using criteria developed based on expanded testing capabilities and in consultation with health officials, proposes to designate counties as high-risk, medium-risk and low-risk. This ranking will help local officials decide on maintaining, increasing or relaxing social distancing and other measures, the president said in a letter to U.S. governors.
“Americans across the country are hoping the day will soon arrive when they can resume their normal economic, social and religious lives,” Trump wrote in the letter released by the White House.
Read the full story here
Italy Virus Cases Rise, Fueled by Lombardy (1:11 p.m. NY)
Italy reported its biggest rise in coronavirus infections in the past five days, as the disease spread further in the northern Lombardy region, even after weeks of rigid lockdown rules.
The civil protection agency reported 6,153 new cases on Thursday, up from 5,210 a day earlier.
Fatalities from the outbreak over the past 24 hours totaled 662, down from 683 for the previous day, according to figures provided at the agency’s daily news conference on Thursday. Confirmed cases in the country now total 80,539.
Read the full store here
N.Y. Patients Staying on Ventilators (12:20 p.m.)
Some New Yorkers are staying on ventilators as long as 30 days, dimming hopes for their recovery and adding to the shortage of the lifesaving machines, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
Cuomo reported 100 more fatalities, for a total of 385, as hospitals brace for more. The city is deploying refrigerated trailers for use as temporary morgues. Until the outbreak is under control, Cuomo said officials are focused on reducing the rate of increase, not the reducing the number of cases, so hospitals don’t run out of beds.
New York added almost 6,500 cases, for a total of more than 37,000.
China Blocks Foreigners (11:55 a.m. NY)
China will temporarily suspend the entry of foreigners starting Saturday as cases worldwide surge, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and National Immigration Administration said on its website.
China has to take “necessary and temporary” measures in response to the current coronavirus situation, using practices of various countries as reference, the agencies said. Adjustments will be made according to the situation, they said.
U.K. Police Get Extra Powers (11:50 a.m. NY)
The U.K. government gave police strengthened enforcement powers to ensure people stay at home unless their trip is essential. From Thursday, the police may issue a penalty of 60 pounds ($73), rising to 120 pounds for second-time offenders.
Those not paying the fine can be taken to court and police can arrest those who continuously refuse to comply.
U.S. Delays New ID Deadline by Year (11:40 a.m. NY)
The U.S. delayed by a year, until October 2021, the deadline for states to issue new identification documents that meet the federal Real ID standards. Chad Wolf, acting Homeland Security secretary, said states needed time because motor vehicle offices that issue driver’s licenses have been closed in response to Covid-19.
U.K. Warns on ‘Coughing’ as Harassment (11:26 a.m. NY)
The U.K. is ready to crack down on coughing as a way to threaten or intimidate police officers and shop workers. The nation’s prosecution office issued a statement after reports that emergency workers were coughed at by people claiming to be infected. That could lead to assault charges and two years in jail, the prosecution service said.
Expo in Dubai Could be Delayed (11:26 a.m. NY)
A global exposition set for Dubai in late October could be delayed for up to a year, a setback for organizers who for years have touted the event as a potential bonanza for the United Arab Emirates. Dubai has spent billions of dollars building hotels and facilities in anticipation of attracting 25 million visitors during the six-month event.
A final decision must be made by member states of the Paris-based International Bureau of Expositions, which awarded the event to Dubai and the U.A.E. in 2013.
Iran Bans In-Country Travel (10:15 a.m. NY)
Iran banned travel between cities and ordered people to return to their hometowns or face fines after millions defied calls to stay indoors and went out to celebrate the Persian new year. President Hassan Rouhani warned of a second surge of the disease after new cases surged followed the holiday period.
Emergency services and cargo vehicles are exempt from the travel ban, the semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted Iran’s police chief as saying.
Europe Shies Away from Retooling Production for Gear (9:36 a.m. NY)
The European Union signaled that efforts to increase the supply of medical gear will involve ramping up existing production capacity. The European Commission said converting production lines at the likes of automotive and aeronautics businesses “would be time-consuming and not always necessarily successful.” The EU’s executive arm commented after President Ursula von der Leyen and European Industry Commissioner Thierry Breton held a phone call with representatives of various businesses.
U.S. Jobless Claims Surged to Record (8:31 a.m. NY)
The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits surged to a record 3.28 million last week. Initial jobless claims in the week ended March 21 were up from 282,000 in the prior week and more than quadruple the previous record of 695,000 in 1982, according to Labor Department data released Thursday. The figures date to 1967.
Economists’ projections had ranged as high as 4.4 million.
Faster Virus Tests (8:30 a.m. NY)
Henry Schein said an antibody rapid blood test, known as Standard Q COVID-19 IgM/IgG Rapid Test, is now available. The test is intended to be administered at the point of care and delivers results within 15 minutes from a pinprick with no instrumentation required.
Earlier, Robert Bosch GmbH said it developed a test that can diagnose Covid-19 in less than 2.5 hours. The new test uses the Vivalytic molecular diagnostics platform made by Bosch’s healthcare division, used in hospitals, laboratories and medical practices. Patients typically must wait one or two days before they get test results.
Separately, U.K.-based Mologic Ltd. has sent prototypes of a 10-minute coronavirus test to laboratories for validation before it can begin full-scale manufacturing. The company and its partner, the Senegalese research foundation Institut Pasteur de Dakar, have developed a finger-prick test to determine whether a person had the illness and the state of their immune system. The company is also working on a separate saliva test to detect the presence of the virus.
— With assistance by Rachel Chang, and Nic Querolo
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